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What is the key point of the New Testament (or perhaps the whole Bible)?


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#21 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 03:12 PM

If I am right, you would have to be careful not to separate the eternal kingship of the Son from that of the Father and the Holy Spirit. The prayers and service texts ascribe kingship to all the Persons of the Holy Trinity. In relation to the Incarnate Word, you would again have to take care not treat His kingship in any sense separately since Christ's attributes are inseparably and indivisibly united in one and the same Person, Christ the Saviour, and His kingship is part of His redemptive work as a whole, of the entire economy of salvation.
 


Edited by Andreas Moran, 08 December 2013 - 03:12 PM.


#22 Lakis Papas

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 10:09 AM

By accepting the importance of those mentioned by Andreas Moran, God-man is indeed King, as man and as God. But also, we must understand that the human nature of the Son is the result of "emptying" of the deity, somehow Christ as a man is emptying by the Royal office.
 
Human nature at the Incarnation, as well after the resurrection, is incompatible with the divine royal office. It remains a mystery, how the divine Person of the incarnate Jesus enhypostasize the human nature. Those statements which expressed ​​by Brad D, require detailed clarification.
I think they are acceptable, but isolated, as words in a phrase, give rise to misunderstandings. The God-man is, after the Incarnation, a singularity. There is no other person who is God-man. The Father and the Spirit, certainly were not incarnated. And no man received the divine nature.
 
So, yes, we can say that Jesus as God-man is King. But should not mean the phrase "... pre-incarnate Son of God was King of Kings prior to the incarnation, so now is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, incarnate Son of God, King of Kings in the same way. Prior to the incarnation, certainly no flesh was King of Kings, subsequent to the incarnation, Jesus Christ is this King of Kings, having experienced a bodily resurrection and a subsequent ascension into Heaven .... " isolated from clarifying that the flesh of Jesus is similar to our human nature, but different in the way that is enhypostasized by a divine Person. This is important because the Royal office does not refer to nature, but to person. Although the kingship is inherited, it is not inherited to the body of the child, but to child as a Person. For when the child inherits the kingship as a minor, it does not hold the royal power, but remains under guardianship to adulthood (Christ as a human did not have a human person, He was enhypostasized by a royal divine Person already by His birth).
 
So Christ received the kingship by hereditary right, as a divine Person. Then, by taking the human nature, occurred a mystery of incompatibility. In Orthodox Church we sing the kontakion below at Christmas:  
 
Today the Virgin gives birth to him who is above all being,
and the earth offers a cave to him whom no one can approach.
Angels with shepherds give glory,
and magi journey with a star,
for to us there has been born
a little Child, God before the ages.
....
“High King, what have you to do with beggars?
Maker of heaven, why have you come to those born of earth?
Did you love a cave or take pleasure in a manger?
...
 
So, I think, we should focus on the mystery of Kingship.

Edited by Lakis Papas, 09 December 2013 - 10:13 AM.


#23 Brad D.

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 07:42 PM

Amen.  I do agree, this is a great mystery, and it will remain as such.  

 

I do still maintain my view that the central theme of the New Testament is that of Kingship.  Maybe that sounds like an irrelevant issue, but it may make all the difference in the world.  In my view, often times the Protestant presentation of Christ is that of Savior only, where all may come without any actual obligation on the part of the "saved", to be forgiven at will.  Christ as Savior only demands little, if anything, if presented in this light.  

 

If this Savior is presented as a King, with a Kingdom which has clear obligations, we enter not simply a state of forgiveness, but also a....well, a kingdom.  The Early Church was clearly presenting Christ in this way from the beginning.  For instance, the mob said this of the Early Church:

 

They are all defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus. (Acts 17:7b)

 

In my view, the Kingship of Jesus Christ is the central message of the New Testament, and submission ("bowing the knee") to this King grants glorious forgiveness, and even resurrection from the dead to eternal glory.  However, it is by submission to this King that one gets those benefits.    



#24 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 11:31 PM

Brad D - please note that you have said three times, 'in my view', and once, 'it is my submission'. But you cite nothing from Holy Tradition to support your view. We must support what we say from the patristic and liturgical deposit of the Church.

 

According to the service texts (and the writings of Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfayev)), we have to see Christ's kingship through the Cross, the Descent into Hades, and the Resurrection. By these, Adam and Eve were set free, the curse annulled, and mankind renewed with the way to deification opened. The 'benefit' it is possible to gain in Christ's kingdom is deification which is what the Orthodox faith is all about. This is what the Good Thief confessed so that he was granted Christ's promise of being with Him in Paradise. To the extent that you say that it is about more than forgiveness you are right - it is about the possibility of becoming gods by grace.



#25 Brad D.

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 12:24 AM

Brad D - please note that you have said three times, 'in my view', and once, 'it is my submission'. But you cite nothing from Holy Tradition to support your view. We must support what we say from the patristic and liturgical deposit of the Church.

 

Yes, I agree.  I am unsure of a specific statement which says this, but that does not mean it is not there...I will have to do some reading.  The teaching is spectacularly pervasive in the New Testament, well and the Old Testament, texts...  Please see here: https://www.dropbox....ongregation.pdf


Edited by Brad D., 10 December 2013 - 12:26 AM.


#26 Brad D.

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 12:26 AM

Link corrected



#27 Lakis Papas

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 09:12 AM

I think I understand what Brad D says. Let me point out that there is a substantial difference between angels and humans - that is relevant to our topic.
 
Angels are spirits who worship God and serve Him, they 'll continue likewise in the future Kingdom.
 
Humans are destined to become joint heirs with Christ. Destined  to become adopted children of God. Therefore the prospect of humans is different from the angels'. That is because Christ is God-man, not God-angel.
 
So, when we say "bow the knee", there is a difference between angel and man in worshiping God. Humans take part in the Body of Christ while angels serve this ministry maintaining a distance from it. 
 
It is written in Exodus 19:5-6:
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
 
Orthodox Church teaches that Christ as the God-man gathers in himself in absolute degrees the three axioms: king, priest and prophet. These three gifts go through His body, the Church and to each member of the Church separately. Thus, every Christian believer, thanks to the Holy Baptism and to Divine Unction(Chrism), is by grace king, priest and prophet. Thus all believers partake in the royal priesthood of Christ.
 
I think, this point is missing from Brad D statements and needs to be expressed clearly.

Edited by Lakis Papas, 10 December 2013 - 09:14 AM.


#28 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 09:55 AM

The Three Offices of Christ do indeed have to be made clear, and clear in a thoroughly Orthodox way (as I believe Lakis Papas does) so as to avoid western scholasticism. It might be useful in this regard to keep in mind 1 Cor. 1:30: 'But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.' 



#29 Brad D.

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 03:29 PM

Good morning!  Yes, most certainly Christ is Prophet, Priest, and King.  However, without derogating any of these offices, the office which is most spoken of and highlighted in the New Testament appears to be that of King.  I'm not sure if you had a chance to read all of those scriptures I had prepared for a lesson, but it is hard to miss the blatant emphasis on this one office...and even in the word Gospel itself, this office is highlighted by the very use of that term.  Again, I have not yet found (or thoroughly looked for) a Patristic reference for this...maybe I will have time to look today.  

 

 

The Three Offices of Christ do indeed have to be made clear, and clear in a thoroughly Orthodox way (as I believe Lakis Papas does) so as to avoid western scholasticism. It might be useful in this regard to keep in mind 1 Cor. 1:30: 'But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.' 

 

Andreas can you please clarify how this proposition trends towards Scholasticism?  



#30 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 06:21 PM

I'm no theologian or expert but I have read that the Three Offices (about which I have only heard recently) idea was developed in the west, and particularly by John Calvin who saw the Three Offices in terms of his juridical notions of salvation by divine justice requiring expiation for sins. So although having some patristic basis, the Reformation in the west made it fit scholastic ideas about sin and salvation. Some Orthodox theologians were, it seems influenced by these ideas; others have not rejected the Three Offices but have explained it in a more Orthodox way. As far as I am aware, it is not something Orthodox Christians in general see as central. Any focus on the Thee Offices should not detract from the wholeness of Christ's saving mission: a fortiori, focus on one of the Offices is not recommended.



#31 Brad D.

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:21 PM

Very well.  Yes, I bet you are right that it became popularized in the west...but I would suspect it is (as you said) Orthodox as well, in the sense that it is true, and spoken of by the fathers.  I wonder if there is a patristic source speaking of the three gifts given by the Magi as gifts indicating his three offices?  I'm sure you have heard such a teaching...I'm not sure how solid it is though.  



#32 Brad D.

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:27 PM

St Irenaeus of Lyons:

 

(1) But Matthew says that the Magi, coming from the east, exclaimed "For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him;"(2) and that, having been led by the star into the house of Jacob to Emmanuel, they showed, by these gifts which they offered, who it was that was worshipped; myrrh, because it was He who should die and be buried for the mortal human met; gold, because He was a King, "of whose kingdom is no end;"(3) and frankincense, because He was God, who also "was made known in Judea,"(4) and was "declared to those who sought Him not."(5)

http://gnosis.org/library/advh3.htm



#33 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:18 PM

but I would suspect it is (as you said) Orthodox as well, in the sense that it is true, and spoken of by the fathers

 

It is true but it is not the entirety of the truth and of course it should not lead us to the kind of 'classification' and putting into boxes that western theologians did and not lead us to deviate from the Orthodox view of what salvation is (ie deification).



#34 Brad D.

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:29 PM

I agree.  Although, saying Christ is Prophet, Priest, and King, in a general sense, may remove boxes more than it creates them.  If anything, it would be a great reminder that there is no one "box" Christ fits in.  And, in my mention/view of the centrality of the Kingship of Christ is still not a box or a classification, but rather an observation about/from Scripture.

 

I am astounded that the Orthodox clergy has not chimed in here.  I am greatly saddened by the silence found across these forums...I've only been coming here for a couple years, maybe three...and in just that short of a time it has seemed to have died.



#35 Moses Anthony

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 05:36 AM

The central theme of the New Testament -and of all sacre Scripture- is this "...He is the radiance of His glory, and the exact reperesentation of His nature...."  The central theme of Scripture is God's self-revelation.  Which; as we know, is evidenced in multiple nuances.



#36 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 08:34 AM

The central theme of the New Testament -and of all sacre Scripture- is this "...He is the radiance of His glory, and the exact reperesentation of His nature...."  The central theme of Scripture is God's self-revelation.  Which; as we know, is evidenced in multiple nuances.

 

Indeed. One could just as well focus on other attributes of Christ - Cornerstone; Shepherd - which could equally tend to a fragmented understanding of the Saviour. My own thought, for what it is worth, is that labouring to devise a taxonomy of the attributes of Christ and to study them (which I am not saying Brad D is trying to do) is not in the spirit of the Orthodox faith.



#37 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 08:58 AM

am astounded that the Orthodox clergy has not chimed in here.  I am greatly saddened by the silence found across these forums...I've only been coming here for a couple years, maybe three...and in just that short of a time it has seemed to have died.
 

 

I could well imagine that the comment might be made that the original question and the way it is put is not the sort of question an Orthodox Christian would ask since it poses a question about the Gospels apart from the Church's patristic deposit (and this notwithstanding that the question was prompted by something mentioned by Fr Thomas Hopko). It is a trite observation that the NT is the product of the Church, not the other way round.



#38 Brad D.

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 03:26 PM

Indeed. One could just as well focus on other attributes of Christ - Cornerstone; Shepherd - which could equally tend to a fragmented understanding of the Saviour. My own thought, for what it is worth, is that labouring to devise a taxonomy of the attributes of Christ and to study them (which I am not saying Brad D is trying to do) is not in the spirit of the Orthodox faith.

 

That is just the point I am making.  One actually cannot focus on those attributes, because they are extremely limited in mention.  That is not, in any sense, to say they are less important...but the multitudes of references to Christ's Kingship vastly out number the others.  I have not done a comparison study, but I would venture to say that they even outnumber the verses speaking of Him as Savior (depending on your approach, I suppose).

 

And yes you are right, I am certainly not trying to analyze Christ in some sort of scientific expedition.  There is no one "class" a person may fit Christ into, except God.



#39 Brad D.

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 03:28 PM

I could well imagine that the comment might be made that the original question and the way it is put is not the sort of question an Orthodox Christian would ask since it poses a question about the Gospels apart from the Church's patristic deposit (and this notwithstanding that the question was prompted by something mentioned by Fr Thomas Hopko). It is a trite observation that the NT is the product of the Church, not the other way round.

 

Then it would appear nobody is speaking of Orthodox matters around here, as they are now silent virtually everywhere.   :)



#40 Lakis Papas

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 04:35 PM

Brad D. allow me a reminder: Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7). Melchizedek was a priest and king. In fact the kings of ancient times were ex officio both priests and prophets.

 

Today the kingship is mainly regarded as one of the state institutions, but in ancient times kingship was a metaphysical institution - for this roman emperors persecuted Christianity. This is also the reason for God order Jews not to enact a kingdom with royal seat. 


Edited by Lakis Papas, 11 December 2013 - 04:37 PM.





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