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REVIEW: ‘The Person of Christ,’ Donald MacLeod

February 17, 2014 Leave a comment

MacLeod published The Person of Christ in 1998, as the seventh installment of the Contours of Christian Theology series (ed. Gerald Bray). IVP Academic markets this series as “a series of concise introductory texts focused on the main themes of Christian theology,” which is a well-enough categorization. MacLeod, through ten chapters and 303 pages, offers a fairly standard evangelical account of the history of the doctrines of Christ–notably his preexistence, his relationship to and within in the Trinity, and his own nature and person.

I came to this text as one who desired to study the nature of Christ but who had never formally done so. MacLeod’s work does not read easily at times, although it is hard to believe that this is essentially his own fault. He spends most of each chapter detailing the ways in which both ancient and contemporary theologians have understood the various facets of Christ’s nature. He highlights the Gnostics, Docetics, the German liberals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and others. It is almost inevitable in any text not devoted specifically to the different movements for the specifics and distinguishing marks to become muddled. MacLeod is no exception to that rule, and many chapters are nearly overwhelming dense to one who does not have prior training in both the questions and proposed answers that are given in each chapter. For this reason, The Person of Christ would do well as a book read under the direction (current or past) of an academic who has already studied Christology, unless one wants to spend an inordinate amount of time with this book. While the work has helpfully made me aware of certain readings of pertinent Christological passages (especially of those of the German theologians), The Person of Christ does not seem to warrant a slow and steady reading for one who is merely curious about the doctrines and would like individual study.

Final analysis: The Person of Christ is best read as a survey to one already familiar with the various theological questions or as an introduction to one under the tutelage of a person already familiar with Christology.

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Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator (III)

III. The Lord Jesus, in His human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit, above measure,(a) having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;(b) in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell;(c) to the end that, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth,(d) He might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety.(e) Which office He took not unto Himself, but was thereunto called by His Father,(f) who put all power and judgment into His hand, and gave Him commandment to execute the same.(g)

(a) Psalm 45:7; John 3:34
(b) Colossians 2:3
(c) Colossians 1:19
(d) Hebrews 7:26; John 1:14
(e) Acts 10:38; Hebrews 12:24; Hebrews 7:22
(f) Hebrews 5:4, 5
(g) John 5:22, 27; Matthew 28:18; Acts 2:36

Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator (II)

March 28, 2013 1 comment

II. The Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon Him man’s nature,(a) with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin;(b) being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance.(c) So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.(d) Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and  man.(e)

(a) John 1:1, 14; 1 John 5:20; Philippians 2:6; Galatians 4:4
(b) Hebrews 2:14, 16, 17; Hebrews 4:15
(c) Luke 1:27, 31, 35; Galatians 4:4
(d) Luke 1:35; Colossians 2:9; Romans 9:5; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Timothy 3:16
(e) Romans 1:3, 4; 1 Timothy 2:5

Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator (I)

March 28, 2013 1 comment

I. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man,(a) the Prophet,(b) Priest,(c) and King,(d) the Head and Savior of His Church,(e) the Heir of all things,(f) and Judge of the world:(g) unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed,(h) and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.(i)

(a) Isaiah 41:2; 1 Peter 1:19, 20; John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:5
(b) Acts 3:22
(c) Hebrews 5:5, 6
(d) Psalm 2:6; Luke 1:33
(e) Ephesians 5:23
(f) Hebrews 1:2
(g) Acts 17:31
(h) John 17:6; Psalm 22:30; Isaiah 53:10
(i) 1 Timothy 2:6; Isaiah 55:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 1:30

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