Archive for March, 2010

The Key for NT Christology: ‘Divine Identity’ Not ‘Function’ or ‘Nature’

March 29, 2010

Once the category of divine identity replaces those of function and nature as the primary and comprehensive category for understanding both Jewish monotheism and early Christology, then we can see that the New Testament’s lack of concern with the divine nature of Christ is by no means an indication of a merely functional Christology. We can see that throughout the New Testament texts there is a clear and deliberate use of the characteristics of the unique divine identity to include Jesus in that identity. Once we have rid ourselves of the prejudice that high Christology must speak of Christ’s divine nature, we can see the obvious fact that the Christology of divine identity common to the whole New Testament is the highest Christology of all. It identifies Jesus as intrinsic to who God is.

Richard Bauckham, God Crucified: Monotheism and Christology in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), 42.

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The Highest Possible Christology

March 21, 2010

The highest possible Christology, the inclusion of Jesus in the unique divine identity, was central to the faith of the early church even before any of the NT writings were written, since it occurs in all of them.

Richard Bauckham, God Crucified: Monotheism and Christology in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), 27.

Bauckham on NT Christology

March 21, 2010

… the intention of New Testament Christology, throughout the texts, is to include Jesus in the unique divine identity as Jewish monotheism understood it. The writers do this deliberately and comprehensively by using precisely those characteristics of the divine identity on which Jewish monotheism focused in characterizing God as unique. They include Jesus in the unique divine sovereignty over all things, they include him in the unique divine creation of all things, they identify him by the divine name which names the unique divine identity, and they portray him as accorded the worship which, for Jewish monotheists, is recognition of the unique divine identity.

Richard Bauckham, God Crucified: Monotheism and Christology in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), 26.

Peter Martyr on the Eucharist and Community

March 19, 2010

If a secular table reconciles men to one another when they meet together, why should not the table of Christ effect this the more? Since the wildest beasts are tamed by food, why are men not made gentle by this heavenly food? If treaties and covenants are usually sealed by food and drink, why do not the children of God establish peace and friendship among themselves by communicating together?

Peter Martyr Vermigli, The Oxford Treatise and Disputation, trans. and ed. Joseph C. McLelland (Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2000), 13.

The Reformers’ Basic Objection

March 15, 2010

The Reformers’ basic protest can be summarized in the words of Adolf Harnack: rightly did they rebel against the Catholic sacramental system, he says, since “it was rooted in the fundamental conception that religion is an antidote for the finiteness of man, in the sense that it deifies his nature.” And by the revolutionary force of the Reformation principles “the axe was laid to the root of the whole Catholic sacramental concept”—that is, the mediation of grace through what he calls “the magic of the opus operatum.”

Francis Clark, Eucharistic Sacrifice and the Reformation (Westminster, MD: Newman Press, 1960), 105.

Two Sacraments

March 5, 2010

Baptism and the Eucharist are the sacraments of the Church, for they are given to Christ’s flock as signs and seals of His twofold activity in and among them: of joining them to Himself in the union of faith, and nourishing them to Himself in the union of faith, and nourishing them by the communication of His own new humanity. In the Christian life these are two elements: the absolute element of once-for-all death and burial related to the Cross of Christ, and the ongoing growth in grace related to the Risen Man. The sacraments signify and seal these two realities, that is, the Mystery of Christ Himself.

Joseph C. McLelland, The Visible Words of God (Grand Rapids: MI, Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 1957), 138.

McLelland on Vermigli’s Sacramental Theology

March 5, 2010

The Holy Spirit is the Vicar of Christ, and by definition excludes a corporeal presence of the humanity of Christ upon the earth during the age in between the Advents of Christ. For that humanity is a glorified humanity: its substantial presence upon this sinful earth must necessitate judgment and change, and cannot be replaced by a corporeal presence in the Eucharist.

Joseph C. McLelland, The Visible Words of God (Grand Rapids: MI, Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 1957), 117.