In this edition of Exploring Hope, Jamie Dew talks with Steve McKinion, Associate Professor of Theology and Patristic Studies at Southeastern, about the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ. Is God schizophrenic? Do we get a third entity from the deity and humanity? Or does his deity and humanity make sense of both together?
When my Theology 2 students take midterms in a couple of weeks they will struggle with remembering and describing the various Christological heresies that plagued the early Church. They would do well to check out Andrew Stephen Damick’s post, “Coffeedoxy and Heterodoxy” at his website. He warns that “your local coffeehouse may be a hotbed of heresy.” Damick has posted a syllabus of coffee errors designed to protect the unwary from aberrant brews. With tongue planted firmly in cheek he declares:
- Decaf is Docetic because it only appears to be coffee.
- Instant is Apollinarian because it’s had its soul removed and replaced.
- Frappuccinos are essentially a form of Monophysitism, having their coffee nature swallowed up in milkshake.
- Chicory is Arian, not truly coffee at all but a separate creation.
- Irish coffee is Nestorian, being two natures conjoined solely by good will.
The list goes on. I always suspected that Fair Trade Coffee was Donatist, but who knew that the overuse of sugar was Pelagian? I don’t know if Damick intended for his blog to operate as a teaching tool, but I think it serves as a great (and funny) way to help remember the different early heresies. Even if you’re not studying for an exam you’ll enjoy his post, which can be found here.
This blog is cross-posted at www.theologyforthechurch.com
1). The third message on Colossians 1:13-23, could be titled “Jesus Christ: The God of Creation.” Here the message is that Jesus is Lord of the Cross or Savior (1:13-14), Lord of Communication or Revelator (1:15), Lord of Creation or Creator (1:15-17), Lord of the Church or Leader (1:18-20), and Lord of the Christian or Master (1:21-23).
Also viewed by many as an early Christian hymn, this text emphasizes that (1) Christ makes visible the invisible God, (2) Christ is the agent of creation, and (3) God’s fullness dwells in him (cf. 2:9-10). Perhaps used as a polemic against first-century heresy, this text is quite relevant in confronting “New Age” ideas concerning the relation between God, Jesus Christ, and the world. Further, the preeminence of Christ “in” and “over” his church sounds a much-needed call in our day when personal agendas and self-serving attitudes unfortunately prevail in too many of our churches.
2). Finally, a sermon on Hebrew 1:1-3 could be presented under the title “Jesus Christ: The God of Revelation.” The message of this passage is that Jesus is God’s best because of his 1) proclamation (1:1-2a), 2) his possessions (1:2b), 3) his power (1:2c), 4) his person (1:3a),5) his provisions (1:3b), 6) his purification (1:3c), and his 7) position (1:3d). Seven marvelous characteristics of our Lord weave this text together. Thirteen times the author will use the word “better” in this book to convey the superiority of Jesus to prophets, angels, Moses, and Aaron, i.e., to the entire Old Covenant economy. The emphasis of the prologue (which closely parallels Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-3) is upon Christ’s superior revelation to anything previous, as well as its climactic and definitive nature. Jesus is God’s very best in every way. When we have Jesus, we have all from God that we need.
Though there is some degree of overlap in these texts, each is unique in its own right, and all four are essential in laying the foundation for a biblical orthodox Christology. We need to preach about Jesus. We need to expound his person and his work so that his people will know their Savior for who he is and what he has done. I commend these four great texts to preachers of the gospel across our land with the prayer that their exposition will exalt the wonderful Savior who loved each one of us so much that had anyone of us been the only person to ever live, he still would have left heaven and died on the cross of Calvary just for us. His death does not teach that we are great. His death teaches that He is great. He is great in love and holiness. He is great in power and purpose. He is simply a great God.