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Christianity centers in a Person of history rather than a religious teaching.  That Person is Jesus Christ.  The Bible teaches that He is both God and man.

The Early Controversies: "Every plank in the platform of orthodoxy was laid because some heresy had arisen that threatened to change the nature of Christianity and to destroy its central faith."  Bruce Shelley from CHURCH HISTORY IN PLAIN LANGUAGE

    Ebionites (Heresy):  Jesus a man who became the Messiah through his

successful obedience of the Law. Eliminated the Divine.

    Docetism (Heresy):  Jesus was a ghost or a phantom who only seemed to

be a man.  Eliminated the human
(I John 4:2,3; II John 7)

    Arianism (Heresy):  Jesus not God, but the greatest created being. Jesus

had a beginning.  Eliminated the Divine.

    Council of Nicea (325) (Orthodoxy):  "True God of true God, begotten not

made, of one substance with the Father."

    Athansius (Orthodoxy):  "homoousia vs. homoiousia"

    Apollinarius (Heresy):  No human spirit. 

    Council of Constantinople (381) (Orthodoxy):  Jesus had a human spirit.

    Nestorius (Heresy):  He divided the human spirit and the Divine Spirit.

    Council of Ephesus (431) (Orthodoxy):  Jesus one Person.

    Eutyches (Heresy):  The humanity of Jesus lost in the Divine nature,                                    creating a "third other"

    Council of Chalcedon (451) (Orthodoxy):  Jesus is "truly man and truly                     God….acknowledged in two natures, without confusion, without                     change, without division or without separaration; the distinction                     of natures being in no way abolished because of the union; but                     rather the characteristic property of each nature being preserved,                     and coming together to form one person."

The "hypostatic union":  The union of two hypostases or natures; Jesus is fully

God, fully man, and one Person.

He is God:  Matthew 1:23; John 1:1, 8:58, 20:28; Colossians 1:16

He is man:
    The incarnation:  (1) He was a human child, though born of a virgin (Matthew                              1:23; Luke 1:35). He became human flesh (John 1:14)

    He had human needs:  For food (Matthew 4:2).  For water (John 19:28).

For rest (John 4:6).  For sleep (Matthew 8:24).

    He had human emotions:  He cried (John 11:35).  He had compassion

(Matthew 9:36; John 11:33).

    He could become troubled (John 12:27, 13:21)

    He needed to grow in knowledge (Luke 2:52) and He was limited inknowledge
    (Mark 13:32)  He learned from suffering (Hebrews 5:8)

The Kenosis of Jesus Christ:  Philippians 2:1-11  (kenoo in Philippians 2:7)
    1) Not a subtraction of Deity, but an addition of humanity with its limitations
    2) When He took on humanity it required that Jesus humbly choose to not         use some of His attributes while he was a man on earth (Matthew 24:36).
    3) His limitations were voluntary (Mark 1:35; Acts 10:38)

The sinlessness of Jesus Christ:
    1) He was able not to sin or not able to sin.
    2) Were His temptations real if He was unable to sin (Hebrews 2:18, 4:15)?
    3) He was holy by nature (Luke 1:35; Hebrews 7:26, 9:14; I Peter 1:19)
    4) He never sinned (John 8:46; II Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 2:22, 3:18;
        I John 3:5)


Bruce Shelley; DECIDE FOR YOURSELF (Chapter 13) by Gordon Lewis; DOCTRINES THAT DIVIDE by Erwin Lutzer (Chapters 1, 2); INTRODUCING CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE by Millard Erickson; UNRAVELING THE BIG QUESTIONS ABOUT GOD by Kenneth Boa (Chapter 2)

ASSIGNMENT:  #1  Was He able not to sin or not able to sin?
                       #2  Were His temptations real if He was unable to sin?
                       #3  Is Jesus still the God/man?