Dick Fischer wrote:
> George Murphy wrote:
> > It is important not to overstate (or understate) what is
> >required by the
> >ASA Statement of Faith. (I would encourage anyone who hasn't seen
> >it or is hazy
> >about it to look at it on the ASA web site.) This statement does
> >not explicitly
> >set out the doctrines listed above and does not, e.g., exclude
> >someone who interprets the accounts of Jesus' conception in Matthew
> >and Luke as
> >something other than historical and biological fact. I am not
> >saying that such
> >an opinion is correct, nor am I trying to start a debate about virginal
> >conception (though I probably will). But we shouldn't give the
> >impression that
> >the requirements for ASA membership are more restrictive than they in fact
> I was merely stating what Christians pretty uniformly believe.
> Doesn't mean some of us can't hold alternate views on even the
> essentials. ASA members are Christians after all, not just theists.
> What may be required as a formalized statement differs from
> organization to organization. And formal ASA membership is not
> required to join the ASA listserv.
> That said, I think the virgin birth is pretty foundational to our
> faith. See Matt.1:18-25. My guess is that a counter view would
> spark a pretty vigorous debate on this list. Without conception by
> the Holy Spirit it would call into question whether or not Christ was
> without sin, then how could He have been the "unblemished lamb," then
> maybe the resurrection was a fabrication, etc. Did you really want
> to start the first domino, George?
I already said that that wasn't my intention. I simply wanted to call
attention to the fact that the ASA statement of faith is not a listing of
"fundamentals" - i.e., basic doctrines - to which a prospective
member must give
Having said that: I believe that Jesus was "became incarnate from the
virgin Mary" or "was born of the virgin Mary" in the sense that Mary was in
biological fact a virgin when she conceived him. But I would not exclude from
church fellowship - & even less from ASA membership - someone who
believes that the
point of those phrases in the creeds is the genuine human birth of Jesus & that
"virgin Mary" serves to designate his mother rather than to insist on her
biological virginity. I do not find such arguments very persuasive but that's
Which is to say, I do _not_ think that virginal conception is nearly as
"fundamental" to Christian faith as the tradition has often insisted.
Paul & John
were able to give pretty strong expressions of the faith, with very high
christologies, without apparently knowing anything about the idea.
The center of
Christian faith is the cross-resurrection event, seen as the death &
of God Incarnate. That's where we start theologically.
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
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