MASTER'S SEMINARY JOURNAL

BOOK REVIEW

The Virgin Birth: A Biblical Study of the Deity of Jesus Christ. Rev. ed.


By Robert Gromacki
Grand Rapids : Kregel (2002). 240 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Trevor Craigen
14.1 (Spring 2003) : 116-117

 “About time!” is an appropriate exclamation at the publication of the revised edition of Gromacki’s 1974 book. The first edition was much appreciated by all who read it. Since J. Gresham Machen’s book, The Virgin Birth of Christ, was not found that easy to read, Gromacki’s became a most useful adjunct to it. This revised edition, which is not that much of a change from the first edition, will prove again to be a most useful and instructive addition to the personal libraries of layman, pastor, student, and professor alike. Being thoroughly saturated with references to relevant Scriptures only adds to its value as a Bible study tool or textbook. The author advised that he “tried to produce a volume that would deal with the virgin birth of Christ on a level understandable to both the interested layman and the serious Bible student” (10). He succeeded!

The sub-title, “A Biblical Study of the Deity of Jesus Christ,” although certainly indicative of the emphasis given in the book, is nevertheless, in this reviewer’s opinion, not fully descriptive enough since it is also a study of the humanity of Christ. The sub-title should read “A Biblical Study of the Deity and the Humanity of Jesus Christ.”

A concisely summarized survey of the false concepts of Christ’s person provides the reader with an informative snapshot of how down through the ages has come a sharp reaction to or rejection of the scriptural evidence for both Christ’s humanity and deity (194-99). Three chapters furnish information on the different heresies and errant thoughts on Christ Jesus, namely, “Testimony of the Church Fathers,” “Erroneous Concepts,” and “The Onslaughts of False Teaching.” These demonstrate the pride of intellect of those who were critical of the biblical statements and evidence. Rejection of the virgin birth, it was seen, went hand in glove with rejection of the inspired and authoritative, inerrant Scriptures.

Updated bibliographic resources on impeccability/peccability, such as Canham’s article “Potuit Non Peccare Or Non Potuit Peccare: Evangelicals, Hermeneutics, and the Impeccability Debate,” TMSJ 11/1 (2000):93-114, would have been good additions for chapter 13 on Jesus’ sinlessness. Similarly, updated bibliographic resources on the meaning and significance of almah, such as Niessen’s article, “The Virginity of the almah in Isaiah 7:14” BSac 137/546 (1980):133-50, would have been good additions for chapter 16 on this important verse in Isaiah. At the least, cross-referencing to them in a footnote would have been in order.

Since reference will be made to this book when studying the birth narratives or when seeking clarification on the humanity and deity of Jesus of Nazareth, it is worthy of having near at hand.