Continuing Home

The ongoing saga of a Continuing Anglican church home, as seen by a member of the laity.

Monday, November 24, 2008


The next chapter in Heresies and How to Avoid Them, on Nestorianism, reads in some ways like an Advent reflection. Having determined that Christ was neither wholly divine nor wholly human (please don't split hairs on these summations) Nestorianism says he had both natures -- but distinct. The human was born of Mary, but the divine could not be born.

Once again, as the authors patiently explain over and over, these heresies are not born out of a desire to be novel or to create something new. They seek to refine orthodox belief, make a logical, theological or philosophical misstep along the way... and the result is (so far) usually named for them. The book does not tell whether the authors of these heresies recanted or not, but it's clear that such theological explorations go down some very, very stony roads. (In other words, "Don't try this at home.")

But the areas the chapter on Nestorianism goes into -- the nature of the Christ-child, whether Mary is the Theotokos (Mother of God), the Annunciation and her acceptance, and as Dr. Anna Williams put it, "in that single moment, everything changes", a study of this heresy definitely provides a reflection for Advent.


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