Graham Spiers feels the emotional appeal of the Christmas story and recognises that it a represents “genuinely earth-shattering cosmic event” (Perspective, 20 December).
Sadly, he seems to think that this spiritual appeal must be tempered by rational doubt about the historical veracity of the gospel accounts. Ideologically driven scepticism about the New Testament documents dominates media discussion and is wrongly regarded as the neutral and intelligent position.
Of course, academic controversy infuses all Biblical Studies, but the fact remains that a very substantial proportion of scholars defend the gospels as reliable accounts from within the circle of Jesus’s friends and family. I urge Mr Spiers to investigate further. The writings of a former and current professor at St Andrews University might help: Richard Baukham and Tom Wright.
Churches can appeal through nostalgia and community warmth at Christmas time, but, if the gospel of Jesus Christ is omitted, then we are left with just another pleasing but ultimately empty tradition. With it, we can enter into a life and society changing community, living in communion with the creator of the universe.