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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, April 24, 2010

More Proof that the Clarkians Are Heretical on the Incarnation

The following quote was e-mailed to me by Hugh McCann, a "clarkian." He seems to think that simply because Hodge says that Nestorius himself was probably not guilty of the heresy that bears his name it does not mean that the heresy itself is not a heresy! This is Gordon H. Clark's excuse for pushing Nestorianism? Nestorianism was not really a heresy after all? That's a convenient argument. Maybe the Sabellian modalists should give that one a try or the Pelagians? Also, lifting what "apparently" supports the Clarkian view out of context is dishonest as a "logical" argument, something Clarkians supposedly pride themselves on. If you will take the time to read Charles Hodge and A.A. Hodge as quoted below you will see that both men condemned Clark's two person view as the Nestorian heresy.

THANKS, SEAN.


This is from A.A. Hodge:

"The Nestorian heresy, charged upon Nestorius, a Syrian by birth, and bishop of Constantinople, during the fifth century, by his enemy Cyril, the arrogant bishop of Alexandria. Cyril obtained a judgment against Nestorius in the Council of Ephesus, A.D. 431, to the effect that he separated the two natures of Christ so far as to teach the coexistence in him of two distinct persons, a God and a man, intimately united. But it is now, however, judged most probable by Protestant historians that Nestorius was personally a brave defender of the true faith, and that the misrepresentations of his enemies were founded only upon his uncompromising opposition to the dangerous habit then prominently introduced of calling the Virgin Mary the mother of God, because she was the mother of the human nature of Christ." (Outlines of Theology, Chapter 20, Question 15, 3rd Answer)



Hugh's comment: Screw Catholic theology, history, and those twits who blindly follow, nose-to-tail.

Hi, Charlie!
Hugh, not only is this reference not from A. A. Hodge, it is taken out of context. The quote is actually from Charles Hodge. The full context of Charles Hodge says:

Nestorianism.

The integrity of the two natures in Christ having been thus asserted and declared to be the faith of the Church, the next question which arose concerned the relations of the two natures, the one to the other, in the one person of Christ. Nestorianism is the designation adopted in church history, for the doctrine which either affirms, or implies a twofold personality in our Lord. The divine Logos was represented as dwelling in the man Christ Jesus, so that the union between the two natures was somewhat analogous to the indwelling of the Spirit. The true divinity of Christ was thus endangered. He was distinguished from other men in whom God dwelt, only by the plenitude of the divine presence, and the absolute control of the divine over the human. This was not the avowed or real doctrine of Nestorius, but it was the doctrine charged upon him, and was the conclusion to which his principles were supposed to lead. Nestorius was a man of great excellence and eminence; first a presbyter in Antioch, and afterwards Patriarch of Constantinople. The controversy on this subject arose from his defending one of his presbyters who denied that the Virgin Mary could properly be called the Mother of God. As this designation of the blessed Virgin had already received the sanction of the Church, and was familiar and dear to the people, Nestorius's objection to its use excited general and violent opposition. He was on this account alone accused of heresy. As, however, there is a sense in which Mary was the Mother of God, and a sense in which such a designation is blasphemous, everything depends on the real meaning attached to the terms. What Nestorius meant, according to his own statement, was simply that God, the divine nature, could neither be born nor die. In his third letter to Coelestin, Bishop of Rome, he said, "Ego autem ad hanc quidem vocem, quae est qeoto,koj, nisi secundum Apollinaris et Arii furorem ad confusionem naturarum proferatur, volentibus dicere non resisto; nec tamen ambigo quia haec vox qeoto,koj illi voci cedat, quae est cristoto.koj, tanquam prolatae ab Angelis et evangelistis" What he asserted was, "Non peperit creatura creatorem, sed peperit hominem deitatis instrumentum. . . . Spiritus sanctus . . . Deo Verbo templum fabricatus est, quod habitaret, ex virgine." Nevertheless, he obviously carried the distinction of natures too far, for neither he nor his followers could bring themselves to use the Scriptural language, "The Church of God which he purchased with his blood." The Syriac version used by the Nestorians, reads Cristo,j instead of Qeo,j in Acts xx. 28. The principal opponent of Nestorius was Cyril of Alexandria, who secured his condemnation by violent means in the Synod of Ephesus in A. D. 431. This irregular decision was resisted by the Greek and Syrian bishops, so that the controversy, for a time at least, was a conflict between these two sections of the Church. Ultimately Nestorius was deposed and banished, and died A. D. 440. His followers removed eastward to Persia, and organized themselves into a separate communion, which continues until this day.

First of all, Charles Hodge lists the quote under "Erroneous and Heretical Doctrines on the Person of Christ." It would be odd that Hodge did not view the dividing of Christ into two persons as not being a heresy.



However, A. A. Hodge in the Outlines of Theology says the following:

10. What is the general principle upon which those passages are to be explained which designate the person of Christ from one nature, and predicate attributes to it belonging to the other?

The person of Christ, constituted of two natures, is one person. He may, therefore, indifferently be designated by divine or human titles, and both divine and human attributes may be truly predicated of him. He is still God when he dies, and still man when he raises his people from their graves.

Mediatorial actions pertain to both natures. It must he remembered, however, that while the person is one, the natures are distinct, as such. What belongs to either nature is attributed to the one person to which both belong, but what is peculiar to one nature is never attributed to the other. God, i.e., the divine person who is at once God and man, gave his blood for his church, i.e., died as to his human nature (Acts 20:28). But human attributes or actions are never asserted of Christ's divine nature, nor are divine attributes or actions ever asserted of his human nature.

11. How have theologians defined the ideas of "nature," a "person" as they are involved in this doctrine?

In the doctrine of the Trinity the difficulty is that one spirit exists as three Persons. In the doctrine of the Incarnation the difficulty is that two spirits exist in union as one Person.

"Nature" in this connection has been defined by the terms, "essence," "being,""substance."

"Person" in this connection has been defined as "an individual substance, which is neither part of, nor is sustained by some other thing," or as "an intelligent individual subsistence, per se subsistens." The human nature in Christ never was "per se subsistens," but since it began to be as a germ generated into personal union with the eternal Second Person of the Godhead, so from the beginning "in altero sustentatur."

12. What were the effects of this personal union upon the Divine nature of Christ?

His divine nature being eternal and immutable, and, of course, incapable of addition, remained essentially unchanged by this union. The whole immutable divine essence continued to subsist as the eternal Personal Word, now embracing a perfect human nature in the unity of his person, and as the organ of his will. Yet thereby is the relation of the divine nature changed to the whole creation, since he has become Emmanuel, "God with us," "God manifest in the flesh."

13. What were the effects of that union upon his human nature?

The human nature, being perfect after its kind, began to exist in union with the divine nature, and as one constituent of the divine Person, and as such it ever continues unmixed and essentially unchanged human nature.

The effect of this union upon Christ human nature, therefore, was—

1st. Exaltation of all human excellencies above the standard of human and of creaturely nature.—John 1:14; 3:34; Isaiah 12:2.

2nd. Unparalleled exaltation to dignity and glory, above every name that is named, and a community of honor and worship with the divinity in virtue of its union therewith in the one divine Person.

3rd. As in the union of soul and body in the natural person, the soul although absolutely destitute of extension in itself, is in virtue of its union with the body present at once from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot—that is virtually, if not essentially, present in conscious perception and active volition—so through its personal union with the eternal Word is the human nature of Christ, (a) virtually present (although logically in heaven) with his people in the most distant parts of the earth at the same time, sympathizing with each severally as one who has himself also been tempted, (b) rendered practically inexhaustible in all those draughts made upon its energies by the constant exercise of those mediatorial functions which involve both natures.

Hence the church doctrine concerning the "communicatio idiomatum vel proprietatum " of the two natures of Christ. It is affirmed in the concrete in respect to the person, but denied in the abstract in respect to the natures; it is affirmed utrius naturoe ad personam, but denied utrius naturoe ad naturam.

14. To what extent is the human nature of Christ included in the worship due to him?

We must distinguish between the object and the grounds of worship. There can be no proper ground of worship, except the possession of divine attributes. The object of worship is not the divine excellence in the abstract, but the divine person Of whom that excellence is an attribute. The God–man, consisting of two natures, is to be worshipped in the perfection of his entire person, because only of his divine attributes.

15. State the analogy presented in the union of two natures in the persons of men.

1st. Every human person comprehends two distinct natures, (a) a conscious, self–acting, self–determined spirit absolutely without extension in space, and (b) an extended highly organized body composed of passive matter.

2nd. These constitute but one person. The body is part of the person.

3rd. These natures remain distinct, the attributes of the spirit never being made common to the material body, nor the attributes of the body to the spirit, but the attributes of both body and spirit are common to the one person. The person is often designated by a title proper to one nature while the predicate is proper to the other nature.

4th. The spirit is the person. When the spirit leaves the body the latter is buried as a corpse, while the former goes to judgment. At the resurrection the spirit will resume the corpse into the person.

5th. While in union the person possesses and exercises the attributes of both natures. And in virtue of the union the unextended spirit is present virtually wherever the extended body is, and the inert insensible matter of the nerve tissues thrill with feeling and throb with will as organs of the feeling and willing soul.

*****

17. How can it be shown that the doctrine of the incarnation is a fundamental doctrine of the Gospel?

1st. This doctrine, and all the elements thereof; is set forth in the Scriptures with preeminent clearness and prominence.

2nd. Its truth is essentially involved in every other doctrine of the entire system of faith; in every mediatorial act of Christ, as prophet, priest and king; in the whole history of his estate of humiliation, and in every aspect of his estate of exaltation; and, above all, in the significance and value of that vicarious sacrifice which is the heart of the gospel. If Christ is not in the same person both God and man, he either could not die, or his death could not avail. If he be not man, his whole history is a myth; if he be not God, to worship him is idolatry, yet not to worship him is to disobey the Father.—John 5:23.

3rd. Scripture expressly declares that this doctrine is essential.—1 John 4:2,3.

18. In what Creeds and by what Councils has this doctrine been most accurately defined?

1st. The Creed of the Council of Nice, amended by the Council of Constantinople, and the Athanasian Creed, and the Creed of the Council of Chalcedon, are accurate and authoritative statements of the whole church as to this doctrine. They are all to be found above, Chapter 7.

2nd. The decision of the Council of Ephesus, AD. 431, condemning the Nestorians, and affirming the unity of the Person; the decision of the Council of Chalcedon (451) against Eutyches, affirming the distinction of natures; and the decision of the Council of Constantinople (681) against the Monothelites, affirming that Christ's human nature retains in its unimpaired integrity a separate will as well as intelligence, closed the gradually perfected definition of the church doctrine as to the Person of Christ, and have been accepted by all Protestants.

19. How may all Heresies on this subject be classified?

As they seek relief from the impossibility which reason experiences in the effort fully to comprehend the mutual consistency of all the elements of this doctrine (1) in the denial of the divine element, (2) or in the denial of the human element in its reality and integrity, or (3) in the denial of the unity of the person embracing both natures.

****

22. State the Apollinarian Heresy.

Apollinaris, bishop of Laodicea, circum. 370, of general repute for orthodoxy and learning, taught that as man naturally consists of a body, swma, and an animal soul, psyuch, and a rational soul, pneuma, all comprehended in one person, so in Christ the divine logos takes the place of the human pneuma, and his one person consists of the divine pneuma, or reasonable soul, and the human animal soul and body. He thus gets rid of the difficulty attending the coexistence of two rational, self–conscious, self–determining spirits in one person, and at the same time destroys the revealed fact that Christ is at once very man and very God. This was condemned by the Council of Constantinople, AD. 381.

23. What was the Nestorian Heresy?

This term rather expresses an exaggerated, one–sided tendency of speculation on this subject than a positive definable false doctrine. It is the tendency to so emphasize the distinction of the two complete, unmodified natures in Christ, as to throw into the shade the equally revealed fact of the unity of his Person.

This tendency was most conspicuous in the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, the leader of the Antiochian school, and from him it became the general character of that school. The theology of the Eastern Church of the fourth and fifth centuries was divided between the two great rival schools of Alexandria and Antioch. "In the Alexandrian school, an intuitive mode of thought inclining to the mystical; in the Antiochian, a logical reflective bent of the understanding predominated."—Neander, "Hist.," Torrey's Trans., Vol. 2., p. 352.

Nestorius, who had been a monk at Antioch, became patriarch of Constantinople. He disapproved of the phrase, "Mother of God" (qeo>tokov), as applied to the Virgin, maintaining that Mary had given birth to Christ but not to God. Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria, opposed him, and both pronounced anathemas against each other. Nestorius supposed, in accordance with the Antiochian mode of thought, that the divine and the human natures of Christ ought to be distinctly separated, and admitted only a sunafeia (junction) of the one and the other, an ephnoikesnv (indwelling) of the Deity. Cyril, on the contrary, was led by the tendencies of the Egyptian (Alexandrian) school, to maintain the perfect union of the two natures (phusikh< e[nwsiv). Nestorius, as the representative of his party, was condemned by the Council of Ephesus, AD. 431.—Hagenbach's "Hist. of Doct.," Vol. 1., § 100.

From A. A. Hodge Outlines of Theology, The Person of Christ



4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Charlie,

If your research is correct, then I was mistaken in pulling that quote (with mis-attribution).

I apologize, and ask that you not post my mistakes without first reproving me in private (since I had not posted my error on a blog- it was sent in a private email).

Christian decency (Mt 7:12) would have had you contact me first before
1. posting your accusation, &
2. doing so without my knowledge!

If no emails sent to you are private, then I was further in error in sending along this quote, trusting you to abide by Christian decency.

Thank you,
Hugh McCann

Charlie J. Ray said...

Hugh, you call it "Christian" decency to insult me? And how about associating the Reformed view with Roman Catholicism? Is that Christian decency? Of course this is one of the universal doctrines that all Christians accept, including Eastern Orthodoxy. The only exception would be the Assyrian churches or the Ethiopian church.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Besides, you know about my blog policy that all e-mails are public.

But I will concede publicly that the quote at the top of the page is from A.A. Hodges Outlines of Theology. But it's from the first edition. The Second Edition is revised and expanded and does not include the quote you sent me in e-mail.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

The point still stands that both of the Hodges condemned the 2 person view as Nestorianism and both of the theologians said that Christ was one person who hypostatically united both the divine and the human natures.

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