Thursday in the Thirty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

The Creed of Chalcedon

to be acknowledged in two natures, without confusion

We are again drawn to the icy waters of history.  At a glance, a sect of the Church followed a leading monk of the fifth century, Eutyches, who taught that the Incarnate Christ had only one nature, that being the divine, his human nature being absorbed into it.  He denied that our Lord’s human nature is just as our own, and thus jeopardized the doctrine of salvation according to the ancient dictum, “That which is not assumed is not redeemed,” in this case, a whole of the human being.  No doubt, Eutyches and those who followed him had a “high” view of Christ thinking human nature beneath him.  However, such is the marvel of the Incarnation—that God humbles Himself and comes down from heaven to join his divinity with our humanity and become flesh—one of us (John 1:14).  He was condemned at Chalcedon.  Today, Eutyches’ teaching carries on in the Monophysite Churches of the East.  (See, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 484.)

So you see that these ancient Church Councils, both Nicaean and Chalcedonian, were fighting real battles.  These creeds are not relics of by-gone days; they are the results of controversies which were life and death struggles in the Early Church in which doctrine that lies at the heart of our faith is concerned; specifically, how we are saved.  The ancient Church affirmed after centuries of debate that Scripture teaches what the Church had taught from the beginning—that Christ was one person with both a divine and human nature.  We take for granted today what they hammered out only after great toil and often in the face of political persecution.

To proclaim that our Lord is “acknowledged in two natures—inconfusedly” or “without confusion”—is to say that neither the divine nor the human nature absorbs or overcomes the other in any way.  The two natures reside in our Lord harmoniously and without compromise, which is to say that he is just as much divine as human and human as divine and equally so.  It is also to say that there is no mixture of the two natures.  This does not mean that they are separated (as we shall soon see) but only that they are not blended into some monstrous “soup” of a person.  The human nature remains human and the divine nature remains divine but always working together in the unity of the one Person of the Son of God.

This is our faith and we dare not pooh-pooh it as the perturbations of a bunch of uptight theologians of yesteryear.  We stand on their shoulders.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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