Posted by Pastoral Musings on 20th December 2011
Perhaps it is those who insist that the only way to really celebrate and appreciate Christmas is to treat the infancy stories as factual, historical accounts, who are posing the biggest threat to faith, if what we mean is a mature faith.
The Grinch discovered that Christmas in Whoville wasn’t something that could be stolen. I wish those reading this a Merry Christmas, and the discovery of a meaning to Christmas that does not disappear as a result of historical or other scholarly analysis.
Note that McGrath seems to think that those of us who accept the Gospel accounts of the birth of Christ as historical are immature in our faith.
The reply on Triablogue ends in this manner,
McGrath puts forward a highly unlikely reading of Luke’s gospel, one that’s contradicted by a large amount of internal and external evidence. He keeps referring to scholarship in the process, even though the view of Luke he’s describing is rejected by most scholars. He then appeals to dubious readings of passages like Matthew 2:1 and Luke 2:39, which require reading unsupported assumptions into the text. Then, without addressing counterarguments to his objections or the arguments for a conservative view of the infancy narratives, he refers to the immaturity of the people he’s criticizing.
This reminds me of a discussion last year regarding Quirinius and the census of his day. Yes, the ghost of Christmas past has reared his ugly head again, only to remind us that there are those out there who seem to glory in denying the truthfulness of the Scriptures.
Not only is there a problem in that McGrath denies the veracity of God’s Word, but there’s the problem of scholarship in that McGrath doesn’t interact with the fact that there are plausible explanations for the alleged problems that he sees.
I would recommend that Dr. McGrath consider the words of B.B. Warfield, who said,
…it is a reasonable principle, recognized among critics of secular historians, that two writers must not be held to be contradictory where any natural mode of harmonizing can be imagined. Otherwise it amounts to holding that we know fully and thoroughly all facts of the case, – better even than eye-witnesses seem ever to know them.
Warfield, Works vol 1 pg 417
There is nothing immature about accepting the truthfulness of God’s Word. Nothing at all.