The Lord Jesus (The Logos) and His Teachings (The Logos) are One!

 

I’ve long-held that Jesus can not be severed from His words. They are intrinsically inseparable.  Any attempt to do so eventually leads to a fractured view of both Jesus and His word(s).  I’ve written a detailed article entitled “The Logos of The Gospel,” some time ago.  You can read it here.  

 Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola, in an article entitled “A Magna Carta for Restoring the Supremacy of Jesus Christ, a.k.a. A Jesus Manifesto for the 21st Century Church,” said the following: 

 

 

“Jesus Christ cannot be separated from his teachings. Aristotle says to his disciples, “Follow my teachings.” Socrates says to his disciples, “Follow my teachings.” Buddha says to his disciples, “Follow my meditations.” Confucius says to his disciples, “Follow my sayings.” Muhammad says to his disciples, “Follow my noble pillars.” Jesus says to his disciples, “Follow me.” In all other religions, a follower can follow the teachings of its founder without having a relationship with that founder. Not so with Jesus Christ. The teachings of Jesus cannot be separated from Jesus himself. Jesus Christ is still alive and he embodies his teachings. It is a profound mistake, therefore, to treat Christ as simply the founder of a set of moral, ethical, or social teaching. The Lord Jesus and his teaching are one. The Medium and the Message are One. Christ is the incarnation of the Kingdom of God and the Sermon on the Mount.”

 I appreciated this paragraph.  Primarily because it distinguishes between a follower of Christ and a follower of… well… other things.  Secondly, it reiterates my thoughts from the article cited above when it says, “The teachings of Jesus cannot be separated from Jesus himself,” and “The Lord Jesus and his teaching are one.”  Frank and Leonard may mean something other than I do.  I’m not sure.  Perhaps they’ll clarify it for us.  

What if Jesus (The Logos) and His words (the logos) are one intrinsically?  What if they comprised the same spiritual substance?   Jesus and His words are more than one “in purpose.”  What more?  We shall see.  Some who deny the trinity say Jesus and the Father are one “in purpose” only, but not one in substance.  But, the WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM puts it this way:

Question #6 – How many persons are there in the Godhead?

Answer – There are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;  and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.  

To put it another way, The three persons of the God-Head are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial.  If I may make a bold proposition, I would take Frank and Leonard’s statement just a bit further.  I propose that Jesus (The Logos) and His words (the logos) are one intrinsically.  They comprise the same spiritual substance.  They are of equal Divine origin.  They are consubstantial.  To put it simply, they are “part” of one another.  Before anyone makes the silly accusation that I am, in effect, adding another person to the Trinity, I’m not!  I am saying, however, that the second person of the trinity (Jesus the Logos) and His words or teachings (the Logos) are of the same substance and therefore indivisible.  It’s as simple as this;  Take Jesus from His words, and you’re left with “another jesus.”  Take Jesus’ words from Jesus and you’re still left with “another jesus.”  As Frank and Leonard say above, “the medium and message are one.”  Further, when they say “Christ is the incarnation of the Kingdom of God and the Sermon on the Mount,”  I would, in like manner, extend the scope of that statement and say that “Christ is the incarnation of the Kingdom of God and the totality of the Old and New Covenant, the Scriptures, The Bible, and the Logos.

Is my proposition correct?  Why or Why Not?  

 

 

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    1. What’s really muddled when it comes to the views of Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet are conflicting statements, like openly embracing Karl Barth’s existential view of scripture in the same paragraph where they also diss the idea of propositional truth in scripture. See Theography, p. vx (Introduction). Elsewhere, Frank is explicitly dismissive of the idea that scripture has plenary authority. See his book and related blog, Beyond Evangelical.

      Barth talked a lot about scripture as important, but rejected the orthodox view that in and of itself it is the authoritative written Word of God. In fact, Barth said it was NOT the Word of God, and that only the person of Jesus is the Word of God – thus separating them.

      Instead, Barth claims that scripture is important only to the extent it points us to the only true Word of God, which he said was solely the person of Jesus.The new book Theography does a great job showing how scripture points to Jesus, but according to the introduction to the book, does so within this Barthian framework.

      Much of Frank’s writings conform to that view, including his self-acknowledged Barthian Christocentrality – which again views scripture as having great utility, but only to the extent it leads to a higher existential revelation of the person of Jesus. About 10 years ago, Frank was expressly taken to task in a public letter of rebuke by several organic church leaders for his existential view of scripture, which elevated his perception of Christ over Christ’s own self expression in scripture. In essence, Frank has a long history of Barthian adherence to a very fractured concept of Jesus, while framing is views in the misuse of very orthodox terms.

      The difficulty with all Barthian theology is how it misappropriates orthodox terminology and uses it in new ways, thus making its proponents sound orthodox when in fact they are radically departing from Biblical doctrine.


    2. the didache is the teaching; the logos is much greater than teaching… more than the “red letter” (whether Hebrew, Greek, English, or…) phrases we read (interpret). Christ is also in/with His rhema (what He declares to us, you, me, whomever He declares something) going out.
      Consider how the things recorded as being said by Jesus Christ are more in expression of rhema than substantively logos — at least as we have His grammar in print today. He was the Word/logos is not meant to be construed that He is a teaching, or that He is {gasp!} a Bible.

      to note: Jim commenting here begins to delineate a few breakpoints approaching. Not that Viola or Sweet are setting a straight/right course; no, but more largely that the maturity coming to members of the ekklesia is beginning to be casting off certain Protestant, RCC, and pre-RCC dogma & syncretism which was never sound or true (just made to systematically appear firm). Like many of the modern author-reformers, Frank’s effective roll is in provoking wider attention to be looking to Christ for understanding in the mysteries of God — and the mystery of ungodliness (including apostate religion).
      In every place, may Christ receive plenary authority, Word and Spirit. amen.


    3. In thinking about your blog, I might put it this way: Although the person of Christ and His written word of scripture are metaphysically separate, there is no epistemological or ethical separation between them.

      Thus, I agree (and have often said), that anyone who tries to divide the person of Christ from His written word is seeking a fractured Jesus.


      • Jim,

        My old understanding of “metaphysical” – Aristotle wrote a book called Physic and there was a bunch of notes next to this book relating to stuff in relation to physic (or “beyond” if you like) (Meta=next to, in greek).

        A later editor published these notes under the title Metaphysic (not published by Aristotle himself).

        So, from that point, Metaphysical relates to stuff around the physic and not directly or concretly physical observation but abstraction.

        If Metaphysics is a type of philosophy or study that uses broad concepts to help define reality and our understanding of it, then how can Christ be metaphysically separated from his words? Help me understand…


        • Metaphysics was given its name because it had not title and was sitting next to the book “physics” in the library in Alexandria. A better title would be “On the First Principle of Wisdom”, which is why Descartes entitled his most famous work under that name.

          The connections between the physical and the metaphysical in the historical context is dealing with the relationships within the field of metaphysics. Hume, Kant, and our 19th century “friends’ have safely destroyed these thoughts from our minds – and for good reason. For 2,000 years we have been battling them with no true gains.

          I enjoyed the blog post.


    4. Here you go boys… John 1:1… In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Important enough for cults to try to dissipate its meaning.

      Word = Logos, but we also know that He was in the beginning with God, and we know that he is the Word. This is not teachings. This is what is written of him, from him, by him, for him.

      3. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. The word created and creates and it doesn’t seem likely that it does so without being spoken by a person… who is God himself, and yet the word.

      4. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. Life… from the word, by the word, thru the word, like creation, is alive and sharp and cuts to the separating of those things that are not him. Do not tell me you can separate Jesus from the Word… that would be like trying to separate round from the sun, when you have one you have the other.


    5. one doesnt need to agree with the teaching of trinity to see and approach christ as he is… well as much as is possible this side of the grave. and yes that includes his teachings.
      To use your analogy, not separating jesus from his words, is to me the same as not separating god the father from jesus, they are one, but only one of them is God. Jesus is the expression of all that god is, just like jesus’ words express all that he is.
      To my mind christ and his words are one, but his words are part of him, but not him in totality. Just like my words or teachings are part of me but they are limited in scope. Its kinda obvious but one wouldn’t think so looking at the christian landscape where well meaning people have decided to limit christ within what was written in the bible, or rather substitute him.
      That said if i think in terms of word, being more about consciousness, expression and resulting action, then in some sense word does contain all that is knowable of me or you or god. Though unlike god i do not have congruence in expression and being.
      I wish jesus’ teachings were magical, the world would be a better place seeing that we have so many christians claiming to follow them add to that all those christians claiming only they know the right interpretation (which is supposedly obvious) and everyone else needs to do christianity like they do it.
      The real rub is what aspect of jesus’ teachings am i to focus on and journey with him to live out at any given time, because no man can follow it all.


    6. John 10:37-38(NET) “If I do not perform the deeds of my Father, do not believe me. But if I do them, even if you do not believe me, believe the deeds, so that you may come to know and understand that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”
      John 12:44-48((NET) But Jesus shouted out, “The one who believes in me does not believe in me, but in the one who sent me, and the one who sees me sees the one who sent me. I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not obey them, I do not judge him. For I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not accept my words has a judge; the word I have spoken will judge him at the last day.”
      It seems pretty clear that Jesus himself made a clear correlation between accepting his words and accepting him…his works…his words…believing in him…all in the same pot!


    7. We can approach this from another angle. If the “Word was God” in the beginning, then it may very well mean that there is no distinction (metaphysical or otherwise) between the Triune God and the Logos in eternity. The “Word” is the expressed “Will”, and God cannot be separated from his divine Will. And so it is quite possible that the Logos is not known in the heavens as an entity apart from the Triune God, but that only God himself is known.

      In a fallen world, however, this is not the case. We have lost the Lordship of the Triune God, which is just another way of saying that we have been expelled from the Kingdom, that we are no longer under the divine “Will” and that there is no longer any line of communication by which this Will is revealed (no “Word”, in other words). For the Kingdom to return, the divine Will must be established (thy kingdom come…), and for that to happen communication is necessary, hence the incarnation of the Logos.

      Even though God and his Word are indistinguishable, the progressive manner in which the Kingdom came to earth necessitated an equally progressive coming of the “Word”, and it is these modes of revelation that caused the appearance of a distinction between God and his Word. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us through his son…” It is the same Word, but in the space time capsule it has appeared in “many ways”.

      And here is the bottom line: As long as we remain in a broken world, we dare not insinuate that our union with Christ is sufficient to know him fully and that Scripture is of lesser importance. To the degree that our minds are unrenewed we still have a need for an objective manifestation of the Word. My union with Christ may be perfect, but my mind is not, and so I need an objective guide by which to judge my affections. (Which is why most heresies can be traced to private revelations).

      We are not in heaven yet, and so we now know the Logos through the historical Christ, through the Spirit within, through the witness of the body and through the written Word. To claim otherwise is to say that the resurrection has already taken place, that all eschatology has been realized, and that we now know fully.

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