Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Divinity of Jesus

I read conservative blogs from time to time, especially ones that address issues in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. On some of those blogs there have been assertions that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church doesn't believe in the divinity of Jesus. Although I have to yet see anything close to clear proof of those assertions, they does raise an important concern for me: the implicit denial by many Christians in North America of the humanity of Jesus.

Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann has suggested a very challenging way of understanding Micah 6:8:
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
According to Brueggemann, we must walk humbly with God because that is the way that God walks with us, not only in the person of Jesus, but throughout the story of God's relationship with the Hebrew people.

In North America, we have so frequently focused on the omnipotence of God that we have nearly lost sight of the Good News of God's power being manifested most perfectly in the humiliation of Jesus on the Cross. We like an all-powerful God, largely because we like to think of ourselves as powerful, as masters of our own lives. We defend the divinity of Jesus, as if anything about Jesus needed defending, because we want an all-powerful Savior on our side. And having formed in our minds an image of this all-powerful Savior, we run the risk of seeing Jesus as not really human, not really one of us, not really one with us.

Christian faith, if is true to the witness of Scripture, is faith in a human person, Jesus of Nazareth. This is the person whom I trust, the one in whom I believe God has been revealed fully. This is the one who, far from being experienced by his disciples as all-powerful, was content to be weak and humiliated out of love for us. This is the one whose humanity we deny at our peril.


J. Michael Povey said...

Superb. Amen and Amen! May I place this on my blog?


MadPriest said...

In my opinion dualism is at the heart of all our problems in the Anglican Communion. The splitting of the spiritual and the bodily, with the greater regard being given to the spiritual to the point of the bodily being viewed as unclean and ungodly, in a way little different to the doctrines of classical gnosticism, has led to all sorts of blasphemies being uttered about God's wonderful creation.

Daniel Weir said...

Thanks for the comment. I agree that dualism is the source - or one of the sources - of our readiness to downplay the humanity of Jesus.

Milton Finch, LAYPERSON said...

“Is Jesus Emmanuel God-with-us?”

Poor fellow Weir. The truest realization of your quotations in the Greek should read as "us-with-God." In other words, taking our representation of what God is doing with us in ourselves which takes us into His. (Read it twice, poor, blind fellow.)

Not "us" but "God" being the most important reality in the matter. Switch it around and you might come closer to realizing the truth in the matter.

(Never "God with us"... as if He is being brought with "our" beauty of thought, but MUCH rather and MUCH more importantly "us with God" because that is the way He always brings us. We are, in all reality, crap, worms, and He would never be found tagging along with us as if we were ever mor right than He...because we are crap.


if He brings us along with Him, if we are tagged along with His "name," we are raised above the crap we are destined to be... into Him.

But I feel you will not be able to understand this as you have always presumptuously brought Him into your "being" instead of your being (which was and is created by God) completely being taken into His perfect Being.

Daniel Weir said...

I very nearly deleted Milton Finch's comment. Rudeness is not at all attractive and does nothing to further understanding. However, there is something worth noting in his comment. He is right that, as my wife would say, it's not about us but about God. And yet, the overwhelming witness of Scripture is that God desires to be in a relationship with us, not on our terms, which are ultimately self-destructive, but on God's terms, which are life-giving. So, in spite of his rudeness, Mr. Finch's comments have been helpful.

Milton Finch, LAYPERSON said...

Dang, Dan!

Imagine you seeing beyond my rudeness! You go, boy! Yu dun a gud thang! We should all be awed. umhum