The first few chapters of Luke’s Gospel announce, introduce, describe, and present Jesus Christ. Before getting into the ministry and teaching of Jesus, Luke is concerned with the identity of Jesus. Who is this Christ that we worship and follow? Answering that question is Luke’s opening burden.
This was also one of the major burdens of the early church. As the number of Christians grew and different views of Christ were developed, a biblical and consistent understanding of Christ- a theology of Christ, or Christology- also needed to be developed.
So, over the next few weeks, I thought it might be fun to give a very brief, probably-too-simplistic overview of some of the major misunderstandings of Christ throughout church history. Consider this a Christian theology blooper reel.
And before highlighting others’ mistakes, it would be prudent to remind ourselves of three things: 1) These misunderstandings were generally put forth by faithful Christians. Most people don’t set out to be a heretic. 2) False doctrine and teaching has been used by God to refine the church’s understanding. Without heresies sharpening our thinking, we wouldn’t have orthodoxy. Often we can only solidify what we know as right until we clearly see that which is wrong. 3) All of us are fallen, and none of us have perfect theologies. My thinking is wrong somewhere, and I’d change if it I knew where the error was! So we approach theology with humility.
Our imperfection does not however give us license to freely think in error, especially when thinking about Jesus, when the Bible has some clear things to say about Jesus, and when the Christian Church throughout history has been pretty darn consistent on what is true and false about Jesus. So, starting next week we will take a quick look at our first Christological heresy, Apollinarianism, and we will ask four questions; 1) What Is the Heresy? 2) Why Was it Proposed? 3) Why Is it Wrong? and 4) Why Does it Matter? Should be fun!