Isn’t eating and drinking the body and blood of Jesus…gross?
Saving the Bible but losing God…
Words have meanings, don’t they?
Baptists against Christian nationalism…
Expensive watches and fancy shoes…does it matter what preachers wear?
Why the Book of Romans doesn’t mean what you think it means…
Case study of systems analysis and ministerial accountability…
Don’t use calling to avoid serving…
Many who share Babylon Bee articles unaware that they’re satire…
What does the tabernacle symbolize?
The gold standard writing on penal substitution…
There are people stupid enough to follow Tullian Tchividjian again…
An interpretation of “render unto Caesar” that libertarians will love…
A new kind of prosperity Gospel…
Four bible verses constantly used out of context…
Simul Iustus et Peccator: What Does this Mean?
Huge thanks and prayers for healing for EricL…support him at top right…
RE: There are people stupid enough to follow Tullian Tchividjian again…”:
Tchividjian: “Some people think that I should just shut up and crawl in a cave and never come out because I’m not qualified to be leading spiritually in any way…”
One Guess what this poster thinks?
On second thought…there is a market for a certain kind of church and I know just what to call it:
“The church of Jeffrey Epstein!”
Their ad would say, “Come one, come all shameless, perverted narcissists!”
He and Saeed Abedini could be popes or bishops or whatever blasphemous moniker they choose for their twisted, worthless selves.
The more I think on it, the more names I come up with for Tchividjian’s “Board”. Just think–those poor fellow perverts who had no church to ruin or call home can now have a place that actually wants them! Even Bob Coy would be welcome! What a world!
Epstein is dead! Those that probably murdered him are not. Why not some attention on Bill Clinton? He was on Epstein’s Lolita Express and orgy island 27 times and lied about it. Where is the outrage there?
The quickest way to get banned from this blog is to start on political conspiracy theories. I won’t have it. Period.
If my attempt at satire opens up political commentary, Michael, you can delete them.
I didn’t even think about that.
Michael, you may delete my comments as well if you think it not appropriate to respond to this satire.
Saving the Bible but losing God is a great article. If the author is accurate in portraying what Enns says, it is pretty damnging.
There is an article over at Christian Post about James MacDonald thinking about returning to the ministry as well.
Some never learn.
And I just don’t get how some people are lacking even the slightest hint of discernment when it comes to satire and the Babylon Bee/Snopes dust-up.
The article, Fear of the Word, is a gem. Quite a breath of fresh air after the disappointment from reading the article, Saving the Bible but losing God.
The article, Simul Iustus et Peccator: What Does this Mean?, is an excellent description of the Christian life.
The article on eating and drinking the body and blood is very good. It may infact be the best I have read from a non Lutheran position. I recommend it to all.
It is however obvious that she has been tainted by Reformed thinking in this area and hopefully she is working her way out of it. She makes a great case for literally chomping and chewing, but then slips a little saying that Jesus said this represents my body – perhaps a slip of her old tongue.
Also she says that we don’t know how the body becomes present and we cannot explain it. I would not agree there and say we know exactly how it gets there — Jesus Christ himself puts it there – by word and promise.
But again, a very good teaching.
MLD,. I was waiting for you to comment on this one. When I read the article, I thought she was Lutheran.
I thought it was a good explanation of basic Anglican theology on the subject…there are, of course, variations in the communion…
As to the “Saving the Bible” link…I like some of Enns work,but I think this critic has a point.
One of the difficulties that comes with discarding the definition of the Bible as “inerrant and infallible’ is that one struggles to find another way to define it and still hold a high view of Scripture.
If one doesn’t see it as revelatory, it’s just another book.
Steve, anytime you read any article that provides good biblical theology, it should make you think the author is Lutheran. 🙂
The Bible, as with the Eucharist, goes beyond our ability in applying definitions… at least in my opinion…
That the bread and wine are the body and blood of Christ is beyond dispute.
MLD,. However the above quote to me appears more like transubstantiation where the bread and wine turn into Christ. That sounds more like RCC than reformed.
Agreed…but it’s the way of the religious to want to box things in so that we can handle them without danger… 🙂
This would be transubstantiation:
That the body and blood of Christ were the bread and wine is beyond dispute.
“but it’s the way of the religious to want to box things in so that we can handle them without danger…”
There are two other possibilities:
1) It’s true; and
2) It provides assurance for faith.
Many danger comes from the world, our flesh and Satan, but peace, faith, hope and love from God through the Word of God by the power of the Spirit.
May I say on a thread for the 503rd time… Transubstantiation is based upon Aristotilian categories that have little value in terms of definition… unless you like the language of form and accidents…
Duane – why is the Eucharist not definable? – Jesus provided the definition – this is my body / blood and they are for the following purposes…
I think some try to “intellectualize” these things out of their plain meanings.
The Bible is defined – “thus saith the Lord…”
I don’t think anyone here holds to transubstantiation.
The comments on the Body and Blld article are very interesting too. There are only a couple.
I do agree with Duane that “transubstantiation”, “real presence”, etc., are words that are used to try to describe something that only God could fully understand.
Observance of the Communion service is a holy thing and, not speaking for God, it really doesn’t seem to me to be pleasing to God for His people to argue over the composition of unleavened bread and wine or unfermeted grape juice once it is swallowed
A sticking point is the O.T. teaching on ingesting blood … His body? His blood? Not the organic blood of Jesus’ life as a man… That takes it as far as i need to go…
But then i am not an academic, a theologian. ?
“I think some try to “intellectualize” these things out of their plain meanings.”
Like when we add words like “in, with, and under” to Jesus’ plain words.
Josh, those words are only added in explanation to the deniers. For the doctrine itself, we just believe “this IS (note IS, not represents or symbolizes – which are your added words) my body / blood.
I totally reject your claim to Duane that we cannot understand the things of God so we make up words.
Where we do fumble around is trying to find the right words to explain things to the deniers.
Josh, I just noticed that you did affirm that Jesus’words, this IS my body / blood are in fact his CLEAR words.
We will get you saved sooner than you think! 🙂
Jesus’ body and blood are physically present in the supper and are real food and drink but where in the Bible does it say that the wine and bread are infact literally Jesus and identical and the same? If they are the same thing then it had to get converted somehow from the Strohman loaf to the real thing.
Steve, I think you are missing a critical element. Jesus hands them the actual bread and wine – he does not say this is ONLY body and blood – he says this is my body and blood. There is no transition – Jesus places himself in the bread and wine. We don’t know how other than he says he did (heck we don’t know how he walked on water – but he did and we accept it.
Look at it this way even though it is not a one to one representation. When Jesus spoke from within the burning bush, he was not the bush and he was not the fire. The bush was still the bush and the fire was still the fire – yet Jesus was somehow – wait for it – in, with and under the burning bush.
As with the burning bush there was no transition, so with the bread and wine. Your argument would be somewhat effective with the RCC view but not mine.
“but where in the Bible does it say that the wine and bread are infact literally Jesus and identical and the same?”
“the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you.’ ”
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”
You really do enjoy yanking at peoples chains!!! ??? As the nanny would say, “You’re a naughty, naughty boy!”
Josh – thanks for pointing out the comments on the bread / blood article. They were not there when I read the article yesterday.
So, it seems like she weenied out of what she had clearly said.
Although I did take note, and mentioned in my original comment that I could tell she had been tainted by Reformed theology – it looks now like tainted should have read – she has swallowed Reformed theology hook, line and sinker.
A completely different Christology (at least from Lutheran Christology – you all will need to decide for yourselves how it lines up with your, what does Michael call it? sect) – but she has bought into the Christology which separates Christ humanity from his divinity.
“A sticking point is the O.T. teaching on ingesting blood”
This may have been a sticking point for the Jews, particularly in the narrative of John VI. God did not want His people to engage in the animism of the surrounding people who thought they could derive life or strength from ingesting animal blood. However, what Jesus taught the Jews in John VI is that His blood bestowed eternal life, because it was not just human blood but the blood of an indestructible life.
MLD,. I’m not making an argument about your view I’m talking about the Anglican view presentation in the article. The bread and wine appear identical to Jesus. You agree with that?
Steve, not after reading her responses in the comment section. No one is in the bread and wine.
This is the issue with the Reformed Christology – the spiritual Jesus (whoever he is) can be present, but not his humanity which is stuck in a single location.
There are different views in the Anglican communion…from a Reformed “spiritual presence” to an Anglo-Catholic “Real” presence that is similar to the RC.
I don’t pick a side.
I say Christ is present in the Eucharist and let God explain it later…
It depends on what your definition of the word is is.
Josh, at the very least IS means IS – however IS does not mean represents or symbolize.
When you introduce your wife and say “this IS my wife” is it up to my interpretation as to if she is actually your wife – could she just as equally be just a representation of your wife or a symbol?
Let me know if the risen Jesus IS the actual Jesus or is a representative or symbol of some other risen Jesus.
Well MLD, it could be a life size cardboard cutout of the wife… I think one could still say, “this is my wife.”
Just sayin… just passin through… again. ?
Am, so you think Jesus was pulling a fast one on the disciples to see which were gullible enough to fall for it?
That Jesus is one fun loving frolicking guy.
Btw, I said when he introduces his wife, not when he introduces a picture of his wife.
The scholars and logicians of the world never get Christ and the Gospel. But, this is not a new phenomena. Jesus said “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children.”
What IMO has changed in the past 200 years is that the scholars have taken over Christianity and now think they’ve mastered it. Higher criticism; the quest for the historical Jesus; and the Jesus seminar have explained away mystery, paradox, God’s presence in the Church, miracles and spirituality from traditional Christianity.
Now most Christians basically are given two choices: (1) some version of pentecostalism, or (2) moralistic deism.
There is a third choice, but this spirituality is very rare today and based upon the premise that it is counter human logic and wisdom.J
Scholars have gone great work for 2000 years bringing us understandings of Christ and the Gospel. They were gifted by God to do so…
I was not referring to just any scholars, but “scholars … of the world.”
If we want to be perfectly honest, and I can’t speak for anywhere else but the upper Midwest, the dominant evangelical theology here considers liturgical worship, such as the Anglicanism that Duane describes, Roman Catholicism and the Lutheran Divine Service, as mysticism (in a very negative sense) and superstition. In other words, the dominate evangelical theology considers these liturgical traditions as pagan and therefore, they have to evangelize us because we’re not saved.
What they have as the replacement theology is moralistic deism, but with a dose of Christian rock band music, which is spirit fueled worship. You get your 3 rock songs and a 35 minute lecture for how to live your life. You don’t need to hear the Gospel because you made your decision for Jesus and He reciprocated. Now you have the Holy Spirit to empower your obedient living.
Jean, i don’t know what you’ve been through, but i do know that you don’t understand the salvation process… what you broadbrush as the evangelical is not accurate… I suspect every Christian … denomination, for want of a better term… has those who are pretenders, fooling themselves and or their fellow church goers.
That said, i am sorry tat you never met my grandparents. They not only “knew” God in His complete triunity, God knew them. They are all gone now, but there were Presyterian, Episcopal, Roman Catholic pastors and priests, not to mention laymen that had the highest regard for Ed and Ruth’s walk with our Lord….
Don’t remember any Lutes, though ? ? ? ?
Em, I’m with you. I have lots of pictures of my wife. Every-time I show them to others I point out “this IS my wife”.
Where I think people have a harder time is when they think or portray Jesus as just an image or picture of God and don’t actually recognize Jesus as God Himself. Since God is Spirit, Its not exactly wrong to view the Lords supper in Spiritual terms because God is Spirit. Am I wrong?
One other question, was Jesus’ body really part of creation or did it always exist for eternity past before the world began?
“Jean, i don’t know what you’ve been through, but i do know that you don’t understand the salvation process.”
When MLD introduces his wife, he points tot he woman beside him and says, “My wife is in, with and under this being.”
Lutherans and Anglicans are non-existent around here so I don’t interact much with them. I have some RCC family members. I believe they love the Lord. That being said, Roman Catholics are VERY superstitious. They bury statues in the yard so their flowers will grow, and pray to certain saints when they lose their keys.
Is that the kind of stuff you are identifying with, Jean?
Steve, someone smarter than me can point to the exact heresy when one separates the humanity of Jesus from the divinity of Jesus. It cannot be done although the Reformed state it as their position – that Jesus is spiritually present in the Supper.
Is he just God in a removable meat suit?
Steve, perhaps when you are married as long as me you will know the difference.
I always say ‘this is a photo of my wife.’ 🙂
I usually just say “this is my wife”. I guess Lutheran’s think I’m married to a phone.
It is the blight of Christianity that we have to explain our differences in terms of heresy or some sort of spiritual deficiency in those we disagree with.
It’s why I prefer the company of cats…
Jean @5:05. Yes, i agree, Love Our Lutherans …. ?
For the record, i wasn’t doubting your redemption, just disagreeing with your hard nosed exclusivity
Is not separating the humanity of Jesus from his divinity a heresy?
I didn’t call anyone here a heretic, as I am sure no one here really believes what the reformed say on this topic – once it is pointed out to them. The idea of Jesus jumping out of his meat suit turns people away from this idea.
Nestorianism comes to mind.
Remember, I was all for the lady who wrote the article — until she explained herself in the comments.
You seem to be confused.
Jesus was fully man and fully God…mixing the natures together was the Eutychian heresy.
If your hubris is great enough to call 500 years of Reformed scholarship heresy while mocking and misrepresenting their views , you have bigger problems than heresy.
Confession of Chalcedon:
“We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; (ἐν δύο φύσεσιν ἀσυγχύτως, ἀτρέπτως, ἀδιαιρέτως, ἀχωρίστως – in duabus naturis inconfuse, immutabiliter, indivise, inseparabiliter) the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person (prosopon) and one Subsistence (hypostasis), not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God (μονογενῆ Θεόν), the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.” – Council of Chalcedon, AD 451
Michael, I understand and I never spoke to the ‘mixing’ of the 2 natures – I spoke against how the Reformed divide / separate the humanity from the divinity.
When you say that Jesus is spiritual present, what happened to his body?
But hey, the Baptist don’t have this issue as they practice the real absence. 🙂
Jean, good call on Chalcedon.
This is why creeds and confessions are vital.
We just follow what JEsus actually said. Sue us.
Duane’s reminder of the fact that we are using human logic to comprehend a mystery is interesting. Though not as important, will we argue over the substance and form of the loaves and fishes, or is that a mystery?
One of the great tools passed down to us who are ecumenical and desire unity in Christendom are the ecumenical creeds. On the topics they cover, they are outstanding.
“But hey, the Baptist don’t have this issue as they practice the real absence.”
Lutherans practice the occasional presence.
“Council of Chalcedon, AD 451”
It’s a shame God didn’t reveal these vital truths 400 years earlier.
Josh, if I’m not mistaken it took almost 300 years to iron out trinitarian doctrine.
“It’s a shame God didn’t reveal these vital truths 400 years earlier.”
Josh, your comment displays a misunderstanding of what the purpose of the councils were and why they convened.
Josh – God did reveal it 400 yrs prior in the scriptures. Like all the creeds this was written to silence the deniers of the day.
So am I to assume that 1500 yrs later you are among those deniers?
No, I understand. MLD called it “vital”. (adj – absolutely necessary or important; essential.)
How could something that wasn’t posted until 451 be vital to Christianity?
Maybe MLD didn’t mean “vital”. Maybe helpful would have been a better adjective?
The New Victor makes a good point. No one questions the form and substance of the fish and loaves – everyone regardless of denomination just take it at face value – God is clear and means what he says.
No one makes a case for synthetic fish, GMO fish or that the fish and loaves were just a metaphor for something else.
Yet some do exactly that with the Supper – hmmm.
Mld – your analogy has a major hiccup.
Fish and loaves = fish and loaves
Bread and wine = ???
If you are consistent with the above analogy , you would say they are bread and wine.
Only to the deniers are the creeds not vital.
“Only to the deniers are the creeds not vital.”
That doesn’t even make sense.
Either it was laid out in scripture 400 years earlier or it wasn’t. I may agree or disagree with later statements of truth, but that doesn’t make them “vital” for Christianity.
The creeds are vital for three reasons:
(1) They are succinct summaries of ecumenical Christian doctrine which promotes unity, which was vital to Jesus;
(2) They are succinct summaries of ecumenical Christian doctrine which are useful in catechizing new and mature believers. Luther said of the creed, that one can never know it too well.
(3) The provide an ecumenical confession of faith. The Bible commends confessions: “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
Just so we aren’t arguing over nothing, please confirm that this is the definition of “vital”:
“vital”. (adj – absolutely necessary or important; essential.)
Good proper theology and making distinctions is vital.
An anything goes theology that the creeds argued against is deadly.
I can’t be anymore clear than that.
Yes. Although it can’t be absolutely proven, with hindsight the fruit from the creeds arguably has been essential to the growth and spread of orthodox Christianity.
So God’s Word is NOT sufficient?
The creeds are a summary of God’s Word. Are they not?
How can summaries be vital? Are all things that agree with the Word vital or just ones that you decide are vital?
It would seem the original would be sufficient, even if future retellings are helpful.
Josh, which parts of this creed do you think are void of biblical truth and why do you deny them?
I am questioning whether any post-biblical statement is, or could be considered, vital.
Certainly at the time in church history that they were written, they were vital.
The “Word of God” by itself was not enough, because there were many interpretation of the Bible and doctrines drawn from it that we declare heretical based on the creeds and the work that went into forming them.
Surely you don’t think there was a group that had a complete, pristine, set of Christian doctrine in 150 AD…we hadn’t even settled on a canon…
It’s way early in the morning and I haven’t slept much, but I think Chalcedon was vital because Arianism might have been the majority report at the time…
“The “Word of God” by itself was not enough”
Jean and MLD – Do you agree with that?
It would be fascinating to get a reliable historical account, but at a certain point in the 4th Century, I understand that Northern Africa was where Western Christianity was preserved while Rome was dealing with invasions and sectarian challenges. Cyprian of Carthage and Augustine of Hippo come to mind.
Josh, if you agree that the creeds are true, why do you think truth is not vital?
MLD – Is everything that is true vital to Christianity?
“The “Word of God” by itself was not enough”
Josh, there are two issues at stake:
1) From the church’s perspective, she had to decide what beliefs were orthodox and which were not. So, the Word of God was not enough from that perspective.
2) However, the Word of God was enough for those Christians who believed it in the way that the councils eventually affirmed. There were always orthodox Christians from the time of Jesus onward.
It’s not something that one can choose to agree or disagree with…it took councils and the ability to enforce council findings to arrive at primary Christian doctrines.
That’s simply history…
Michael, Church history has stretched for 2000 years. Is all of it vital to being a Christian?
“However, the Word of God was enough for those Christians who believed it in the way that the councils eventually affirmed. There were always orthodox Christians from the time of Jesus onward.”
So as long as I believe correctly, those creeds are not vital for me? Scripture is enough?
Had it not been for the history of the church, including the councils, there likely be no Christianity at all. It a faith that is passed down historically from one generation to the next.
You’ve been to seminary.
You have to know how critical the creeds were in settling things that were heretofore unsettled at the time…the cardinal doctrines of Christian orthodoxy.
Without them,the next 1500 years of history may have looked much different.
Well, this is terribly interesting.
In Josh’s defense, who can argue that “The Word of God” is not enough? God spoke creation into existence by His very Word. The question really is : can we say without caviats that the Bible = the Word of God in it’s entirety? As Michael pointed out the cannon was not even determined yet. Unfortunately the Bible has become a paper pope for some.
Josh, your opening comment was that the truths of the creed were not disclosed in scriptures.
So how do you reconcile that their were orthodox Christians who did not hold to these truths that were made up in the council?
I think all the truths of the creeds were revealed in God’s word in any and all forms from the beginning – and codified later by the church.
“Josh, your opening comment was that the truths of the creed were not disclosed in scriptures.”
Quote me on that?
No need to quote me, I will:
“Council of Chalcedon, AD 451”
It’s a shame God didn’t reveal these vital truths 400 years earlier.”
This was sarcasm that MLD did not pick up on. My point was, and is, that if this is biblical truth it was already revealed 400 years earlier.
Josh, look at you post at 4:44 this morning. You lament that God had not revealed these truths 400 earlier.
Beat you to it. Sorry the sarcasm was lost on you.
“Jesus is Lord” – Council of Josh 2019.
This Creed is true to scripture, and thus must be vital to Christianity. Thus, anyone who does not affirm is in danger of hellfire.
You must have got an A in mocking church history and her contributions to the faith.
Ok, since Chalcedon is vital –
Can Christians just say “I affirm it”, or is it truly neccesary that they have read it? And if they must have read it, do they also have to understand it?
Or is it just enough to say , “Yeah, I’m good with it.”
And then for future Bibles, we should paste it in the back so that no one thinks they are a Christian having never heard of this council. Like countless millions though the centuries.
Jean – you must have got an F in reading comprehension.
“And then for future Bibles, we should paste it in the back so that no one thinks they are a Christian having never heard of this council. Like countless millions though the centuries.”
This is beneath your education, Josh.
The reason that countless millions didn’t need to read the creeds was because they were instructed in the faith by men who knew of and affirmed the doctrines of the councils.
If you really believe that if you hand someone with no knowledge of Christianity a nice bonded leather KJV and simply by reading it they will become Trinitarian brethren with a proper doctrine of the natures of Christ..I probably don’t have much more I can say…
“The reason that countless millions didn’t need to read the creeds was because they were instructed in the faith by men who knew of and affirmed the doctrines of the councils.”
So knowing the creed was not vital to their Christianity? Ah, then you and I agree.
“If you really believe that if you hand someone with no knowledge of Christianity a nice bonded leather KJV and simply by reading it they will become Trinitarian brethren with a proper doctrine of the natures of Christ..I probably don’t have much more I can say…”
If you don’t have an argument, you can stoop to insults like our Lutheran brethren. The bible that I use daily is one leather bound volume combining UBS4 and BHS, so KJV is a little off base.
That being said, do you think you can hand someone the above quoted Chalcedonian statement and that they will understand how beings, mush less Christ, have two natures, yet those natures are unified?
“Without them,the next 1500 years of history may have looked much different.”
True, but the fact a council came together and made a decision, codified it does not make the results necessarily true. what it did was establish a standard by which all future discussion, argument, and judgement would or should begin with.
Jean’s comment, “there likely be no Christianity at all. It a faith that is passed down historically from one generation to the next.”
This is both false and true. Yes without the creeds Christianity, as we know it today, probably would not exist, but to say faith in Jesus, and God, would not exist is a false statement.
I believe care must be taken when considering the history of the church and it is more than OK, in my opinion, for each generation to examine, consider and correct, where necessary, the doctrines and dogmas handed down from those who have gone before them.
Again I point to the Lutheran Church and ask, “Is it what Martin Luther and all subsequent councils would recognize or has it gone through an evolution/transformation over the centuries?”
Part 3 – Millard Erickson argues for what he calls “Conditional Unity”.
That is basically saying that the normal state for the being is that the soul and flesh are unified, but that at some point between death and Resurrection, their is a distinction between the two natures, though temporary, until the body reunites with the soul.
Is he a heretic?
“If I don’t have an argument”…
I think my argument is pretty much air tight to anyone with even a modicum of understanding of church history.
People “knew” the creeds through those who taught them the contents of them as biblical truth.
It doesn’t matter which bible version you hand to someone with no prior knowledge of Christianity…the chances that they would glean the cardinal doctrines of the faith from simply reading are very slim.
They might figure out how to get “saved”…defining what that means would be interesting to hear from them.
Michael, you are agueing that the creed codified important truth at a crucial time, which I agree with.
You are not arguing that it is vital one individual’s Christianity.
On this we agree.
Studying Church history, which I do enjoy, does not clarify things that man could not possibly understand, such as dual natures. I’m still waiting for someone to answer if all must really understand the Chalcedonian statement that was posted earlier, or can we just say “Yeah, I’ good with it”?
I am told that it is vital to my Christianity, so I’d like to understand.
“I am told that it is vital to my Christianity”
Keep in mind, that I am told this by a guy who has been arguing “only the bible” in recent threads.
MM, when you say each generation should reexamine what came before them – what do you mean, start from scratch and reinvent the wheel?
If so, you would be a great fan of the Jesus Seminar who meet every couple of years to vote (with colored marbles) on the text of the NT.
They vote on the words of Jesus, did he really say them? I think the categories are, he said it, he probably said it, doubtful he said it and no he did not say it.
To be blunt, I find this argument stupefying and just down right weird.
The creeds are vital to having a coherent faith with some unifying doctrines that establish it.
The creeds give us our standards for what defines Christianity.
We teach those standards to people depending upon their ability to understand them.
Most of us simply nod in agreement.
It’s important to understand that the councils were held in response to doctrines circulating that all of us would consider heretical…and they were the way that God defined what Christian truth was.
Whatever your view of Scripture is, you have to acknowledge that it has to be interpreted.
The creeds are the result of the catholic church interpreting Scripture.
I now the time for a confession?
“Part 3 – Millard Erickson argues for what he calls “Conditional Unity”.
That is basically saying that the normal state for the being is that the soul and flesh are unified, but that at some point between death and Resurrection, their is a distinction between the two natures, though temporary, until the body reunites with the soul.
Is he a heretic?”
This statement violates the Chalcedon Creed, where it clearly states: “to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, INSEPARABLY;” [my emphasis]
I don’t know the name of the movement which thought that God the Son left His human body for a time, but since it’s in the Creed, I assume it was rejected as heretical.
Now, I should say that Erickson (as far as I remember) was not speaking directly about Jesus, but it seems applicable, seeing as Jesus is fully man.
The creeds do not need to be right out of Scripture to be true, but they do tell us the dangers of bad thinking or sloppy theological language.
I don’t know that I can point to a scripture passage that clearly state that you cannot divide and separate the 2 n a tires in Christ – but the creed clearly says so.
Look how people talk about our sin when they say people sin because the are human, or the human nature causes sin or it is only human to sin.
All these are heresy so we need to be warned – outside of Scripture.
It should have read, the 2 natures in Christ.
Jean, the two nature’s of man: soul and flesh is not the same as the two nature’s explained in chalcedon regarding Jesus’ two nature’s (human and God). I assume like any man Jesus also had a soul or else he wouldn’t be fully human which would be a violation of chalcedon. But Jesus also has another nature which is God. You are already blurring the nature’s.
No theologian I’ve ever read has referred to the soul and flesh as different natures. The soul or psyche of a man is just as much a part of his nature as his physical body.
“MM, when you say each generation should reexamine what came before them – what do you mean, start from scratch and reinvent the wheel?”
Start from scratch, did you not read my post? If you had you might also notice I made this statement, “…from those who have gone before them.” and the creeds say similar things “…and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us” (Chalcedonian Creed).
Wise men and women listen to, consider, judge, filter or whatever else you want to add, but do not blindly accept the entirety of what others state is true.
BTW yes I have read the “Jesus Seminar,” and JD Crossan. While I doe not agree with them, your comment about how they determined what are the words of Jesus are nothing more than bulling and sarcasm.
These men did use an approach which included scholarship, historical knowledge and an agreement process whose attempt was neutrality. Additionally, they did considered historical church positions rejecting many, if not most of them.
To say or imply they “…start from scratch and reinvent the wheel” is not only misleading it is untrue.
Jean,. Maybe substances would be better term than nature but it’s analygous.
R. C. Sproul
-The Origin of the Soul
Jewish-Christian thought, however, sees man as made up of two distinct substances that are not in conflict. Nor does the Bible view matter as being inherently evil. For the Christian, redemption is of the body, not from the body. The Christian doctrine of substantial dichotomy is not dualistic. Man is not a dualism but a duality. That is, we have a real body (material substance) and a real soul (immaterial substance). There is an analogy with the person of Christ in that He has two natures or substances, divine and human, united in one person. That He has two substances does not necessitate a dualism in His person. (Of course the human nature of Christ also includes a human body and a human soul.)
Substances would not be a better term. I think it is best to stick with historical, ecumenical explanations. I find Sproul lacking here.
I’ve learned two pieces of wisdom over the years regarding the mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation: (1) Error often occurs when one tries to say too much, rather than too little; and (2) The ecumenical creeds have been through literally centuries of testing by the greatest doctors of church history. I recommend beginning with them and unless your conscience objects, learn them well and stay with them.
Check here for examples:
“Therefore, it is the right faith that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is at the same time both God and man. He is God, begotten from the substance of the Father before all ages; and He is man, born from the substance of His mother in this age: perfect God and perfect man, composed of a rational soul and human flesh; equal to the Father with respect to His divinity, less than the Father with respect to His humanity. Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ: one, however, not by the conversion of the divinity into flesh, but by the assumption of the humanity into God; one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.” – Athanasian
In terms of theology, the word “substance” has a very technical and important meaning. The Triune God is one substance/essence in 3 persons. Jesus is one substance/essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Man is a different substance. Jesus received his human substance from Mary and his divine substance from the Father (begotten of the Father before all worlds). Those two substances are in the unity of the one person, Christ.
“begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; … the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person (prosopon) and one Subsistence (hypostasis), not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God (μονογενῆ Θεόν), the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ” – Chalcedon Creed
I find Sproul very helpful here. He is not the first by any stretch to write about Christian anthropology. The fact that you never even have heard of a theologian studying this is telling of your own bias.
“The fact that you never even have heard of a theologian studying this is telling of your own bias.”
Where did I say that? No where!
I would would study anthropology and the two natures of Christ as completely separate disciplines. I think only confusion and the probability of error would arise out of blending, mixing, confusing or analogizing between the two. Also, when discussing theology with other people, one must be very careful in defining terminology. Certain terms, such as “substance” have substantial theological freight attached to them.
No theologian I’ve ever read has referred to the soul and flesh as different natures.
Jean, i just gave you a very well know theologian Sproul who confirmed what I wrote. I’m just surprised that you never heard this language before. Very surprised.
This statement violates the Chalcedon Creed, where it clearly states: “to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, INSEPARABLY;” [my emphasis]
Jean,. You are the one that combined these two disciplines to start with. I am the one that pointed it out saying they were separate things.
At some point, one has to allow for the Holy Spirit leading the Church (the Body of Christ) into all truth. That would include the establishment of the canon of Scripture (not fully settled until the fourth century) and the creeds. To say “the Bible alone” or “the Bible only” in the first through the third century is simply a contradiction in terms. As for the creeds, start with the proto-creeds found in the Gospels and the epistles (“Jesus is Lord” and the like). The Apostles Creed as a baptismal formula predates the canon by at least 200 years. Even the Nicene Creed predates the established canon.
Now, you can argue that there was not a need for a creed of any sort, but the need is evident in any cursory reading of church history. Or you can say that the Holy Spirit was not at work in the formulation of the Creeds, but then, since the canon of scripture was established by the Church, we would have to wonder if the Holy Spirit directed that work. “The Bible alone” is a good bumper sticker but, in reality, it denies God working in and through the Church in history…
For me, I would study anthropology and the two natures of Christ as completely separate disciplines. I think only confusion and the probability of error would arise out of blending, mixing, confusing or analogizing between the two. Also, when discussing theology with other people, one must be very careful in defining terminology. Certain terms, such as “substance” have substantial theological freight attached to them.
Who can number the quantity of theologians since the dawn of Christianity. Are we responsible for knowing them all? Does Sproul break the top 10 of all time for Christology? For anthropology? In the worldwide scope of Christianity, I suspect he’s not well known at all, if one takes knowing as more than having heard the name before.
On the other hand, the Nicene Creed, is spoken out loud publicly, weekly, by hundreds of millions of Christians. Millions of pastors and priests are taught and teach the content of the Chalcedon Creed.
Agree totally with your 10:13 am.
Jean – I thought you were a Sola Scriptura guy? Michael and Duane convinced you otherwise?
“Nature” is a better word than “substance”, but Sproul was trying to explain a concept, not parsing Greek terms (which he could have done if he wished). Just saying…
“Sola Scriptura” does not stand on its own, as anybody who has read Luther knows. Turning the phrase into a bumper sticker does not negate the theology that stands behind the phrase…
No, Josh combined them. He brought up Erickson, who I’ve never heard of. We were discussing Christology, so I assume he didn’t change topics without notice.
Josh, sola, not solo.
“At some point, one has to allow for the Holy Spirit leading the Church (the Body of Christ) into all truth. ”
Many years ago the question was brought to me, “if God, the Holy Spirit, leads people into “all truth” shouldn’t we all eventually come into agreement about the doctrines and dogmas of the scriptures?”
In all the arguments posted on this thread I believe only Michael has pointed out God doesn’t work in the manner inferred by the question posed to me years ago.
I believe the text itself points to a different process in the relationship between God and His creation. The simplest answer is “grace,” but I think the better answer is in the statement Jesus made to His disciples, “what ever you bind on earth…”
He works in partnership with our imperfections, sins, perceptions (correct or not) because we are His creation and that extends to our success and failure in doctrinal and dogma matters.
But Jean and MLD have said that God only speaks though Scripture. You seem to be saying that God also speaks through history and the church. Then Jean says he agrees.
If your Anthropology doesn’t at all touch your Christology, you may have missed that Jesus is fully man.
I would agree with much you wrote. I also think there is a matter of consensus of the Church through the ages – the Creeds, the Canon of Scripture, Sacraments (Ordinances), etc.
“You seem to be saying that God also speaks through history and the church. ”
If he doesn’t, please give me a documented example of a first century Christian in possession of the full canon of scripture… Was God silent until the fourth century? I think not…
“The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.” —Westminster Confession of Faith
That is my quick definition of Sola Scriptura. I think Michael and Duane are out (correct me if I’m wrong) and it seems that Jean is now gone to that side as well.
Duane, don’t propose the “there was no bible until 300 years after Christ” argument. You know that it is misleading.
But I wasn’t arguing against your position. Jean said he agreed, and I wanted to clarify as he usually stands against that type of thing.
Jesus gave the apostles certain promises regarding the work of the Holy Spirit. There is a difference between the Spirit working in the Church to bring about God’s purposes. In my church, the Spirit is at work every week. He takes what is Christ’s and declares it to us. He comforts.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
This He did with the formation of the cannon and at the ecumenical councils. He still does His work today.
However, at the council, no one claims they hear of voice from heaven say “thumbs down to Marcian” or to any other heretic. The Spirit worked by guiding the councils into the truth. The Holy Spirit is the Light revealer. Jesus is the Light.
And just because I’m in a bit of a “mood” today…. Shall we consider the fact that early Christians were using Christ’s own words in celebrating the Lord’s Supper long before those words were written down in any of the Gospels. God was speaking to the Church in the Church, without benefit of a written codex…
I think Jesus’ spoken words would qualify as Scripture.
Even the Muratorian fragment (an incomplete listing) is late second century… a least 150 years after the first generation of Christians…
“I think Jesus’ spoken words would qualify as Scripture.” So do I, but they were spoken as the oral tradition of the Church before they were ever written down.
150 is half of 300.
And we could assume that the formulation to get to that point had began much earlier around certain traditions.
I think it was Michael the other day who said that within history God has called men and equipped them with gifts/talents to teach theology, which has enriched the Church. I agree with this statement and would call those those charisma of the Holy Spirit. I also don’t see that as in conflict with the Lutheran definition of Sola Scriptura.
“but they were spoken as the oral tradition ”
So you are saying they had the Word of God long before the 4th century date that you keep posting. I totally agree. I don’t think there is necessarily anything inspired about the medium of writing. If I listen to the bible on CD, it is still the Word of God.
“We could assume…” That’s the problem… an assumption. Moreover, as you well know there are other problems with the Muratorian fragment which is only preserved in an eighth century manuscript in Latin. Additionally, there is a large body of scholarship that places it as late as the fourth century…
Jean – But you have argued that the the acceptance of the Chalcedonian Creed is vital to being a Christianity. Westminister says that all that is vital is contained in the Scriptures.
Jean, surely you must have heard of this guy.
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo was one of the first Christian ancient Latin authors with very clear anthropological vision. He saw the human being as a perfect unity of two substances: soul and body.
IT’s not much of a leap. If the guy wrote down a list of books it would reasonably be inferred that he was not the first to see this grouping in circulation. It had to begin much earlier.
Yes, and it was preserved by the Church through the leading of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit led the Church in establishing the canon. Just as the Holy Spirit led the Church in creedal and doctrinal formulations. It was all happening at the same time… and it was done in and by the Church as the Body of Christ… the extension of his presence in the world.
“So you are saying they had the Word of God long before the 4th century date that you keep posting. I totally agree.”
Josh, you’ve totally lost me and I have no idea what in the world you’re defending…
There you go again dividing the Creeds from Scripture. Why do you keep doing that? Hasn’t anyone taught you that the Creeds are a summary of biblical truth prepared in response to divisions in the early church over primarily Christological controversies? The Apostle’s Creed appears to be an early baptismal confession of faith.
“Confession” basically means “saying the same thing, together.” “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” This is what the majority of Christians do weekly using the Nicene Creed.
“It had to begin much earlier…” Alright, give me a solid documented date for the Muratorian fragment. Second, give me a documented case of even a second century Christian with a codex containing those writings. Assumptions without evidence remain assumptions…
Michael, I started off by trolling the Lutherans and now have ewent down so many holes, that I’m not sure either 🙂 🙂
But, to me, it’s all interesting to think through, and I don’t think that some are as consistent as they think they are.
“There you go again dividing the Creeds from Scripture”
So Creeds are on the same level as Scripture.
Josh – you err when you say “But Jean and MLD have said that God only speaks though Scripture.”
This is not our position at all. What I have said is that God speaks to us only in his word and sacraments. Now you may have a more limited view but we see /hear God is written and spoken word – such as the reading of scripture AND the preaching of his word by the pastor – along with hearing God through the absolution – not to mention his visible word of the sacraments.
Now what we do not believe is that while we are troubled we walk through the woods and a squirrel talks to us – or that we hear an audible voice from God.
Duane – First, I assume you are omitting Marcion for a reason that I am unaware of, so I am slow to bring it up.
Second – It would not have to be in written form. In fact, we have already established that it had to have started in spoken form.
I’m not going to try and reconcile Augustine’s Latin (or the English translation) with Greek to English terms in the Creeds. Here’s the point, and then I’d like to move on: If you want to talk about soul and body as two substances, okay, but making up one nature. But then don’t combine your anthropology discussion into a discussion of the two natures of Christ where the word “substance” has a completely different meaning. In Trinitarian or Christological discussions, substance is used for the entire nature, and in that case the two substances of Christ were (1) human and (2) the other divine.
“What I have said is that God speaks to us only in his word and sacraments.”
You are correct. Forgive my mischaracterization.
“Michael, I started off by trolling the Lutherans ”
I trust that you are telling the truth. In my opinion it’s a waste of our time and a misuse of the blog to troll people. It shows a lack of respect and irreverence towards God by using His Word and theology to get your jollies.
Has it not made for a fun discussion today?
“I would agree with much you wrote. I also think there is a matter of consensus of the Church through the ages – the Creeds, the Canon of Scripture, Sacraments (Ordinances), etc.”
While consensus is a part of the process it by all means does not mean complete accuracy and or truth. It means people agreed for a reason, which could have included community influences, politics, persecution other such cultural influences.
Again the text gives us examples of such, take the woman at the well in John for example. She spoke to Jesus expressing her community’s position on Messiah (the Samaritan one) and He answered her in relation to that position.
It can’t be denied culture has a huge effect throughout history on Christian doctrines and dogmas and we see the same process happening today.
The only reason I’m pointing this out is to consider the processes and motivations behind what we have today and not to debate the accuracy or truths that have been handed down through them.
I think many seem to forget, with minor exception, Jesus’s words and teachings were made to the Jews of the Second Temple period. It is only later, often much later, the gentile readers of these words began to apply them to their culture and traditions, frequently coming to new understandings of their content.
Got to go thank you for the comments and inputs!
I think it has been fun 🙂
This is the way you get to express your views, hear other views (and then mock them) and see who has the know how to pull up resources. Steve has done a good job there whether we agree or not.
Josh has been humble enough to admit trolling and apologizing where he has erred.
Good times were had by all 🙂
I thought it was obvious. Duane called me on it yesterday afternoon 🙂 (1:18pm)
The subject has changed several times, which has confused me as to what we are talking about, but I like to think about and challenge different aspects of my beliefs, and I hope others do as well. It’s good for you.
Jean,. We can move on. However from my perspective Christian anthropology is actually a prerequisite for understanding correct Christology but maybe that’s just my Western mindset.
Steve- You are right. It has to be.
MM – Good comments today! I appreciate your insights.
My brain hurts… The Creeds are useful, but how very sad it must be to live one’s life in Christ by the digest and leave the love letters, the handbook that feeds the soul and grows the spirit lying unopened or perhaps not even present in ones home
If you’re interested in Christian anthropology, then you’re in luck. One of this weeks Links is the following article:
Of the perhaps 4-5 doctrines which actually separate Lutherans from most other Protestants, Christian anthropology is near the top of the list. This article will provide you our (and St. Paul’s) perspective.
While I’m hesitant to say it, the best classic text is ‘The Two Natures in Christ’ by Martin Chemnitz (trans. by J.A.O. Preus)… The best chapter is on the communication of attributes.
I just noticed in my Wordsearch app that I have a theology book by R.C Sproul that I’ve never even opened. Under “Jesus Christ” he ha a chapter on The Subordination of Christ. This certianly reads differently than the Eternal Subordination stuff I’ve seen complementarians peddling.
Jean，thanks. I know I gave you hard time today but wanted you to know you are one of the most helpful people on this blog in my journey. I mean that. Blessings.
Steve – we don’t compliment Jean.
Josh,. MLD started the trend of compliments. Wanted to give you one too if that’s ok? You are a pretty funny dude.
Steve – You are walking on thin ice 🙂
MLD’s compliments are always hiding a bloody knife. Juts remember that.
Just kidding. I appreciate your contributions here, as well 🙂
Thank you, Steve.
I began here about 6-8 years ago. I was a Methodist and student of John Wesley and the folks at Asbury Theological Seminary. I read the sermons of Wesley, went to a conservative UMC church where the hymns of Charles Wesley are prominent and have commentaries by Witherington, Keener and otherrs.
It was here that I was introduced to Lutheranism through MLD, Orthodoxy through Xenia, Calvinism through Michael, conservative evangelicalism through folks who aren’t here anymore, and now Anglicanism through Michael and Duane. (We used to have Adventists and ODM types too.) The Links are pretty well curated with an assortment of theology, good and bad.
A lot is possible here. But it is incredibly difficult. You said the other day that you had to retrain the way you read the Bible when you left a prior theology. It is that way for most of us. We don’t even realize what we read into the text without the help of others. Into his old age, Luther said he could never completely shake the works of the Law from his conscience because of his years as a monk.
I have found that one of the hardest things for Modern Christians to do is to break the iron curtain between heaven and earth without seeking God outside His Word and promises. We have fairly regular discussions on the Third Person of the Trinity and that’s a worthy topic. He’s at work today, perhaps not the way we would want Him, but God usually doesn’t cater to our desires. But He’s at work in some pretty amazing ways, grounded in the Scriptures and promises of Christ.
Jean, if the Methodists in your sphere were anything like the Methodists where i grew up, it explains a lot. ? Well, truthfuly, they were a mixed group (transplanted Iowans) Some dear souls, but too many smug, self righteous and not too sound Biblically – IMO, of course. They gave mid century Glendale a reputation as a blue nose town. … ‘course that was easy to do with Hollywood as a close neighbor. ?
No, Em, sounds quite foreign to me.
Jean, then you are the riddle wrapped in an enigma 🙂
Methodists are just baptists who know how to read.
– A River Runs Through It
Josh, when that book first came out my son was heading out as a crew member on an Alaskan fish boat… Didn’ t know the book, but thought it might help pass te time as they went north from Seattle. He said evrry crew member on the boat read it.. .
A classic. I appreciated the Father’s view of Baptists 🙂 (He was a Presbyterian Minister)