Framing the Christology Conversation

In the upcoming TNT podcast with Tripp Fuller, we have promised to tackle the difficult topic of Christology. I have proposed a format of Christology from above vs. Christology from below. Tripp has some mild concerns about this formation (as you can hear in the last 10 min. of the most recent TNT) .

As I prepare for this Theology Nerd Throwdown, I thought  the best approach would be to set the parameters for what we would discuss ahead of time. I’m doing this for 2 reasons:

  1. Christology is such an expansive topic and
  2. We can’t have every conversation in an hour.

I have decided on a U-D-L-R (Up -Down -Left – Right) set-up for the parameters of the exchange.  

BUT – I also thought it would be best to throw this idea out to the deacons to make sure that I haven’t overlooked anything or missed an opportunity.

SO here are my boundaries I plan to throw out at the beginning of the Throwdown.

 To the Top: We will not assume that Jesus is some sort of “super-being” who was not in any way human and was only disguised as one to fool the powers and satisfy the wrath of God.

 To the Bottom: We will not go below “Jesus as merely a human” – BUT we need to clarify what was it about this man that made people think he was more than human?

 To the Left: We will not go the point where Jesus is the satisfaction of all religious conceptions and following any path as faithfully as Jesus followed his path will land you where you need to go.

To the Right: We will not pretend that unless you follow Jesus as we follow Jesus that you have no shot to land in the good place where we land.

As I conceive of them, these are the four parameters to be observed.

Inside of this,I think there is a vital conversation to be had!

What did I miss?
How could I frame this better?
How would you frame it if you had a blank slate (start from scratch).

Looking forward to your thoughts … and to the conversation next week.

If you are looking for a good introduction to Christology I recommend “Christology: a Global Introduction” by Karkkainen


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Still too broad - if I was invited to a conversation with those parameters, I would have no idea where to begin. But with you two I'm sure it'll come out fine, because you two share a ton of parameters that you haven't made explicit above :)


To the Right: Do you mean to exclude the possibility that other folks don't end up in the <i>same</i> good place but some <i>other</i>good place that God thinks will probably suit them better?


Travis Mamone
Travis Mamone

Tripp, PLEASE tell me you're doing the "Get your Christology on" line I did in that video!

BoSanders moderator

 @DouglasHagler  Just out of curiosity (I'm curious like a cat - that is why my friends call me whiskers)  How narrow would the conversation have to be for you to participate? 


How defined would it have to get for you to be comfortable?  -Bo 


 @BoSanders Or, for a more narrow frame: we are going to talk about non-theistic/humanistic Christology that denies the existence of anything supernatural (even with Bo's special definition of supernatural). Or, we are going to look at what it means if Mark Driscoll's Christology was objectively true. Or, we are going to talk about the Christology espoused by universalists with regard to salvation. Etc.


 @BoSanders For me, it's easier to have a starting-point than to have a frame. This is probably in part because giving me boundaries just makes me want to transgress them. But "Christology" is blindingly large, and it overlaps lots of other things, obviously. Your parameters above are basically those of non-radical Christianity - so, the beliefs of 2 billion people, give or take.


Starting-points might be: why does it matter whether Jesus was fully human? What about Jesus' nature/teachings/actions is important to our view of atonement? At what point does Christology go "off the reservation", i.e., it isn't meaningfully Christology anymore, or isn't meaningfully Christian? How many views of Christ can we find in the Bible, and why are some selected over others by most Christians? What would happen if we selected different ones? Questions work well for me, obviously.


Or something personal: tell us YOUR Christologies. Be specific. Then enjoy defending them :)


Or academic: what's the craziest Christological view you've encountered as graduate students that you would buy into? What about it makes it crazy, but how does it not cross lines it can't cross for you?