Chalcedon and Christology: A 1530th Anniversary -- By: Craig A. Blaising

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 138:552 (Oct 1981)
Article: Chalcedon and Christology: A 1530th Anniversary
Author: Craig A. Blaising

Chalcedon and Christology: A 1530th Anniversary

Craig A. Blaising

[Craig A. Blaising, Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary]

[Editor’s Note: The year 1981 marks the 1530th anniversary of the significant Council of Chalcedon of A.D. 451. Interestingly, it also marks the 1600th anniversary of the Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381) and the 1550th anniversary of the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431).]

Anniversaries are times of remembering a special event or occasion in the past. The kind of anniversary dear to most people is the one that looks back to the forming of a relationship. For example, when the word “anniversary” is heard, who does not think of a wedding anniversary? Furthermore the older the relationship, the more special its anniversary becomes. How very special is a silver or golden wedding anniversary!

Thirty years ago many articles and some books were written commemorating the fifteen-hundredth anniversary of the Council of Chalcedon.1 Chalcedon was both an event to remember and the forming of a relationship. The event was the coming together of over five hundred bishops and other representatives from all the various portions of the church under the order of the Emperor Marcian in A.D. 451. The purpose was to establish ecclesiastical unity throughout the church by resolving the tension in Christology stemming from the differences of expression in Alexandrian and Antiochian traditions. That tension was resolved to an extent by a definition of faith agreed on finally in the fifth session of the council (on Oct. 22).2 The definition of faith not only excluded the extremes of Nestorianism and Eutychianism from orthodoxy, but also provided some positive considerations on the person of Christ. The most important section of the definition is as follows:

Following therefore the holy Fathers, we confess one and the same our Lord Jesus Christ, and we all teach harmoniously [that he

is] the same perfect in Godhead, the same perfect in manhood, truly God and truly man, the same of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with the Father in Godhead, and the same consubstantial with us in manhood, like us in all things except sin; begotten before ages of the Father in Godhead, the same in the last days for us; and for our salvation [born] of Mary the virgin theotokos in manhood, one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, unique; acknowledged in two natures without confusion, without change, without division, without separation—the difference of the natures being by no means taken away because ...

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