Through a series of thought-provoking reflections Billy Swan offers us a positive vision of faith and a positive outlook for the Church of the future.
Bring fact-checked results to the top of your browser search. The picture of Christ in the early church: It is a mistake, therefore, to suppose that such reflection is a later accretion upon the simple message of the Gospels.
On the contrary, the early Christian communities were engaged in witness and worship from the very beginning.
The forms of that witness and worship were also the forms of the narratives in the Gospel accounts. From this fact it follows that to understand the Gospel accounts regarding Jesus we must consider the faith of the early church regarding Christ.
Christologythe doctrine about Christ, is then as old as Christianity itself. To comprehend the faith of the early church regarding Christ, we must turn to the writings of the New Testament, where that faith found embodiment.
It was also embodied in brief confessions or creeds, but those have not been preserved for us complete in their original form. What we have are fragments of those confessions or creeds in various books of the New Testament, snatches from them in other early Christian documents, and later forms of them in Christian theology and liturgy.
It did not achieve its present form until quite late; just how late is a matter of controversy. But in its earliest ancestry it is very early indeed, perhaps dating back to the 1st century. And its confession regarding Christ is probably the earliest core around which later elaborations of it were composed.
The creeds were a way for Christians to explain what they meant by their acts of worship. At an early date, possibly as early as the words of Paul in the second chapter of Philemon verses 6—11Christian theology began to distinguish three stages in the career of Jesus Christ: Probably the most-celebrated statement of the preexistence of Christ is the opening verses of the Gospel According to John.
There Christ is identified as the Incarnation of the Word Logos through which God made all things in the beginning, a Word existing in relation to God before the Creation. The sources of that doctrine have been sought in Greek philosophy, both early and late, as well as in the Jewish thought of Philo and of the Palestinian rabbis.
Whatever its source, the doctrine of the Logos in John is distinctive by virtue of the fact that it identifies the Logos with a specific historical person.
Other writings of the New Testament also illustrate the faith of the early Christians regarding the preexistence of Christ.
The opening chapters of both Colossians and Hebrews speak of Christ as the preexistent one through whom all things were created, therefore as distinct from the created order of things in both time and preeminence.
The preposition before in the first chapter of Colossians apparently refers to both his temporal priority and his superior dignity.
Yet, before any theological reflection about the nature of that preexistence had been able to find terms and concepts, the early Christians were worshipping Christ as divine. The passage from Philemon mentioned above may be a quotation from a hymn used in such worship.
Some passages of the New Testament still used Christ as a title e. Only in modern times has it become customary to distinguish sharply among them for the sake of drawing a line between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, and this only in certain circles.
It is difficult to imagine how it could be otherwise when the Old Testament implications of the title have become a secondary consideration in its use—a process already evident within the New Testament. The Gospels do not quote him as using the title for himself in so many words, although sayings like verse 27 of the 11th chapter of Matthew come close to it.
There are some instances where the usage of the Gospels appears to echo the more-general implications of divine sonship in the Old Testament as a prerogative of Israel or of the true believer. Usually, however, it is evident that the Evangelists, like Paulmeant some special honour by the name.
But it is clear in John and in Paul that this implication was not absent, even though it was not as prominent as it became soon thereafter. What made the implication of preexistence more prominent in later Christian use of the term Son of God was the clarification of the doctrine of the Trinitywhere Son was the name for the eternal Second Person Matthew As the Gospels show, the application of the name Son of God to Jesus was offensive to the Jews, probably because it seemed to smack of Gentile polytheism.
That also made it all too intelligible to the pagans, as early heresies indicate. Luke even put the title into the mouth of the Christmas angel Luke 2: The Christians meant that there were not many divine and lordly beings in the universe but only one Kyrios 1 Corinthians 8: They meant that the Roman Caesar was not the lord of all, as he was styled by his worshippers, but that only Christ was Lord Revelation At times it stood particularly for the risen and glorified Christ e.
Incarnation and humiliation Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary Earlier forms of the creed seem to have read: Preexistence and Incarnation presuppose each other in the Christian view of Jesus Christ. Hence, the New Testament assumed his preexistence when it talked about his becoming human, and, when it spoke of him as preexistent, it was ascribing that preexistence to him whom it was describing in the flesh.
Although it is true that neither Paul nor John makes reference to it, the teaching about the virginal conception of Jesus, apparently based upon verse 14 of the seventh chapter of the Book of Isaiahwas sufficiently widespread in the 1st century to warrant inclusion in both Matthew and Luke as well as in creeds that date back to the 1st century.
As it stands, the creedal statement is a paraphrase of verse 35 of the first chapter of Luke.Purchase The Jesus Creed While supplied last, we will offer The Jesus Creed for sale for a discounted price of $ Look for books for sale in the church library or contact the church office at Get updates from Jesus Creed delivered straight to your inbox Also, send me the Evangelical Newsletter and special offers.
Also, send me the Evangelical Newsletter. Name #2 Nicene Creed Reflection Paper The Nicene Creed I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
A friend passed a link to this article to me. I read it and it made me stop in my tracks and ponder what life was like, the injustice of it all, the .
When the priest and Levite saw the body on the ground, they chose to pass him by. When the Samaritan saw the body, he took the pains to help the man. If your goal is being right, you can wash your. The constant recitation and meditation of a creed, in this manner the creed Jesus formed had dimensions forms within the individual a thought vision of responding to it.
This is not a usual practice undertaken by myself personally or the church which I attend but it encourages a deep reflection of /5(65).