Author Topic: When did Jesus become fully human?  (Read 1778 times)

Charles Austin

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Re: When did Jesus become fully human?
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2018, 10:28:51 PM »
Pastor Bohler, in the generation before ours, and well into the 1940s every pregnancy threatened the life of the mother. My father's first wife and their child died in childbirth in the 1930s, when as many as 1/4 of the women who delivered children either died in delivery or developed "childbed fever," a series of infections that were often fatal. It was the development of penicillin that helped alleviate this potentially deadly aspect of pregnancy.
And it does not matter whether the Blessed Mother would have been "justified" in terminating the pregnancy; because terminating a pregnancy is not automatically "justified." It is a choice which must be made; and we are already told in scripture that Mary, though astonished and presumably fearful, believed and said "let it be" to her pregnancy.
I do not see much of theological import or pastoral significance in back-and-forthing over when Jesus became fully human. We have no way of knowing much about that, and since we teach that the Word was the Word in the beginning and forever, maybe he was human even before there were humans.
We can know, I believe, that he was human when he walked the earth, taught, suffered, died and was buried.
C'est suffi, satis est.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Twice-vaccinated.

scott9

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Re: When did Jesus become fully human?
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2018, 10:55:32 PM »
...when as many as 1/4 of the women who delivered children either died in delivery or developed "childbed fever," a series of infections that were often fatal.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4838a2.htm

Pr. Don Kirchner

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Re: When did Jesus become fully human?
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2018, 12:00:06 AM »
As an unrepentant papist, I will celebrate the 25th of March in answer to that question.

As an unrepentant non-papist, I always celebrate March 25 for the same reason. That single cell Baby in the Virgin's womb is the Savior of the world.
Here is a challenge for pastors - this year March 25th is also Palm Sunday in the Western Church.  So work in the Annunciation and God becoming man into your Palm Sunday sermon. I just gave that challenge to my pastor.

No, we'll move it from Palm Sunday.
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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: When did Jesus become fully human?
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2018, 12:37:32 AM »
Here is a challenge for pastors - this year March 25th is also Palm Sunday in the Western Church.  So work in the Annunciation and God becoming man into your Palm Sunday sermon. I just gave that challenge to my pastor.

No, we'll move it from Palm Sunday.

Recalling many conversations through the years of colluding with Dr. Philip Pfatteicher in preparing our separate calender manuscripts:

Western practice is to transfer to the first available weekday.   In contemporary Roman Catholic practice this would be Easter Monday, April 2.  Dr. Pfatteicher and I opted to follow traditional Anglican practice which treats Easter Week/Bright Week/Renewal Week with the same dignity and gravitas as Holy Week, meaning that the first available weekday would be Monday April 9.

In parish practice I did both.   The Easter Monday transfer always felt awkward.   Not so with the longer deferral.

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Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

peter_speckhard

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Re: When did Jesus become fully human?
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2018, 08:19:47 AM »
I think I've shared before that one of my favorite scenes in the classic movie Life is Beautiful is when a doctor, who is passionately into riddles and having riddle contests with his friends, is examining the Jewish prisoners while trying to figure out a mysterious riddle he hasn't been able to solve. The answer to the riddle is obviously "a duck." The main character in the movie is an old friend of the doctor, also a riddle hobbyist, and happens to be one of the prisoners being examined, and he tells the doctor as much. It is obvious. Lesser riddlers than the doctor could figure that out. But, the doctor says, he has been assured by the firend who sent him the riddle that the answer is not a duck, so now this riddle is driving him insane.

The great thing about the scene about the scene is that the doctor is struggling with this riddle while examining people whom he has been assured aren't people in the technical sense, which drives the underlying insanity of the whole movie. They obviously are people. Lesser lights than one with a medical degree could figure that out. The idea that they aren't, or only are in quasi-uman sense, is a prely agenda driven idea.     

Listening to people who think abortion should be a legal choice struggle to deal with basic questions about the nature of humanity gives me the same impression as watching the doctor. The answer is "a duck." The aborted thing is a person. Whoever assured you otherwise was wrong, blinded by an agenda, or just messing with your head. Don't let it drive you insane.

Coach-Rev

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Re: When did Jesus become fully human?
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2018, 09:50:18 AM »
...when as many as 1/4 of the women who delivered children either died in delivery or developed "childbed fever," a series of infections that were often fatal.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4838a2.htm

now, there you go again, letting facts ruin a good hysterical argument...
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Matt Hummel

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Re: When did Jesus become fully human?
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2018, 06:16:14 PM »
I do not see much of theological import or pastoral significance in back-and-forthing over when Jesus became fully human. We have no way of knowing much about that, and since we teach that the Word was the Word in the beginning and forever, maybe he was human even before there were humans.
We can know, I believe, that he was human when he walked the earth, taught, suffered, died and was buried.
C'est suffi, satis est.

Charles- first, and before I say anything else, thank you for an honest response. Not that I would expect anything but, I just want to acknowledge that.

It is here that you and I must part ways. I see questions like this of utmost seriousness for pastoral reasons. An aptly named book of recent vintage sums up why. Its title is The Cruelty of Heresy. Spiritual laetrile has no business being peddled to God's children.

This particular issue is of interest for me because of a time I found myself in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament whilst still a Lutheran. I was unable to go to the March for Life that year with my family because I had a board meeting for a Social Service agency whose primary mission is to help the children and adults who are being extirpated by the lovely, progressive, informed socialists of Iceland and Denmark.

I looked at my Lord up there on the Altar  and I thought of how he took on our flesh. I thought of that moment of Mary's "Fiat" and I thought of what I had learned from Clarence Lee of blessed memory, that "Only that which is assumed can be saved." I thought of Jesus taking on our human nature, to use Henry's words- "He starts His humanity as a one cell human being.  Can't get more humble than that!"

But then as well the insight of St. John Paul- that Christ came not only to show us the fullness of God, but the fullness of humanity- and that therefore all humans, like Jesus, receive their humanity in that wondrous moment when a new creation comes into being. If Christ is fully human from that moment, then so is every human. Even those terribly inconvenient. Even those disabled or deformed. Even those whose fathers are violent criminals, or predatory monsters.

That is why it is for people like me so important to ascertain why. Fungibility for Jesus' humanity allows for fungibility for everyone's humanity. And history has taught us that once some person or group's humanity is up for grabs, it is a question of when and not if, they will be marked for enslavement and death.

That is why I, at least, can not adopt your laissez faire approach to this issue.

My prayer is that one day you will be as foolish and as narrow minded as me.
Matt Hummel


“The chief purpose of life, for any of us, is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

Charles Austin

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Re: When did Jesus become fully human?
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2018, 05:29:02 AM »
Mr. Hummel, I'm not sure mine is a laissez faire approach. I just do not feel the need to unpack, turn over, or poke at every single aspect of particular doctrines.
    My "revelation" or whatever into the depth of faith that I believe has sustained me all these years emerged slowly, beginning with my confirmation instruction and my involvement with "church" as a teenager. I went through the usual "struggles" - Bible, evolution, doctrine, "Lutheran," morality etc. etc. - and the faith held.
   Systematic theology in seminary - under Carl Braaten mostly - and the writings of Anders Nygren, Gustav Aulen, Paul Tillich, and a few others - took strong hold on me. Some tutelage by George Forell also helped.
   I found people in my parishes with strong faith, most of them knew the Bible, they knew Jesus, they knew prayer and the sacraments (although the liturgical movement of the 1960s was a huge help), and they were confident in their faith. We "unpacked" it in sermons, Bible studies and elsewhere, but we did not need to poke at it or tear off and chew on chunks of it. We certainly did see how the ways we express and practice our faith were evolving. It was not the "church" of my childhood, and that was a good thing.
   In my work in the secular world, the scene was a little different. It's a long story, and I had a great time taking all my "theological churchiness" into that realm.
   Today, perhaps I'm an "evangelical Catholic/Lutheran minimalist," that is, I preach, teach, and try to practice the faith and lead people in the faith as I see it and as the Church, both globally and as the ULCA, LCA, and ELCA have taught it to me. Some people see it "my" way, most see it "sort of" in line with the historic faith and Lutheranism, and some don't.
   I am cautious in dealing with the "don'ts," lest I make it too hard for them to believe or stay with the community that is the Body of Christ.
   And that last term, perhaps, prevails. We varied and imperfectfolks are the community, the fellowship, the sacramental "thing" that is the Body of Christ. He creates it, calls us to it, and sustains us in it.
   Jesus, too, still has work to do on all of us; and I just can't get too bent out of shape by those whose imperfections are different from mine. Nor can I nail down every plank in the doctrinal floor, or insist what color we have to paint every room.
   It's God's house, it is our Lord's Body, and neither the church Catholic nor the Lutheran confessions get it all right. I'm pretty sure we have the essentials right, and I'll express confidence in those essentials. I still like my tomes of systematics. But nothing in them is really forever.
   Because God is still at work. That's sometimes troubling, but it's also exciting.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 05:30:50 AM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Twice-vaccinated.

Eileen Smith

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Re: When did Jesus become fully human?
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2018, 08:19:00 AM »
Mr. Hummel, I'm not sure mine is a laissez faire approach. I just do not feel the need to unpack, turn over, or poke at every single aspect of particular doctrines.
    My "revelation" or whatever into the depth of faith that I believe has sustained me all these years emerged slowly, beginning with my confirmation instruction and my involvement with "church" as a teenager. I went through the usual "struggles" - Bible, evolution, doctrine, "Lutheran," morality etc. etc. - and the faith held.
   Systematic theology in seminary - under Carl Braaten mostly - and the writings of Anders Nygren, Gustav Aulen, Paul Tillich, and a few others - took strong hold on me. Some tutelage by George Forell also helped.
   I found people in my parishes with strong faith, most of them knew the Bible, they knew Jesus, they knew prayer and the sacraments (although the liturgical movement of the 1960s was a huge help), and they were confident in their faith. We "unpacked" it in sermons, Bible studies and elsewhere, but we did not need to poke at it or tear off and chew on chunks of it. We certainly did see how the ways we express and practice our faith were evolving. It was not the "church" of my childhood, and that was a good thing.
   In my work in the secular world, the scene was a little different. It's a long story, and I had a great time taking all my "theological churchiness" into that realm.
   Today, perhaps I'm an "evangelical Catholic/Lutheran minimalist," that is, I preach, teach, and try to practice the faith and lead people in the faith as I see it and as the Church, both globally and as the ULCA, LCA, and ELCA have taught it to me. Some people see it "my" way, most see it "sort of" in line with the historic faith and Lutheranism, and some don't.
   I am cautious in dealing with the "don'ts," lest I make it too hard for them to believe or stay with the community that is the Body of Christ.
   And that last term, perhaps, prevails. We varied and imperfectfolks are the community, the fellowship, the sacramental "thing" that is the Body of Christ. He creates it, calls us to it, and sustains us in it.
   Jesus, too, still has work to do on all of us; and I just can't get too bent out of shape by those whose imperfections are different from mine. Nor can I nail down every plank in the doctrinal floor, or insist what color we have to paint every room.
   It's God's house, it is our Lord's Body, and neither the church Catholic nor the Lutheran confessions get it all right. I'm pretty sure we have the essentials right, and I'll express confidence in those essentials. I still like my tomes of systematics. But nothing in them is really forever.
   Because God is still at work. That's sometimes troubling, but it's also exciting.

I do understand what you are saying here and, in some ways, agree.  I think of a Presbyterian woman who came from Pittsburgh to live with her daughter and became a member of our congregation.  After 90+ years in the Presbyterian church she admitted that she simply could not see the sacrament as anything but a symbol.  She wasn't beaten over the head until she 'got it.'  The pastor simply told her, "that's okay" and brought great comfort to this woman. 

I think what happens in the private conversation is a bit different than what is proclaimed from the pulpit.  I don't mean to suggest it throws the theology of the church out the window, but there is a certain grace that fits the situation, as shared above.

That being said, I think we need to be honest about our own church body.  I wish I had jotted down Marva Dawn's comment when she spoke to a gathering of ELCA and LCMS rostered leaders - something to the effect that the LCMS might have a little too much law while the ELCA might have a little too much love.  But please don't read 'love' as in the sense we should part ourselves on the back, for how could one love too much!  It was more a love that opens itself up to teachings contrary to scripture.

While there are some in the LCMS that might lean a little bit too heavily on pure doctrine, there are those in the ELCA that might lean a little too much on bending and twisting scripture until it reads as they wish it in order to support their agenda.  That is as dangerous if not more so. 

In diaconal studies I had many excellent instructors, but one surpasses - from the LCMS, David Benke.  He never equivocated - ever - but always with grace (and a bit of humor).   If both our judicatories could come a bit closer to the middle and emulate pastors such as Pastor Benke,  we would (both) be a stronger church.  I just hope he doesn't give up his day job for life as a basketball star!

Dan Fienen

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Re: When did Jesus become fully human?
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2018, 08:45:24 AM »
Pastor Bohler, in the generation before ours, and well into the 1940s every pregnancy threatened the life of the mother. My father's first wife and their child died in childbirth in the 1930s, when as many as 1/4 of the women who delivered children either died in delivery or developed "childbed fever," a series of infections that were often fatal. It was the development of penicillin that helped alleviate this potentially deadly aspect of pregnancy.
And it does not matter whether the Blessed Mother would have been "justified" in terminating the pregnancy; because terminating a pregnancy is not automatically "justified." It is a choice which must be made; and we are already told in scripture that Mary, though astonished and presumably fearful, believed and said "let it be" to her pregnancy.
I do not see much of theological import or pastoral significance in back-and-forthing over when Jesus became fully human. We have no way of knowing much about that, and since we teach that the Word was the Word in the beginning and forever, maybe he was human even before there were humans.
We can know, I believe, that he was human when he walked the earth, taught, suffered, died and was buried.
C'est suffi, satis est.
As has been pointed out, your statistics are inflated.  While infant and maternal mortality rates were unacceptably high, they were not as high as you suggest.  Not only penicillin but improved hygiene brought those rates down.


What is even more unacceptable is that the maternal death rate in the United States during pregnancy, delivery and post-partem is the highest of the developed world and climbing.  There are serious problems with our health care system in this area.
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Mike Bennett

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Re: When did Jesus become fully human?
« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2018, 03:01:20 PM »
Christians have traditionally taught in regards to soteriology that only that which is assumed (by Christ) can be saved. We believe that Jesus is fully human.

So- at what point did the Divine Logos take on his full humanity? As an unrepentant papist, I will celebrate the 25th of March in answer to that question. But I would be interested in what others, especially those who are "pro-choice but anti-abortion" would say.

When (or the blink of an eye after) his mother said, "Let it be to me according to your word." Given December 25 as the day we celebrate his birth, I'm with you on March 25.
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22