Re: Was the Incarnation necessary?

From: Michael Roberts (
Date: Thu Jul 04 2002 - 13:42:10 EDT

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    I agree that much pop evangelicalism gives a very stunted understanding of
    Christ reducing the crucified, risen and ascended incarnate Lord to a very
    crude and simplistic substitutionist atonement and nothing else so that
    Incarnation, resurection ascension, his life teaching miracles, and also
    other aspects of his redeeming work (i.e. other understandings of the
    cross ) are simply ignored.

    However that is not Calvin Luther Cranmer or most Prot theologians. I find
    the finest exposition of the Incarnation in relation to redemption is
    Athanasius in the early 4th century but I reckon that some Incarnational
    theolgy today is clearly not Athanasian.

    As for other habitable planets like most 19th century evangelicals I can see
    no problem of God becoming incarnate there as well. Anyway Jesus did not
    have to be male to be God incarnate, I see the maleness of our Saviour being
    God accomodating Him/Herself (God is above sex) to the customs of the 1st

    We have to include Colossians 1 in our understanding of Jesus and John 1 of

    I will leave you to decide whether I am a liberal or a catholic now!

    Ehjoy the fireworks

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Robert Schneider" <>
    To: "Michael Roberts" <>; <>
    Sent: Thursday, July 04, 2002 4:28 PM
    Subject: Re: Was the Incarnation necessary?

    > Hi, Michael,
    > Sorry, but I shudder to imagine having some member of your royal
    > as a governor of each of our states. Given the scandals of the present
    > generations of royals and their spouses (or ex-es), we could be awash in
    > and paparazzi. "Clinton" again and again? Horrors!
    > As for the doctrine of the Incarnation, I thank you for your
    > comment. But I have always thought it a weakness of so much Protestant
    > theology that the Atonement has been given such precedence over the
    > Incarnation that the latter is hardly considered, at least popularly, as I
    > found with so many of my conservative and fundamentalist students, some of
    > whom seemed to have not heard of it (when I asked anyone in a class of
    > twenty two to explain it, there was dead silence). I think the early
    > Fathers, who devoted so much energy and effort to developing this
    > gave it much greater due than some of their Protestant descendents, and to
    > the degree that contemporary Anglican theology seeks to recover that I'm
    > for it (that's aside from any judgment about the "vacuousness" of any
    > theological use or expression of it). And, I would add, how are we to
    > about the Incarnation in an evolving universe? the Logos has a whole
    > universe to relate to, not just intelligent, self-reflective life on our
    > planet, and we need to put our anthropocentrism in perspective, whether
    > focus is on sin or not. Airy-fairy and speculative it may be, but I have
    > trouble imagining the Logos incarnating on many other planets, even with
    > creatures who have evolved without a fall, even (Catholic bishops and
    > patriarchials, take notice!) in what would be the equivalent of the female
    > of the species.
    > Blessings to you, and a Happy Fourth to my fellow country men and women,
    > Bob Schneider
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "Michael Roberts" <>
    > To: "Robert Schneider" <>; <>; "Glenn
    > Morton" <>
    > Sent: Thursday, July 04, 2002 8:33 AM
    > Subject: Re: Was the Incarnation necessary?
    > > For Glenn
    > >
    > > I should hope we don't celebrate 4/7 (and get that the right way round!)
    > > We did have something to celebrate last month if you remember and you
    > > two days off. Just think how much better life would be if some rebels
    > > not got the upper hand. You could have a member of the royal family as
    > > governor of each state!
    > >
    > > Last 3rd July I went to an Independence Day rodeo at Spearfish SD that
    > was
    > > an education for me - and the Wheaton students! On a geological field
    > > to Mt Rushmore I found another face - to the left of George Washington.
    > >
    > > For Bob
    > >
    > >
    > > I cannot think of any examples in prot theology where the incarnation
    > > not necissitated by sin. One could argue (entirely me here ) that had
    > there
    > > been no sin then incarnation of the word would be spuerfluous as God was
    > in
    > > total harmony and relationship with his Creation.
    > >
    > > As a good non-liberal and non-catholic Anglican I feel a weakness of
    > > anglican incarnational theology is that it plays downs and weakens much
    > > understanding of redemption atonement and thus of sin. This is based on
    > > wide familiarity of Anglican theology over the last 200 years so it is
    > > the knee-jerk reaction of a semi-fundamentalist Anglican.
    > >
    > > This is a result of moving the centre of gravity of faith from atonement
    > to
    > > incarnation. As it has worked out in some anglican theology we have
    > up
    > > with a vacuous theology with nno redemption whatsoever and comes out
    > clearly
    > > in ultra-liberal anglican theology. It is seen clearly in many recent
    > > communion services in the Church of England and in the recent Common
    > worship
    > > rites (2000) several prayers of consecration play down the atonemnt to a
    > > great extent - and I will not use them.
    > >
    > > I am afraid I find Zach Hayes summary of the Scotian view so speculative
    > and
    > > airy-fairy that it does nothing for me at all. It is a bit like trying
    > > specualte life based on silicon.
    > >
    > > As I am totally non-speculative in my theology I cant see much point in
    > > considering what might have been the case if things were different, so I
    > > consider incarnation without sin as pointless as discussing whether God
    > > created in an instant (he could have done) or over a few billion years.
    > > A logical extension of an extreme incarnation is in my view the theology
    > of
    > > Matthew Fox.
    > >
    > > Michael
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >

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