Friday, November 02, 2007

Getting back to Bishop Wright and Christology

Easing our way back into the N.T. Wright discussion I want to stress a few things before getting into the Scriptures. As we examine the Scriptures we will be looking to refute the main proposition of N.T. Wright’s new christology.

Let me be clear, also, what I am not saying. I do not think Jesus “knew he was God” in the same sense that one knows one is tired or happy, male or female. He did not sit back and say to himself “Well I never! I’m the second person of the Trinity!”

I am saying that Jesus did know he was the second person of the Trinity and that he was self-conscious about it. I think the Scriptures teach that as well.

One might think that this a pointless debate, but I believe that it is a real one. Bishop Wright gets taken to task a lot for his views about Paul and Justification, and rightly so. However, N.T. Wright is also re-writing Christology and it is going under the radar, or at least it is not getting the same fire as his views about Paul. It is something that I think this generation of the church will have to struggle with again. Listen to the Right Reverend Wright on the subject.

Let me put it like this. After fifteen years of serious historical Jesus study, I still say the creed ex animo; but I now mean something very different by it, not least by the word “god” itself. The portrait has been redrawn.

Bishop Wright has no problem confessing creeds like Chalcedon, Nicea, and the Apostles, but he means new things by the words he finds there. The idea that one can keep a creed with the same wording and throw out the meaning is disturbing enough, but the self-conscious re-writing of Christology ought to strike at the very heart of the church. Of course a re-working of Christology can and will often lead to a re-working of the Trinity as well. Now, I cannot speak for Bishop Wright and his view of the Trinity, and we cannot take his confession of ancient creeds because of his willingness to put his own meaning into other people’s words. But, the ball is rolling, Wright is influential, and you will see the Trinity under attack before you know it.

*All quotes from Wright in this post are found in his article "Jesus and the Identity of God


Matt Powell said...

I really appreciate your study on this issue. Bishop Wright is someone with far-reaching influence, and we need to face up to just how dangerous that influence is. You've helped me understand more of the issues involved.