Re-claiming the Incarnation Part 2 06-29-2017

Many broadminded theologians today reflect the words of Don Cupitt: “The critical historian no longer sees both natures displayed in Jesus’ life. He sees a purely human Jesus, a first-century man of God in the Jewish tradition.”[1] This new age Jesus becomes a pattern for human life, but is no longer the incarnation.

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Most broadminded theologians miss Thomas Merton’s sentiment in The Seven Storey Mountain,
Jesus Christ was not simply a man, a good man, a great man, the greatest prophet, a wounded healer, a saint: He was something that made all such trivial words pale into irrelevance. He was God. But nevertheless He was not merely a spirit without a true body, God hiding under a visionary body: He was also truly a man.[2]

Contemporary theologians talk of Jesus as “God embodied in a human life.”[3] But, in Jesus God wasn’t just embodied in a human life like other prophets. Jesus was utterly unique: God’s human incarnation. This affirmation of generations of witnesses differentiates Christianity from all other world religions. Some claim “His life incarnates the character of God.”[4] But, “Jesus incarnates the character of God” evades the bold affirmation of the ages: God incarnate; “God in human form” (Philippians 2:8, Colossians 2:9).

“The Word (God) became flesh (human)” (John 1:14). This is the difference between God’s human incarnation and God’s prophets and prophetesses. In Jesus God didn’t dwell within a human like Moses, Elijah, and Deborah. God became human. This is the unique legacy of the Christian testament.

[1] Goulder, Incarnation and Myth, 43.

[2] Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain, 209.

[3] Borg, The Heart of Christianity, 88.

[4] Borg, The Heart of Christianity, 88.

David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings.  Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program  created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners, and then guides us experientially through core prayers and meditations.

How do we know that Jesus was actually raised from the dead in bodily form? This course with Prof. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, examines the extraordinary claim that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead in a bodily fashion to appear in person to people after his cruel death, crucifixion, and entombment.

Check out Simply Good News by New Testament scholar and author N. T. Wright.  It is based upon his book Simply Good News.  You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament.  It works well for group studies.   

Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus.  Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. Enjoy an article Rich wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.

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