‘Tis the Season to Study the Virgin Birth with Your Kids

JesusInFocus_VirginBirth-300x300My high school aged sons and I were recently offered a free review of the first lesson in a new youth apologetics video curriculum by Mikel Del Rosario, the Apologetics Guy. Knowing that Mikel is *already* accessible, we had to see what this new curriculum specifically targeted to youth is all about. The curriculum is called Jesus in Focus, and this first lesson is called Is the Virgin Birth a True Story?. Could the timing be better, with Christmas right around the corner?

While everyone else was out in the craziness on Black Friday, we saved ourselves an hour of madness and geared up for Christmas studying the virgin birth. What better way to kick off the holidays? You know it’s going to come up soon at school, in the media, and basically everywhere.

So this is feedback from Ethan (senior), and David (freshman), and me. We appreciate Mikel so much for giving us this opportunity to cover this topic the day after Thanksgiving, gearing up for Christmas!

First, a little bit about how the curriculum works. Parents or youth pastors have a leaders guide to review before corralling the kids for the lesson. The curriculum includes a power point presentation, introduction video, and lesson video. The leaders guide will help you teach everything in the right order with the videos and powerpoint, and has a good supply of discussion questions that engage students.

David liked the idea in the leaders guide of leading out with a student skit of Luke 1:28-35, and thought of this: A girl is on her computer checking out Facebook, an angel appears all casual-like, she doesn’t take Gabriel seriously at first, then posts a status update on Facebook: “Omg! Angel just told me I’m having a baby. Virgin, btw!”

Let’s get some potentially negative junk out of the way. The video portion of this youth curriculum is targeted to younger kids who would enjoy hanging out with the Mickey Mouse Club. My kids and I are too old for how upbeat it is. It’s cheesy-positive, and so not atheist-friendly. My boys interact with their atheist friends, so they would not be able to share this with them. I hear future lessons may tone that down, however. Another potential negative is that more advanced students will be bothered by so much repetition, but less-advanced students will appreciate it (Ethan was bothered, David was not). Now you know why I said “potentially” negative!

Side note into the atheist-friendly bit: Ethan suggested that parents teach this lesson after teaching the minimal facts argument, or arguments for natural theology, because leading out with the virgin birth may cause young skeptics to jump ship and close their minds to anything else you have to teach. However, “students who may have agnostic or atheist tendencies may still be interested to know Jesus’ virginal conception is unique in world religious traditions. There is virtually nothing like it. I can only think of one very obscure Buddhist text almost no one knows about that mentions what I would consider the only other claim of a virginal conception—but it is extremely unlikely to have influenced Christianity,” (Mikel via PM).

I thought it would be good to include more of the biblical narrative – including from Matthew. That way, in the closing thoughts, I could have mentioned that the virgin birth is mentioned directly or indirectly in all four gospels (I did cover this with my boys, but we didn’t go into “independent testimony” this time). Do the genealogies hint at the virgin birth? What about the undesigned coincidences that confirm the authenticity of the gospels on the virgin birth? How about the historical and other evidence? (MORE from Tim McGrew: 1, 2, 3.) However, the leaders guide does take you through how other gospels and Paul’s writing do imply the virgin birth.

One thing we like about the leaders guide is the discussion questions section at the end. However, it doesn’t cover all the questions that popped into our heads. For example: Why does the virgin birth even have to be true? That would have been good to answer, especially since the leaders guide covers the Roman Catholic distinctions. Other questions the curriculum doesn’t answer: What if it wasn’t *copied* from pagan myths, but only *inspired by* pagan myths, to appeal to the Greek churches Paul was reaching? How does the lesson demonstrate the closing thought regarding theological reflection?

Our favorite part of this curriculum is what we call the “methinks thou dost protest too much” argument, though Mikel doesn’t call it that. Nick Peters would LOVE it (inside joke). Basically, this is the argument that if the virgin birth was made up and they were trying to make people believe it, they would’ve gone on and on affirming it – but they didn’t. It was “in there” – but it wasn’t emphasized, much less over-emphasized.

This youth apologetics curriculum from an already accessible apologist is excellent for “beginning beginners.” My sons did benefit from it, so we really appreciate Mikel sharing it with us, and with such good timing! Ethan and David want to thank Mikel for digging in to answering those who say things like “the virgin birth was copied from pagan myths” – they are glad there are people like Mikel who help remove obstacles to faith, particularly for their generation.

Advertisements

About Maryann

Maryann Spikes is the past President of the Christian Apologetics Alliance and now coordinates the CAA Catechism. She blogs at Ichthus77, and loves apologetics and philosophy. In particular she loves to study all things Euthyphro Dilemma and Golden Rule. A para-educator (autism) for five years, she holds a Certificate in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, an AA in Humanities via Modesto Junior College, and moonlights as a freelancer. You can follow her on Twitter @Ichthus77, connect with the Ichthus77 community on Facebook, or look her up on Google+.
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Apologetics Toolbox, Youth Apologetics. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to ‘Tis the Season to Study the Virgin Birth with Your Kids

  1. KIA says:

    Questions from a recently former christian: what is the primary reason you believe that the Virgin birth was actual history?
    Do you believe it to be a unique doctrine, teaching or belief to christianity?
    What is the primary reason you believe that the Virgin birth is a) necessary to the gospel, b) necessary to defend as a foundational belief.
    Thx for considering all my questions.
    -KIA

    • Maryann says:

      Hello, KIA. I apologize for the late reply. There isn’t any one primary reason I believe in the virgin birth. It’s more of a cumulative case, and I provided you with some good starting points in my blog post. Regarding uniqueness, I do not believe it is a “copycat myth” (nice vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0-EgjUhRqA). I do not think the virgin birth is necessary to the gospel, nor necessary to defend as a foundational belief. However…it is relevant to discuss around Christmas :)

      • KIA says:

        Thx for the kind reply.

      • KIA says:

        You don’t think the virgin birth is necessary for the gospel? Or a core Christian belief to defend?
        If jesus were born normally as a union of Joseph and mary, or simply an immaculate conception but not virgin… Both would strike to the heart of Christian doctrines of the sinlessness of Jesus (Jesus born in sin like the rest of mankind needing a savior himself and disqualified as saviour for mankind) or a strike to the truth and reliability of the Christmas nativity you celebrate with your family. (Isaiah 7 interpretations are shot as referencing Jesus birth)
        As a Christian, you simply can’t cut away either the historicity of the resurrection or the doctrine of the virgin birth and still consider yourself a biblical Christian. I think you don’t want to defend the virgin birth so you relegate it to a non essential. But you do so without any type of Christian justification or theological integrity.
        -Kia

        • Maryann says:

          A recently former Christian is judging my theological integrity. Cute. :) I don’t think it is an essential doctrine (one we must believe in order to be saved), but I believe it and defend it (why would I have posted the blog post otherwise?) (though I don’t make it my focus, because I think there are bigger fish to fry). I don’t think Jesus (or anyone else) had to be born of a virgin in order to be born sinless – but (anticipating your rebuttal) I do believe there was a first sin that has poisoned the well for the first sinners and the rest of us, and that we poison the well more and more for ourselves and everyone else with every sin. You say that if the virgin birth is not true, then Jesus’ birth is not true – that does not follow. The resurrection – that *is* an essential doctrine, and I also believe and defend it (and do make it my focus). If Christ has not been raised, our faith is in nothing. Utterly futile. Enjoy your Saturday.

          • KIA says:

            As to original sin corrupting mankind… Please find for me in Genesis 3 where God changes mankind’s nature from ‘perfect’ and very good as created to corrupt and bound by sin. This is of course assuming as self evident that Adam and Eve had no power to change their own nature.

            • Maryann says:

              Hi Kia, this blog post is about the virgin birth, and you are asking me to defend a claim I haven’t made. Please see the only thing I will be saying on original sin in my last comment :) What are your Saturday plans? Derailing topics today? :)

              • KIA says:

                No. Just asking questions. Making comments. Conversation on a blog. Isn’t that what you would like on yours? Unless it’s not… Perhaps you’d prefer a safe echo chamber

                • Maryann says:

                  Kia, perhaps a blog post that is actually about the topic you’d like to discuss would be more suitable for you? That, or I need to draw up discussion guidelines that prohibit logical fallacies like red herrings (tangents)…

                  • KIA says:

                    Limiting conversation on a blog where you want conversation? Interesting. Is there a reason you are being so passive aggressive with me just because I ask questions or make comments you don’t agree with? I have not been rude and have not attacked you personally, just asked about your statements of theology as a christian. And your solution to that discomfort is to reach for a limiting option for what may or may not be said in comments and when? Interesting. I’d never do so on my blog… Admitted, I probably don’t have the traffic of yours, but still.
                    Even as a Christian for 34 years, the last 25 as a minister, I would never want to shut out others with differing opinions or what is conversation for?
                    Either way, enjoy your day as well

                    • Maryann says:

                      I’m not shutting you out because your opinion differs, but because the quality of conversation includes red herrings. Future off-topic replies will be deleted.

Tell it:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s