Authentic Christianity has always been marked with the sign of the Incarnation. Its worship and preaching has centered on the fact: “God was in Christ,” and the meaning: “reconciling the world unto himself.” Where the fact (with its tremendous corollary that “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”) has been ignored or denied, the meaning has ebbed from the life of the Church: in other words, there has been no true message of reconciliation. This is easily understandable to those of us who have received the witness of the Bible and have experienced the power of the Risen Christ; for we know that it is only a divine Lord made man for us who can rescue and restore mankind. Yet it must remain a mystery for those who make a simple religious-historical judgment. For it would seem that a less miraculous message—such as that in Jesus mankind reached its highest illumination, or that his life offers the best example and his teaching the deepest truth—must inevitably have a stronger appeal. Instead the verdict of Christian history has been that wherever the sheer miracle of the Incarnation has been evaded or denied the Christian community has tended to wither and die. Nothing but the message of a divine Christ, the Word made flesh for us, has proved sufficient to nourish the life of the Church or bring a truly reconciling message to the world.

The Miracle Of Incarnation

This fact, astonishing as it must be to the detached observer, is probably more clearly recognized within the Church today than it was some fifty years ago. The advance of New Testament criticism beyond the point where it was considered possible to dig behind the documents to discover a Jesus “unencumbered with the dogma of the Pauline Church” has contributed ...

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