Kenosis Links

The following links are provided for your exploration. The broad range of links underscores the reality that the issue of Christ's full Deity is basic to Biblical, orthodox thought throughout history. In studying and discovering our Lord's undiminished deity, it is our prayer that you, too, will lose yourself in the glory of Christ's humility.


Reference: On-line Bible | Theological Dictionary | Catholic Encyclopedia | The Four Creeds

Contemporary Writings


R.C. Sproul, "How Could Jesus Be Both Divine and Human?" 2pp
What would happen if God laid aside one of His attributes for one second to become man? This is an excellent starting point for studying the current crisis among Christians in our understanding of the person of Christ.


Fred Zaspel, "The Person of Jesus Christ," 11pp
This contains an excellent overview of the historic debate, as well as an organized study of the Bible to guide the student into what it actually teaches. False views of the kenosis contradict hundreds of Old and New Testament verses which affirm Christ's immutable Deity. OUTLINE: INTRODUCTION, I. Early heresies and their successors, II. Affirmations of the Councils & Creeds, III. Scriptural conclusions, IV. Lessons. PART ONE: HIS DEITY, I. Evidence from Jesus Himself, II. Evidence from Jesus' contemporaries, III. Evidence from the New Testament writers. IV. Evidence from Old Testament writers, V. Evidence from the NT interpretation of the OT, VI. "Problem" passages. PART TWO: HIS HUMANITY, I. Definitions, II. Observations from history, III. Scriptural data, IV. The importance of Christ's humanity. PART THREE: SUMMARY.


Rodney J. Decker, "The Kenosis, Phil. 2:5-11," 7pp
A scholarly analysis of the Greek text. OUTLINE: I Background, A. Beginnings of kenotic theology, B. Various explanations. II. Key Christological questions, III. Key meanings of key words, A. 'Morphe' ("form"), B. 'Isios' ("equal"), C. 'Harpagmos', D. 'Kenoo', V. Conclusion: "Jesus did not empty Himself of anything." VI. Select Bibliography, Notes.


Trinitarian Bible Society, "The Problematic Translation of 'emptied himself' as found in Philippians 2.7," by G.W. Anderson, 4pp
In trying to avoid the problems with the phrase, "emptied himself," the phrase "made himself nothing" has created even more problems among modern translations OUTLINE: I. The problem Stated, II. Reformed Commentators, B.B. Warfield, John Murray, III. The Problem Avoided, Endnotes. . "B.B. Warfield claimed that the translation 'emptied himself' is 'a mistranslation.'"


Official Catholic Teaching
One of the most illuminating windows into the early fathers' views of Christ's dual nature is found in the theotokos documents from the Council of Ephesus, 431.


The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church stands in full agreement with Rome regarding the early creeds.


Creeds of Christendom
What did the early church fathers, the reformers, and leaders of the Catholic Church and leaders of historic church denominations think of the divinity and humanity of Christ? If they affirm anything at all about the person of Christ it is with universal agreement, that his deity was undiminished - ever. At the crux of the creeds on this issue is the Creed of Chalcedon. "We confess that one and the same Christ, Lord, and only begotten Son, is to be acknowledged in two natures without confusion, change, division or separation." The Trinitarian formula expressed in the Athanasian Creed is also essential in understanding how limits cannot be placed on Christ deity without splitting the single substance of the Godhead: "We distinguish among the persons, but we do not divide the substance." Diminishing Christ would require dividing the single substance of God, and imagining a second, inferior God, much along the line of that conjured by Arius.


Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Profession of Faith, section two, article 3 - "He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the virgin Mary," Paragraph I. The Son of God Became man. 5pp
Quoting from the Council of Chalcedon to describe the incarnation is sufficient in dispelling any notion that Christ ever limited himself in any of His divine attributes. In addition, "What He was, he remained and what He was not, He assumed." OUTLINE: I. Why did the word become flesh? II. The Incarnation III. True God and True Man IV. How is the Son of God man? In Brief.


Catholic Encyclopedia, "The Incarnation," by Walter Drum, 21pp
Biblical & historical scholarship does not get any better. "The aim of this article is to prove that the historical person, Jesus Christ, is really and truly God." OUTLINE: I. THE FACT OF THE INCARNATION (1) The Divine Person of Jesus Christ, A. Old Testament proofs, B. New Testament proofs, C. Witness of Tradition (includes testimony of pagan writers), (2) The human nature of Jesus Christ (3) The hypostatic union of the Divine Nature and the human nature of Jesus in the Divine Person of Jesus Christ A. The witness of Holy Writ, B. Witness of tradition. II. THE NATURE OF THE INCARNATION (1) Nestorianism, (2) Monophysitism, (3) Monothelitism, (4) The Catholic Faith. III. EFFECTS OF THE INCARNATION (1) On Christ Himself A. On the body of Christ, B. On the human soul of Christ, C. On the God-Man (Deus-homo, theanthropos). (2) The adoration of the humanity of Christ. (3) Other effects of the incarnation, Bibliography.


Catholic Encyclopedia, "Kenosis," by A.J. Maas, 2pp
"According to Catholic theology, the abasement of the Word consists in the assumption of humanity and the simultaneous occultation of the Divinity." This concise, well-developed perspective is contrasted with modern heretical views.


Charles Buntin, "The Empty God," 11pp
Subtitled, "A Biblical and Theological Answer to the False Doctrine of Kenosis." Excellent! OUTLINE: Introduction, I. The doctrine of kenosis, A Classic Kenotic teaching, B. Comparison with the view of Kenneth Copeland (as a representative of the "Faith Message" school of thought, C. General comment, II. A positive affirmation, from Scripture, of the orthodox position on Christ's humiliation in relation to Philippians 2:5-11, A. The self-emptying of Christ was mainly an emptying of the external trappings of glory of deity. B. Do the Scriptures bear out that He possessed the attributes and powers of deity while on earth? C. Having looked at the issue piecemeal, we can now conclude it with the powerful testimony of the book of Colossians. III. A critical refutation, from Scripture and from Evangelical scholars, of the things implied and taught by the Kenosis doctrine. A. The philosophical and theological bases for the Doctrine of kenosis are highly suspect. B. The vital doctrine of immutability is completely destroyed by kenotic teaching. C. If the God-Man who died on the cross was not booth fully God and fully Man, the integrity of the atonement is destroyed. IV. An alternative method of handling the "problem " verses without deviating from orthodox Christology. A. Understanding the Biblical doctrine of the two natures of Christ, B. Understanding His role as our Kinsman-redeemer and substitute, C. Understanding and admitting the existence of the Biblical concept of 'mystery.' D. The three core concepts related above should help us understand how Christ lived His life on earth. E. It is from applying the core concepts above that we can construct meaningful and orthodox answers to the questions of those who refuse to believe in the God of the Bible.


Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, "Hypostatic Union"
This refers to the union of the human and divine natures. This organization's theological dictionary covers many vital subjects in apologetics today. It's a good place to look up words you might not understand. "Incarnation" and "kenosis" are two additional key words for word searches.


Christian Think Tank, "The Trinity, IIIex, The NT Witness: Other data relative to the deity of Jesus," 16pp
A superb apologetic work. OUTLINE: -The issue of "blasphemy." -The use of the phrase "the Name." -The Nomina Sacra of the early church. -The "humiliation" motif. -The "Pattern Identification" issue. "If one compares the OT attributes, titles, actions, and commitments of YHWH to those of Jesus in the NT, a distinct pattern of identity emerges." The author lists 25 powerful parallels identifying Christ with YHWH. -The issue of "Worship refusal." -The "No correction" issue. "There is not the slightest hint in the NT that Jesus was NOT to be worshipped..." -Could the early Church have divinnized Jesus? -Summary.