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The Development of Christology and Its Relevance for Contemporary Christianity - Essay Example

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The Development of Christology and Its Relevance for Contemporary Christianity

It is through this interrogation that Christological doctrine developed. This paper examines the development of Christology up to Chalcedon and its importance to the modern Christianity. Christology is a branch of Christian theology concerned with the study of Jesus Christ (Meier 2001, 51). The discipline examines the nature, identity and personality of Jesus Christ in relation to the Christianity faith. Christianity has been in existence for about 2000 years. According to Stephen (2008, 70), the belief that Jesus Christ is man, God, and the Son of God are the foundations of the faith. The Holy Bible asserts that Jesus Christ is the savior whom all Christians should worship. However, the emergence of different and unconventional Christian doctrines in the recent past about Jesus Christ has presented a significant challenge to the mainstream Christian teachings. The earliest interrogation of the personality and identity of Jesus Christ dates back to AD 90-140 (O’ Collins 1995, 107). During this time, Christian spiritual leaders indentified and emphasized on both the divinity and humanity of Jesus. Some of the earliest teachings by established apostolic fathers at the time such as Clement and Ignatius addressed and considered the dual nature of Christ as both divine and human at the same time (Philip, 1893: 52). According to Philip (1893: 59), Ignatius approved the dual nature of Jesus by referring Him as “Jesus Christ our Lord”. Similarly, Philip (1893, 83) notes that Clement challenged early Christians to consider “Christ as both God and the adjudicator of both the dead and the living.” The emphasis of both the deity and humanity of Christ in early church are demonstrated by Melito of Sardis (AD 165-175). According to Berkhof (1969, 19), Melito categorically stated Christ was both man and God. He argued that Jesus’ burial after crucifixion demonstrates He is man while his resurrection three days later showed He is God. However, other apostolic teachers such as Justin Martyr, though acknowledging Jesus as both man and God believed that Christ was lesser than the highest God (Bauckham 1991, 86). Although early teachings acknowledged both the humanity and divinity of Christ, the interrogation was largely superficial and lacked clarity and adequate conviction from early theological critics. Docetism and adoptionism are some of the earliest theological ideologies that questioned both the humanity and divinity nature of Jesus Christ. Adoptionism rejected the divinity of Christ and some theological critics argued that He was not born by a virgin woman (Dunn 2003, 63). According to Ferguson and Wright (1988, 58), adoptionism acknowledged that Jesus was man, who was adopted by God to fulfill a particular or specific role. Hence, the ideology attested that Jesus became the savior only by his strict adherence of God’s commands and his good deeds toward humanity. In the process, Jesus became aware of his divine character that was confirmed when he received the Holy Spirit at his baptism (Davidson 2001) Docetism on the other hand affirmed that Jesus was not human at all but divine (Bray 1983, 44). According to Bray (1983, 49), Docetists argued that Jesus did not have physical body, but he just appeared to have flesh and blood. Some of the proponents of Docetism in the 2nd century included Gnosticism but Ignatius, an early apostolic leader vehemently denied that Jesus Christ was not human as proclaimed by ...Show more


Introduction Christology is one of Christian theological disciplines that comprehensively examine the development of the doctrine in various dimensions including its limitations and legitimacy. Since the inception of Christianity, the church proclaimed that reconciliation between man and God occurs only through Jesus Christ (Dunn 2003, 13)…
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