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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

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gordon H. Clark Denies Nestorianism: There Are Not Two "Souls" in the One Lord Jesus Christ

J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. defends creationism in a most unfortunate way. In his A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion (Zondervan, 1962, Vol. I, 250-252) he speaks three times of Christ having been born with a sinless body: "The body of Christ was perfectly sinless." Nothing is said about a sinless soul. This is peculiarly strange, for, contrary to orthodox doctrine, Buswell teaches, "He, that is, his personal eternal being, his soul, became a human person, a human soul, without in any way ceasing to be a divine person, a divine Soul" (251). But this seems to be Nestorianism unless Buswell means to annihilate the divine Person, and other creationists would not be pleased with this defense of their doctrine.

Gordon H. Clark


This would appear to refute the idea that Clark was a Nestorian. It would also refute the position taken by so-called followers of Clark today who espouse a two person view of Christ.


Charlie


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.


33 comments:

sovereignlogos said...

Define soul. Then explain how your following comment, at Godshammer, can be understood without your own advocation of a two-soul theory.

"God experienced human death on the cross through the human soul of Jesus Christ because God the Son assumed a human and reasonable soul"

Either this means God the Son had a human soul AND a divine soul, or His human soul replaced His divine soul. Which is it?

And this: "Now God doesn’t die but the human soul of Christ did die. Obviously the hypostatic union ceases at death and is then reunited at the resurrection."

So, if Jesus only had one soul, it must have been human, correct? And if it died, then was Christ soulless for the period between his death and resurrection?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Patrick said, "Either this means God the Son had a human soul AND a divine soul, or His human soul replaced His divine soul. Which is it?"

Patrick, I don't know where you studied philosophy or logic but your syllogism is wrong. First of all, God does not have a "soul." God is a divine being with incommunicable attributes. So to transfer the idea of a human "soul" to God would be in a completely different category. God is pure spirit. He is nothing like man. Rather we are created in His image and likeness.

There is nothing in the Bible at all that would indicate that God has a soul.

Jesus had a human soul because God the Son assumed a human soul into the Godhead. There is only one soul and it is human. God does not have a soul but God the Son assumed a human soul into the divine nature/being at the incarnation.

This is all "confessional" Christianity and it is confessional because Christian theologians from the magisterial Reformation all agreed that it was biblical.

It's stated in all the Reformed creeds.

Now, you're free to depart from orthodoxy and become a heretic but as for me, I will stay with Scripture and the creeds. The doctrine of sola Scriptura does not throw out the creeds. On the contrary, the creeds and confessions are a "necessary" secondary authority as even Sean Gerety must admit--otherwise he has no basis to say that Federal Visionism is a heresy!

The Federal Visionists use the same arguments YOU are using to justify their heresy. So what makes YOU so special?

In answer to the second part of your question, the soul and the body are indeed separated at death. Paul said to be absent from the body is be present with the Lord. In other words, between now and the resurrection the soul is in heaven with God.

In the case of Jesus Christ when He died his soul was separated from the body until the resurrection. Where his soul went is a matter of debate. Some say He went to hell and suffered there for three days.

The Scriptural evidence seems to be that Christ merely went to the place of the dead. That seems to be heaven for those who are righteous by faith.

Since Christ was conscious after death as all who die are conscious after death, then it would be meaningless to say Christ was soul-less after death. Rather what you mean to say is that the soul of Christ was separated from HIs body at death.

Also, Christ is always God even after His physical death. So He is in full possession of the divine attributes before the incarnation, during the incarnation and after his death and resurrection.

Your attempt to say that Christ is not fully God and fully man fails because you cannot explain how He is God and man simply by appealing to some nonsensical definition of soul, person, and nature.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

Patrick, what kind of nonsense is that? Christ is never soul-less. He is always in possession of a human soul after the incarnation. Even now He is at the right hand of the Father and He is still both divine and human and He is one person.

pat/lawyertheologian said...

Charlie, you need to know that Clark did not come to his Nestorian view until he wrote "The Incarnation."

BTW, is not a soul/spirit a mind. And is not God a spirit?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Pat/LT:

Whether or not Clark's view is Nestorian is debatable. What is not debatable is that Sean denied being a Nestorian and then openly pushed the Nestorian heresy. This is not only unconfessional and heretical but it is illogical and irrational.

However, I'm glad that you openly admit you are a heretic.

It seems to me that ignorance can lead to all kinds of heresy, particularly when heretics ignore centuries of church history. The Reformers did not throw out the church fathers. They read them in the light of the Scriptures.

Charlie

Patrick T. McWilliams said...

Hi Charlie, I never saw this reply until now, so I'll answer your questions.

"On the contrary, the creeds and confessions are a "necessary" secondary authority as even Sean Gerety must admit--otherwise he has no basis to say that Federal Visionism is a heresy! The Federal Visionists use the same arguments YOU are using to justify their heresy. So what makes YOU so special?"

Sean does have a basis besides Westminster to denounce FV as heresy... Scripture. I'm not using FV arguments, this is another of your assertions without argumentation.

"Your attempt to say that Christ is not fully God and fully man fails..."
I'm not attempting to say that, and you have no evidence that I am. In fact, I've said the opposite many times.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Patrick, in case the obvious escapes you, Sean is not an apostle and does not have the authority to interpret Scripture other than the authority that all Christians have as prophets, priests and kings.

So if you are citing Sean Gerety as an "authority" on what Scripture says, then your authority is less than the confession of the Reformed churches. Both are "fallible" interpretations of Scripture. I will go with the Reformed confessions as opposed to following Anabaptist "revelations" like those you are Gerety are prone to receive.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

The fact is the nestorian view denies that Jesus is one Person. That would mean your view is a heresy on the basis of the Reformed confessions. That's good enough for me.


Charlie

Patrick T. McWilliams said...

I agree with your first paragraph. I never cited Sean as an authority though, and I don't recall having any "Anabaptist" revelations... I also never said that Jesus was two persons, in fact, I believe He is one person. You just like to smear people's good name, apparently, and then not admit when you're clearly wrong about me.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Patrick, you know very well you were supporting Clark's view in the previous debate. If you want to backpeddle, that is fine with me.

Charlie

Patrick T. McWilliams said...

I know no such thing, and neither do you, since you can't seem to produce a single quote. Is your conscience that seared that you don't mind straight-up lying? I'm not *backpedaling*, either.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I would be more than happy to post any formal state you have on the matter of Gordon H. Clark's view of the doctrine of Christ and the Definition of Chalcedon 451 A. D., particularly in how that relates to the Scriptural doctrine of Christ as fully God and fully man.

Charlie

Patrick T. McWilliams said...

I don't have a statement on Clark's view, because I'm not sure I understand it fully. I also refuse to take your word for it, just as I won't take Sean's word for it.

I think Chalcedon's formulation is not very specifically defined, and needs improvement, though I would not disagree with it.

I believe Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man.

These are all things I've said before, and you've refused to acknowledge me, even accusing me of lying. Meanwhile, since you're the one accusing me of damnable heresy, the onus is on you to produce evidence, which you have not done.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Your response is about as solid as jello, Patrick. There is nothing unclear about the Scriptural position and it is summarized in the Westminster Standards, the Three Forms of Unity, and in the Definition of Chalcedon 451. There is nothing unclear in the creed--if you are not trying to wiggle out of it or explain away what the creed obviously negates.

As Calvin said, there are limits to human reason and sometimes the best we can to is define what it is we do not affirm.

Jesus is one person, fully God and fully man, without mixture of the two natures or separating the two natures. The two natures are united in the one person, Jesus Christ who is both the Divine Logos and a human person assumed by the Logos.

That assumption of a reasonable human soul into the Godhead and by the second person of the Godhead does not make Jesus less than God or less than human.

Charlie

Patrick T. McWilliams said...

Mkay, now hows about producing a quote where I disagree with your last two paragraphs? Because I don't disagree...

Patrick T. McWilliams said...

Whoa whoa wait a second. I just realized something. In your last comment, you said,

"The two natures are united in the one person, Jesus Christ who is both the Divine Logos a human person assumed by the Logos."

Did you mean to say "a human nature"? Because otherwise that seems to say that the Logos is not a Person, but that the Logos assumed a human person.

Charlie J. Ray said...

What I said was:

The two natures are united in the one person, Jesus Christ who is both the Divine Logos and a human person assumed by the Logos.

That assumption of a reasonable human soul into the Godhead and by the second person of the Godhead does not make Jesus less than God or less than human.


That was clarified in the second paragraph. I meant "reasonable human soul."

But thanks for pointing that out. I say things on the fly that can be imprecise.

The Definition of Chalcedon says clearly that the Logos assumed the human nature and a human soul into the Godhead.


Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body. Definition of Chalcedon 451 A.D.

Patrick T. McWilliams said...

No problem; blogging can be an imprecise art.

Still sadly waiting for you to realize I'm not a Nestorian.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Belgic Confession Article 19: Of the Hypostatic Union or of the Two Natures in the Person of Christ

We believe that by this conception the person of the Son of God is inseparably united and joined with the human nature,[1] so that there are not two sons of God, nor two persons, but two natures united in one single person. Each nature retains its own distinct properties: His divine nature has always remained uncreated, without beginning of days or end of life (Heb 7:3), filling heaven and earth.[2] His human nature has not lost its properties; it has beginning of days and remains created. It is finite and retains all the properties of a true body.[3] Even though, by His resurrection, He has given immortality to His human nature, He has not changed its reality,[4] since our salvation and resurrection also depend on the reality of His body.[5]

However, these two natures are so closely united in one person that they were not even separated by His death. Therefore, what He, when dying, committed into the hands of His Father was a real human spirit that departed from His body.[6] Meanwhile His divinity always remained united with His human nature, even when He was lying in the grave.[7] And the divine nature always remained in Him just as it was in Him when He was a little child, even though it did not manifest itself as such for a little while.

For this reason we profess Him to be true God and true man: true God in order to conquer death by His power; and true man that He might die for us according to the infirmity of His flesh.

[1] Jn 1:14; Jn 10:30; Rom 9:5; Phil 2:6, 7. [2] Mt 28:20. [3] 1 Tim 2:5. [4] Mt 26:11; Lk 24:39; Jn 20:25; Acts 1:3, 11; Acts 3:21; Heb 2:9. [5] 1 Cor 15:21; Phil 3:21. [6] Mt 27:50. [7] Rom 1:4.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Belgic Confession Article 18: Of the Incarnation of the Son of God

We confess, therefore, that God has fulfilled the promise He made to the fathers by the mouth of His holy prophets[1] when, at the time appointed by Him,[2] He sent into the world His own only-begotten and eternal Son, who took the form of a servant and was born in the likeness of men (Phil 2:7). He truly assumed a real human nature with all its infirmities,[3] without sin,[4] for He was conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit and not by the act of a man.[5] He not only assumed human nature as to the body, but also a true human soul, in order that He might be a real man. For since the soul was lost as well as the body, it was necessary that He should assume both to save both.

Contrary to the heresy of the Anabaptists, who deny that Christ assumed human flesh of His mother, we therefore confess that Christ partook of the flesh and blood of the children (Heb 2:14). He is a fruit of the loins of David (Acts 2:30); born of the seed of David according to the flesh (Rom 1:3); a fruit of the womb of the virgin Mary (Luke 1:42); born of woman (Gal 4:4); a branch of David (Jer 33:15); a shoot from the stump of Jesse (Is 11:1); sprung from the tribe of Judah (Heb 7:14); descended from the Jews according to the flesh (Rom 9:5); of the seed of Abraham(Gal 3:16), since the Son was concerned with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore He had to be made like His brethren in every respect, yet without sin ( Heb 2:16, 17; Heb 4:15).

In this way He is in truth our Immanuel, that is, God with us (Mt 1:23).

[1] Gen 26:4; 2 Sam 7:12-16; Ps 132:11; Lk 1:55; Acts 13:23. [2] Gal 4:4. [3] 1 Tim 2:5; 1 Tim 3:16; Heb 2:14. [4] 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 7:26; 1 Pet 2:22. [5] Mt 1:18; Lk 1:35.

Patrick T. McWilliams said...

... Are you trying to convince me of something?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Patrick, I broke fellowship with Gerety and with The Trinity Foundation over the controversy of the creed of Chalcedon, which is supported by the WSC and the TFU and the Anglican Formularies.

Since you continue to be in fellowship with those who are in open heresy, I don't trust much you have to say.

Gerety wants to try to turn the burden of proof upside down. However, if you're going to say the confessions, symbols, standards, and creeds are not Biblical, then the burden of proof lies with you. Gerety has not done so. Until then, I have no further use for him or his blog.

I put denying the hypostatic union of Christ and the incarnation on the same level as denying the trinity or other essential doctrines of the Christian faith. It's fundamental.

Sorry.

Charlie

Patrick T. McWilliams said...

No need for an insincere mock apology. May God grant you better discernment, and may He keep matches out of your hands.

Charlie J. Ray said...

This quote from Clark shows that early on he is questioning the hypostatic union. The orthodox position is that Logos assumes a complete human nature into the Godhead, which would include assuming a reasonable human soul as part of that human nature.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Patrick, I didn't apologize nor do I intend to apologize. Why not? Because your theology is still questionable in my mind just on the basis of your comments over at God's Hammer during the heat of the discussion. You are still hiding and ducking and diving and you are unwilling to clarify exactly what you believe. I have offered to post a paper of yours explaining your view of the hypostatic union and the incarnation of the second Person of the Godhead. What more do you want?

Charlie

Acolyte4236 said...

Charlie,

Clark’s view as articulated in his book on the incarnation is clearly Nestorian. First, he argues that the soul is the person. Next he implicitly argues that to predicate of the Word is to predicate something of him qua nature. Consequently the Word cannot suffer and die, get tired and so on. Consequently for Clark, it was a man who died on the Cross, not a divine person. This is why he goes on in that book to speak of “the man Christ Jesus” and the Logos.

As far as what Nestorius taught, he never explicitly taught a “two Son” Christology and he even denied it. He did so because he argued for there being one “person” or prosopon in Christ. And by this he meant a single appearance produced by two natures, the one, divine, using the other. Consequently, in the one ‘Christ” there were two subjects, but only one active will.

The bad news is that the Reformed Confessional tradition isn’t much better. Take WCF 8.2 as an example, which asserts that Christ is both a human and divine person. This makes the person of “Christ” as the persona mediatoris, a product of the union, and contrary to Chalcedon which takes Christ to be all and only a divine person into whom was assumed human nature.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Acolyte, I agree that Gordon H. Clark changed his mind and in his final book endorsed the Nestorian heresy. I disagree with Clark and I would have to question his salvation on that point alone. Jesus Christ is both God and Man perfectly united in one Person. I agree with the Definition of Chalcedon 451 AND the Reformed Confessions: 39 Articles of Religion, Three Forms of Unity, and Westminster Standards.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Acolyte, Jesus Christ was One Person. The Definition of Chalcedon states that the Logos did not replace the human soul. Thus, the one Person is BOTH divine AND human. He is not simply divine. That would mean that Christ was not fully human.

The WCF is simply following the Definition of Chalcedon. So on that point Clark denied both the WCF and the Definition of Chalcedon.

The full text of the Definition can be found here:

The Definition of the
Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D)

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.


Definition of Chalcedon


Clearly the creed is saying that Christ is a human person and a divine person: ONE PERSON. The two natures are perfectly united in ONE person who is BOTH divine and human at the same time. The two are not confused, separated OR confused. One person means just that: ONE. Clark's attempt to explain this in rational and logical terms failed. I choose to use the analogy of the trinity. God is one in nature and three in person or subsistence. Regarding the incarnation, Christ is one person who is BOTH a human person AND a divine person.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The union of the two natures is in the ONE person. Nature=attributes. Christ possesses ALL the attributes of deity AND all the attributes of humanity yet He is one person.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I find it odd that a philosophy student and someone who promotes Eastern Orthodoxy does not understand a creed expressing essential doctrine necessary for salvation. The creed is authoritative precisely because it expresses the teaching of Scripture, the final authority.

Acolyte4236 said...

Charlie,

I agree that the divine person of the Logos did not replace the human soul and so Jesus being fully human had a human soul. But since the soul is not the person, the one person of the Logos is all and only a divine person or hypostasis. Being united to a human soul and body doesn’t change the divine person of the Logos into a human/divine person. So I think you’ve confused the question of whether Logos has two natures, human and divine, with the nature of the person of the Logos.

And no, the WCF is not following Chalcedon since Chalcedon didn’t speak of Jesus as a divine and human person. Take a look at Ursinus’ commentary on the Heidlberg Catechism.

“"Objection 2. But, according to this the Word cannot be a person, because he is part of the person; and that which is only a part cannot be a person. Answer. That which is only part of a person (and such a part that is not of itself a person) is no person; or, that which is a part of a person, is not that person of which it is a part. And so it may be said of the Word, if it be properly understood, that he is not the whole person of the mediator, although he is in, and of himself, a whole and complete person in respect to the Godhead." p. 210.

Who is this other person of the mediator that isn’t the Logos? As Chalcedon says, the person of Jesus is the person of the Logos, full stop. So no, the definition of Chalcedon is saying Christ is one divine person in which two natures human and divine are united. Since person and nature are not the same things, having a human nature doesn’t transmute the person of the Logos into a divine/human hybrid.

Your attempt to use Trinitarian terminology I think fails, here is why. Trinitarian distinctions turn on person/nature distinctions. To be consistent Jesus is one as to person and two as to nature. The hypostatic union doesn’t alter the person of the Logos from divine to divine and human. Such a view falls into either monophysitism or nestorianism. Either the person is a confluence of the natures (monophysitism via Severus) or the single person is a produced manifestation of the two natures, as Nestorius taught.

In short the WCF isn’t much better than Clark.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Acolyte, as usual you resort to strawman misrepresentations to attack the reformed view. The Reformers never said that Jesus was a hybrid. That's your silliness again. AFTER the incarnation Jesus is forever a divine/human person. The two natures cannot be separated--even AFTER the ascension. BEFORE the incarnation there was no human nature assumed into the divine being/nature. The Logos does NOT replace the human soul of Jesus yet there remains only one person. The soul of Jesus is not the Logos.

As Clark points out the Definition of Chalcedon is itself hopelessly self-contradictory since subsistence/person and substance are used interchangeably and even in opposite meaning from previous credal formulations. Technically speaking, Clark is not a Nestorian. Neither is he a monophysite.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I've changed my mind a bit on Clark's view and do not believe he intended to endorse Nestorianism.

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