Why Such an Insistence on a Chalcedonian Christology?

Jason Dulle

Q: It seems from your writings that you place a high premium on a Chalcedonian understanding of Christ (which states that there is a vital union between Christ's complete divine and human natures, resulting in one whole, unfragmented person), and explain the Oneness of God from this perspective. Why is this?

A: Yes, a Chalcedonian Christology is central to my theology, as it should be to anyone’s as far as I am concerned. Only a Chalcedonian understanding of Christ, coupled with a proper understanding of the limitation of the exercising of Christ's deity (Phil 2:5-11) can explain the Biblical presentation of Jesus Christ as being fully God and a genuine human being simultaneously from conception, and His inferiority to the Father, all the while maintaining Biblical monotheism. All other attempts at explaining the Biblical data are doomed to failure.

That this is true has become very evident to me over the last few months. I have been reading Trinitarian explanations of the Biblical distinctions between the Father and Son (where most of the distinctions lie), and have been outright amazed at how close they border on Tritheism. I do not see how one can understand the distinctions as being in the Godhead instead of between deity and humanity, and still maintain Biblical monotheism. One of their favorite proofs of the Trinity, as you might attest, is how the Scripture says that the Father and Son love one another. How can God the Father love God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, and yet there be one God? To love another requires a distinct consciousness. Are we led to believe that God has three distinct consciousness and three distinct personalities? This is a schizophrenic God as far as I am concerned. If we were to say a human has three personalities, we either label him an actor or mentally-ill. Trinitarians spend so much time trying to figure out how the Persons can be differentiated from one another, and have to rely on the "unbegotten, begotten, and proceeding" thing to do so, whatever all that means (they really aren’t even sure). All they have to do is see that the distinction arises out of the genuine human existence that God assumed. It simplifies the whole matter. It takes out the problems of Jesus’ inferiority to the Father if He is homoousios with Him We do not have to resort to an eternal Son who is only functionally subordinate to the Father. Functionally subordinate or not, if the Son is praying to the Father, and we understand this as one Person of the Godhead praying to another Person of the Godhead, we have got problems. How does a divine Person, in His deity, become functionally subordinate to another Person in the Godhead, and still be God, and still be one? To me this is borderline, if not outright Tritheism. It seems clear to me that Trinitarians always have a harder time explaining difficult passages than do Oneness believers, because the conclusions they are forced to come up with are harder to maintain consistent with monotheism. Even as a Trinitarian professor once confessed, Trinitarians can never speak of God as Trinity in the same breath. They have to either speak of His oneness, or His threeness, but can never do so in the same thought.

If you are aware of your history, the early Trinitarians were not orthodox, and did not believe Jesus to be fully divine, which is closer to Adoptionism than Modalism. They would verbally confess it, but then they would back-lash and say otherwise. This is abundantly evident by the fact that they could say that the Logos could suffer, but the Father could not. According to Greek philosophy, which is the framework within which they were working, God could not suffer because He was the Ineffable One. If they truly believed Jesus to be homoousios with the Father, then God the Son could not suffer either, yet this is what they would confess. They made Jesus out to be an Arian deity, while still trying to maintain coequality, although some denied this altogether.

So yes, I do see a Chalcedonian understanding as very essential to Oneness theology.

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