THE SPRINGFIELDER is published quarterly by the faculty
cordia Theological Seminary, Sp~gf ie ld , Ilhois, of the L
ERICH H. HEMTZEN, Editor
R~YMOND F. SURBURG, Book Revitxu Editor
DAVID P . SCAER, Associate Editor
JOHN D. FRITZ, Associate Editor
PRESIDENT J . A. 0. PREUS, ex officio
R.I. Luther, b. Nov. 10, 1
iVho speaks for the bliss
A DANISH LUTHERAN DOGMA
RAYMOND F. SURBURG, Department of Exegetical
Theology, Springfield, Illinois
................ EVANGELICAL TESTIRIONY AT SITTENSEN.. ::
OTTO F. STAHLKE, Departme
\VHO CAY THIS BE? A R
EUGENE F. KLUG, Departme
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Address communications to the Editor, Erich H. Heintzen, Concor
logical Seminary, Springfield, Illinois 62702.
Who Can This ~ e ? '
A Rezjiczv Article
CCORDING TO the preface, this little booklet is ''offered in the A hope of fostering the growing trust and respect among various
L~itheran groups and of deepening our understanding of the Christ,
both as to his person and work" (p. 7). Edited under the capable
hands of the executive secretary of the Division of ~heological
Studies of LCUSA, Prof. Arnold 1:. Carlson, thc ch~iptcrs represent
a collation that grew "out of discussions and readings" by ten let-
turers on sclectcd thenics, all dealing with Christology: the Chalce-
doninn statement, with a probing illto the adequacy of its fornl~lla-
tions; :I closc look ;it the nature of inan in resent-day categories and
the possible relcvancc these h ;~ r~c for a bctter llndcrstanding of our
Lord Hi~nself, particularly His human nature; an effort at relating
these two, tr;iditional forim~lntion and contemporary thought-form)
meaningfully with each other. Selected clcrgyincn and laymen from
the four llicnibcr hotlies of I,CUSA met at arca conferences for
reflection and cliscussion on these subjects.
The stutly docunicnt gives solid evidence of love for the Gospel.
Evidently participants sharctl ;I stilnulating expcricncc and were
re;lssuretl to find fcllow Lutherans collcurring. \Vha t is unclear to
this rcvic\vcr is thc somc..ivhat detached, academic posture assumed
n ithin tllc docu~roit-;,lid SO also al~l,arcntly in the discussions first
of all--that the efforts \\.ere not iiitcnded to result in l~osition state-
ments but rathcr ";illon. 111~11 lo take a v;lriet)r of positions and hope-
full! contributr to an opcnncss of f;iith and tllougllt that \ i l l
strellgtl~ll thc cliurclies" (i). 7). Perhaps thc right to use this
al)~")ac]~ ()ugh t not be cliallengctl, but frankly, the church has n e w
b c ~ strcngthcnc(1 by the hind of openness of rniinl which suggests
that the ~ncaning of God's rerelatioil is or niay open up to a
\';11-ict\ of positions (l);lrtic1113rIY n.}lcn the article on Christ is at
stalieJv or that it dcpcllds upoil di\ro\cries in tllc ]ifc sciences before
i t can t a k ~ concrete forni, if eyer. It is ull-Lut}ler-likc to imply that
assertions concrrning iln rlrticle of faith like that of Christ and I-lis
\\nl-lc cannot 1~ 111~1dc in ;In!. dogm;,tjc sort of nlay for our day. God,
:I \ ollr Confcssiolis rclnind lls, olll!. for attentiye listeners, not
\l1' ' 'lll~l~in~ 1-oIC1.s. nit11 refcr~ii~11 (O IgC to say in the reye-
IatiOll bc (~~~c i~ thcd us ill I-loly \\-rit!
>illcc tllc (loculncnt is presented for study and discussion, and
tllc~clorc ;~lsn crilicisni, it n-ould appear to be in order to list ccrtaill
n e d p l r k ~ l l ; Or ' - ( .~~l ld tI10~1gIits. frOnl a Biblicn], ;is \\ell 3s Lutheran
1 \ \ ' I 1 0 (' 171ilS Ill:? . . . btudirs ~n Christology. ~ r c ~ ~ a r c d by the
I)t\l\loll 7 Ilcologlc;~l Studies. Lutheran Council in the U.S.A.9 315
l ' ~ r l , \ \ c . . lol l \ . \cw 1-ork. 10010. ,A\ nilable without charge.
1'.11'~ I b,lt 1,. 16 pagcss.
Who Can This Bc? 41
point of view, concerning some of the niethodology and theology
proposed within the clocumcnt.
1 . I t is highly doubtful that present-day studies into the nature
of Inan as suggested by the clocument, will shed any light
upon our understanding of thc l>ersonal union of natures
in Christ. Surely the finest insights of l~sycllology and
related fields--all of them the most i~zseczlre of the sci-
ences!-cannot finally be cletcrminative for our understand-
ing of the human nature of Christ our Lord. Tliis is a
very hazardous approach, to say the least, whatever esteem
Ire may have for thcsc sciences otherwise in the untlcr-
standing and care of 111,111 himself.
011 the subject of Christ's humanity and ~vhcther the
church has failed to understand it in its full dimension and
significal~cc, the following cluotation fro111 the document is
very disturbing, because of the inll~lications it has: "Al-
tllough \I-c have attested both to the divinc and human in
Jesus, h;rvc not our actual ~~roclnmation ant1 teaching often
yicldetl to the docctic tcndcnc!/? \Vc have not found it
difficult to pull out all stops in confessing Jcsus as truc God.
More hesitatingly have we spoken of Jcsus as a full partiei-
pa11t in thc human race." (13. 15) This is ;i fcar conil~letcly
without foundation or cvidcncc, at Icast for J,utheran the-
ology. (Docctism denied that Christ's body \\.as real and
taught instead that it onl~r al>pcarcd so, or that, a t most, i t
was a celestial body). Alzrrli Illore real, ;is a threat to
Christian theology for our til11~' is tllc \.ie\v of Christ ~vhich
raises again the sl~cctcr of (ly~iamic AIo~iarcliiit~lislii, ~ccord-
ing to n~llich tlle Logos came to I\ ork in ant1 through this
man Jcsus in a most vital sort of \ray, mc;il~n.hilc denying
IIis truc deity. Ucngt 1-Iiigglund, jli his recently l>ublishecl
Histo)-jz of Theology ((:oncor(lia P~ll~lisliing 1 IOLISC, 1968),
correctly points out that the dynnlnis~ii of Z'a~ll of Siinlosata
has perennially st~rgcd to the forc: "This I-ationalistic intcr-
prctation of thc Christian f'aitli in God Ivas the first clearly
formulateci csa~nplc of a point of 1ic.n ~vliich Iias appeared
in Inany diflercnt fornis. In 111ore ~ C ' C C I I ~ tiriles it has 31'-
pcarcd in Socinianjsm and other Unitarian schools, nc ~ve l l
0s i l r ~zeology alzd ill crrtaiir 171-(111cl1~< f li/?crtll l!lc'ofogy.
3 . This lcatls to anothcr criticism of tllc doctinlc~nt's 11andling
of JCSLIS according to the human ~ ~ a t i ~ r c . . r l t \.arious points
i t speaks of tlic huiilanity of Jcsi~s in such a \ \ a ? as to sug-
gest a scl f-sustaining csscncc or person of ni:lrl, for csanil~lc,
in a statclncnt like "in the mall Jesus, God confronts
LIS" (p. 16), or "~vllo sharcd our hun~anit)., perliilps . cven .
our ljniitatio~ls" (p. 10). '[jicsc statements couI(I. IS
true, he understood correctly, but the contest in the d0~11.
merit is so intent on hun i an i r i n~ t l ~ c person of Christ that
it appears to speak in terms ot an autohypostatic naturc
for tlic man Jesus, as a distinct human person according to
that nature. Scripture says that it \\,as thc Person of the
son of God \\rho bcc;line Inan and took the hu~i ian natui-c,
tlie Logos became flesh. There was only the Pcrson of the
Son of-Got1 who had both a di\linc and a human nature.
Ll1thcri111 theology has heretofore al\vays rccogni~ed the
danger of autohypostasis as rcgartls Christ's human ~ ~ a t i ~ r c ' ,
but the t~ocumcnt sccms to ignore it, in fact to play along
\\ritli it. The \ \~l~olc \~alue and po\\rcr of the \licarious atoiic-
mcnt impinges upon the fact that it \vas the person of thC
holy, ctcri~al Son of God in the nat~ii-c of our sinful f l c ~ h .
4. Tf the foregoing is a valid criticisill, t11c.n sitlc 11y side ~11011ld
come the reminder that a .~vrongful ant1 un-Scriptural kind
of keliosis may also be in\~ol\lcd. T h c interpretation of llliil.
2, 6, "hc counted not equality with Got1 a thing to be
(rr:~sped," understood as Jesus lia\iing "embraced his human- P lty and acccptetl his crenturclincss, cmpt!-ing himself of ally
aspiration to be as God," (p. 2 31, sccms to bear this out.
t\s docs also this statement:
ii 7 So the gospels c l ca r l~~ gikc us a picture of one who, likc the
rest of us, was groping throug11 each nc\\. sitilatioll to iind
solnc clc:~r indication of \\:hat thc Father's \\.ill ]night 11c.
No\\-1ic.1-e is this niorc c\idcnt than in thc account of the
Gctlisciiianc tigon) . . . . If tlicsc \yards arc intcrprctcd in
their ob\.ious meaning, Jews at that monicnt had no tli\inc
prc\7ic\\ of thc ~lcccssit\~ of the cross . . . . Likcly 11c was
c1.m i~nr~\vnrc of thc rc.