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Crosscurrents in Adventist Christology

by Claude Webster


C. A Brief Analysis of Heppenstall's Christology

Before moving to the evaluation and critique of Heppenstall's contribution, we wish to give a brief analysis of Heppenstall's Christology after having sought to describe it.

Heppenstall's Christology is based on the concept of Christ being fully God and fully man. His deity ensures that the One who came to rescue man is no one other than God. This gives inestimable worth to the sinless life and atoning death of Christ. Moreover, His genuine humanity means that Jesus Christ has truly met man on common ground, can face the reality of temptation and can genuinely qualify to become man's merciful High Priest.

Heppenstall's insistence on the sinless human nature of Christ has helped to maintain the uniqueness of Christ. Even though Heppenstall has Christ using His human attributes, having surrendered His divine attributes to the control of His Father, Christ stands out above all other men who have ever lived. His sinlessness guarantees His qualifications to be a complete Saviour. Although Heppenstall holds up Christ's manner of victory as possible for all men, his stand on Christ's sinlessness, in nature and act, has prevented him from using Christ's perfection for soteriological ends.

From the firm base of Christ's person, Heppenstall moves to the centrality and importance of the cross of Calvary where Jesus Christ made a complete atonement for sin. In the work of the cross, Heppenstall maintains the historical reality of an objective atonement that was made once-for-all, never to be repeated. Despite this finality, he has given much prominence to Christ's continued work of redemption and judgment in the heavenly sanctuary. Only when this work is accomplished will the finished work of Calvary be translated into living reality throughout God's universe.

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