Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Christology of the Early Church

We know little of the Christology of the Primitive Church; but what we do know wlth complete certainty is enough. The first disciples know and testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Risen Lord, whom they invoke in prayer, in the same way as the Jew would call upon God alone, using the Aramaic name, which is only applied to God: Maran, Lord. In the Lord’s Supper they celebrate the Presence of the Living Lord. His death is for them no longer an “offence” or a cause of doubt, but a saving fact, even if they have not yet worked out any doctrine about the two saving facts, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Thus the “Christology” of the Primitive Church—if we may be permitted this expression—is in unbroken and unquestioned continuity in two directions: with all that the disciples have handed down to us from His own mouth, and from His Life, on the one hand; and, on the other, with all that the new Apostle, Paul, taught, who was the first to interpret all that they believed in theological terms. There are great differences, it is true, between certain representatives of the Primitive Church and Paul; but there is not the faintest trace in the New Testament of any idea that these differences were related to Christology, to the Person of Jesus. The Primitive Church confesses, its own faith in the Pauline doctrine of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God.—Emil Brunner, The Christian Doctrine of Creation and Redemption, 250

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