eric_seelye — 2016-07-17T23:23:29-04:00 — #1
I'm working my way through a terrific book by Stephen J. Nichols called "For Us and for Our Salvation: The Doctrine of Christ in the Early Church" and I have really been enjoying it. It's available on Vyrso and is not expensive. I'm getting near the end of Chapter 5 which is all about the Battle for Christ at the Council of Chalcedon, and the influence of Leo the Great on the success of the proceedings. Here's some of it that I thought was especially beautiful. Nichols is talking about how Leo used his preaching and writing to promote a Biblical view of Christ:
Leo also preached on how fitting the humanity of Christ is to his task of redemption. He observes that Christ “has taken on him the nature of man, thereby to reconcile it to its Author: in order that the inventor of death, the devil, might be conquered through that nature which he had conquered.” Christ’s humanity accomplishes two purposes here—restoring humanity to its Creator and toppling Satan in the very arena where he thought himself to be victorious. On this latter point Leo further observes, “And in this conflict undertaken for us, the fight was fought on great and wondrous principles of fairness; for the Almighty Lord enters the lists [arenas] with his savage foe not in his own majesty but in our humility.”
It’s not just Christ’s humanity, however, that gives his work on the cross its significance. His deity also comes into play. Leo weaves the two together in the following selection from a sermon in which he uses much of his own language from the “Tome,” the famous letter to Flavian. He declares that Christ,
with the purpose of delivering man from eternal death, became man: so bending himself to take on Him our humility without decrease in his own majesty, that remaining what he was and assuming what he was not, he might unite the true form of a slave to that form in which he is equal to God the Father, and join both natures together in such a compact that the lower should not be swallowed up in its exaltation nor the higher impaired by its new associate.
Leo then relates the union of these two natures to Christ’s death on the cross:
Without detriment therefore to the properties of either substance which then came together in one person, majesty took on humility, strength weakness, eternity mortality; and for the paying off of the debt belonging to our condition, inviolable nature was united with passible nature, and true God and true man were combined to form one Lord, so that, as suits the needs of our case, one and the same Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, could both die with the one and rise again with the other.
Christ as the God-man accomplished redemption. Christ, Leo declared with wisdom and courage in the face of great controversy, was the God-man for us and for our salvation.
Nichols, S. J. (2007). For us and for our salvation: the doctrine of christ in the early church. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.
The more I understand who Christ was and what he did for us, the more wonderful He becomes.
gao_lu — 2016-07-18T02:43:02-04:00 — #2
Thanks for the suggestion. Seems like a good read.
I appreciate you insight:
milkman — 2016-07-20T09:33:07-04:00 — #3
I too have read the book. It's an easy read but not shallow. Recommend it to any anyone who wants a firm foundation on the work of Christ on our behalf.
wolfgang_schneider — 2016-07-20T11:54:32-04:00 — #4
There happens to be a tremendous problem:
There is no such "God-man" or "man-God" found in Scripture as promoted by the church councils of the 4th century AD.
The true doctrine regarding Christ in the early church is found in Scripture, and NOT in any writings of so-called church fathers and or documents from church councils. The true doctrine of Christ knows NOTHING about Messiah Jesus having a dual nature, two substances, or a "Humanity & Deity of Christ".
eric_seelye — 2016-07-20T12:42:25-04:00 — #5
Thanks, @Milkman, I appreciate your comment about the contribution such books can make to a firm foundation in understanding the work of Christ. There is very great value in that.
I was introduced to Stephen Nichols through his Ligonier DVD teaching series called "Why We Trust the Bible." Besides being a great series, one gets a sense of Nichols' sense of humor and capacity for benign mischief. This later was magnified in a recent conference video where he can be seen teasing his boss, R.C. Sproul about something or other. So, as I am reading his very helpful and serious book, things are tempered or enhanced by my knowledge of Nichols, the man.
eric_seelye — 2016-07-20T20:41:51-04:00 — #6
Since this issue has been debated at length with you in these threads, it hardly seems worthwhile to repeat those same conversations. So, I will limit my comments to these few and be done with it.
This is a true statement, and in fact is the cardinal rule for all true doctrine. So I agree with you there.
I believe it is precisely because the decisions and creeds of the ecumenical church councils were founded on the bedrock of scripture that they could be agreed to at the time. Furthermore, it has been the testimony of the orthodox churches since then that those councils reasoned rightly from the scriptures, so we have reaffirmed the councils over the centuries. So, although you are of course entitled to your opinion, you must realize that there have been a great many who have looked carefully into these things and come to a different conclusion than you have.
On this we disagree, Wolfgang. Nevertheless I bid you peace.
By the way, on a completely unrelated topic, the company I work for, Dresser-Rand, was bought last year by the large German firm Siemens. So, we are learning how to do things the Siemens way now. It promises to be an interesting process.
lu1 — 2016-07-20T20:57:29-04:00 — #7
Cross cultural business practices usually are a painful process...like all cross cultural endeavors...lol.
For example in daily life if you are in your home country and you understand the labeling system of food in said country / shopping for food is a breeze, quickly done. But go to another country to shop and not understand their ways will increase that time period 5 fold. The point is it takes longer to shop for essentials. Relate that to accounting or quality control practices cross culturally as related to practices of a business for example can differ greatly. Be patient and remember it doesn't always make sense to you but don't sweat it. Mistakes will be made.
gao_lu — 2016-07-21T00:26:57-04:00 — #8
I remember moving to a foreign country the first time. We wanted some salt. It came in a bag. The bags were all there on the shelf, well-labeled, but we couldn't read them, and the substances weren't in identifiable familiar containers. Was it salt? MSG? Sugar? Baking Soda? Something else? Texture isn't necessarily a clue. The workers, all 5-6 of them tried to help, but clustered closely speaking 100 mph. Finally the pressure was too great and we just gave up.
When we would buy something, we were taking a chance on just what we were about to purchase, then we go to the cashier. She is fast asleep. We wake her up and is she ever grumpy? We pay her and something isn't right about the money we give her. It is not what she expects. She is angry. Demands something. We have no idea what.
So it goes.
anon — 2016-07-21T05:31:27-04:00 — #9
Since the second half of the post title reads “The doctrine of Christ in the Early Church”– I believe the following will be pertinent to the discussion that has ensued regarding Jesus as “God-man“ and "fourth century councils".
I’ve quoted the english text for all and included the relevant phrase in greek. If you have the Apostolic Fathers in your library I recommend taking the time to read the letters of Ignatius.
Ignatius, in his writings (c. A.D. 108), exhibits a quite developed orthodox Christology – below is a sampling of how he understood, quite plainly, who Jesus is. Derived from Scripture, and two hundred years prior to the "fourth century councils".
“united and elect through genuine suffering by the will of the Father and of Jesus Christ our God,” Ιησου Χριστου του θεου (Ephesians one:zero AF-E)
“For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God’s plan,” θεος ημων Ιησους ο Χριστος (Ephesians eighteen:two AF-E)
“in accordance with faith in and love for Jesus Christ our God,” Ιησου Χριστου του θεου (Romans one:zero AF-E)
“heartiest greetings blamelessly in Jesus Christ our God.” Ιησου Χριστω τω θεω (Romans one:zero AF-E)
“For our God Jesus Christ is more visible now that he is in the Father.” θεος ημων Ιησους Χριστος, (Romans three:three AF-E)
“I glorify Jesus Christ, the God who made you so wise,” Ιησουν Χριστον τον θεον (Smyrnaeans 1:1 AF-E)
(Apostolic Fathers, 3rd ed: Greek Texts and English Translations Edited and translated by Michael W. Holmes)
*note: forum is incorrectly linking the quotes to the NT books (Romans, Ephesians) – not certain how to correct that and provide a citation.
**note: now corrected by spelling out chap. and verse
eric_seelye — 2016-07-21T12:26:46-04:00 — #10
Thanks, Anon, I really appreciate this.
Since Ignatius was a student of the Apostle John, it figures that his Christology would be well developed. And we can see the councils as confirming and re-stating that which they received from earlier teachers.
I do and I will. Also, I know Nichols talks about Ignatius and quotes some of his stuff. I'll go back and look at that too.
wolfgang_schneider — 2016-07-21T14:14:37-04:00 — #11
so you believe and teach that the God Jesus was conceived by Mary (as Ignatius wrote in one of those mentioned quotes) ... in other words, Mary is the mother of God? From where in Scripture do you think Ignatius got the idea that Mary conceived God? Furthermore, Ignatius states that this happened in accordance with God's plan ... so God Jesus was conceived according to His own plan by Mary?
My rather simple take on this matter is this: Ignatius' writings provide us with evidence how quickly the truth of Scripture was being replaced by unbiblical ideas from so-called church fathers who apparently were of a Gentile background and deeply involved with ancient mythologies where such concepts as "God-man", "God having a mother", etc. were often seen.
gao_lu — 2016-07-21T19:24:20-04:00 — #12
1. become pregnant with (a child).
What on earth other word are you going to use?
lu1 — 2016-07-21T19:27:19-04:00 — #13
Prayer & Fasting........
anon — 2016-07-22T04:58:13-04:00 — #14
You are welcome Eric.
I’ll provide the last half of the sentence quoted in my previous post.
“For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God’s plan, both from the seed of David and of the Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians eighteen:two AF-E)
Elsewhere Ignatius writes (c. A.D. 108):
“There is only one physician, who is both flesh and spirit, born and unborn, God in man, true life in death, both from Mary and from God, first subject to suffering and then beyond it, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Ephesians seven:two AF-E)
“Now the virginity of Mary and her giving birth were hidden from the ruler of this age,” (Ephesians nineteen:one AF-E)
“Be deaf, therefore, whenever anyone speaks to you apart from Jesus Christ, who was of the family of David, who was the son of Mary; who really was born, who both ate and drank; who really was persecuted under Pontius Pilate, who really was crucified and died while those in heaven and on earth and under the earth looked on;” (Trallians nine:one AF-E)
(Apostolic Fathers, 3rd ed: Greek Texts and English Translations Edited and translated by Michael W. Holmes)
eric_seelye — 2016-07-22T13:01:07-04:00 — #15
Hi @Anon, I don't understand your scripture references. Did you mean to say Ephesians chapter 18? Is the book that long?
anon — 2016-07-22T16:24:53-04:00 — #16
Eric, the reference is written out in that manner, so that the forum doesn't link to the book of Ephesians in Scripture. So yes, I wrote out the chapter and verse reference – in addition to editing my original post in the same manner.
There are a total of 21 chapters in Ignatius' letter to the Ephesians; however, they are very brief – he wrote, I believe, nine letters as he was taken to Rome to be martyred.
eric_seelye — 2016-07-24T21:06:18-04:00 — #17
Thanks, @Anon I'm glad I asked. I was thinking of the Biblical Ephesians!
milkman — 2017-07-20T17:26:32-04:00 — #18
You're quite welcome and it's interesting that that post of mine was exactly one year ago to the day. hmmm.