Monday, September 26, 2005

Thoughts on Theology today...

So, I should note that the above title is a small "t", not a bit "T". These thoughts have nothing to do with the magazine Theology Today which just happens to be published by Princeton Seminary... which you may have never heard of anyway. No, these thoughts stem from my TH222 class (intro to theology 2 - essentially), where today Dr. George Hunsinger lectured (the course is team taught, first half Hunsinger, second half Dr. Ellen Charry ). Anyway, we're talking about Jesus, and what the ancient theologians believed of him (fully divine & fully human, but some being a little more or less on either end) here are a few notes I took:

There are 2 mindsets in contemplating Jesus' deity/humanity
1. says I need to explain this - and really, you can't fully
2. says there remains a certain amount of mystery
Jesus is fully human
Jesus is fully divine
I cannot fully fathom this
But I believe it is true
At the end of the day, I CAN'T explain this, it's a mystery to me
BUT I believe it anyway

We like to talk about Jesus as unique...
that's fine, but not just a unique person
Jesus was unique in KIND
There has never been one like Jesus
There will never be another like Jesus
This is one of the reasons that explaining Jesus is impossible for us

On top of this, Hunsinger goes on a rampage today against Paul Tillich (1886-1965) a theologian that a certain professor that taught TH221 last semester (and nearly EVERYONE in TH222 took TH221 last year) was a disciple of. Disciple may not be strong enough... but I digress.

Anyway, Hunsinger goes off on him, talking about Tillich's view of Christ as "Middle Christology" how he doesn't really affirm Jesus deity, how he essentially sees Jesus as this example who bore the Spirit of God, and we too can essentially do the same thing... to hear him go after Tillich for these things... It was awesome! To hear essentially that Jesus was indeed God, was and is worthy of our worship... it just makes me feel like what I'm doing here is not wasting my time. A friend of mine... pardon his french, explained Hunsinger's comments thus (I'm paraphrasing). "you were F***ed with last year folks, but I'm here to set the record straight for you." Yeah - Hunsinger to save the day!

I came to Princeton to learn... but I want to learn from people who believe not only that what they're teaching matters, I want to learn from people who believe in Jesus. I've taken a couple classes where that committment seemed questionable (from my vantage point... but I never actually asked them, so I won't pretend to really know) But it's very refreshing to hear from an impassioned professor talk about Jesus. I know, I know, that's not what you'd expect to hear at seminary either...


Mr. Higgins said...

I don't know if what I am about to say totally relates, but I am going to say it anyway because it is the first thing that came to me after reading your post.

"We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." (I Cor. 8:1)

I spent the evening reading some articles from my wife's Worldviews, Religion, and the Environment text. I was amazed at how puffed up some of the writings were - from whatever tradition. And yet, nothing new was really being said. "And there is nothing new under the sun." (Eccl. 1:9)

I don't blame the puffed up writings of theologians, even Tillich, because I get pretty exhuberant too when I think I have made some great discovery.

Perhaps this exhuberance, coupled with a touch of human pride is quite the dangerous thing. We tend to exaggerate some claim or another, leading to doctrine that somehow does not reflect the true essence of God.

Anyway, may it always be that our thoughts come from the mind of Christ!(1 Cor 2:16)

rhett smith said...

you are killing me....would love to be in a class with Hunsinger