Major Christological Perspectives Discussed in the Ecumenical Councils of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries

The Controversy over the Deity of Jesus

There was controversy regarding Christ divinity and the completeness, or integrity of his humanity. The argument was highly based in the book of John 1:14 in the bible where the word is said to be flesh (Logos-sarx).The first argument was presented by Arians who regarded Jesus Christ as an intermediary being and neither human nor divine. In his argument there was only the Father and the word in the beginning, and the word was used to create everything else. Thus, Jesus was not either of them. Thus, he was not of the same composition as the father. This notion was supported by some bishop while others rejected it. This resulted to a synod in which ancient creed was reviewed to Nicene Creed that rejected Arian view despite wide support in the region (Cunningham, 2002).

This was followed by Apollinarianism view that held that the soul active principle was replaced by the word in Christ. In Christ subordination to the word, humanity of Christ lacked its personal active principles. This view was rejected by most Christians and the First Constantinople Council. In the fifth century Cyril view the Christ unity based on the word is stressed that humanity role of Christ is obscured, but its reality is evident. There was also Antiochene view stressed on two distinction natures in Christ. All these controversies arose due to different interpretation of the bible regarding Jesus existence and his relation with God. The bible was not very clear on the relation between God and Christ, and the process of Jesus huminification (Fiorenza, 2011).

The Outcome

In the Nicaea council, the Arians view regarding the divinity of Christ was rejected. The council reviewed the old creed that was used to explain this issue to develop a new Nicaea Creed. The new creed rejected word subordination to the father, and the Son was professed as “true God from true God” of similar substance as the father, and not made but begotten. The creed also introduced of homoousins term which was not biblical. The term prohibited lessening of the Christ divinity and ended up being the fidelity touchstone to the teaching of conciliar.The first Constantinople Council was formed to evaluate the Apolinarianism view regarding divinity of Christ and to defend the Holy Spirit divinity over the Pneumatomachians. The apollinarianism claimed that if Christ contains no human soul then he cannot truly be regarded as human and thus, is Christ is not truly human then he cannot be said to save mankind. Thus mankind is not truly saved. This was rejected by the council (Cunningham, 2002).

There was also another council in Ephesus which was established to discuss the legitimacy of the theotokos title to the Mary, which was basically meant “the bearer of Christ.” The council affirmed the title legitimacy. The Chalcedon council was done to create a new creed after the previous one was found to be ambiguous particularly by Roman legates. Bishops commission succeeded in developing an acceptable creed that was later adopted. The creed formed in Chalcedon end up being the classical Christological doctrine formation. The purpose of the adopted text was to admit both the Christ unity and his humanity and divinity completeness. The doctrine was expressed by the council in different ways. First the definition professes belief in the Christ unity with the humble confession that Christ the Lord Jesus is one and the same Son. These decisions were meant to create clarity on the right doctrines to be followed and to eliminate confusion. The decisions were also meant to bring unit in the church (Fiorenza,2011).

Application and Analysis

Christology is very important in the modern Christian fellowship since it plays a great part in guiding what worshipers believe in and remove any doubts that would make them think that they are not worshiping the true God. With clear information on the relation between God and Christ, Christians get the meaning of who they are titled to follow and depend on him as they would depend on God. Although Christology has not prevented the emergency of many denomination in the Christians religion, it has always help Christians to remain in unity by sharing their faith and believe in one God, with three parts which include God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This defines who they are, what they believe in, and what guide their religious path.

Although there are a lot of similarities between the Christology and Nicene Orthodox, the two differ in the relation between Christ, Father and the Holy Spirit. Nicene perceive them as unique identities with its own role separate from others. While Christology acknowledges Christ as the Son of God, Nicene only acknowledge Jesus as a giver of life who proceeds from the father. The Nicene is not precise on the relation between Jesus and God as a father and a son. Moreover, though Nicene worship the three together, it does not acknowledge the Son, and the spirit, and the father as the three parts of one God.

The Christianity fellowship main departure from the Nicene orthodoxy is the fact that the Christians declare faith as individuals and not as a group. They use of the word “I” rather than “we”. This demonstrates personal relation with God and thus, the individual believe on the salvation of Christ, personal judgment, and resurrection. This makes one to consider his or her ways as an individual. Although the two creeds look very similar one focus on the faith of the congregation while the other focuses on individual faith in Christ.

The thinking of modern Christians is aligned with that the Nicene Creed in that they all believe in the same thing only that the Christians version is more precise and direct to the point. It is considerably hard to understand what part of the Nicene Creed really mean. However, they share the main point. They all believe in One God, the Father almighty, the creator of everything.

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