Toward The Theocentric Christology Model
By Thich nu Minh Tam
“How is Jesus unique? Toward the theocentric Christology model” is the tough topic for me.Really, I cannot understand clearly enough to write about this issue, but I try my best to discuss about the “Uniqueness of Jesus Christ” only by this sentence in page 182 of “No Other Name” written by Paul Knitter: “The theocentric model for understanding Christ and religions, therefore, is consistent both with the heritage of Christianity and with the “signs of the times.”
Christianity is also a religion centered on the belief that this God revealed himself most fully in Jesus Christ, a human being.Christian theology, ritual, and ethics are derived from core beliefs that affirm the coincidence of opposites: a God who is One and at the same time Three: God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, a savior who is at once divine and human, eternal and mortal; a redemption that simultaneously fulfills and postpones God’s promises, as we see in John Gospel alone refers to the “Son” or “the Son of God” about thirty times; “Hoply Spirit” appears forty-three times in the Acts of the Apostles ( John Corrigan, “Jews, Islam, Christianity, p.105).
Orthodox Christians believed their God was the God and that he had revealed himself as Father, Son, and Spirit, but there is One and Only God who is in three distinct persons.Each person of this “trinity” is fully divine, eternal, and distinct but there are not three gods.Orthodox Christianity incorporated the theology of Nicea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon into its creed, and these precise definitions thus made their way into the minds and hearts of believers through ritual and orthodox Christian monotheism proclaimed the existence of a triune God who had become a human being.The trinity was explained in precise language as three distinct persons in One essence; the Christ was defined as one person in two natures. (Corrigan, p 119)
God in the Middle Ages
That idea of Orthodox Christianity about God’s Oneness abounded in the medieval period, but most Christians in this era limited themselves to interpreting what had already been defined: “the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Son and the Father.”Through some disputes, medieval Christians scholars arrived to the creed that the Spirit proceeded from the Father and it spread over the land and adopted by the West to the late 18th century, this controversy posed an obstacle to the reunion of the orthodox and Catholic churches .
God in Renaissance and Reformation
The rise of Protestant Reformation has expressed a wave of changes in Christianity and its theological concept about the uniqueness of Jesus.
Protestant are originated by Wycliffe and Hus and later by Martin Luther and Zwingly.The new emphasis of this reformation was on the humanity of Christ, on Christ as a teacher who knew his audience because he was one of them.Jesus appeared as a wise, compassionate, and helpful guide, an example of spiritual maturity and teacher of a sublime morality, not as the God of premodern Christianity often was depicted as a legal God, a chronicler of the sins of humanity, a judge mysterious in his anger.They looked Jesus as a moral exempler and the distance between God and humanity consequently was diminished.Instead, Jesus was viewed as a human being who served as a kind of emissary, or mediator, between humanity and God.
However, through such radical changes in Catholic churches and Christian’ doctrinal theology about the nature of God, we can see that Christians have also changed their way of regarding Jesus Christ is the only human’s savior and the Oneness in world.The feature in the New Testament which says about Jesus is “exclusive,” “Jesus is the one mediator between God and humanity,” “Jesus is the only begotten Son of God,” etc. has to be rechecked.
Christians cannot deny the reality that all religions are related to each other as proving in Chapters 1, 2, 3 above of this book.So, if we insist that Jesus is the only savior to release human from the bondage of suffering, we avoid what we wish to face.
We should accept the Law of Dependent Origination of Buddhism to analysize such subtle issue as religious doctrine of every religion in the world.