A Christology that meets the requirements of the mind loses the mystery and the majesty.
Two and a half years have elapsed since the publication of The Myth of God Incarnate (see Cornerstone, Nov. 4, 1977), in which seven English academics repudiated anything approaching the traditional doctrine of Jesus as God and man. The debate continues. Perhaps an assessment of the present state of play is appropriate, especially as Christmas approaches.
In February this year four contributors to The Myth came to London to meet four evangelicals and one conservative Anglo-catholic for a day-long conference. I record here some of my own impressions of that meeting.
Although I do not think the myth-makers’ armor was dented, at the same time, I was able to appreciate that they have at least three genuine concerns, namely to express a Christology which (1) safeguards a truly monotheistic faith, (2) preserves the authentic humanness of Jesus, and (3) makes sense as “gospel” to modern people. Yet to appreciate The Myth authors’ good concerns (I wish we all shared them) is not to approve the conclusions to which they have come. “Tell me,” I asked one of them over lunch, “do you ever worship Jesus?” “No,” came his immediate response, “I don’t.” This, I suggest, is a simple test which the most theologically illiterate person-in-the-pew can understand and apply. For what is ultimately at stake in this debate is not the Chalcedonian Definition (“one Person in two natures,” A.D. 451), nor semantic questions about “myth” and “metaphor,” but whether we bow the knee to Jesus, calling upon him for salvation and worshiping him as Lord. Can those who refuse to do this be called Christians? I think not.
A more important discussion took place in July 1978 ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more