Jesus is the norm

The first heresy that came into the Church was launched by a group called the “Palagians” who believed that Jesus was only God and not man at all – that he was only divine and not human. In defense of their thinking they went so far as to say that when Jesus walked he didn’t leave a footprint because he wasn’t physical – he was only an apparition that appeared to be physical.

They rejected all the Scriptures where Jesus called himself the “Son of Man” saying he was a little confused at those points.

Their heresy is probably the most dangerous of all those that ultimately would come into the church world.

If he is only God and not also true Man he is only perfect with no struggle. We can’t relate. Therefore…

  1. …we aren’t called to imitate him.
  2. …we aren’t called to see his life as the norm we are to aspire to.
  3. …we aren’t called to treat people the way he treated them.
If he is only God and not Man then

…the Poor will stay the Poor and uncared for

…the Lost will always be Lost and unreached

…those captivated by evil will remain prisoners in their minds and souls all their lives

The Palagians didn’t read their Bibles very carefully. Clearly, Jesus is the Son of Man. We have been called to be about the actions of Jesus, to do all he did, all our days as long as we have breath in us.

Comments

  1. Great post Steve. I think that so often we make Christ out to be some Superhero that we cannot copy because we do not have his superpowers. I find a careful reading of the gospel texts to show him not as having a ‘pipeline of power’ from God, instead we see times (Especially in Mark’s gospel) that Jesus struggled to do his ministry because the Spirit was not upon him at that time. When we see this human side of Jesus we realize that we can follow him and his standards are not unobtainable.

  2. Steve,

    I stumbled upon this page by accident, and am not a regular reader. I hope you will receive these comments in the way they are intended, with grace and respect.

    With that said, the information you cite above is absolutely incorrect. The “Palagians” were not, in fact, the first or even one of the first heresies of the early church. In truth, Pelagius was a british monk who lived and taught in the 4th-5th centuries.

    He was considered heretical not for the reasons you cite, but because he taught that humans could be so much like Christ in their own merits that they did not need a savior. Pelagius taught that this was not the norm for most people and that MOST would need a savior (Jesus Christ) but that SOME could achieve salvation based solely on their own merit and righteous living.

    The heresy to which you are likely referring is either Gnosticism (broadly speaking) or Docetism, though your context suggests the latter. Both of these 1st century heresies had very dualistic elements and divorced (especially Docetism) the Human Nature of Christ from his Divine Nature.

    The Docetists taught that Christ was fully Diving but was not “fully” human. They believed that Christ only appeared human (sort of like a hologram) and thus was not fully man.

    Obviously this was problematic because as the Patristic Maxim repeated by many church fathers states: “That which was not assumed is not redeemed.” In other words, Christ must have been fully human in all ways so that we may be fully redeemed.

    Your conclusions are ok, however you could use some brushing up on your church history.

    For an excellent text please see: Jaroslav Pelikan’s fine multi-volume work.

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