Re: Orthodoxy (was Re: Biblical Interpretation Reconsidered)

From: Robert Schneider <rjschn39@bellsouth.net>
Date: Wed Dec 31 2003 - 15:54:27 EST

George,

    Thanks for the caveat. Without retreating from my concern over the way
Jesus is objectified in a lot of popular American piety, I yield to you and
John on the matter of the I AM statements in the gospel.

Bob

----- Original Message -----
From: "George Murphy" <gmurphy@raex.com>
To: "Robert Schneider" <rjschn39@bellsouth.net>
Cc: "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <dfsiemensjr@juno.com>; <bnelson301@yahoo.com>;
<asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2004 2:21 PM
Subject: Re: Orthodoxy (was Re: Biblical Interpretation Reconsidered)

> Robert Schneider wrote:
> >
> > Hello, Blake, Dave, and George,
> >
> > Lest you think that I simply rolled the grenade under the tent flap
and
> > walked away, know that I have followed your responses with interest and
> > enjoyment. It's been a while since I've had a chance to review
patristic
> > orthodoxy and heterodoxy, and hadn't heard the words "patripassianism"
or
> > "monophysite" for some time. Any modalists here? It reminds me and
perhaps
> > others of how difficult the early Church's theologians found it to
> > comprehend and articulate their understanding of the nature of Christ.
> > George's clarification us that the orthodox view is that Christ is two
> > natures in one person and not two persons in one nature will help us
steer
> > clear of monophysitism (yuk, yuk).
> >
> > But, given the original question I raised about the origin of Jesus'
Y
> > chromosomes, I think George's final comment is well taken:
> > > You will note, of course, that I'm using Chalcedonian language here,
but
> > that
> > > shouldn't be taken to mean that theology must be limited to the
> > philosophical framework
> > > of nature, person &c that Chalcedon worked with.
> > Thanks to all of the work of contemporary biology, evolution,
neuroscience,
> > etc., our notions about what constitutes the human, and even if there is
> > such a thing as "human nature" (I hold that there is), are so
tremendously
> > different from our patristic forebears in the faith that I think there
is a
> > challenge here for the contemporary Church to revisit the whole question
and
> > find a new language to convey to a contemporary believer how theology
> > understands the relationship between divine and human in Christ. I
think
> > this is especially important in light of the rampant "Jesuology" that
> > appears in some Christian circles that often blurs the distinction
between
> > the Father and the Son, and in its extreme versions turns Christ into an
> > idol. When I listen to Christian radio (not often) and hear a Christian
pop
> > song that assigns titles of the Father to the Son, I have a tendency to
> > shout out "Heresy!" That little Babe in the manger, in my
understanding, is
> > not the great I AM.
>
> Bob -
> A couple of reservations:
>
> 1) "Jesusology" is a term that Carl Braaten has used to describe the kind
of
> theology that can result from an unbalanced emphasis on "the historical
Jesus" in
> distinction from "the historic biblical Christ." This is at the opposite
extreme from
> the effective denial of the humanity of Jesus that is found among some
conservative
> Christians. Of course this is nothing new: There have always been
Docetists and
> Ebionites on the edges of the church.
>
> 2) A kind of modalism that, as you say, blurs the distinction between
Father
> and Son is to be avoided, but I would hesitate to shout "heresy" when the
title "I Am"
> is applied to Jesus. The predicateless "I am" of the 4th Gospel may be
related more
> directly to the "I am he" of 2 Isaiah than to Exodus 3, but the effect is
much the same
> in either case. Why do people want to stone Jesus when he says "Before
Abraham was, I
> am." & why do they fall to the ground in Gethsemane when Jesus says "Ego
eimi"? Of
> course one could debate whether or not those occurences were historical,
but it seems
> clear that Ego eimi in these situations is a revelatory formula.
>
> Shalom,
> George
>
>
>
> George L. Murphy
> gmurphy@raex.com
> http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
>
>
Received on Thu Jan 1 15:53:47 2004

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