Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 145:579 (Jul 1988)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“The Relevance of Nicene Christology,” John Breck, St. Vladimirs Theology Quarterly 31 (1987): 41-64.

Contemporary trends in Christology have questioned the modern relevance of ancient creeds such as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan and Chalcedonian formulas. This article, first presented as a paper to the Lutheran-Orthodox dialogue in 1985, specifically addresses the former confession and in the spirit of the early councils urges an ecumenical reaffirmation of it. The Christological concern expressed in this article is not limited to Lutheran and Orthodox communions, however, or others who regularly recite the creed. The relevance of Nicene Christology is fundamentally important for any theologian, especially one who claims to be evangelical.

Modern Christology charges that the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is irrelevant because it expresses itself in ontological rather than psychological, sociological, or existential categories. Breck, however, correctly evaluates it on the basis of Scripture, and he sees the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed as a faithful expression of both the pattern and express teachings of biblical revelation. In light of this, Breck concludes that the creed is as relevant as Scripture in its presentation of Christ and the Trinity.

In the last part of his article, Breck gives a helpful historical and theological discussion of the filioque controversy. There is no doubt that the filioque was an interpolation added to the original creed, and Breck appeals to Western churches in light of this fact to seek ecumenicity on the basis of the original form of the creed. But he also proposes an orthodox understanding of the filioque that can be accepted in the East as a respected theological expression.

In view of pluralistic tendencies in Christology today, it is encouraging to read this defence of the relevance of orthodox theology. And it is a helpful reminder to evangelicals of the close relationship between patristic and biblical thought.

Craig A. Blaising

“On the Most Important Word in the Shema (Deuteronomy VI 4–5),” J. Gerald Janzen, Vetus Testamentum 37 (July 1987): 280-300.

The sense of Hebrew אֶחָד, “one,” in Deuteronomy 6:4 is much debated. Scholars have developed two basic approaches. Some understand יהוה אֶחָד has a statement about the nature or essence of God (e.g., “the Lord is one” or “the Lord is unique”). Others interpret the statement a...

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