Monthly Archives: May 2017

  • Know the Creeds, Councils, Confessions and Catechisms Part 5: Council of Chalcedon

    In 431 the church met in Ephesus to take up Nestorius’s explanation of the union between Christ’s humanity and his deity. As history teaches us, this is a complex topic, one which took years—hundreds and thousands of them—for the church to work through. Nesotorius’s Christology was eventually rejected because of his emphasis on the distinction between Christ’s two natures and because of his emphasis on the humanity of Christ.

    Between 431 and 451 in the person of Eutyches, the head of a monastery outside of Constantinople, there arose another attempt to reconcile the complexity of Christ as the God-man. If Cyril of Alexandria emphasized the deity of Christ and if Nestorius emphasized the humanity of Christ, Eutyches merged them together, emphasizing the union of the two natures to the point that there was only one new nature after the incarnation. This … Read More »

  • Knw the Creeds, Councils, Confessions, and Catechisms Part 4: Council of Ephesus

    The Council of Ephesus (AD 431) is recognized as the third of the seven ecumenical councils of the church. That’s the easy part. Equally easy is understanding what the council took up and concluded. The Nicene Creed was reaffirmed and Mary was declared to be theotokos, that is, the “bearer of God” or the “mother of God.” Getting underneath and behind this latter declaration is a bit trickier.

    Two religious and equally political figures of the fifth century are at center stage: Nestorius of Constantinople and Cyril of Alexandria. Depending on one’s sensibilities and one’s reading of history Cyril and Nestorius where either astute and thoughtful theologians or political thugs…or both. For example, on one occasion Nestorius burned down a chapel that belonged to the Arians—those who denied the deity of Christ. Only problem was the local fireman of the day … Read More »