Studies In Christology -- By: Frank Hugh Foster

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 052:207 (Jul 1895)
Article: Studies In Christology
Author: Frank Hugh Foster

Studies In Christology

Professor Frank Hugh Foster


In resuming, after so long a time, the “Studies in Christology” which he began in this Review in 1892, the writer will take the liberty of changing somewhat the purpose of the studies. Occupying at that time the chair of Church History, he was mainly concerned with the historical problems of the subject, and particularly with the subtle attack which Professor Harnack, of Berlin, is making upon historical Christianity by the introduction of rationalistic dogmatic principles among the canons of historical investigation. Transferred, as he now is, to the department of Systematic Theology, he wishes to consider the problem more in its dogmatic aspects. The purpose of these studies shall no longer be chiefly historical, though the basis afforded by a review of the historical origin of the Chalcedon doctrine will be essential to a proper understanding of the problem of our own day and of what is to be offered in solution of the same; but the questions raised by Harnack will be left to the professional historians for the most part,—to whom they are commended as constituting a large part of the historical Aufgabe of the day, and quite as important for history as the questions of biblical criticism are for exegesis. The refutation of Harnack’s mistakes in instance after instance, by a thorough discussion of the original authorities, would seem to one observer, at least, to be the imperative duty of the times. Monendo satisfeci officio meo. These more technic-

ally historical disputations therefore aside, it will now be the writer’s purpose to set forth what the problem in respect to christology really is, and to exhibit what the best modern thought has to offer by way of solution.1

V. Development Of The Doctrine Before Chalcedon

The problem discussed in the church under the name of “christology” is, precisely defined, this: How is it that Jesus Christ is both God and man.? What is the relation of the divine and human in Christ; that is, in the person of the incarnate, suffering, dying, risen, and living Christ?

Evidently before such a question could arise at all, there must have been considerable progress made in the church in dogmatic knowledge. The great discussions which resulted in the formulation of the doctrine of the trinity at Nice (325) and at Constantinople (381) precede chronologically, as they do logically, the Council of Chalcedon (451), for it is only when men are firmly convinced that Christ is God that the problem suggested by his human nature will press upon their minds and demand consideration. Yet, as the ...

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