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It is a modern fad at Christmas and Easter to propose bizarre new interpretations of established Christian beliefs or to assert that some Christian dogmas which do not sit easily with modern sensibilities can be dispensed with. Recently, the Anglican Primate, Archbishop Rowan Williams, stated that belief in the Virgin Birth of Jesus should not be 'a kind of hurdle people have to get over' before becoming Christian.
Belief in the Virgin Birth has been held universally by orthodox Christians from the beginning of the Christian era. St Ignatius of Antioch, a contemporary of St John the evangelist, stated: 'You [Christians] are firmly convinced about our Lord, who is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, Son of God according to the will and power of God, truly born of a virgin ...'.
While there is a hierarchy of Christian truths, this does not mean that that some truths proclaimed in the Creed can be dispensed with. The hierarchy of truths refers to a way of ordering the mysteries of the faith in a way that relates them to one another in terms of their relationship to the foundation of the Christian faith.
In regard to Jesus Christ, all that is affirmed in the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed requires the assent of all who claim to hold to orthodox Christian faith. This includes the affirmation that He was 'born of the Virgin Mary.'
EAMONN & PAT KEANE
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 21 No 1 (February 2008), p. 14
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