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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Creeds and Scripture: The Deity of Christ

To maintain a biblical Christology that is timeless and evangelical, Stephen Nichols states one must submit to tradition (Creeds) and text (Scripture) in the book, The Deity of Christ edited by Christopher W. Morgan. Submission to tradition means to adhere to the christological creeds of the early church such as the Nicene and Chalcedon creeds. Submission to text means to adhere to the Scriptures alone as the ultimate authoritative source for a biblical Christology. The historical Jesus is grounded in historical realities based on the Bible. Thus, submitting to traditions regarding Christological creeds is submitting to Scripture in once sense.

Submission to Tradition
The creeds of the early church fathers teach us the correct interpretation of Jesus and how we should submit to their framework in order to not error in heretical doctrine. Nicene teaches us that Jesus is equal with God "of one or of the same substance" (regarding his trinitarian relationship). Chalcedon teaches us that Jesus is "fully God and fully human, and that those two natures conjoin perfectly and fully in one person" (regarding the identity of Christ). Both of these creeds do not cancel each other out but rather compliment each other because they do not overemphasize the deity of Christ or the humanity of Christ. These creeds both uphold the same things but address different heresies of their day. They both uphold the divinity of Jesus without rejecting his humanity, and uphold his humanity without rejecting his divinity as the Son of Man. Therefore, tradition teaches us we should honor the Lord Jesus in this respect and know him through a confessional-creedal tradition that was supported by the earliest believers in Christianity instead of trying to figure out the identity of Jesus.

Submission to Text
The text of Scripture compiles the ultimate and authoritative source revealing who is Jesus Christ. The Scriptures teach us everything we need to know about Jesus Christ because all of Scripture testifies of him. "We should only go to the Jesus of sacred Scripture, God incarnate, who lived and died and rose again and is now seated in power at the Father's right hand. We need to be reminded that we are required to submit to the whole counsel of God." It is in Scripture we learned about Jesus and how he is our great God and savior. Therefore, we must trust and obey what the Bible reveals to us about the identity of Jesus and proclaim that message to the  nations.

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