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Crosscurrents in Adventist Christology

by Claude Webster

Chapter One


In this first chapter attention will be given to two objectives. The first will attempt to offer some perspective to the intricate history of Christology, whereby the reader may be reminded of the overall sweep of the subject. The second objective will be to familiarize the reader with a brief orientation into the Adventist theological milieu.

I. Historical Perspective to General Christology

The purpose of this first section will be to offer a suggestion whereby the vast complexity of the history of Christology may be reduced into five broad categories which can serve as a background to our detailed analysis of Adventist Christology. It is not my intention to present a chronological outline of the history of Christology. Others have applied themselves to such a task and, furthermore, this would fall beyond the scope of the present dissertation.

Many attempts have been made to categorize Christological thought into different groupings. 1 For our purposes we would suggest the following categories, namely, Ontological Christology, Speculative Christology, the 'History of Jesus' Christology, Existential Christology and Functional Christology. 2 We would submit that all the main emphases and trends in Christology may be divided into one of these five categories. Such a scheme will help us to get the 'feel' of Christology in general and will be useful in giving perspective to our analysis of the four Adventist representatives.

Let us firstly give a brief description of each of the five categories we have chosen. By ontological Christology we understand that approach which places emphasis on the 'being' and the 'essence' of the person of Christ. There is an attempt to focus on the nature and the substance of Christ. By functional Christology we mean that type of Christology where the emphasis is placed on the meaning and significance of the mission and work of Jesus in functional terms rather than in the intricacies of ontological language regarding the substance of Jesus Christ. In functional Christology Jesus does have the task to bring salvation and to reveal the Father in a special manner, but without having to subscribe to the Chalcedonian formula. By the 'History of Jesus' Christology we understand that approach to the subject whereby researchers anxiously seek to go behind the gospel narratives, stripping them of all early church accretions to try and find the genuine historical Jesus. Interest is focused on the real Jesus in His actuality, lying behind the faith statements of the gospel writers. By speculative Christology we mean that approach to the subject in which the infinite and the finite are merged in various forms of idealism. In this system the historic Christ at times tends to lose His real significance and becomes merely a symbol of a vast and complex metaphysical idea. When it comes to existential Christology the interest is not so much on the person of Christ or on His historical activity, but rather on His present impact on the life of the believer. The Christ that meets man in his existence, choices and need is the Christ of the kerygma and of proclamation, regardless of dogmatic exactitude or ontological formulations. Existential Christology offers a present Christ who acts as a medium to assist man to understand and accept the authenticity and reality of his own existence.

It is interesting to note that while there is a certain amount of overlap in time between these various Christological categories, there are certain historical periods which are dominated by one or other of these tendencies. We would suggest that ontological Christology had its genesis in the first few centuries of the Christian era when the philosophical climate was dominated by the thought patterns of the Grecian world. This type of Christology persisted throughout the Middle Ages and flowered again during the Reformation period. The background of the speculative movement was furnished by the rationalism of the Aufklärung around the beginning of the eighteenth century. This was the age of enlightenment and reason and speculative Christology was spawned in the seedbeds of anthropocentric and scientific concern. This type of Christology has persisted and has had its representatives right up to modern times. The 'History of Jesus' Christology was, likewise, conceived in the spirit of the Aufklrung but was actually brought forth during the nineteenth century. This was the age of liberalism and was conducive to a deep concern for the hard bones of historical fact. While the particular wave of historical concern of the nineteenth century ebbed, there have been fresh waves of interest in this aspect of Christology. Existential Christology saw its heyday in the early and middle twentieth century, especially in the Bultmanian era. This approach to Christology and to life in general was particularly appropriate in the aftermath of a world conflict which left much of Europe dazed by the seeming futility of life. There have been enough disciples of Bultmann to periodically inject new life into the limbs and body of this type of Christology. Our last category, namely, functional Christology, while very much in vogue in our modern times, can trace its roots back to Schleiermacher. The Weltanschauung of the latter half of the twentieth century is most conducive to this pattern of thought. Life is seen in scientific and pragmatic terms and thus the 'miracle' of the Incarnation is viewed as a stumbling block to modern Christianity. In today's thought it is easier to accept Jesus Christ as a representative of truth than to confuse Him with the substance of an unknown 'God'. Thus we can see that while these categories are not to be confined to watertight compartments, they do reflect consecutively the five dominant approaches in the history of Christianity from the first century to modern times.

A. Ontological Christology

It now becomes quite easy to place certain Christological movements and trends into their appropriate category. For example, most of the Christological controversies and subtleties of the early centuries and the middle ages may be classified as ontological by nature. This is true whether we think of the threat of docetism or ebionism; or of the accommodation of Modalism; or of the adoptionistic tendency of dynamic monarchianism; or of the conflict concerning the concept 'homo-ousios' and 'homoi-ousios' precipitated by Arius of Laodicea. Despite the wide differences between each of these schools of thought they all represent examples of ontological Christology because in each case the attention is focused on the 'being' and 'essence' of Christ. The historic declaration at Nicea (325 A.D.) remains a monument to the ontological struggles in the Christology of the early centuries. 3

Likewise, the mental and logical agility of men like Apollinaris, Euthychus and Nestorius 4 were devoted to the arena of ontological debate within Christology. One moment it would appear as if Christ was trinitarian in nature; then the next moment He was set forth in one unitary nature; only a little later to be split again into two co-existing persons, namely, the Eternal Logos and the Man, Jesus of Nazareth. And then along comes Chalcedon (451 A. D.) 5 with its historic pronouncement on Christ being one person in two natures which exist without confusion, without change, without division and without separation. Here in Greek terminology the church indicated where it stood at that moment relative to the threats of heretical tendencies. The Chalcedonian statement remains a watershed for ontological Christology.

Other illustrations of the ontological approach to Christology are revealed in the dialogue concerning the 'anhypostasia' and the 'enhypostasia'; 6 in the monophysite and monothelite controversies; 7in the Roman Catholic influence of transubstantiation upon Christology and the transcendental emphasis of thinkers like Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus;8 in the Reformation thinking of such men as Luther and Calvin, 9 and even in the kenotic theories and proposals.10 Modern Christology is not devoid of examples of completely ontological Christology. The Christology of the dialectical theologian, Karl Barth, must be considered in the mould of the classical ontological style, albeit with different nuances. D. M. Baillie,11representing a school of Christology which emphasizes the element of paradox, must also find himself at home in the ontological Christology category. W. Pannenberg, although taking his starting point 'von unten'12 instead of 'von oben', ends up accepting the 'vere Deus' and finds his Christological thought compatible with elements that could be classified under ontological Christology. The modern Roman Catholic theologian, W Kasper,13 presents a Christology which also begins 'from below' but ends clearly with 'vere Deus.' His exposition of the reality of the humanity and the divinity of Christ must be placed in the category of ontological Christology. In the South African context we would classify W D Jonker's Christological approach14 under this same category. It should, however, be remembered that very often a particular theologian may show tendencies of belonging to more than one Christological category. It would be an oversimplification if we were to insist that every Christologist demonstrates only one strand of thought.

B. Speculative Christology

While speculative Christology owes much to the thinking of philosophers like Kant and Hegel, its roots run deep into the beginning of the Christian era. It has been suggested that Origen (185-254 A.D.) could be considered the father of speculative Christology.15 Then cognizance must be taken of Gnosticism with its speculative influence upon Christology.16 The concept of emanations from God in which creature and Creator are Lost and submerged are characteristic of Gnosticism and were influential. 17

Preparatory to the thought of Kant and Hegel in more modern times we note the philosophical influence of Spinoza, 18 the Jewish intellectual who was excommunicated from the Hebrew fraternity. For him all men were manifestations of the Divine essence and while he could agree that Jesus of Nazareth had a larger infusion of this Essence than many others, he could never conceive that Jesus was God. 19 Immanuel Kant's thinking illustrates the approach of speculative Christology. With him we find a sharp distinction between the historical Jesus and Christ as 'idea' where the historical Jesus loses His real significance. Barth indicates that Kant's Christological doctrine "takes a form in which the incarnate Son of God is interpreted as 'the idea set before us for our emulation' of moral perfection."20 In this concept of idealism the idea of Christ is swallowed up in the total web of humanity.21 Speculative thinking22 has certainly presented a threat to the traditional idea of the person of Jesus Christ. Hegel, 23 likewise, has had a very important philosophical influence in setting forth the idea of the ontological unity between the Infinite and the finite, between God and man. The whole history of the world is looked upon as an expression of God, a happening in God Himself.

While Paul Tillich follows in some ways in the footsteps of functional Christology, thus in the tradition of Schleiermacher, and also stands close to ontological terminology, he can best be understood in terms of speculative Christology.24 It is also possible to see the works of Karl Rahner and Jürgen Moltmann as illustrative of aspects of speculative Christology. We notice this in Rahner's 'transcendental Christology'25 where he believes that in Jesus Christ man has attained to God in an ultimate act of self-transcendence and God's self-bestowal has been seen in its most radical form. For Moltmann God 'is' where He 'happens' and this was on Calvary in the manifestation of the love of the Father and the Son. The Father is not a personal God "in the heavens," but love. This love is unconditional and without boundary in its acceptance of every unlovely and deserted person. For Moltmann God is the future-oriented power of love which encompasses the whole of human history and moves towards the triumph of love over hate, life over death and liberty over bondage.26

C. 'History of Jesus' Christology

A 'History of Jesus' Christology is characterized by an interest in the actual historical person of Jesus of Nazareth. Not satisfied simply with a theoretical discussion of dogmatic Christology based either on the creeds and kerygma, or with the philosophical approach of speculative Christology, the 'History of Jesus' Christology makes Jesus of Nazareth once more the focus of theological research. This task is pursued through the use of historical-critical tools. In this way the overriding concern is to unearth either the essential facts of the life of Jesus or the essential features of His teaching through historical research.

This type of Christology was exemplified in the search for the historical Jesus during the 18th and 19th centuries, then again, particularly in a revival of this interest in the latter half of the twentieth century. While the search in the earlier period, no doubt, had honest intentions for faith, it was strongly motivated by rationalism. 27 This may be seen whether we are looking at Reimarus28 or David Strauss29 or at the fictitious "Lives of Jesus" by such men as Bahrdt and Venturini. 30In many instances the research was also carried out by an antagonism against the supernatural aura which it was felt had been built up around Jesus Christ. 31 Albert Schweitzer was convinced that one of the greatest contributions of German theology was in the critical investigation of the life of Jesus during the 19th century. 32 Despite its limitations, Schweitzer was sure that those German theologians who had wrestled with the historic Jesus of Nazareth, "though they cannot take Him with them, yet, like men who have seen God face to face and received strength in their souls, they go on their way with renewed courage, ready to do battle with the world and its powers." 33

The more modern approaches in the latter half of the twentieth century to the quest of the historical Jesus are more influential today than the19th century concern. This renewal initiated by Karl Rahner's article on Chalcedon as end or beginning,34 and Ernst Käsemann's 1953 lecture in Marburg on 'The Problem of the historical Jesus,'35 have set the stage for a 'new quest' of the historical Jesus that, while differing from the old quest in focus and method, nevertheless, retained its concern for the historical Jesus. Its importance can be noted when Käsemann's challenge was taken up by representatives of both Catholicism and Protestantism. 36 In the present emphasis on the historical quest for Jesus the liberal research into the life of Jesus of the 19th century is a lost cause.

The new quest for the historical Jesus proceeds from the premise of present belief, and measures that faith by its content, Jesus Christ. The characteristics of this new quest are firstly a rejection of myth and docetism. The revelation of God is 'in the flesh' and the salvific meaning of the true humanity of Jesus is emphasized. Secondly, the new quest does not bypass the kerygma but takes note of this aspect. To indicate its present importance we mention Kasper's conviction that the right way of re-establishing Christology today, is to  the element of a unilateral kerygma-and-dogma Christology and one exclusively orientated to the historical Jesus with equal seriousness.37

It is important to note, therefore, that whether a certain Christology today shows signs of the rationalism of the 19th century or more signs of the Christology of complementarity, in which the earthly Jesus and the exalted Christ are linked together,38 the import of the quest for the historical Jesus is influential and we can rightfully speak of a 'History of Jesus' Christology.

D. Existential Christology

While the roots of existential Christology run deep into the philosophical thought of men like Kierkegaard Heidegger,39 the modern movement owes much to the impetus of Martin Kähler who emphasized the distinction between the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith.40 For Kähler the search for the historical Jesus is irrelevant for it can only lead to an ebionic picture of Jesus. He makes a difference between Historie and Gesrhichte and it is the 'geschichtliche Christus' who in His supra-historical significance meets man wherever the gospel is preached.

Kähler's influence spilled over into the 20th century and can be seen especially in dialectical theology. Both Barth and Bultmann followed Kähler in their rejection of a search for the historical Jesus in favour of the Christ of the Word and of proclamation, respectively. Bultmann based his position on his 'Form-Criticism'41 of the New

Testament together with his existential interpretation. Instead of historical significance for Christ he places meaning on the kerygmatic proclamation of Christ, and rather than interest in the salvation acts of God in Christ through history, Bultmann emphasizes the actual meaning of the proclamation for the self-understanding of man in the now and present. Bultmann is persuaded that all we need for faith and proclamation is the 'that' of the life and death of Christ and that the 'what' of His life, self-consciousness, activity and preaching is irrelevant. Barth, of course, parted company with Bultmann in his existential interpretation and showed much greater appreciation for the historical act of God in the life and history of Jesus Christ.

Under the skillful scalpel of Bultmann, demytholo-gisation42 became a further characteristic of existential Christology. For him the synoptic tradition is a product and projection of the needs of the early church known as Gemeindetheologie. Bultmann proceeded to this early theology and to lay bare the essential element of decision concerning man's self-understanding. The message of the Christ of faith is subjected to an existential interpretation which means that it is understood in anthropological terms. Thus the connection between the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith can only be described in its existential application.

Bultmann sees salvation as man coming to his right Selbstverständia and this happens when he responds to the call which comes to him through the kerygmatic proclamation. In the message of Jesus Christ, God has acted eschatologically and the message of the faith community becomes the vehicle for him to come to a decision. Bultmann reduces the work of Christ to His "call to repentance" and Christology finds its kernel in what He is for us (pronobis). In existential Christology there are strong leanings towards a functional Christology. In fact, existential Christology is closely tied to anthropology and lies very much closer to a functional than to an ontological Christology.

In all types of existential Christology the actual being of Christ and His identity of substance with the Father loses its importance. Just sufficient of an "implicit Christology" in Jesus must be accepted to believe in the "explicit Christology" of the early community to act as a vehicle for this bearer of God's presence to make impact in the mind and heart of man. And thus as the gospel is proclaimed, man will be brought to a point of decision for God and will be able to discover his true identity and his meaning in existence and communion with his fellow man.

E. Functional Christology

We have already defined functional Christology as that type of Christology which finds meaning and significance in Jesus in functional terms rather than in the intricacies of the language of substance and essence. In contrast to the Chalcedon Christology, the unique significance of Jesus is not to be sought in something that is before, above, or behind Jesus' human reality. Jesus has unique significance and is named Son of God because He is a human being in a unique, exemplary way. In His human reality He is as it were sacrament, ephiphany, manifestation, image, corporeal expression, event, presence of God in the highest and unsurpassable way.

Functional Christologists would generally feel uncomfortable with classical Christology. There could be many reasons for this and Klaus Reinhardt has advanced three.43 The first objection is that traditional Christology is essentialist, that is, "it speculates about the essential constitution of the person of Jesus, and in doing so forgets His significance for the history of salvation."44 A second objection is that classical Christology by starting "from above" presupposes belief in the trinitarian God and explains the figure of Jesus in terms of an Incarnation of the divine Logos. It is felt that such a Christology cannot really arrive "below" at the history of Jesus of Nazareth. The third objection offered is the dualistic starting point of traditional Christology with its two-natures doctrine.

Whether one is looking at Friedrich Schleiermacher,45 the father of the modern movement, or at one of his present sons or daughters, the usual characteristic of functional Christology is that it is approached 'from below' and Jesus is regarded as the true, exemplary, new human being. Not that all Christologies which commence 'from below' necessarily end up denying the essential divinity of Christ. Note, for instance, W Pannenberg, who while developing his Christology 'from below'46 holds that the ground of Jesus' uniqueness lies in His divinity and divine Sonship.

In what one might term the new Christology as opposed to Chalcedon Christology, contemporary theology is attempting a number of approaches to throw light on Jesus' uniqueness. Amongst these are the experience of human existence, the experience of the world in its universal development and the experience of history. Functional Christology is characterized by at least the first two approaches.

In the first approach Jesus is regarded as the Prototype of human existence and He is looked upon either as the example of love and devotion,47 or as the "witness of faith"48 in a godless world or as one who identified fully with His mission.49 Here Jesus is seen either as stimulus and example or as the absolute prototype in whom idea and individual are one. One may ask whether the unique significance of Jesus can really be maintained by only accepting His exemplary humanity or His human transcendence? It is evident that these Christological approaches which regard Jesus' divine Sonship only as an "expression" of His humanity,50 or see in Jesus the representative of the absent God51 who vindicates God's cause because God Himself does not intervene, would find it difficult to do so.

In the second approach Jesus is regarded as the "last" Man. H. Berkhof and Dr E. Flesseman-Van Leer may be considered as examples of a functional Christology which sees Jesus as the new Man, the eschatological Man and the Man as God intended Him to be.52 Neither would hold to the pre-existence of Christ as believed in classical Christology. At best there could be an "ideal pre-existence" which means that He existed in the mind and planning of God before the creation of the world and before His function as representative of God.

Other characteristics of functional Christology are to see Jesus in the setting of "contextual theology" where He is seen as the 'revolutionary,' the 'liberator' or the 'political Messiah';53 or to accept Jesus as the representative of God where Jesus fulfills the role of God without partaking of any supernatural characteristics;54 or even as the revelation of God without, however, partaking of His essential essence or being.55

Any serious consideration of functional Christology today must take into account the important works by Edward Schillebeeckx, the Roman Catholic theologian. For him the starting point of any Christological reflection is the man Jesus. His Jesus an Experiment in Christology (1979) and Christ the Christian Experience in the Modern World (1980) are works that will have a permanent place in the Christological arena.

Functional Christology is very attractive to the modern mind of the twentieth century. It is able to discard many of the hellenistic concepts thought to be existent in the classical formulations of traditional Christology. In the functional category Christ can remain fully human, and supernatural or metaphysical explanations for His mission become unnecessary. God reveals Himself in Jesus Christ as His revelation, His partner, His representative and as His ideal man. This man becomes the leader, example, pattern and model for all other men. The life that He lived, the faith that He manifested can be revealed by others who show the same faith in God. His human achievement is a trailblazer for all humanity and if others would rely on divine power as He did the results would be the same. The life of Jesus Christ could be re-duplicated a thousand times by those imbued with His spirit and by those following in His footsteps. Functional Christology appeals to the reason of modern man and meets the scientific and evolutionary concepts of our time.

Now that we have taken this short journey into the realm of general Christology by way of these five routes, we are now ready to look at the Adventist theological scene, preparatory to taking a further journey into the more particularized world of Seventh-day Adventist Christology.

1 W D Jonker has basically divided Christology into the two broad categories of ontological and functional Christology with various shades in each. See W D Jonker, Christus, die Middelaar, Pretoria: N G Kerkboek-handel, 1977. cf. John McIntyre, The Shape of Christology, London: S C M Press, 1966. McIntyre has offered a different classification of Christology. [back]

2 This classification is offered after personal reflection as a convenient method of categorizing general Christology. It certainly remains only one suggestion amongst many other possibilities. [back]

3 It would be useful here to quote the relevant portions of the Nicene Creed of 325 A.D.: "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord JESUS CHRIST, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God , Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being óµoovoiov things were made [both in heaven and on earth]; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; he suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead." This creed was slightly amplified at Constantinople in 381 A.D. Nicene Creed quoted in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, Sixth edition, revised and enlarged, Volume I, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1977, pp.28,29. [back]

4 Most standard works on Christology or church history will elucidate the involvements of these men and their contribution to the Christological struggle. See H R Mackintosh, The Doctrine of the Person of Jesus Christ, Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1913, pp.196-215; Reinhold Seeberg, The History of Doctrines, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1977, Vol. I, pp.243-272. [back]

5 In connection with Chalcedon and the creeds see Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1977, Vol. I, pp.29-34; Vol. II, pp.62-65; R V Sellers, The Council of Chalcedon, A Historical and Doctrinal Survey, London: S P C K., 1961, pp. 210,211. [back]

6 By 'anhypostasia' is understood 'impersonal humanity' which indicates that the human element in the Incarnation was simply human 'nature' assumed by the Second Person of the Godhead rather than an individual human being. Set forth by Cyril of Alexandria and passed into Catholic dogma. By 'enhypostasia' we understand that the humanity of Christ, while not impersonal, only is personal in the Logos, and hence has no independent personality. For a discussion see Donald M. Baillie, God Was in Christ, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1948, pp.85-93; H R Macintosh, The Doctrine of the Person of Jesus Christ, pp.383-406. [back]

7 For a discussion of the monophysite and monothelite controversies see Seeberg, The History of Doctrines, Vol. I, pp.272-288; Mackintosh, The Person of Jesus Christ, pp.215-222. [back]

8 For a discussion of this see Mackintosh, The Person of Jesus Christ, pp.223-229. [back]

9 Both John Calvin and Martin Luther followed in the tradition of the classical, ontological Christology. For John Calvin see Institutes of the Christian Religion, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960, Book I, ch. XIII, 1-29, pp.120-159; Book II, chs. XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, pp.464-534. For a specific example of ontological involvement on the part of both Luther and Calvin we refer to the doctrine of the 'communicatio idiomatum' (the interchange or communication of attributes). For Reformed theology and especially Calvin, the doctrine does not mean that the human nature of Christ receives divine attributes or that His divinity partakes of human properties. Rather, each nature communicates properties to the one Person of Christ while the two natures remain unmixed. In this way Calvin could teach that while Christ was a babe in Bethlehem He at the same time, through His divinity, was ruling the universe with His Father (Ibid., p.481). This view has become known as the 'extra Calvanisticum.' Luther's interpretation of the 'communicatio idiomatum' was that each nature does in reality receive properties from the other nature. In this way Luther teaches the ubiquity of the human nature of Christ and that in the sacrament of the supper Christ's human presence is with us having received the property of omnipresence from His divinity. (See article X, 'The Holy Supper of our Lord,' in the Augsburg Confession quoted in Creeds of the Churches, Ed. J H Leith, revised edition, Richmond: John Knox Press, 1973, p.71). For Calvin this concept is impossible. [back]

10 The modern father of the kenosis doctrine was Gottfried Thomasius who in his "Beiträge zur Kirchlichen Christologie," (1845), proposed a partial laying aside of the divine attributes in Christ. Another form of the doctrine was offered by Th. A Liebner who proposed a complete laying aside of the divine attributes in the kenosis. A third form was propounded by Franck who believed that Jesus in the kenosis laid aside completely His divine existence. Bishop Charles Gore of England was an important representative of the modern kenosis doctrine in the early 20th century. He was particularly interested in studying the human consciousness of Christ during the Incarnation and came to the conclusion that Christ lived entirely on the level of the human. For an overview of the history of the modern kenosis movement see Jacobus Johannes Müller, Die Kenosisleer in die Kristoloqie sedert die Reformasie, (Th.D. Proefskrif), Vrije Universiteit to Amsterdam, 1931. See also Baillie, God Was in Christ, pp.94-98. [back]

11 See especially the chapter, "The Paradox of the Incarnation," in Donald M Baillie, God Was in Christ, pp.106-132. [back]

12 Wolfhart Pannenberg gives reasons why he does not build a "Christology from above" but favours the approach "from below." He writes: "Therefore, our starting point must lie in the question about the man Jesus; only in this way can we ask about his divinity. How the divine Logos, the Second Person of the Trinity, would be thought of apart from the incarnation and thus apart from the man Jesus completely escapes our imagination" (Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jesus - God and Man, London: SCM Press Ltd., 1968, p.35). Jonker suggests that while Pannenberg approaches his Christology 'von unten,' he may be considered as belonging to the category of ontological Christology. (See Jonker, Christus die Middelaar, bl. 112). [back]

13 See his whole approach in his work on Christology. Walter Kasper, Jesus the Christ, London: Burns and Oates, 1976. [back]

14 We refer the reader to W D Jonker, Christus die Middelaar. [back]

15 Note the observation concerning Origen: "Though conscious of a staunch fidelity to the historic faith, he felt it essential that the contents of the creed should at the same time be sublimated by the methods of reverent speculation, provided only that the limits of ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition were recognized" (Mackintosh, The Person of Jesus Christ, pp.164,165). [back]

16 "Early Christian, Gnostic-inspired writings make speculations from it concerning the being of Jesus" (A Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, London: Mowbrays, 1975, p.69). [back]

17 For a discussion of Gnosticism and Christology see Ibid., pp.79-84. [back]

18 For a comment on the life of Spinoza see R Willis, Benedict de Spinoza: His Life, Correspondence, and Ethics, London: Trübner & Co., 1870, pp.1-77. [back]

19 Note the comment of Willis: "To him [ Spinoza] indeed all men, as all things else, were modes or manifestations of the Divine Essence, whereof one might have a larger measure than another, but of which nothing having reality was utterly devoid. Whilst he had no difficulty in admitting that Jesus of Nazareth had a larger infusion of Deity than the average of men, it was, therefore, as impossible for him to conceive that Jesus was God as it was for him to conceive that the triangle should assume or present itself with the properties of the square" (Ibid., pp.101,102). [back]

20 K. Barth, Protestant Theology in the 19th Century, London: SCM Press, 1972, p.288. [back]

21 Note Barth's discussion of Kant's thought: "Thus if, according to Kant, something corresponding to what is called the 'Word' in the prologue to St. John's Gospel exists, there is certainly, according to him, no suggestion that this Word might by any chance have become flesh. To the religion of reason the Son of God is not a man, but 'the abstraction of humanity" (Ibid.). [back]

22 Speculative thinking has been defined by Karl Barth as: "dissolving something real and setting it in opposition to itself in such a way that the differences as determined by one's thinking are set in opposition and the object is conceived as a unity of both" (Ibid., p.402). [back]

23 For a discussion of Hegel's concepts regarding God in the world see Hans Küng, Does God Exist? London: Collins, 1980, pp.127-188.See also Warren McWilliams, "Beyond 'Mere Transcendence': The Riddle of Hegel's Phenomenology," Perspectives in Religious Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1979, pp.46-64; Winfried Corduan, "Hegel in Rahner, A Study in Philosophical Hermeneutics," Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 71, 1978, pp.285-298; Hans Kung, Menschwerdunq Gottes, Eine Einfuhrüng in Hegels Theoloqisches Denken als Prolegomena zu einer künftigen Christoloqie, Freiburg, 1970. [back]

24 In many respects Tillich is a theologian who stands "on the boundary." (See W M Horton, "Tillich's Role in Contemporary Theology," The Theology of Paul Tillich, New York: The MacMillan Co., 1961, pp.26-47). There are some who feel that the revelation of God in Jesus Christ is not essential to Tillich's system (see Arthur Cochrane, The Existentialists and God, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1956, p.90). Kenneth Hamilton is out-spoken in his polemic against Tillich when he writes: "The more the system is unfolded, the wider yawns the gap between the universal and the factual, and the harder becomes any reconciliation with the Christian gospel... It is essential for the system that the universal and the factual shall never meet directly" (Hamilton, The System and the Gospel, London: SCM Press, 1963, pp.162,163). Michael Palmer, in a recent article on Tillich's Christology, does not take this extreme view and endeavours to argue for Tillich's conception of the actual historicity of Jesus Christ as the bearer of the New Being (see Michael Palmer, "Correlation and Ontology: A Study in Tillich's Christology," The Downside Review, Vol. 96, April 1978, pp.120-131). [back]

25 Note Rahner's thought in brief: "The fact that this event, [the Incarnation], in which man attains to God in an ultimate act of self-transcendence, and in God's own self-bestowal upon man in its most radical form, has taken place precisely in Jesus of Nazareth" (Karl Rahner, Theological Investigations, Vol. XI, London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1974, p.227). [back]

26 See the chapter, "Questions about Jesus," in Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God, London: SCM Press, 1974, pp.82-111. See also J Moltmann, Theology of Hope, London: SCM Press, 1967. [back]

27 Albert Schweitzer says of Renan, Strauss, Schenkel, Weizsäcker and Keim: "They all portray the Jesus of liberal theology; the only difference is that one is a little more conscientious in his colouring than another, and one perhaps has a little more taste than another, or is less concerned about the consequences" (Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, London: Adam & Charles Black, 1954, p.200). [back]

28 Hermann Samuel Reimarus was born in 1694 and died in 1768. His writings asserted the claims of rational religion as against the faith of the church. After his death, Lessing published the most important fragments of Reimarus' magnum opus. Schweitzer says: "His work is perhaps the most splendid achievement in the whole course of the historical investigation of the life of Jesus, for he was the first to grasp the fact that the world of thought in which Jesus moved was essentially eschatological" (A Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, p.23). [back]

29 David Friedrich Strauss produced his first edition of the "Life of Jesus" in two volumes of 1480 pages, (1835,6). Although Schweitzer speaks of this book as "one of the most perfect things in the whole range of learned literature" (Ibid., p.78), he admits that "Scarcely ever has a book let loose such a storm of controversy;" (Ibid., p.97). Amongst the milder opponents of the book was Neander who, while recognizing that the book would be a danger to the church, appealed for an answer by argument rather than by arbitrary banning. [back]

30 The fictitious "Lives of Jesus" of Bahrdt and Venturini at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, first attempted to apply, with logical consistency, a non-supernatural interpretation to the miracle stories of the Gospel. See Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, pp.38-47. [back]

31 Schweitzer writes: "They were eager to picture Him as truly and purely human, to strip from Him the robes of splendour with which He had been apparelled, and clothe Him once more with the coarse garments in which He had walked in Galilee" (Ibid., p.5) [back].

32 Note the value that Schweitzer places on this critical investigation: "For this reason the history of the critical study of the life of Jesus is of higher intrinsic value than the history of the study of ancient dogma or of the attempts to create a new one" (Ibid., p.2). [back]

33 Ibid., p.311. [back]

34 See K Rahner, "Chalkedon-Ende oder Anfang?" Das Konzil von Chalkedon, ed. by A Grillmeier and ll Bacht, Vol. III, Wärzburg, 1954, pp.3-49; "Problems of Present-day Christology," K Rahner, Theological Investigations, Vol, I, Baltimore, 1961. [back]

35 See E Käsemann, "Das Problem des historischen Jesus," Zeitschrift für Theoloqie und Kirche, Vol. 51, 1954, pp.125-153. For the relation of the new to the old quest for the Jesus of history, cf. R Slenczka, Geschichlichkeit und Personsein Jesu Christi.Studien zur Christologischen Problematik der Historischen Jesusfraqe, Gottingen, 1967. [back]

36 Käsemann, while following in the footsteps of Bultmann, called for a drastic reversal from kerygma orientation to history of Jesus interest. Amongst Catholics who took up the challenge mention must be made of H U von Balthasar, W Breuning, H Küng, H Mühlen, K Rahner, J Ratzinger, M Schmaus, D Wiederkehr, A Hulsbosch, E Schillebeeckx, P Schooenberg, C Duquoc, and J Galot. Among Protestant theologians we mention K Barth, H Braun, F Buri, G Ebeling, E Fuchs, F Gogarten, E Jüngel, J Moltmann, W Pannenberg, R Schäfer, and P Tillich. For a survey of Christological essays on this interest see H Küng, Menschwerdunq Gottes, Freiburg, 1970, pp.503-670; J Galot, Vers une Nouvelle Christologie, Paris, 1971 [back].

37 See Walter Kasper, Jesus the Christ, London: Burns & Oates, 1976, p.19. [back]

38 Ibid., p.35. [back]

39 For an introduction to Soren Kierkegaard and Martin Heidegger and existentialism in general see John Macquarrie, Existentialism, New York: Penguin Books, 1973. [back]

40 In 1892 his Der sogenannte historische Jesus and der geschichtliche, biblische Christus, appeared. See M Kähler, The So-Called Historical Jesus and the Historical Biblical Christ, Philadelphia, 1964. [back]

41 0n form criticism see Rudolf Bultmann, Karl Kundsin, Form Criticism, Two Essays on New Testament Research, New York: Harper and Row, 1962. [back]

42 Bultmann: "This method of interpretation of the New Testament which tries to recover the deeper meaning behind the mythological conceptions I call de-mythologizinq - an unsatisfactory word, to be sure. Its aim is not to eliminate the mythological statements but to interpret them" (Jesus Christ and Mythology, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958, p.18). [back]

43 See Klaus Reinhardt, "In what way is Jesus Unique?" Internationale Katholische Zeitschrift, Vol. III, May-June, 1973, pp.343-364. [back]

44 Ibid., p.346. [back]

45 See Friedrich Schleiermacher, The Christian Faith, Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1928, pp. 374-475. [back]

46 See footnote 12 of this chapter. Klaus Reinhardt has stated that for Pannenberg Jesus' uniqueness and universality lies not in His humanity, but in His divinity and divine Sonship (see "In what way is Jesus Unique?" p.356). [back]

47 Cf. H Schürmann, "Der proexistente Christus-die mitte des Glaubens von Morgen?" Diakonia, 3 (1972), pp. 147-160.[back]

48 Cf. R Schäfer, Jesus und der Gottesqlaube, Tübingen, 1970; W Kasper, Ein fahruno in den Glauben, Mainz, 1972, pp.43-56; H Urs von Balthasar, "Fides Christi," in Sponsa Verbi, Einsiedeln, 1960, pp.45-79; G Ebeling, "Was heisst Glaube," SGV, 216, Tübingen, 1958; "Jesus and Faith," in Word and Faith, pp.201-246; Das Wesen des Christlichen Glaubens, J C B Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tübingen, 1959, tr. Ronald Gregor Smith, The Nature of Faith, Collins, 1961. [back]

49 Cf. K Barth, Kirhliche Dogmatik, 111/2, Zürich, 1948, pp.66-69; J Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity, 1969. [back]

50 See H Braun, Jesus. der Mann aus Nazareth und Seine Zeit, Stuttgart, 1969, p.161.[back]

51 While Sölle speaks of Jesus as man's representative this does not mean complete substitution. Man still has an important role to play. She says: "God, who despite the satisfaction already made, is still not content with the representative, continues to count on us, to wait for us...He is a representative, not a replacement (D Sölle, Christ the Representative, London: SCM Press 167, pp.103,104). [back]

52 See H Berkhof, Christelijk Geloof, Nijkerk: Callenbach, 1973, pp.281-355; E Flessemann-van Leer, Geloven Vandaaq, Nijkerk: Callenbach, 1972, pp. 94-103 Note: "Ik meen dat het God-in-Christus voor mensen vandaag beter op een andere wijze tot uitdrukking kan worden gebracht dan met behulp van de incarnatie leer" (p.101). [back]

53 As an example of "contextual Christology" see Jon Sobrino, Christoloqy at the Crossroads, A Latin American Approach, London: SCM Press, 1978. Note the words: "In Latin America Christology is in fact being worked out by comparing the present-day situation with the historical Jesus. Latin American faithful see that as the best way to give expression to their Christian faith" (p.13). [back]

54 See Herman Wiersinga, De Verzoeninq in de Theoloqische Diskussie, Kampen: J H Kok, 1971. [back]

55 Note for example Cullmann's words: "Because the first Christians see God's redemptive revelation in Jesus Christ, for them it is his very nature that he can be known only in his work—fundamentally in the central work accomplished in the flesh. Therefore, in the light of the New Testament witness, all mere speculation about his natures is an absurdity. Functional Christology is the only kind which exists" (Oscar Cullmann, The Christology of the New Testament, London: SCM Press, 1963). [back]

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