Jesus' birth usually gets far more attention than its role in the New Testament warrants. ...One can be justified by faith with no knowledge of it.
The birth narratives have no impact on my reconstruction of Jesus' public agendas and his mindset as he went to the cross. There might just be a case for saying that if his birth was as Matthew and Luke describe it, and if Mary had told him about it, my argument about Jesus' vocation to do and be what in scripture YHWH does and is might look slightly different. But as a historian I cannot use the birth stories within an argument about the rest of the gospel narratives.
- N. T. Wright, "God's Way of Acting" (emphases in the original)
Of the reading and quoting of famous spokesmen of religion there is no end. Take N. T. Wright, one of the more popular of this genre. Men burnish to such a beautiful sheen after rubbing up against him!
Actually, some of my best friends fawn over him but I have had real difficulty giving it up for a man whose only commendable trait seems to be... reducing Scripture to providing a backdrop for his Own great erudition.
If only the Apostle Paul could have written with such elegance, and think of the different class of converts He would have attracted if Jesus had sounded so urbane!
Well now it's our turn and we mean to do better:
Have you read N. T. Wright's defense of the Resurrection? Stunning — you simply must read it! Finally, humble Christians have our own scholarly giants all suited up, going toe to toe with their Goliaths. With behemoths like Marsden, Noll, McGrath, Carson, and Wright on our side, we're finally able to come in from the cold. What cheer!
Our new Christmas carol:
Good Christian persons rejoice, with heart and soul and voice;
Give ye ear to what we say, Bishop Wight's the rage today;
ETS before him bows...
So we're left lamenting the prominence simple folk who read Matthew and Luke give to "the birth narrative; to Mary, Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
Today, motherhood is passé. Our daughters are too bright for childbirth and raising a godly seed. Leave it to the homeschoolers. They seem to enjoy it.