Re-claiming the Incarnation 06-22-2017

Many Christians shy away from Jesus’ name altogether since it has been used to exclude. In the process, they completely disregard the center of Christian faith. There are liberal churches where I’ve been told, “We don’t use the J word here (Jesus). Too many people have been burned by it.” If this is really my stance, I should become Unitarian or Baha’i. But, to remain within the Christian tradition and not mention Jesus is ludicrous.

this post may contain affiliate links

Some current theologians refer to Jesus as a Jewish mystic, a healer, a wisdom teacher, a social prophet, and a movement initiator. Yet they never explicitly refer to Jesus as the human incarnation of God, which is the most important claim of Christianity’s two thousand years of witnesses.[1]

Generations of witnesses have claimed that with Jesus something unique and unprecedented happened: God’s human incarnation. Disregarding this unique claim of Christian tradition is an unprecedented break from historic Christian faith (1 Corinthians3:11).

The incarnation is Christianity’s unique testament among the world religions. If we loose this fulcrum, we lose traditional Christianity. We cannot, with integrity, dispense with the central core of Christian faith. We can, however, carefully choose whose interpretation of the incarnation is authoritative for us. For me, The Alexandrian Mystics (Alexandrian Fathers) are the authorities on the incarnation, restoring breadth and depth to Christian theology. For more on their interpretation of the incarnation (The Jesus Paradox) see my book, Healing The Divide: Recovering Christianity’s Mystic Roots.

 

[1] Borg, The Heart of Christianity, 89-91. A number of people I’ve talked to have concurred that they appreciate Marcus Borg’s The Heart of Christianity as a corrective to imbalances in the Christian faith, but that it’s not a definitive work because it gives away too much that is uniquely Christian.

[2] Goulder, Incarnation and Myth, 43.

 

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.