Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Sword of Christmas

I can think of no other Christian doctrine that has been attacked as repeatedly and ferociously as has the incarnation of Christ. Yet each blow against orthodoxy has been met by God in a mighty way, triumphing time and again through courageous men and thus preserving a truth essential to our salvation.

Over 1,500 years ago in Nicea our fathers fought against those in powerful political positions to expel the claim that Christ was a created being, and to proclaim that He is eternally existent and of the same essence with the Father. The decision of the Council of Nicea, so ancient to us, is a sword that continues to divide and mark true Christians from false professors.

In Chalcedon, just a hundred years later, the sword was unsheathed again. The foe to be vanquished was confusing the two natures of Christ in order to place the state as the divine ruler on earth. To them the state was THE incarnation of divinity in history. Who is man's savior? It is Caesar. Once again the heretics had the political clout, but our fathers at Chalcedon held their ground and insisted on the integrity of the incarnation, very man of very man, and very God of very God, two natures in union without confusion. Boldly the sword rang out, "Anathema to him who believes otherwise!"

Throughout the ages the incarnation has become well-worn battleground. It is the Kosovo, the Palestine of all doctrinal warfare. Whether it's J. Gresham Machen fighting the Liberalism of last century, or us battling this week's edition of Newsweek, we are to be faithful and valiant remembering that He came to bring not peace, but a sword.

He has preserved the truth of the incarnation this many years, and may He continue to demolish all arguments that dare to set itself up against Him.

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