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Modern Presentations Of Christ Esoteric And Deficient In Personal Appeal


Monophysitism in respect of Christ's being shows itself to-day in
negative rather than positive ways. To its subtle influence is
traceable the capital defect of modern presentations of Christ, namely,
that they make no appeal to the outsider. Christ is proclaimed as the
solution of moral, social and industrial problems. As a rule in such
cases the name "Christ" is used as a synonym for Christian principles.
Such appeals are addressed to the head; they do not touch the heart and
fire the imagination; they do not kindle that personal devotion to the
Man Christ Jesus which has always been the dynamic of the faith. The
historic Christ is not presented in a way that would appeal to the
unconvinced. Christian teaching is becoming more and more esoteric.
In the language of Christology, a diphysite Christ is not preached.
His human nature is kept in the background. It is not portrayed in
arresting colours. If the apostles and apostolic men had preached the
impersonal redeemer of modern religious thought, they would never have
won the world for Christ. Their imaginations and lives were fired by
contact with a Man of flesh and blood. So they presented a Christ
whose true humanity appealed to His fellow-men. They showed the gospel
picture to an unbelieving world, and the world responded to its appeal.

It is not easy to bridge the centuries and regain the apostles'
standpoint, but until it is done the church's message will lack
inspiration. The phrase "the historic Christ" is commonly used, as if
it covered the whole ground. It is certainly serviceable as a protest
against a bare logos theory of the incarnation, but in itself it is not
adequate. What requires emphasis is the humanity of the historic
Christ. Many Christian teachers purposely withhold this emphasis from
fear of playing into the hands of Arians and Nestorians. No doubt if
pressed they would give intellectual assent to the dogma of the two
natures, but they shrink from following it out to its consequences.
There is a widespread feeling that it is irreverent to dwell on the
fact that Christ was a real man. A firm grasp of catholic Christology
in its entirety is the cure for this squeamishness. To obscure the
fact of His Manhood is not the true reply to a denial of His Deity. A
true presentation of Christ must give full weight to the facts that He
had a human body, human mind, human feelings and human will, that His
body was in space normally subject to physical law, that His
consciousness and subconsciousness conformed to psychic law. Wherever
a denial of these facts is found, there is monophysitism. Wherever
they are obscured or neglected, there are monophysite tendencies.

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