A Review And An Evaluation Of Diverse Christological Opinions Among American Evangelicals: Part 3: Incarnational Christology -- By: Bill Grover

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 07:1 (Mar 2009)
Article: A Review And An Evaluation Of Diverse Christological Opinions Among American Evangelicals: Part 3: Incarnational Christology
Author: Bill Grover


A Review And An Evaluation Of Diverse Christological Opinions Among American Evangelicals:
Part 3: Incarnational Christology

Bill Grover1

Abstract2

The writer, himself an American Evangelical, is discussing, in three articles, areas in which American Evangelicals disagree about how God the Son relates to God the Father and the meaning and effects of the true humanity and the true deity in Christ. Each position will be defined and exemplified. The rationale offered by proponents of each major position is provided. Evaluations are made. The first article focused primarily on the ancient doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son as held by some American Evangelicals but denied by others. The second article was used to consider the issue, within the perimeters of evangelicalism in America, of whether the Son is eternally or temporally only relationally subordinate to God the Father. This third article is devoted to addressing several different understandings within American Evangelicalism regarding the Incarnation. It will briefly cover Kenotic theory, views about what it means to say that Christ is true Man and true God, and how the two natures in the one Person of Christ relate to each other. Therefore, while this series is certainly connected to more general Trinitarian thought, the articles are written especially to focus on Christ. Aside from just exposing, perhaps for the first time to some readers, a number

of the considerable differences among Trinitarians regarding the doctrines of God and Christ, it is hoped by the writer that these articles might also provide material useful to some to better understand the blessed Person of Jesus Christ our God, our Lord, and our Savior. To Him be glory forever.

1. Introduction

The inability of evangelicals to agree on so central a doctrine as what basically constitutes the essential Person of Christ justifiably compels one to question either the perspicuity of Scripture or, with a sounder rationale and a happier outcome, the efficiency of the exegetical and theological method used in some quarters. One might assume that the ecumenical Creed of 451 would do much to unify Christological tenets among Evangelicals who say that they hold to it, but that assumption would be wrong. Of course, as Harnack illustrates with Basilikus (1961:227-228) and Grillmeier with the Alexandrians (1975:548), we would not expect non-Chalcedonian Christologists, as also exemplified below by modern anti-Chalcedonians, to agree with that Creed’s affirmation that Christ is perfect in manhood, that His man...

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