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

Reformation to 1900


Martin Luther, "Disputation on the Divinity & Humanity of Christ", 15pp
"In Christ there is a divine and a human nature, and these two natures in one person, so that they are joined together like no other thing, and yet so that the humanity is not Divinity, nor the Divinity humanity, because that distinction in no way hinders but rather confirms the union.... Two natures are united in one person, so that what is done by the human nature is said also to be done by the divine nature, and vice versa." Luther here displays intimate knowledge of Augustine and the early fathers in his defense of the Chalcedonian view of Christ. How would you answer this argument on p. 5? "A human person is one thing, a divine person another. But in Christ there is both divinity and humanity. Therefore, there are two persons in Christ." If you are not familiar with the subject of the communication of attributes, it would be good to check the encyclopedia above to help in understanding Luther's view.


John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 2, Ch 13 "Christ Clothed with the True Substance of Human Nature," 5pp
Christ "suffered his Divinity to be concealed under a veil of flesh." (part 2) "For although the boundless essence of the Word was united with human nature into one person, we have no idea of any enclosing. The Son of God descended miraculously from heaven, yet without abandoning heaven; was pleased to be conceived miraculously in the Virgin's womb, to live on the earth, and hang upon the cross, and yet always filled the world as from the beginning." (Part 4) OUTLINE: 1. Proof of the humanity of Christ, against the Manichees and Marcionites. 2. Impious objections of heretics further discussed. Six objections answered. 3. Other eight objections answered. 4. Other three objections answered.


John Owen, The Glory of Christ, ch. 4 - "The Glory of Christ in his Susception of the Office of a Mediator, 8pp
One of the great Puritan writers. OUTLINE: How we may behold the glory of Christ 1. In His susception of this office. I. In His condescension, II. In His love 2. In His discharge of it, 3. In the event and consequence thereof, or what ensued thereon. "Although He was then on earth as the Son of man, yet He ceased not to be God thereby; - in His divine nature He was then also in heaven. He Who is God, can no more be not God, than he who is not God can be God... There was not in this condescension the least change or alteration in the divine nature."


A.A. Hodge, "The Person of Christ", 9pp
This great reformed theologian of the last century writes: "How is it possible that the same Person can be at the same time infinite and finite, ignorant and omniscient, omnipotent and helpless?" Penetrating Scriptural considerations and historical data on the various heresies. "The doctrine of the person of Christ is intimately associated with the doctrine of the Trinity." When Jesus became man, why could He not have delegated his responsibilities requiring omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence to the Father? The reason is found in section VII. And he closes the article, "I adore a Christ who is absolutely one - Who is at the same time pure, unmixed, unchanged God, and pure, unmixed, unchanged man - and Whose Person, in its wholeness and its fullness, is available throughout all space and throughout all time to those who trust him and love His appearing."


Creeds and Confessions


Formula of Concord, Epitome, "Contrary False Doctrine Concerning the Person of Christ, pt. 20."
In 1580 the authors of this historic Lutheran document re-affirmed the formulation of Chalcedon and rejected and condemned "as contrary to God's Word" 20 deviations from orthodox Christology. The last point rejects what would come to be called "kenotic theology" in Germany over 200 years later. They wrote, "When it is taught, and the passage Matt. 28,18: All power is given unto Me, etc., is thus interpreted and blasphemously perverted, namely, that all power in heaven and on earth was restored, that is, delivered again to Christ according to the divine nature, at the resurrection and His ascension to heaven, as though He had also according to His divinity laid this aside and abandoned it in His state of humiliation. By this doctrine not only the words of the testament of Christ are perverted, but also the way is prepared for the accursed Arian heresy, so that finally the eternal deity of Christ is denied, and thus Christ, and with Him our salvation, are entirely lost if this false doctrine were not firmly contradicted from the immovable foundation of the divine Word and our simple Christian [catholic] faith."


Belgic Confession, 1561. "Article 19: The Two Natures of Christ."
This is the oldest confession of the Reformed Church. "We believe that by being thus conceived the person of the Son has been inseparably united and joined together with human nature, in such a way that there are not two Sons of God, nor two persons, but two natures united in a single person, with each nature retaining its own distinct properties. Thus his divine nature has always remained uncreated, without beginning of days or end of life, filling heaven and earth."


Westminster Confession, Chapter VIII, "Of Christ the Mediator, pt. 2
This statement of faith, composed in 1646, is foundational to historic Anglican, Presbyterian and other Reformed denominations. The authors affirm the full deity and humanity of Christ after His incarnation. "The Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon Him man's nature, with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin; being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man."