The Word became flesh

Posted: September 3rd, 2011 | Filed under: The Christian gospel, The church, Unity in diversity | No Comments »

When visiting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, I was struck by a small, plain plaque hanging on an otherwise bare wall. On it were written these words: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” They were all the more powerful because of the poverty and ordinariness of the surroundings. God, the magnificent creative genius behind our universe, chose to visit our insignificant planet as a frail human being.

The deity of Jesus Christ is one of two fundamental pillars of the Christian faith: All Christians, by definition, believe that Jesus is Lord and was raised physically from the dead. It’s revealing, instructive, and encouraging to read statements of faith from across the Christian communion.

  • Methodists believe that “in unity of this Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”
  • Baptists believe that “the eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.”
  • Presbyterians believe “there is one God, who exists eternally in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
  • Anglicans and Catholics both believe “in one Lord, Jesus Christ…of one Being with the Father.”
  • Evangelicals believe in “our Lord Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh.”
  • The United Reformed Church “confesses the faith of the Church catholic in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
  • The Greek Orthodox Church “proclaims one God in three Persons.”
  • Lutherans believe that “the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one.”
  • Congregationalists believe “in the Trinity, a unity of three unique beings and one substance.”
  • Anabaptists believe that, “when the Son of God took on human nature, He did not give up his divine nature.”
  • Brethren churches believe “there is one and only one living and true God…eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
  • The Apostolic Christian Church believes “there is one eternal God, the Creator of all things, who exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
  • Pentecostals believe that “our God is a trinity in unity, manifested in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost…[We believe] in the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • Charismatic churches believe “that there is only one true and living God, eternally existing in a Trinity of persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We believe that these three persons are one in substance, power, and eternity; each possessing the fullness of the divine essence and yet this essence is undivided.”
  • The Salvation Army believes “that there are three persons in the Godhead – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost who are undivided in essence and co-equal in power and glory.”
  • The Society of Friends believes that “God chose to enter into human history in the person of Jesus Christ. As fully human and fully divine, Jesus Christ bridges the gap between humanity and God.”
  • Messianic Jews believe that “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is One, Echad, a complex unity that exists and has revealed Himself to mankind as our Father in Heaven; Yeshua Ha’Moshiach, His Son; and the Ruach Ha’Kodesh, the Holy Spirit.”
  • As we sing together at Christmastime:

    Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
    Hail the incarnate Deity
    Pleased as man with man to dwell
    Jesus, our Emmanuel.

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