Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pieper, 1968, vol. 2. “The personal Union and the Christological Theories of Modern Theology”

“The personal Union and the Christological Theories of Modern Theology” (Loc. 2113).

In this chapter Pieper summarizes modern Christological misrepresentations and outlines the motives behind them. Underlying it all, Pieper says, is the rejection of the inerrant and true Word of God, led, in Pieper’s view, by Schleiermacher.

Pieper chooses to speak in this context (Loc. 2136) because implicit in the modern theology is a view of Jesus as merely human. The denial of the two natures of Christ is thus necessary.

In Loc. 2136 Pieper observes that De Wette and Ritschl represent theologians who “do not consider Christ as saving men through His vicarious satisfaction, but through His arousing of moral, pious, intellectual feelings in men” (Loc. 2144).

Pieper also identifies theologians who consider themselves “conservative” and wish to find a “deeper understanding.” These he divides into two categories, kenoticists and advocates of autohypostatic theory.

“The kenoticists seek to obtain this conceivability by reducing the divine nature of the Son of God in His incarnation” (Loc. 2159). Among these Pieper lists Thomasius, Delitzsch, Kahnis, Luthardt, and Zoeckler. This view lowers Christ to the level of having to learn what it is to be human.

“To remove this intellectual difficulty, others have advanced to the autohypostatic theory. They refuse to accept the enhypostasy of the human nature of Christ, that is, its assumption into the Person of the Son of God, and hold that the Man Christ had a personality of His own” (Loc. 2173).

This view separates the personality of human and divine in Christ, some viewing that the natures grow together (Dorner) and some saying they remain distinct (Seeberg, Kirn).

Both views finally deny a Christ who is entirely divine and entirely human. We are left with a Christ who is a mere man, worked upon by God in a unique way. Yet there is none of the union found in Scripture.

Pieper discusses historical terms which are rejected by the modern theologians, such as the terms “person,” “nature,” and the like. As the terms are rejected, so may the person of Christ be rejected. Pieper continues at length detailing the importance and universality of the Lutheran Reformation’s view of the personal union of Christ.

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