A few of us from Ashland participated in the national protest against Planned Parenthood by standing & praying outside the Mansfield Planned Parenthood facility. A good number of people came out from a variety of churches.
Last week we started looking at the Definition of Chalcedon and Mark talked about what it meant that Mary was the “Mother of God” or the “God bearer.”
This morning we are going to start focusing on the person of Christ and how his divinity and humanity relate. We believe that Jesus is both God and man. But one of the questions that has arisen in history is “How do these two natures relate to each other?” There have been a lot of questions (and a lot of wrong answers to this question) through history.
But the Definition of Chalcedon has been called “the watershed decision” when it comes to the relation of the two natures (sometimes referred to as the hypostatic union).
The creed states that we believe in “One and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation.”
This morning we want to focus on the fact that these two natures are “without confusion.”
Some of you, when you wake up, drink cranberry juice. Some of you might drink apple juice. But there are still others who might drink cran-apple juice. Cran-apple juice is two fruits in one bottle. But it is a mixture of the two fruits. You cannot distinguish which part is cranberry and which part is apple. So, if you think about it, the two are so unidentifiably mixed it ends up being neither cranberry or apple juice. You’ve basically created a new fruit called. The two are so interfused (or confused) that you now have a hybrid fruitjuice.
This is a crude analogy to how some have understood the two natures of Christ. Some believed that they were mixed together and so interlocked that they became actually one nature. So Jesus becomes neither God or man, but he becomes a third kind of being.
There were two specific heresies in the early church that did this. The first is Eutychianism. Eutyches said that the human nature was fused into the divine nature. We might say it was swallowed up by the divine nature. Eutyches said that it was like a drop of honey in the sea. You know that a drop of honey is going to dissolve and become part of the sea. So basically it is indistinguishable.
That’s what he said happened to the human nature. It fused with the divine and got all mixed up in it to the point that it is basically lost.
The other heresy is called Apollinarianism. Apollinarius believed that Jesus had a human body but a divine soul. So the divine nature took over the soul (or the mind).
In both cases, what you have is something that is neither divine or human. Jesus becomes a third kind of being. He’s not man (who has a human body and soul), and he’s not God (because his divine nature has changed).
So, we confess that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man. He has two distinct natures and they are not mixed or confused.
And the reason why we confess this is because we need Jesus to “become like us in every way.” If he does not possess a true human nature—if it is swallowed up or changed, then he cannot be the Savior of humanity. And if he is not human, we are still in our sins.
But thank God that he is human and that his two natures are not mixed.
Say hello to Genesis Christian Academy, the new Christian high school here in Ashland.
Genesis is a metamorphosis of Veritas Classical, the former Christian high school that ended up closing its doors this past May. Many of the teachers and students associated with Veritas will be continuing to teach under the banner of Genesis this fall.
Genesis came about much due to the hard work of Felicia Dupre, who's son attended Veritas. Dupre was grieved that the school was being discontinued because she thought it was such a great program. She then began talking to parents and teachers about the possibility of resurrecting the institution.
Those talks turned into a giant summer push to solidify classes and a core of students.
Finances were obviously a concern scrutinized during these discussions. The determined goal was to keep the classes as affordable as possible without compromising the quality of teachers.
Now that Genesis has been officially birthed, Dupre & the GCA staff are inviting parents to check out how this new institution can serve their educational needs. The classes and their descriptions have been posted on the GCA website and questions can be pointed to Dupre.
While students may enroll as a full time student GCA, classes are offered in buffet style. In sum, parents may opt their child(ren) in for as many or as few classes as they desire. Some of the classes include algebre I & II, Biology, Bible, Creative Writing, Chemistry, Latin I & II, and Western Civ. I & II. A complete list of classes may be found on their website.
I will be teaching creative writing at Genesis this fall. In the spring I may teach two sections of a great books class, John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters.
Deadline to enroll is August 14th and a parent teacher informational meeting will be held on August 18th. Parents who are interested in finding out more are encouraged to visit the website and send any questions to Felicia.
It is easy to witness to a Mormon when he comes knocking at your door. You can show him the folly of his religion and extend the invitation to the true gospel in just a few simple steps. Here's how:
1. Ask the Mormon, "Where is your god?"
The Mormons believe that their god, whom they call Heavenly Father, has a body. He is not a Spirit and not omnipresent. Therefore the Mormon god is limited to a single locale.
Your Mormon friend will likely answer the question in one of two ways. I have found that they typically admit that they don't know. If this is his answer, you have already backed him into a corner: If you don't know where your god is, then he is a rather unreliable god.
The Mormon may say that his god is in heaven. This is basically a way of avoiding the question. He will not likely give you the right answer (Mormons believe that their god lives on the planet Kolob. They know that this is ridiculous and will probably not want to "go there.")
Whatever his answer may be to this first question, the point is that his god is not here.
2. Now ask the Mormon, "Did your god promise to never to leave us nor forsake us?"
The Mormon will respond with and enthusiastic "yes." When he does, point out his inconsistency: The Mormon's god promised he would never to leave us nor forsake us, but he is not here.
Your Mormon friend will try to dodge this dilemma by referring to the Holy Spirit. Don't let this scare you or throw you off track. Simply point out that we are not talking about the Holy Spirit. In Mormon belief the Holy Spirit is a different god; distinct from the one we are supposed to worship. Remind him that we are talking about Heavenly Father, the god they say we are to worship.
Reinforce the folly of their religion: Heavenly Father supposedly made a promise to never leave us nor forsake us, but he is not here. Either Heavenly Father is a liar, or he is a false god that doesn't truly exist. Either way, Heavenly Father is not worthy of our devotion.
3. After pressing the inconsistency of their religion, be sure to explain how the Christian God fulfills is superior.
Our God exists in all places. He fills the universe and is even outside of it because He is the creator of time and space. Most of all, He is right here with us at all times, fulfilling His promise never to leave us nor forsake us.
4. Call your Mormon friend to repent of his idolatry and turn to the only true and living God.
If you would like, you can use these same steps to talk about Jesus. Colossians 1:17 says, "In him (i.e. Jesus) all things hold together." This is a reference to Jesus' divinity, which also has the attribute of omnipresence. All things throughout the universe retain their natural form because Jesus himself holds them together. If Christ would remove his presence, everything would completely fall apart like marbles without a container. Because Jesus is both God and man, he can fulfill his promise: Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
The Mormon religion, just like any other false religion, contradicts itself and shows itself to be false. It impales itself and reduces to absolute absurdity.
But this gaping hole in their religion is also a perfect door for the presentation of the gospel. Where their god falls on his face, ours shows Himself to be true.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.