The event of the Incarnation of the Son actually happened within our human history. This astonishing news bears enormous significance for how we are to interpret this event of our salvation. The more clearly we understand the implications the more meaning this has for us and our relationship with God. Jesus Christ is God’s action towards humanity to show who God actually is in Himself and, at the same time, it was not for His own sake that He came but He came for our sake; to stand in our place and represent us all as the suitable response towards God as man. He came to us to show us Himself in such a way that He could be comprehended within our frail and weak mental capacity so that we could take from Him who He is, understand Him, and allow it to stay and be a part of us. In this way there could be real unobstructed, open and a free encounter with God as He is in Himself directly to each human being. Thus when each human being endeavours to speak about who God is in Himself, they speak the language of Jesus Christ, Godly language, articulating the truths of God providing the very seeds that produce faith in those who hear His Word. Thus in speaking the truth of God, it is done with the confidence that His finished work of redemption is universal and He is the suitable High Priest who sits at the right-hand of the Father bringing us into the divine fellowship of our beloved Trinity.
Jesus Christ in His own Person and work makes sense of all that has happened previous to His Incarnation throughout all of human history. His whole life and Person makes sense of who we are as adopted children of God secured in the loving arms of the Father in Jesus Christ. His whole life and Person makes sense regarding our future and where it is we are heading giving us a firm and certain grasp on our identity. Our knowledge of all things pertaining to our salvation, to who God is in His own Being, what we mean to Him as human beings are contained within the Humanity of Jesus Christ. We have Jesus Christ at the centre and centre-stage of the human race within reach of every human being who freely opens His heart to us on His own terms and with His own meaning attached to it. When we submit to the revelation of the Word made flesh, the Person of Jesus Christ, we are acting and speaking out of His sanctification of our human minds. The gospel makes us all dependent on God alone for the truth of God as it is only God who can show us what His truth is in such a precise way.
Jesus Christ takes the stage for precisely the One who gives testimony of God’s own True Self. The rest of humanity are His audience. What we say of Jesus Christ is because Jesus Christ has said it already through His own Self-Witness and through the testimony of the Apostles in Scripture. No other human being has the insight into the ways and works of God. This is the problem we have today. Some believe they must be heard first so that their view is taken into consideration before Jesus Christ even speaks. When this happens it is always old heresy rearing its ugly head but masked and dressed dressed up in new clothes. If we allow people the space and time to have their spin of what the gospel looks like, we weaken the all-powerful YES in Jesus Christ to all human beings into some degree of yes and no, where we start to doubt whether of not God truly loves us. This weakens the significance of the Incarnation.
In the Luken account of the birth of Jesus Christ there is a bringing of Good News of great joy (εὐαγγελίζομαι ὑμιν χαρὰν) that was announced to the shepherds by the angels of God. The Saviour of world is announced as a baby wrapped in a manger. The Good News is God has become human, while remaining who He is in Himself, became all that we are. Such was this momentous occasion, the heavenly hosts joined the angel, giving praises to God in the following way: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace in men with whom he is well pleased. This is glory to God, a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger! This Jesus was the One whose hand was involved in the creation of all things including everything in it; He is the One in whom all things consist and are held together; He is now a tiny infant placed into the hands of a young teenage girl and the heavenly hosts give praises to Him.
Form the beginning of His life and throughout the historical life of Jesus Christ, then at the hands of Pontius Pilate He was crucified and buried and then rose again from the dead, the gospel was unfolded before the nation of Israel and was thus witnessed by the apostles. After the resurrection, the life of Jesus Christ took on a whole new meaning. With His ascension and then the pouring out of the Spirit upon all flesh, the reality of the Incarnation of the Word was actualised within the apostles and the church was birthed. It was not just the passion that became the interpretive tool for the good news. It was the whole life of Jesus Christ who gave enormous significance for how we are to understand the ways and works of God. Furthermore, it draws out the sheer blindness and outright depravity of who we are as human beings who had become so far away from G0d that when He did turn up, especially to His very own, there was nothing but disdain and hatred towards Him and He was put to death in the most cruel way possible. We react when the true nature of our lost, blind and dark beings are exposed in the Light of Christ.
For the church to move forward, there has to be a centre and a point of reference that is above all the hierarchy of the church. This centre must have greater authority than the most powerful church leaders on earth. This centre must be within reach and without obstruction of every single human being who choose to follow Jesus Christ. Now I can say confidently this centre is the Person of Jesus Christ but it has to be so much more than that. The many thousands of denominations on earth would more than likely agree with me on this point. However, it starts to part when we point specifically to all that Jesus Christ declares Himself to be. When we assert there is unity of being between the Father and the Son, fear starts to well up in many of the mainstream Christian denominations. When we assert that there is a unity of being between the Son of God and our humanity, still more may be disturbed by this. When we assert that the mind of God in Jesus Christ is in union with the mind of human beings, still more may be disturbed by this. When we push the point of union between the whole of God and the whole of our humanity as far as we can go, even with sinful flesh and what was considered the seat of our sin, the mind, many more start to back away in fear. The fact of the gospel is Jesus Christ drew closer to us than we are to ourselves.
God has a plan from before the foundation of the world that He would be the God of sinful human beings. In Jesus Christ, this has been accomplished. In the early fourth century, the ancient church could see this with such clarity. When the threat of Arianism began to rear its ugly head, the church unified herself at the Council of Nicaea in 325AD and formally ratified this unity through the Nicene Creed. This confession contained in it all that could be said about the Father, Son and Spirit keeping Jesus Christ fairly and squarely as the Rule of Faith from which all Christians confessed to abide by. Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of all that we need to know regarding who God is in Himself. As we seek to know Him, we begin to know ourselves in relation to Him. As we become aware of our relation to Him we begin to see that in Him the heart of the Father’s being is fully disclosed to us. When we begin to see this reality in Jesus Christ, we begin to see the sheer majesty of His all-powerful love that He has towards us and our fellow human beings.
The Nicene/Constantinopolitan Creed is a stand-alone document and, with the help of those who formulated it and with others who ratified and upheld it, it can teach us so much about how they understood the gospel. Its implications apply to the whole church in such an equitable way placing all people on a level playing field. The popes of churches are no different to the Christian pauper. It is strange that even though, in principle, many churches will acknowledge this Creed, they will quickly push it aside and take up the mythologies of the heretics, formalise them into denominational statements and prioritise them over the Creed. Many of their services might begin with the confession of this Creed and then the preaching will contradict everything this Creed stands for. Thus the significance of the Creed is eroded but the Arian message is still sold through the preaching. It is like diluting precious wine with water and convincing the congregation this is the real deal and they must buy it.
Ancient doctrines of salvation place more stress on the Incarnation and play and tease the implications so that what we see is the same as what other people should see. The language Jesus Christ gives us is the same language for all people where it should give the church “one voice.” This Jesus Christ, who is the Word with God, is God of God, Light of Light and of the same being with the Father, through whom all things were made, who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven and was made flesh (as the Creed says) gives us the soteriological concern of His coming. The Creed was written by people who were faced with a specific crisis and had a deep concern not to create anything new but to remain true to what the apostles handed down to them. Though, to begin with, there was some reservations by people around the Mediterranean world with some aspects of the Creed, in time, many began to realise the enormous significance of such a document in upholding the fundamental truths the church has held since its beginning.
The Niceno/Constantinopolitan Creed is very precious to us and it testifies to all that we hold to be true. In addition, we also find the numerous writings of the people who aimed to defend it as precious in helping us to understand what it is they believed. This Creed is our statement of belief. We wholeheartedly agree with those in the ancient church who upheld it. We follow closely the writings of Athanasius who not only played apart in the formulation of the Creed at the Nicene council but was also a staunch defender of it in the years that followed. Thomas F. Torrance closely studied this period in history and has written numerous books to try and show people in our times the enormous significance of what it is they believed and why. In particular his book, The Trinitarian Faith, Torrance maps out step by step the whole scope of what the ancient church believed. This is supported by the many citations in his footnotes showing clearly that what he was saying was a reflection of the ancient church’s belief. Torrance was not trying to show something novel or new but what the ancient church believed and upheld to be the truth handed to them by the apostles themselves.
We believe this is what the church today sorely needs. Our aim is to try and share the message of the ancient church and to show Christians today how much bigger the Good News really is. If you are interested in learning more about this period in history, we have a section on this site where we have taken the footnotes from each page and have provided links to the writings of the ancient church. By reading The Trinitarian Faith and following the links, one can learn what it is they believed. It may be difficult at first to follow their train of thought. In time, there will be a renewing of the mind (if one dares to allow it to happen) and a whole new way of understanding the significance the Incarnation. This book will help to show what the concerns of the ancient church were outlining the heresies in detail. You may be surprised to learn that these heresies have been taken into the teaching of the modern church and are considered central to her teaching. You may also be surprised to learn that much of the power and control we have in our institutions today is because the foundation of what they believe leans more towards Gnosticism than to the ancient Christian teachings.
We have published Footnotes studies on T F Torrance here on this site. We encourage you get a hold of the book, The Trinitarian Faith read and follow the links. This will ground you in all that the ancient church believed and strengthen you in this ancient faith. It will show you an unimaginable strength in the freedom you have been given in Jesus Christ and security that no one can ever take away. The new addition has links at the end of each chapter but should still correspond to the text in the same way as the older editions.
What we desire is that people take up what we teach grab the baton in our relay to glory and run with it. The teaching of the ancient church will enable people to stand on their own two feet not as dependent but as interdependent missionaries of the whole world. It is not about following us but following who we follow, which is Jesus Christ, our Lord our God. Through Him we come to grips with the astonishing all-powerful love of the Father poured about by the Spirit into our hearts. We can know this at such a deep level when we learn the language of God through all the things Jesus Christ said and did in His Person and work as well as the continuing work of the Spirit in us. Come and join us in our joy and fellowship.