The Defining Moment
[* Adapted from “Creeds, Councils, and Controversies: Documents Illustrative of the History of the Church, A.d. 337–461,” edited by J. Stevenson (SPCK, 1966) and Peter L’Huillier, “The Church of the Ancient Councils: The Disciplinary Work of the First Four Ecumenical Councils” (St. Vladimir’s Press, 1996).]
The Chalcedonian Definition of the Faith (451) set the boundaries in which Christians were to think about Jesus Christ. Though a few churches have disagreed, the vast majority of Christendom has submitted to this “definition.” Here, the most relevant section is broken into thought blocks:
Some, taking in hand to set aside the preaching of the truth by heresies of their own, have uttered vain babblings, daring to pervert the mystery of the dispensation.…
The synod is opposed to those who presume to rend asunder the mystery of the Incarnation into a double Sonship.
It deposes from the priesthood those who dare to say that the Godhead of the only begotten is passable.
It withstands those who imagine a mixing or confusion of the two natures of Christ.
It drives away those who erroneously teach that the form of a servant he took from us was of a heavenly or some other substance.
It anathematizes those who feign that the Lord had two natures before the union but that these were fashioned into one after the union.
Therefore, following the holy fathers, all of us teach unanimously that everyone must confess that our Lord Jesus Christ is one single and same Son, who is perfect according to divinity and perfect according to humanity,
truly God and truly man, composed of a reasonable [i.e., rational] soul and a body, consubstantial with the Father according to divinity and consubstantial with us according to humanity, completely like us ...