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)
Friday, March 4, 2016
"What is the real meaning and character of revelation as given by God in Jesus Christ?", part 5 of 5
"If this conception of revelation—a conception which makes the coming of revelation in Christ a continuous and dynamic fact as real to-day as it was when it was first flung into the sum total of realities centuries ago—if this be taken as central for Christian theology, it will of course need to be vindicated for philosophic thought. That is, the possibility of the advent of such a life-dynamic as that spoken of and its harmony with the general scheme of things; the way in which its advent and, thereafter, its constant working, form at the same time an addition to and a continuation of a world-process which was being worked out before it came but which could not be fully worked out without it; these things will have to be shown. True, the primary test and proof will lie in the actual experience of the life-force itself. But in order that he who has the experience may be able to assure himself that in his interpretation of the experience he has not gone astray, and in order that he may be able to answer, and perchance persuade to make trial for themselves, those who sceptically enquire concerning a reason for the faith that is in him, he will require to incorporate his central Christian doctrine with his general world-view, at least to adjust the first into harmonious relation with the second. But this once done, the question of doctrine as a whole—the extent of its reach, the limits within which it may change—will be closed. Doctrine will have its place; for it will speak of what the Christ out of whom the life-force issues must have been and of what He still must be, of the human soul's self-adjustment to the offered power, of all those things which follow from and are indeed involved in the central fact. Christianity will be not doctrine, but dynamic; yet just because it is dynamic, the great doctrines will re-assert their place and right; for they will tell how the dynamic is offered, how it may be appropriated, how its gift may be won. The doctrine of atonement will tell how Christ's cross enabled Him to become the life of men in ways not possible before: the doctrine of faith will indicate the attitude into which man's nature must set itself in order that the approaching life-power may find an open door; and so with the rest. Thus it is in the central fact that every doctrine will find its regulative measure: thus it is some aspect of that central fact that every doctrine will show, and back upon that central fact that every doctrine will return: thus every doctrine will be "practical" in that it will prescribe a real "activity" of the soul correspondent to the "activity" of the life-giving Christ: thus the "moralising of dogma" will be achieved. And at the same time no necessary change will be barred. What the development of thought and the enlightenment of conscience (always with the life-giving Christ before them) find untenable will be given up; though for that matter, since all doctrine will be held, not in detachment nor for its own sake, but in its relation to one primary fact whose validity has been established once for all, the old clash of war between Christian doctrine and knowledge which has its centre elsewhere than in that fact can be heard no more. By its concentration upon the fact of a life-giving Christ—by its resolve to formulate, so far as is possible, all that the fact involves and yet to formulate no more—the Christian faith must grow simultaneously rich and secure. Still, what change is needed will rouse no fear, since the primary fact—found reasonable by the mind and re-given in the Christian experience of each recurring day and in that experience's understanding of itself—will abide, and since by the existence of that fact the limits of possible change will be fixed. And of course no "drift," like that on which we have seen Liberal Orthodoxy floating slowly down till its vessel passed the point where the supernatural Christ was suddenly found to have disappeared, will be possible. The historic Christ as the New Testament portrays Him will remain, the starting-point in history of the new life-offer, all the more real in that far-off past because on the present He is what the history declares Him to have been. And the supernatural Christ, given not merely as a truth to the mind, but as a dynamic reality to the inner experience—the experience of Him being actually an experience of His supernaturalness in that it is an experience of His constant creative power— remains the same yesterday and to-day and forevermore."
- Henry William Clark (Liberal Orthodoxy, Epilogue, pgs. 304-307)
- Henry William Clark (Liberal Orthodoxy, Epilogue, pgs. 304-307)