by James Gibson
It is painfully obvious from the above statement that Sprague suffers from the spiritual disorder known as "Nicodemus Syndrome." Note the similarities between Sprague's comments above and the comments of Nicodemus in his conversation with Jesus (John 3:1-15)
Like Nicodemus, Sprague cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit. Consequently, he cannot think of "Virgin Birth" without thinking of Mary's gynecological condition and he cannot think of "Resurrection" without thinking of bodily rescusitation. In both instances, Sprague attempts to impose a naturalistic criterion upon a spiritual reality. ["Spiritual" here means "of the Spirit," as opposed to "natural" meaning "of the flesh." It is not to be construed as meaning something other than "literal" or "physical." A spiritual truth must be conveyed in literal terms and, as in the case of the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection, manifest in a physical way.] When confronted by such "things of the Spirit," Sprague, like Nicodemus, asks incredulously, "How can these things be?"
Sprague's lack of faith with regard to the Resurrection has been chronicled elsewhere, so I will focus here on his equally faithless rejection of the Virgin Birth.
Mary asked a similar question to that of Nicodemus when the angel announced to her that she would give birth to the Son of God: "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" (Luke 1:34). But her question is borne of awe and humility, not hard-rational obstinance. The very fact that she is visited by an angel ought to clue us in on the state of her relationship with God. Obviously, she was a deeply spiritual woman. Her sexual purity was an outward expression of her inward fidelity to God. So intimate was her union with God that it ultimately manifest itself in the most literal and physical way possible: she birthed his Son through the Holy Spirit.
Mary is the model for spiritual formation for all believers (male and female, alike) and a particularly illustrative case study in entire sanctification for those of the Wesleyan persuasion. She did not find favor with God because she was a virgin. Rather, she was a virgin because she had found favor with God. It had nothing to do with her gynecological condition; it had everything to do with her relationship with God.
Sprague's failure to understand this spiritual dimension of the faith makes him unfit for the high office which he currently holds.
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