Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"The Deity of Christ": Blogging Through Morgan and Peterson - Introduction

"The Deity of Christ": Blogging Through Morgan and Peterson - Introducing a New Series
"The Deity of Christ": Blogging Through Morgan and Peterson - Introduction

Why is the doctrine of Christ's deity so important? In their book The Deity of Christ, Drs. Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson offer the six following reason taken from Ronald Tacelli's book Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions:
  1. The divinity of Christ is the most distinctively Christian doctrine of all.
  2. The essential difference between orthodox, traditional, biblical, apostolic, historic, creedal Christianity and revisionist, modernist, liberal Christianity is right here.
  3. The doctrine works like a skeleton key, unlocking all other doctrinal doors of Christianity.
  4. If Christ is divine, then the incarnation, or “enfleshing” of God, is the most important event in history.
  5.  There is an unparalleled existential bite to this doctrine. For if Christ is God, then, since he is omnipotent and present right now, he can transform you and your life right now as nothing and no one else possibly can.
  6. If Christ is divine, he has a right to our entire lives, including our inner life and our thoughts.
This thesis is repeated in Dr. Millard Erickson's book Christian Theology. There he writes:
The study of the person and work of Christ is at the every center of Christian theology. For since Christians are by definition believers in and followers of Christ, their understanding of Christ must be central and determinative of the very character of the Christian faith. Consequently, particular care and precision are especially in order in the doing of our Christology. (678)
What we believe about Christology informs what we believe about everything else. Consider the few examples given below.
Theology Proper - If Christ is God, then this will inform us on the magnitude of the incarnation, it proves the Trinity, and Christ truly becomes the Word.
Creation - Christ, as God, plays/played a role in creation. Thus he always has and remains its Lord.
Anthropology - If the body has no value, then why was Jesus incarnated bodily (in contrast to the docetics) and raised bodily (in contrast to liberalism and other heresies)? 
Hamartiology - If Christ must be born of a virgin, then original sin corrupting every man makes sense.
Soteriology - Why did Christ come? If He for sinners, then our only hope of salvation is Him. How did He bring salvation? Our interpretation of the atonement explains what we believe about justification, sanctification, glorification, and the rest.
Ecclesiology - If Christ is Lord and Head over the church, then our church polity, structures, and mission is defined by Him. We seek His Kingdom and glory, not ours awaiting the great Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Eschatology - Christ returns and sets up His eternal Kingdom. Anything short of that is heretical eschatology.
None of this should surprise us. Christian theology should make much of Christ. He is the hub of the wheel; the center of it all.
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