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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, March 15, 2013

Gordon H. Clark: Quote of the Day: The Incarnation

"Therefore, since God is Truth, we shall define person, not as a composite of sensory impressions, as Hume did, but, rejecting with him the meaningless term substance, we shall define person as a composite of truths.  A bit more exactly, since all men make mistakes and believe some falsehoods, the definition must be a composite of propositions.  As a man thinketh in his (figurative) heart, so is he.  A man is what he thinks."  Gordon H. Clark, The Incarnation, (Jefferson:  Trinity Foundation, 1988), p. 54.

The verse Clark is quoting is from Proverbs:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. "Eat and drink!" he says to you, But his heart is not with you. (Proverbs 23:7 NKJ)
Of course, God thinks nothing that could be false since God is the source of all truth, being truth himself.  Each person of the trinity thinks the divine propositions of deity in common with the others since all three persons are fully God and share the same divine nature.  That nature is not a substance but is rather God himself as he is defined by the attributes or propositions of deity.  According to Clark, the distinction between the three persons has to do with the propositions each thinks.  The Father does not think he is the Son nor the Spirit.  Here Clark is following both Scripture and the Athanasian Creed.  God is one in one sense and three in another, although finding definable terms is difficult.  In his book on the trinity Clark acknowledges this difficulty and asserts that what is most important is that we recognize that God is one in one sense and three in another, namely one God who is also three persons.

Carried over to the incarnation this means that the man Jesus Christ is two persons based on the 681 creed that Jesus had two wills or centers of consciousness.  Jesus was both a human person and the divine Logos, the second person of the Godhead, united in one man.  (Cf. 1 Timothy 3:16; Colossians 1:19; Colossians 2:9; John 1:1-3; John 1:18; Philippians 2:5-11).

Clark rightly pointed out that the Definition of Chalcedon vacillated between Nestorianism and Apollinarianism.  Most modern Evangelicals hold to a form of Apollinarianism where the human "nature" of Christ is said to be impersonal.  Unfortunately, the Definition of Chalcedon contradicts that view when it says that Jesus had a "reasonable human soul".  The question raised by Clark is how could an impersonal human nature have a soul?  How can an impersonal human nature be a person while at the same time having an "impersonal" human nature?  

Also, Clark rightly asked how the second person of the trinity could change in the incarnation without also affecting the trinity?  If the Logos suffers, so would the triune God, which implies the ancient heresy of patripassionism, contra Jurgen Moltmann and J. Ligon Duncan III.

I will be writing more about these issues in coming posts.  But let me ask you when you last heard a sermon on the trinity or the incarnation?  Evangelicals are woefully ignorant of what can only be called essential doctrines of the Christian faith.  I should state here also that I no longer believe that Gordon H. Clark was guilty of Nestorianism.  His view falls more into the category of the dyothelite view of Christ having two wills, which logically implies that Jesus had two minds or centers of consciousness.  We as men think propositions that sometimes are false.  Jesus never erred in any proposition, being preserved from the noetic effects of sin even in his human person. 




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