Its hard to reconcile her virgin conception of Jesus with being a descendant of David since the genealogies in Matthew and Luke go through Joseph, who (according to the virgin conception theory) was not really Jesus' father. Meaning, Jesus ends up with no genealogy at all, and since the Jews only accept genealogies through a father, literally he becomes genealogyless; and this has been the number one reason for Jews rejecting Jesus for as long as the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke have been in those gospels (I don't know how long that is).

Hence the question, Are there any denominations that reject her virgin conception? Maybe some Messianic groups that believe they will be in a better position to reach the Jews by doing so?

  • Historically, Tertullian, Jovian, and the rationalist Harnack denied her virgin birth. I'm not sure if they believed in her virginity before she gave birth, though; probably not.
    – Geremia
    Commented Sep 21, 2014 at 2:50
  • @Geremia, By the virgin birth I really mean the virgin conception. Protestants don't even think about the question of whether she remained a virgin through the process of giving birth. That's an ancient Catholic hangup. Commented Sep 21, 2014 at 2:53
  • Plenty of liberal Christians reject the virgin birth, but that's much more because of their rejection of the miraculous than an attempt to appeal to Jews.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Sep 21, 2014 at 13:56
  • @curiousdannii For some, sure. For others, it's simply because they question the historicity of Matthew's and Luke's birth narratives, especially because they appear to contradict each other. Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 15:52
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    Actually, one of the genealogies is Joseph's genealogy, but the other is Mary's geneaology.
    – kojow7
    Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 8:21

2 Answers 2


Yes, some denominations think the Bible is a compilation of stories with moral content. They do not believe most of it is factual, including Jesus being born of the Virgin Mary. Some United Churches lean this way.

(My comment is supported by speaking with United Church adherents personally (extended family members) and hearing them tell me they believe the Bible is comprised of non-factual stories with moral content, many even thought to be fictitious) They informed me that their pastor teaches this way. This would be considered one of the very liberal United Churches.)

Here is a link to a United Church newspaper with a discussion between two lady ministers, one of them an atheist, to support the point that the Bible and its' content including the Virgin Mary and her conception of Christ without the help of a human man, is not necessarily believed, even by the clergy of this denomination. Point in fact, the minister in this article is not only not a believer in the Bible record of the Virgin Mary, but this minister herself does not even believe in God!


Note: quote from article:

"Vosper: *So let other denominations do it, and let The United Church of Canada — which is the only denomination on the planet that might ever actually say in its documents that the Bible is not the authoritative word of God for all time — move forward into discourse with others*."

Inside the umbrella group of the United Church resides a variety of beliefs, from more conservative individual churches with their more conservative pastors, to liberal individual churches with their liberal pastors, and many that fall in between. All would be welcome and included under the umbrella name of United Church. This is one group that has included the ordination of practicing homosexual pastors in their rulings.

Believing in Mary as an actual virgin who conceived Christ without the help of a human male contributor, would be optional in this denomination at best, and you would find a wide variety of beliefs about Mary in the churches under the umbrella of this name.

As their article title suggests, they have gone "Beyond Belief", as a denomination, into the division of their denomination into subgroups from which only thirteen percent believe that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary with no human male father, as the following UC article communicates.


quote from above:

"To 13 percent of survey respondents, however, it is straightforwardly true that Jesus was born of a virgin, performed miracles, died to save humanity or individuals from sin and rose physically from the dead."

This shows that 87 percent of those UC-ers asked about Jesus being born of the Virgin Mary, did not believe that He was.

  • Thanks for addressing the issues previously raised on this post, but now there is a new one: The article you have used as a "reference" does not appear to have anything whatsoever to do with the Virgin Birth or any denomination's belief on that issue.
    – Caleb
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 7:30
  • @Caleb, explained by saying the link is to an interview of 2 UC pastors, one an atheist. Not only do many UC's not believe what is in the Bible, but even their pastors may not believe in God, let alone the Virgin Mary and her conception of Jesus without a human male contributor. see the rationale? further in the interview the term 'stories' comes out, referring to what is in the Bible, as stories, not facts.
    – Hello
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 8:01
  • @Caleb added another quote showing 13 percent of UCers believe in in the virgin Mary's conception of Jesus without human male contributor, showing 87 percent Ucers do not believe in the Virgin Mary nor her conception of Jesus Christ and added quote showing UC pastors may not even believe in God let alone the Virgin Mary
    – Hello
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 14:44

I cannot answer for other than my Baptist faith, but since we all use a common form of canon and most usually a common Biblical translation, The Virgin birth throughout Protestantism would appear to be unchallenged.

The Catholic and Orthodox churches most certainly appear to believe in the Virgin birth since they are proponents of her eternal virginity, and that has become a point of contention between Catholics and Protestants.

I am unfamiliar with translations, other than The King James, New King James, and the Revised King James, since those are the primary translations I use in my study, but they most definitely have Luke's Gospel tracing Jesus ancestry through Mary, this evident when the two are placed side by side and the differences noted.

Matthew 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

As compared to:

Luke 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

It need be noticed that Matthew says:

And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary,

While Luke says:

being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph,

That is separated by commas and so:

'And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, which was the son of Heli,'

is separate from:

being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph,

Joseph's immediate male ancestor could not have been both Jacob and Heli. Women were not listed in lineage, so Mary is skipped over.

A close examination of Matthew's lineage does not list Heli anywhere, nor several others in Luke's narrative.

Also Matthew as a devout Jew writing to Jews would have customarily used the official lineage which would be through Joseph, as Jesus was the supposed son of Joseph, While Luke a Gentile writing to a Gentile and wanting to stress the Deity of Jesus would not be encumbered by Jewish tradition.

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