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The Virgin Birth of Christ (Machen)

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Solid Ground Christian Books

In a Review written by Samuel Craig shortly after this book appeared in 1930 we read:

"This volume sustains, and more than sustains, Dr. Machen's reputation as not only one of the world's foremost New Testament scholars but as one of the ablest defenders of historic Christianity. His former books, 'The Origin of Paul's Religion' (1921), 'Christianity and Liberalism' (1923) and 'What is Faith?' (1925), have so whetted the appetites of their thousands of readers that the announcement of a new book by Dr. Machen fills them with eager expectancy---whatever may be their theological position. It will be recalled that Mr. Walter Lippmann, whose theological position is about as far removed as possible from that of Dr. Machen's, in his widely read book, 'A Preface to Morals', not only speaks of Dr. Machen as 'both a scholar and a gentleman' but says of his book, 'Christianity and Liberalism':

'It is an admirable book. For its acumen, for its saliency, and for its wit, this cool and stringent defense of orthodox Protestantism is, I think, the best popular argument produced by either side in the current controversy. We shall do well to listen to Dr. Machen.'

Dr. Machen's latest book, it is true, like 'The Origin of Paul's Religion', moves throughout in the field of exact scholarship. It would be difficult to point to a book anywhere that is more thorough-going in its recital and examination of all that bears upon the subject with which it deals. But while this is the case, Dr. Machen writes so simply and lucidly that men and women of intelligence everywhere, whatever their standing as technical scholars, will be able to read it with understanding and profit. Certainly no minister or Bible teacher of adults can afford to ignore this book. To the reviewer at least it is a source of much satisfaction to know that what is confessedly the most exhaustive and most scholarly book on the problem of the Virgin Birth of Christ ever published, at least in English, has been written by a man who after having acquainted himself with everything of importance that has been written on the subject since the first century, no matter in what language, holds to the historic belief of the Christian Church that its founder was born without human father, being conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary."

Table of Contents:

  1. The Virgin Birth in the Second Century
  2. The Birth Narrative an Original part of the Third Gospel
  3. Characteristics of the Lucan Narrative
  4. The Hymns of the First Chapter of Luke
  5. The Origin and Transmission Of the Lucan Narrative
  6. The Integrity of the Lucan Narrative
  7. The Narrative in Matthew
  8. The Relation Between the Narratives
  9. The Inherent Credibility of the Narratives
  10. The Birth Narratives and Secular History
  11. The Birth Narratives and the Rest of the New Testament
  12. Alternative Theories: Preliminary Considerations
  13. The Theory of Jewish Derivation
  14. The Theory of Pagan Derivation
  15. Conclusion and Consequences



J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937) was professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1936 Machen was instrumental with others in founding what became the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and was its first Moderator.


"Years ago I was tasked with a paper on the incarnation of the Son of God. My professor suggested some books that either approached the topic from a naturalistic standpoint or exalted Mary in the whole process. As I browsed the card catalog topically (yes, before computer cataloging!), I came across a book from the 1930s. It hadn't been checked out for several years. It was Machen. My soul was excited, revived, and my mind expanded. In an age where many books become dated, quickly, it is not so with Machen. Not so especially with 'The Virgin Birth.' Read it for the first time or read again. Just read it! Then pass it on." - Dr. C.N. Willborn