...really like this response by a person responding to Brian McLaren's blog.

I like the explanations of the Nicene creed and the way Jesus' actions are explained: It also helps me to think through further my feelings about some people's resistance to calling God - Father. Thoughts still formulating on that front. However, I pray to 'Father'.

Gary Leonard
Who is God...
God lives in an eternal Triune relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As such, God is a relationship of love. As such, God is love. In the Incarnation, it is Jesus Christ who revealed the Father to us; otherwise we would not have come to know God the Father, as 'Father'. Lack of a full appreciation of God as being a Triune ... See Morerelationship of Love, and lack of truly knowing God as such, and the core of the soul as such, can lead the church to a tendency away from self giving to others and towards acts of affliction. It is out of this being as Love that the Son of God in obedience to the Father became a man; that is, the event of the Incarnation. This was an act of self giving unconditional Love. The church needs to understand the nature of such Divine Unconditional Love; the Love of God in His acts and in His being. In this context, in understanding Pentecostal Christian Spirituality, we need to understand what it means to be in the image of a Triune God of Love.

Fundamental to our Pentecostal Christian Spirituality is the expression of our Trinitarian faith and which is most clearly found in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed: ‘We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ; the only begotten Son of God, begotten from his Father before all ages, Light from Light; true God from true God, begotten not made, of one substance (homoousion) with the Father; through whom all things were made: who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven and was made flesh from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose- again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father. And he shall come again in glory to judge both te living and the dead: his kingdom shall have no end. And the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We confess one baptism for the remission of sins: we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.’ It was formulated by the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., definitively enlarged by the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D., and confirmed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D.

Athanasius, a key architect of the ‘Nicene Creed’, stated that “it would be more godly and true to signify God from the Son and call him Father, than to name God from his works and call him Unoriginate (ie Creator). This is a pivotal statement for our Christian Spirituality in the worship of our Triune God of grace. It presents the core of our starting point in understanding of Christian Spirituality as grounded in the Trinitarian and Incarnational being of God. It is important in our Christian Spirituality who we are worshipping and who we are praying to. Thus, in our access to the Father, we can know God firstly from a point within Himself and in the relationship of Father-Son.

On this ground we can appreciate the revelation content of the Incarnation; God as he is ‘for us’ and ‘toward us’. We must keep our understanding of the Triune existence of God and the event of the Incarnation together and in balance. It is from the Father-Son relationship that we have knowledge and access to the Father. We cannot really know God from a point outside Himself and from creation. Although we can appreciate the works of God from creation; creation is that which is not God. This is a critical step in moving to our Incarnational understanding. Accordingly, the statement found in the Nicene Creed of ‘one being with the Father’ (gr. homoousion of the Father-Son) is critical to our Christianity. Jesus Christ is God-Man. ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.’ As such, God shares in our humanity. God is ‘for us’: “I will be your God”. To believe in Jesus Christ is to believe in God Himself. In his book Trinitarian Faith T. Torrance notes, “the homoousion applies to the relation between the incarnate Son and God the Father. That is to say, it grounds the reality of our Lord’s humanity and of all that was revealed and done for our sakes by Jesus, in an indivisible union with the eternal being of God.” (TF page 135). This is a key link in going to work out the nature and significance of the Incarnation and the meaning of our exalted humanity and exaltation; “You will be my people.” The Incarnation of God reflects a twofold movement. Torrance notes, “For Athanasius this meant that the mediation of Christ involved a twofold movement, from God to man and from man to God, and that both divine and human action in Christ must be regarded as issuing from one Person. Here we see again the soteriological significance of the Nicene homoousion.” (TF page 149). These two movements must be kept in balance: “only God can save but He saves as man.” (TF page 149). Thus, in this twofold movement of the event of the Incarnation we see the movement a) from God to man- only God can save (but saves as man), and b) from man to God- man is atoned and exalted.

The Incarnation means that God took up, lifted up, all of our humanity in the whole life of Christ. This has implications for our salvation insofar as what is assumed is saved. Also, if there were not the Incarnation (in the context of homoousion) then we have an external moral justification: “the atoning reconciliation must be understood as having taken place within the personal being of Jesus Christ as the one Mediator between God and man, and thus within the ontological roots and actual condition of the human creaturely existence which He assumed in order to save.” (TF page 158). As Christ is Victor and has triumphed, “we may partake of his divine life and righteousness.” (TF page 161). We are exalted as a new humanity with Him. We are set on a new basis.

In the Incarnation, Christ in substitution became both “High Priest and Sacrifice, the Offerer and the Offering” (TF page 177). Finally, as Torrance notes in the “wonderful exchange: this was the redemptive translation of man from one state into another brought about by Christ who in His self abnegating love took our place that we might have His place, becoming what we are that we might become what He is.” (TF page 179).

In this sense we see the Trinitarian and Incarnational understanding of the Christ event. In the downward movement and upward movement we have “descent and ascent, the death and resurrection, the humiliation and exaltation” (TF page 180). He came down that we might go up (exalted). Christ is the Grace of God. As Simeon said, “my eyes have seen your salvation”. This understanding of the Incarnation overcomes the dualistic views of the intelligible and sensible realms inherited from Greek philosophy that has crept in our modern thinking. The Incarnation reflects the union of God and creation in the One Person, Jesus Christ. We can know God as He has been revealed to us in Jesus Christ and in the relationship of Father-Son. This is whom we now participate in the Spirit. Holy Spirit touches our lives as we cry ‘abba’ Father.


DDD III said...

Rachel, not sure which of Brian's blogs was being responded to, did a quick search but couldn't find it, but I am a bit confused by "it is Jesus Christ who revealed the Father to us; otherwise we would not have come to know God the Father, as 'Father'." There are several OT references to God as 'Father' especially with regard to the covenantal relationship. With regard to incarnation, I think we always need to be careful to avoid speaking about incarnation as though it were some creation "lite" activity. The Son was from the beginning, the infleshment through the Spirit's work in Mary, perhaps a very bad pun, makes it possible for us to hear the Son's name, Jesus, as much as to be able to say Abba. In this new age of the Church that is dawning it is the Spirit that many of us are awakening to. Interesting here that the spirit shares the humility of Mary and perhaps more so, for the Spirit does not share a name, like Jesus, or even a title, such as Father, but only descriptions, spirit, comforter and so on.

Adam Pastor said...

Greetings Rachel Marszalek

On the subject of the Triune God & the Incarnation,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you in your quest for truth.

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor

Rachel Marszalek said...

Dearest Adam Pastor
I watched enough. I think it is probably promoting unitarianism. I believe in a triune God. God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit - beautiful perichoretic God but thank you for sharing - may God bless you as you prayerfully meditate on his nature, may you be filled with his Spirit and come to know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Paul teaches quite clearly that Jesus is Lord, doesn't he.



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