The Communication Of Properties: A Post-Reformation Divergence Between Lutheran And Reformed Theologies -- By: Gregg R. Allison

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 19:1 (Spring 2015)
Article: The Communication Of Properties: A Post-Reformation Divergence Between Lutheran And Reformed Theologies
Author: Gregg R. Allison


The Communication Of Properties: A Post-Reformation Divergence Between Lutheran And Reformed Theologies

Gregg R. Allison

Gregg R. Allison is Professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Allison served many years as a staff member of Campus Crusade, where he worked in campus ministry and as a missionary to Italy and Switzerland. He also serves as the Secretary of the Evangelical Theological Society and the book review editor for theological, historical, and philosophical studies for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. Dr. Allison is the author of several books, including Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine (Zondervan, 2011), Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church (Crossway, 2012), and Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment (Crossway, 2014).

Introduction

The church has historically believed that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man, possessing two natures—the one divine, the other human—united in one person. The church has also historically affirmed that these two natures remain distinct in the God-man: the divine nature, characterized by omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, eternality, and the like, remains fully divine; and the human nature, characterized by spatio-temporal locatedness, limited strength and limited knowledge typical of all human beings, and the like, remains fully human. As the Chalcedonian Creed expressed this belief,

the church acknowledges Jesus Christ “in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation, the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one persona and one subsistence, not parted or divided into two person, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.1

Working within this traditional framework, theologians wondered “whether it is proper to speak of the human experiences of Christ while referring to him as God, and whether it is proper to speak of the divine experiences of Christ while referring to him as man.2 On the one hand, theologians insisted that when speaking of his human experiences of tiredness, hunger, thirst, temptation, death, and so forth, reference must be made to Jesus the man, and when speaking of his divine experiences of immutability, miraculous power, eternality, and so forth, reference must be made to the Son as God. Thomas Aquinas dissented from this view, insisting ...

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