Approaches to Christology

National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series: Theology

Christology is the study of the nature and person of Jesus Christ. There have been various approaches to Christology throughout the history of Christianity, each with different emphases and perspectives.

One of the earliest approaches was adoptionism, which suggested that Jesus was born as a human being but was later “adopted” by God to become divine. However, this view was considered heretical by the early church.

Another approach was Arianism, which denied the full divinity of Jesus and suggested that he was a created being. This view was also considered heretical by the early church.

In response to these heresies, the church developed the orthodox view of Christology, which holds that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine. This view was articulated in various creeds, including the Nicene Creed.

Within the orthodox view, there have been different approaches to understanding the relationship between Jesus’ human and divine natures. One approach is Nestorianism, which suggests that Jesus had two distinct natures, one human and one divine, and that these natures were not fully united. This view was also considered heretical by the early church.

Another approach is Monophysitism, which suggests that Jesus had only one nature, a divine nature that absorbed his human nature. This view was also considered heretical.

The orthodox view, as articulated in the Chalcedonian Creed, suggests that Jesus has two distinct natures, one human and one divine, that are united in one person without confusion or mixture.

Overall, Christology remains an important area of study for Christians, as it helps to deepen their understanding of the nature and person of Jesus Christ.