Moltmann on the Historicity of the Virgin Birth

Over at the postbarthian, my friend Wyatt has shared the famous section from Jesus- God and Man where Pannenberg (like Emil Brunner before him) denied the historicity of the virgin birth, while at the same time affirming the substance of the apostles creed (if you don’t think that is possible, please check out his post!). When I was reflecting on this, it occurred to me that I didn’t have a clue where Moltmann stood on this controversial subject. That Pannenberg denies the virgin birth was one of the first things I remember learning about him (probably because it was a feature in his first, and possibly most well-known, book!). But I’ve read many Moltmann books to date and couldn’t remember this issue coming up at all. I knew where to turn:  Jürgen Moltmann’s full christology, The Way of Jesus Christ, which I have not yet read.

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Jürgen Moltmann’s Addendum to the Creeds

I’ve been hearing for some time folks (like N.T. Wright and Scot McKnight) argue that even the earliest creeds we have (e.g. the Apostle’s Creed) neglect critical components of Jesus’ life, mission and teaching – giving the impression the only really important thing to know about Jesus is that was born of a virgin, that he died, and that he rose again. They observe (correctly I think) that this skips over most of the narrative found in all four canonical gospels.

Over the weekend I read a great popular-level book by Jürgen Moltmann called Jesus Christ for Today’s World.  In the introduction Moltmann also notes the life-of-Jesus-gap in the creeds, and suggests something of an addendum for consideration (p. 3-4):

“I have always missed this presence of the earthly Jesus in the Christian creeds. Why is it reduced to a mere comma between ‘born” and ‘suffered’? Ought we not to add – at least in thought –

Baptized by John the Baptist,

Filled with the Holy Spirit

to proclaim God’s kingdom to the poor,

to heal the sick

to receive the rejected,

to awaken Israel for the salvation of the nations,

and to have mercy on all human beings”

Great suggestion. Thanks, Molty!