The question arises, then, whether Reformed theology’s refusal to make or use images of Christ reflects a deficient or even deviant view of the incarnation. Suspicions of this sort are difficult to reconcile with the fact that the Reformed not only enthusiastically upheld the Chalcedonian formulae concerning the two natures joined in one person in the hypostatic union, but also have even explicitly defended these doctrines against contemporary teachings that seemed to stray from the traditional doctrine. The most prominent case in point is found in Reformed polemics against the ‘ubiquitarian’ Christology of Lutheranism. For many years, Lutherans and Reformed have disputed the nature of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, and lying immediately beneath the surface of these debates is a christological disagreement that in large part determines the eucharistic questions. According to the Lutheran understanding of the communicatio idiomatum, divine attributes of Christ are communicated to his human nature, though the manifestation of these attributes was hidden during his days on earth. Among the divine attributes communicated is omnipresence: Christ’s human body, now glorified, is present everywhere with his divine nature. Hence the ‘ubiquitarian’ title and the confidence that Christ’s body and blood can be truly in, with, and under the elements of bread and wine.
Reformed theologians, unimpressed, have suggested that the only reason that Lutherans would want to defend such an idea was because of the need for christological justification for their theology of the Supper. To Reformed minds, Lutheran ubiquitarianism was little more than a lapse into Monophysitism, an absorption of the human nature into the divine, hence leaving no true human nature at all. A human body that is omnipresent is nothing like the human body that we know, and it virtually requires a whole new definition of what a human body is. If Christ’s body is omnipresent, then he is no longer like us in every way, sin excepted. Whatever the best resolution to this debate, the Reformed saw themselves as stout defenders of Catholic christological orthodoxy. Far from denying the full reality of Christ’s human nature, and even far from being insensitive to implications of the Chalcedonian affirmations, the Reformed unflinchingly grasped the Chalcedonian legacy as their own."
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Vandrunen on Lutheran Christology
Here is a very interesting quote by David Vandrunen from Westminster Seminary in California. I found it in an article entitled "Iconoclasm, Incarnation, and Eschatology: Toward a Catholic Understanding of the Reformed Doctrine of the ‘Second’ Commandment". The article is about the Reformed view on Icons and how we refuse to make images of Christ for worship. This quote deals with the Lutheran view of Christology, and how it's a departure from orthodox Chaledonian Christology.