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)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

How shall we best regard the ethical teachings of Jesus as an evidence of Christianity?, part 4 of 4

   "That the above is a correct interpretation of the ethical plan of Jesus is confirmed by the following consideration:
168. (a) It explains the use he makes of existing moral teachings. We are not concerned to prove his originality in this respect. Sabatier credits him with no original teaching, not even the doctrine of the Fatherhood of God.7 Harnack thinks that the Fatherhood of God, the kingdom and the higher righteousness comprise his essential teachings.8 These writers do not appear to have correctly stated the case. They fall far below it.
    Professor Harnack's account is scarcely complete. God's Fatherhood is the religious kernel lying at the heart of Christ's teachings; the higher righteousness is the result in individual character of the spiritual forces at work, and the kingdom of God the result in history. But the underlying principle for the realization of all three is the unique and original teaching of Christ: dying in order to live. This is the unifying ethical bond of Christ's "system" or teaching. It has been well said, as the science of chemistry is organized around the idea of affinity, and political economy around that of value, and astronomy around that of gravitation, so Christian ethics and the Christian religion are the working out of this principle in relation to God and man. The cross is the historic expression of it, and Christ is its embodiment. He introduced it into the world and keeps it alive among men.
    But pass this by for the moment. Christ utilized what ethical truth he found and combined it into a new and glorious unity with his own. As practical idealist he made it effective for the first time. Nowhere does the golden rule exist in a form so exhaustive and positive as he states it, and he first made it a living force in the world.
    (b) Again, our view explains the apparent onesidedness of his ethical teachings. As practical idealist he sought to strengthen humanity on its weak side. Mr. J. S. Mill complains that the heroic and political virtues are wanting in Christ's teaching. But this is an error. The heroic and political virtues are implicit in those teachings at many points. No one ever taught so high a form of courage, both physical and moral, as, did Jesus; and his doctrine of universal love involves patriotism of the purest type.
    (c) Again, our view explains the absence of system in Christ's ethical teachings. The elements of a system are there. But his interest was not logical, but practical and spiritual. The unity he sought was that of a spiritual society, not of logical coherence.
169. Our argument then is this: In conception and in execution the ethical enterprise of Jesus was nothing less than divine. The appeal to history and to personal experience as proof of the claim that Christ is efficient cause in its execution will be made in an extended way in later portions of this volume. If the continuity and success of the Christian ethical enterprise can be shown to be due to any other cause than the personal living Christ, immanent through the Holy Spirit in his churches, then our plea loses its force. But the chief difference and distinct mark of this enterprise is not so much the superiority of ideals as the superiority of the motive power employed for their realization. In the union of the highest ideals with the most efficient moral forces, in variety and magnitude of ethical achievement, in its imposing and resistless might as a historic movement, and in vital and dynamic power to-day, two thousand years after its inception, the ethical enterprise of Jesus is incomparably superior to any other the world has known."

- E.Y. Mullins (Why is Christianity true?: Christian evidences, pgs. 167-169)

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