“The gospel of our salvation depends upon the genuiness of our Lord’s humanity, and so does the value of his life as an example for his people to follow. The power of that example is weakened if we can say, in extenuation of our own failure, “it was different, or easier, for him.” Only as he presents himself to us as perfect man can we in turn be validly encouraged to grow up, not only individually but corporately, “to the measure o the stature of the fulnees of Chris.” (Eph. 4:13)” F.F. Bruce, A Mind for What Matters, pg. 258
I found this obscure thought by F.F. Bruce tucked away in one of his books that didn’t get a lot of play. As a biblical scholar and churchman he displayed throughout his life what a balanced perspective can bring into Christian confession and praxis. In the quote above he is defending Christs humanity as vitally true to both faith and practice. For Bruce, if we lose Christs humanity we lose a integral part of our faith and stop confessing the way the universal church has confessed from Chalcedon on.
There’s a lot of talk today in several conrners of the church about the need for reforming and revitalizing the authentic beliefs and practices of the ancient church. Something I think in many ways speaks to the Ecumenical fruits and labors of the past 100 years of Church history. One area where balance and care can be shown is the way we profess and (dare I say?) practice the incarnation of our Lord. Perhaps the problem with the churches public image of being hypocritical and antiquated is due to the loss of Christs human nature in her theologizing and praxis. Could it be that we’ve forgotten Jesus humanity and thus offer people a transcendent God rather than a suffering savior when they need both?
My prayer over these past couple days as I’ve wrestled with Bruce’s reflection has been: Lord forgive me, at times I look at your immensity and forget your vulnerability as a newborn child. I obscure your humanity behind your icommunicable attributes, a humanity that was to stand as an example for me to shape my own humanity from. And I find myself being no earthly good because I’ve forgotten you’re heavenly descent. I’ve been fearful of a God who is near me rather than joyful that the one who is above is also below…