The Firstborn of Many: A Christology for Converting Christians - Vol. 3

The Firstborn of Many: A Christology for Converting Christians - Vol. 3

The Firstborn of Many: A Christology for Converting Christians - Vol. 3

The Firstborn of Many: A Christology for Converting Christians - Vol. 3

Excerpt

This three-volume study responds to a significant crisis in contemporary Christology: a plethora of so-called “low” Christologies has started an identifiable drift into a form of neo-Arianism. Many “low” Christologies so focus on the humanity of Jesus that they fail to give an adequate account of His divinity. They call Jesus a “human person,” but fail to alert the reader to the fact that a human person cannot qualify as a divine person. They call for a contemporary endorsement of “adoptionism” and portray Jesus as a graced human being rather than as the personal human incarnation of God. This study argues that one should replace the term “low Christology” thus interpreted with “bad Christology.”

In these three volumes, I respond to the contemporary Christological crisis by laying systematic theological foundations for Christological faith in Lonergan's sense of foundational. Lonergan's method suggests that a strictly normative theology of conversion provides the criteria needed to distinguish between true and false theological doctrines. Volumes one and two have explored the kinds of religious experiences on which doctrinal Christology reflects. In this third and final volume I shall test whether a Christology which examines the kinds of realities encountered within a Christian experience of conversion does in fact allow one to distinguish sound from unsound Christological doctrines.

Because this foundational Christology reflects normatively on Christian conversion, it targets the restored catechumenate. I presuppose, however, that a Christology which addresses the faith needs of adult converts will simultaneously address the faith needs of fully initiated Christians who face the life-long process of ongoing conversion. A foundational Christology asks the question: How ought an integrally converted Christian to relate experientially to Jesus Christ?

Laying foundations for a catechesis which addresses the needs of catechumens and of adult Christians differs from formulating such a catechesis. Instead of constructing a catechetical program for specific converts, a foundational Christology thinks through systematically the kinds of Christological issues on which a sound catechesis has to build. Those who supervise the restored catechumenate will, then, need to adapt the results of these foundational reflections to the needs of specific catechumens. By the same token, adult Christians will need to ponder prayerfully the relevance of a Christology of conversion to their personal lives and communities.

This study also ambitions an inculturated North American Christology. Inculturated religion actualizes a particular religious faith in a spe-

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