Bringing the Text to Life
Conspiracy. Intrigue. Mayhem. Murder.
And you thought church meetings were boring.
In his new book Jesus Wars, Philip Jenkins tells the page-turning story of all the wrangling about Jesus’ divinity and humanity that took place at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 (see sidebar on page 11 for a summary). Jenkins recounts how bishops, monks, emperors, the powerful wives and mothers of emperors and passionate laypeople tortured and killed each other in a conflict that was as much about imperial politics as it was about the question of Jesus.
We’ll leave you to decide how much of this historical intrigue you want to include in the sermon. For our purposes, however, we’ll focus on the stated question that brought these early ecumenical councils together: How was Jesus both human and divine?
First, a clarification. The popular view of these ancient councils promoted by skeptical scholars and novels such as Dan Brown’s
The DaVinci Code is that the conflicting understandings about Jesus were equally...