Term Paper: Theology Reflection My Growth as a Christian

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Theology Reflection

My Growth as a Christian

As a result of this course, I have been prompted to consider deeply many aspects of my faith that I had not understood thoroughly before. While most of the fundamental qualities of my faith remain unchanged, I now comprehend on an intellectual level some of the sophisticated concepts that before now I only could accept with my heart. This has made my faith stronger, more deeply rooted, and -- most importantly -- less susceptible to the forces of doubt that would lead me astray. Three questions that this course has led me to consider and answer for myself are: Did Jesus need to be born of a virgin? Does the Bible have authority? and, if a person is a Christian, does it matter how they live their life?

The Virgin Birth of Christ

The necessity of Christ's virgin birth was a concept that did not have much theological importance to me until I began to consider the readings and teachings of this course. I had always accepted on faith that Christ was born of a virgin, but did not consider why this idea should be central to an understanding of Christ. Nor did I have any counterargument for those who would deny the virgin birth. I believed that Christ was born of a virgin, but I'm not sure that I believed that he NEEDED to be born of a virgin until I thought about two of the points that were made in the readings. They both were related to the indications of the Mary as a virgin in the Scriptures.

Though I of course knew of the prophecies of the virgin birth in the Old Testament, I was unaware of the sophisticated word choices that were central to these prophecies. In particular I was struck by the argument concerning Isaiah's choice of the word almah for virgin. I was aware that there was an argument against the translation of almah as "virgin," but I did not realize that Isaiah's word choice contained more implications than just "virgin" or "young woman." The fact that it specifically referred to a young woman who was preparing for marriage but not yet married seemed to me strong proof that Isaiah was prophesying Mary's exact situation. Instead of calling into question the accuracy of his prophecy, I think his word choice reinforces the accuracy of his prophecy.

The second point that I found alluring about the argument for the virgin birth was the inerrancy of the Scriptures, in particular the New Testament as a fulfillment of the Old Testament. When I understood the prophecies of the Old Testament better, it seemed incomprehensible to doubt the accuracy of the New Testament fulfillment of those prophecies. It is precisely because of the Old Testament prophecies that one cannot accept the Old Testament without also accepting the New Testament; and it is precisely because of the New Testament accounts of the virgin birth of Christ that one cannot accept the New Testament without also accepting the Old Testament.

The Authority of the Bible

My deeper understanding of the strength of the Old Testament prophecies and their fulfillment in the Gospels was only one step in my understanding of the strength of the Bible in general and its true nature as the revelation of God. I do admit that the authority of the Bible as God's Word had been problematic for me in my faith previous to this course. While I trusted that the message of the Scriptures was true, I had a difficult time reconciling the concept of God's self-revelation with the real-time historical and human production of the books of the Bible, especially the Old Testament.

I found several points in our reading convincing about the Godly origin of the Bible. I was utterly convinced by C.S. Lewis' argument for the necessity of accepting Christ's claims in their entirety or not at all. But my issue had never been… [END OF PREVIEW]

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