The Universal Christ

"The resurrection gives us a Christ who is spiritually present; the Holy Spirit gives us a Christ who is universally present. By the coming of the Holy Spirit the risen Christ is made omnipresent, and the whole process of revelation here and now completed. Nothing higher can be looked for until the veil is dropped on the other side. Momentous consequences follow the acceptance of this truth. If the age of the Spirit under which we are now living marks the final outgoing of God to man; if the God who is manifested in Christ is every-where present in the Spirit; if through the medium-ship of the Spirit he dwells in the inner sanctuary of the soul; if he is not only with man, but in man; if through the Holy Spirit his presence within the soul is realized as the presence of Christ, then the time foretold by Jesus has come when temples and shrines are no longer indispensable, when every man has immediate access to God as the Father, and when every humble receptive soul may become "an habitation of God in the Spirit." "
- James Mann Campbell (The Presence, p. 89)

The New Covenant Gift of the Spirit

"Let us recall the three considerations that have been
mentioned. First, that our Lord Himself in His Divine-human nature was on earth, and is now in heaven, possessed of the fulness of the Spirit, and this in such a manner that the Spirit entered into all He was in the one sphere, and enters into all He is in the other. Secondly, that the Spirit given us by our Lord in His glorified condition is His own Spirit in the most definite and particular meaning of the words. Thirdly, that when the Spirit is bestowed upon us He must be made inwardly and experimentally ours, entering into all that we are in a manner similar to that in which He entered into all that Jesus was and is. Let us fix these three points distinctly in our minds, and it will follow that the Spirit promised as the chief gift of the New Covenant is pervaded by human as well as Divine elements. As the Spirit of the exalted and glorified Lord, He is not the Third Person of the Trinity in His absolute and metaphysical existence, but that Person as He is mediated through the Son, who is human as well as Divine. It is on this particular aspect of His being that He diffuses Himself through the members of Christ's body, and abides in them. Only as human, entering into and coalescing with what is human, can He be also our Spirit dwelling in a living and real way within us."
- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, p. 189)

Monday, February 29, 2016

"What is the real meaning and character of revelation as given by God in Jesus Christ?", part 1 of 5

Note: You will not regret reading this five part series of posts prayerfully and carefully!

"We may begin with a statement obvious enough, however its implications may sometimes be unperceived. The revelation given in Jesus Christ was not merely the supply of information to the mind. It was not merely the bringing to man of new information concerning God, God's nature, God's man-ward dispositions, God's will—information wherefrom man was to derive new encouragements, in the light of which man was to direct his spiritual strivings more successfully and correct his spiritual adjustments to the true standard, from which man was to benefit in various ways. It was not merely new light on facts—it was an addition to the total sum of facts. Suppose that there is some topic into whose secret mysteries I have penetrated far more deeply than have most, and suppose that in virtue of my greater understanding I become the instructor of the less favoured, telling them what they have never known and, if you like, what they never could or would have known without my aid. I am a revealer in a sense, of course. But still I do not, in the imparting of my knowledge, exclusive as it may be—I do not interfere with actualities, or alter them, or add to them, in the slightest degree. I simply stand among them, out of the central mystery to which I have been privileged to win my passage describing and explaining them, and transferring the lessons of them from my own mind to the minds of those who hear me. The whole thing is a communication of thought to thought, and from thought to thought. There may be, of course—if my special knowledge is of a kind that has any bearing on conduct or character— there may be all manner of practical effects in a quickening of conscience and a heightening of morality and a purifying of general spirit in those who learn what I have to teach. But in its essence, my revelation is just that—a communication of thought to thought, and from thought to thought. From revelation in that ordinary and limited sense revelation in Jesus Christ is entirely distinct—so distinct that while it includes the descriptions and the impressions and the lessons, the essence and substantiality of the revelation is of a quite different order and on a quite different plane. That a new revelation came in Jesus Christ means something more than that Jesus Christ was the supreme spiritual specialist of all the ages. So long as we only take Him so, we have not really—whatever clauses as to His special divine nature we may incorporate in our doctrinal scheme—we have not really got beyond the Unitarian conception of Him. It is not enough to take such revelation as I should be giving under those hypothetical circumstances I have just described, transfer it to the spiritual realm, multiply it a thousand or a hundred thousand times, and say "That is revelation as given in Christ!" It is not. To stop at drawing parallels of the kind is to miss one of Christianity's chief points, however far beyond its fellow one of the parallel lines be produced. Instead of drawing parallels, and adding a few thousand extra lengths when we draw the line standing for revelation in Christ, we must draw distinctions. For we get much nearer to the heart of the matter so. Revelation in Jesus Christ was not, as my revelation of specialised knowledge would be, a voice issuing forth from remote regions which the speaker was the first or only one to explore. Revelation in Jesus Christ was as truly the emergence of a new actuality from God as was the first creation of the world. Revelation in Christ is distinct from the mere specialist's revelation in that while the revelation of the specialist is simply a movement in the specialist's own mind, revelation in Christ was a movement in reality, in the sum total of things—a movement first of all in God, the source and ground of things, and afterwards or concurrently (this of course in the earth-known Christ Himself) a movement introducing itself among and pressing itself into the facts and forces of the world and of world-history—so that in the end, when revelation in Christ had been given, there was not only more knowledge, but there was veritably something more to know. Revelation in Christ is distinct from the specialist's revelation in that while the specialist's revelation makes nothing, but only reports, revelation in Christ was a making, a literal making, of something non-existent before. Revelation in Christ is distinct from the specialist's revelation in that while, after the specialist has spoken, nothing is true in regard to the universe at large that was not true before he spoke, the coming of revelation in Christ did actually make something freshly true both of God and of the world. The Christian idea of revelation includes what we may dare to call (of course one speaks after the manner of men) an actual "event" in the life and being of God Himself, an "event" which, taking place in God, shows itself, even as and while it happens, through Jesus Christ to the eyes of man. In Jesus Christ God made an actual new fact, simultaneously within Himself and within the history and order of the world. And the making of this new fact, together with the necessary implications concerning man's appreciation of it and use of it, was and is—in itself constitutes—the revelation given in Christ."

- Henry William Clark (Liberal Orthodoxy, Epilogue, pgs.292-296)

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