Just how important is orthodoxy for the doctrine of the incarnation for Christian theology? Well, according to Dr. Oliver Crisp, the answer is very much so.
In the past century, the incarnation has been distorted and dismissed as either contradictory or paradox. Unwittingly, much of these debates are rehashings of earlier heresies, specifically Apollinarianism (“God in a bod”) and Nestorianism (“Two persons in one body”). So, in six successive essays, Crisp defends and draws from a ‘broadly’ Chalcedonian Christology [sic]. Lucid and accessible (with a handful of Superman references), Crisp, in the first half, clarifies the perichoretic problem with the hypostatic union, sifts through various proposals of Christ’s human nature, and untangles the anhypostasia–enhypostasia distinction. In the second half, Crisp rides on the momentum of the first half to engage and disarm theological claims of Christ assuming a fallen human nature, divine kenosis, and John Hick’s non-incarnational theology.
The reader might be tempted to think that theologians, like Crisp, and their theologies are ‘mere word plays.’ For example, what’s the difference between the incarnation as paradox or mystery? Or God taking on a human body vs. God taking on a human nature? These questions and more are, indeed, tempting to lure one to dismiss the enterprise as a whole. But, allow Crisp to help you to wade through the fog, and, (hopefully) in the process, you’ll see and understand that words–especially words about God–matter very much so.
p.s., the book cover’s illustration is also an original Oliver D. Crisp.