The Word and the Christ: An Essay in Analytic Christology

The Word and the Christ: An Essay in Analytic Christology

The Word and the Christ: An Essay in Analytic Christology

The Word and the Christ: An Essay in Analytic Christology


This is the first book to offer a comprehensive summary of the criticisms of Christological orthodoxy, and as such is the first to provide a full defense of the orthodox position. Sturch presents a complete overview of the current objections and of the reasons that have led many theologians to believe that traditional Christology needs drastic revision. He analyzes orthodox doctrine and the requirements of an accurate Christology and concludes that the objections raised are either unfounded or misdirected.


We are now turning, one might say, from questions about the internal content of the idea of incarnation to questions about its external relationships. No idea exists in a vacuum, isolated from other ideas and beliefs. We have already seen something of the problems involved in relating the Incarnation to the self-awareness of Jesus, to the nature of God, and to the rest of the human race, problems which suggested that the historic idea of the Incarnation was in the end untenable. We now move on to problems which suggest that even if it is tenable, it is highly objectionable. There are reasons, based on our vision of God and His world, which seem to make an Incarnation, as traditionally thought of, very improbable.

More than once people have found the traditional views ethically or spiritually wanting. There was the kind raised by a number of theologians earlier in this century, that traditional views ignored the basically ethical nature of God (and indeed of ourselves); and there are the more recent objections of Professor Driver and Mr Cupitt that they have been morally and spiritually disastrous.

The older type may be represented by H. R. Mackintosh and P. T. Forsyth. Mackintosh put it as follows (a propos of the Chalcedonian definition):

Christological relations which, in essence, are ethical and personal, have been too much expressed in terms imbued with a certain mechanical and even material flavour. This is particularly true of the term 'nature' (ϕύσις), which is not an ethical word at all. Now non-ethical realities admit of no true unity; hence we are not surprised to find that Godhead and manhood are contemplated here as being in essence so disparate . . . that a miracle of sheer omnipotence is needed to unite them, Love, it is true, is behind the incarnation . . . but the methods by which this love accomplishes its . . .

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