Saturday, December 31, 2011

Some Soteriological Notes

This paper consists of some personal reflections on some of the Soteriological material presented in class. My initial reaction to most of the material was how far removed talk of Christ’s atoning work on the cross was from the actual biblical source material and its Jewish-Christian context. While Anselm, for instance, retains the notion of substitution one finds in the New Testament (unfortunately ὑπέρ in these contexts is often translated “for” or “for the sake of” when the sense “in place of” is in fact syntactically more probable), he sets it in a very different frame of reference than the salvation-historical framework one finds in the New Testament, where Jesus’ atonement is linked with Torah and Israel’s plight under its curse (particularly in Galatians and Romans). Paul, for instance, seems to see Israel’s transgression of the Torah and subsequent condemnation by it as playing some important, non-accidental role in producing salvation (see especially Galatians 3, Romans 5, 9-11).

None of this, however, makes it into the considerations of the mostly ahistorical, abstract accounts of Christ’s work that we have studied. That is not to say that there is not much valuable in these accounts and that a more biblically-oriented account would not be understood at least partly in these terms when elaborated philosophically, but it does mean that these accounts necessarily leave out some of the key data that must be taken into account when constructing a view of the atonement. On the other accounts, Jesus might as well have come and died as a Greek, an Arab, or a Bantu – his Jewishness and Jewish context does not seem to play any part in the makeup of his saving work.

While Aquinas keeps much of Anselm’s view, it looks like Aquinas (at least according to our reading from Caesario (81)) eventually held that Christ’s satisfaction on the cross was not ultimately necessary for God to justly save us. It was simply more convenient in obtaining (mostly subjective) goods which more naturally flow from Christ’s satisfaction on the cross than from elsewhere. Of course, since it is the omnipotent God we are speaking of, it is not clear what it would mean to speak of him doing something more easily or conveniently in one way than another. It seems to me, however, that this makes it difficult to see the point of the atonement. If God could just as well accomplish our salvation in some other way, Christ’s crucifixion seems to represent pointless, unnecessary pain and suffering. Sure, it gets us redemption and all sorts of goods, but it was not really necessary for all of that. It certainly seems that we need some kind of stricter, less contingent connection between Christ’s work and our salvation.

Herbert McCabe (in his 2002 book God Still Matters) takes the problems with Anselm and Aquinas recounted above, however, and makes them even worse. This is something that bothered me quite a bit when I read him. He at least tries to put in some historical context but his grasp of that context is questionable and gets both Second Temple Judaism and its relation to Jesus and the New Testament wrong, importing much later (and ironically often more Protestant) Christian criticisms of Jews as unloving and legalistic (and Christ as the ancient equivalent of the stereotypical 1960s hippie – pro-love and anti-law or anti-authority) back into the first century, thus divorcing Jesus from his Jewish context in a way not justified by the New Testament or Second Temple evidence.

In any case, the nod to apparent historical context essentially functions in the McCabe work as a mere foil to press yet another basically ahistorical understanding of Christ’s work. It becomes all about an abstract principle of love and the preaching of that love, and the kingdom of God becomes more or less just the realization of that love on earth. Indeed, only the humanity of Christ seems to be important in McCabe’s chapter, as it is Christ’s full humanity and the perfect love wherefrom that does all the work here – the divinity seems to be well-hidden indeed.

What is worse, however, is that, while at least Aquinas had some kind of goal for the crucifixion, even if it could have been accomplished differently, McCabe does not even seem to retain this much. Questions such as “Why did Jesus opt for crucifixion?” are basically replaced with “Why would humans crucify someone like him?” The second question would certainly be an interesting one, but it completely changes the subject so that we are no longer even speaking of Christ’s saving work or its goals anymore but rather fallen human psychology. McCabe’s answer, that this is what fallen people do to people who truly love and preach the same, does not really address or even acknowledge the need for Jesus to die, or why he would go to Jerusalem in order to die in accordance with God’s will, both of which are forcefully presented in the New Testament, especially in the Gospels (but which several of our readings would appear at first glance to want to avoid). McCabe, in other words, substitutes essentially ahistorical principles of armchair human psychology for the divine objectives of the cross – a pale substitution indeed.

McCabe completely ignores the perspective in the Gospels whereby Jesus in fact purposely provokes the hostile reaction of the leaders leading to death, going to Jerusalem in order to die precisely as the climax of his ministry and not, as McCabe would have it, the failure of it. It is precisely the culmination of his mission, not its failure (or even a failure then used victoriously by God). McCabe’s chapter, in effect, seems to make Jesus’ crucifixion just an accidental effect of telling people to love each other, without any real point, purpose, or objective effect. It is difficult to see in McCabe’s crucifixion any real, objective redemption rather than just an accident of history. It instead becomes a mere pastoral illustration of what happens when people talk “too much” about love.

What many of these accounts lack, then, would need to be remedied in a more serviceable account of the atonement of Christ on the cross. What we need is an account that is based firmly in the biblical data and actually takes it all into account, taking the event of the crucifixion in its historical context and its biblical place within the salvation-historical narrative of Scripture rather than simply trying to abstract from it a mere instance of some acontextual timeless principle. From these beginnings, it can then engage philosophically and systematically with the biblical theology and concepts and understand what is contained therein in new ways. At this point, however, it would be best I think to draw a tighter connection between Christ’s death and its results, making the crucifixion once again an actual need of ours met by God in Christ according to the divine plan for our salvation.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Aquinas and Christmas

Like the great councils of Nicea, Constantinople I, Ephesus, Chalcedon, and Constantinople III, Aquinas addressed, in his own theory of the Incarnation, many of the Christological concerns that had been prevalent during the patristic period. Indeed, one way to see what he is doing is to try to do justice in a philosophical framework to the insights of these great councils, seeing Christ as having both a human nature and a divine nature and these as united in the one person of the divine Word, each with its own characteristic activity and operations. In my previous paper, I showed how the councils just mentioned addressed these concerns; in the present paper my concern will be to show first of all how Aquinas addresses these. As his own views entail that in some sense Christ is not a human person, I will also show how Aquinas can maintain this in light of Christ’s full humanity. Similarly, in regards to Christ’s full divinity and full humanity, I will describe how it is that Aquinas thinks Christ’s human will can be the principle of its own self-determining action but always as an instrument of and in cooperation with his divine will.

In the Incarnation, what is most essential perhaps is that God becomes man. However, to do justice to the divine transcendence requires explaining this in a way that does not impinge on the transcendence and immutability of God. The distinction between the two natures in Christ provides the beginning of a way to do justice to this. Since God qua God – that is, as existing in and through the divine nature – cannot change, then it must be something else that undergoes a change, since obviously some change does occur with the advent of the Incarnation. So it must be the Creation itself which undergoes change, not the Creator. After all, one can say that the divine Word does change in the sense that at one time certain predicates (such as being a man) cannot be applied to the Word but then later one is indeed able to apply such predicates. But that is compatible with there being no actual change in the Word himself as existing in his divine nature since the change which results in a change in which predicates can be appropriately applied may be in something outside of that divine nature.

This change, which is not in the Word in his divinity but in creation, involves the creation by God of a human nature in personal dependence on the Word as the Word’s own. A bit of creation, in this way, has been taken into the divine life, conjoined to God. It is not a pre-existing human nature but a created nature created precisely as a way of being for the divine Word, itself dependent upon the Word and lacking its own separate individual existence distinct from and apart from the Word since it is itself a mode of the Word’s own existing.

For Aquinas, this change in creation and subsequent relation of dependence of the humanity of the Word on the person of the Word involves the coming into being of new mixed relations rather than relations in which each term is really related to the other. Instead, the human nature is really related to the Word as one of its two modes of existence. The relation is real in it as it comes into existence united to the Word. This involves a real effect in the humanity without a change or any kind of effect in the Word in his divine existence, guaranteeing thus both the possibility of full humanity and full divinity since the two natures thus remain unmixed yet united in the one person of the Word, the human nature subject to change and really related to the divine but the divine nature still immutable and only in ideal relation to the human nature, the relation being in the human nature alone. Because God thus remains immutable in becoming human, we can truly say that it is God in Christ who has become a mutable man, not some other entity which in becoming a human would be subject to change and hence devoid of the divine transcendence proper to God. This works precisely because it is one and the same divine Word who, in addition to his divine nature, has conjoined to him a human nature in addition, thus permitting the communication of idioms when speaking of Christ.

Christ has a full human nature, however, composed of a fully human soul united to a fully human body. The problem is having this body/soul compound and full humanity in Christ yet not have it constitute its own person in addition to the divine person of the Word. A Boethian conception of personhood would let any concrete nature capable of consciousness and freedom to be a person, in which case there would be a human person in addition to divine person of the Word. Aquinas, however, requires of personhood or being a hypostasis that it be complete and existing independently of other things. In this sense, there is only one person in Christ for Aquinas, the divine person of the Word.

A union of joined body and soul, however, would in normal circumstances result in the existence of a human person. In Christ there is no such person but only a human nature since the human nature of Christ does not exist apart from all other hypostases but instead exists only in dependence on the person or hypostasis of the Word. Otherwise, the human nature would have its own human person, existing apart from the Word. The divine person, then, takes the place of the human person, preventing the human nature of Christ from being the mode of existence of a separate human person. If we understand a human person as a human nature existing hypostatically in itself, then on Aquinas’s view, there is no human person of Christ, only a divine person existing compositely in both divine and human natures.

For Aquinas, a person or hypostasis is not equivalent to the modern notion of a personality or a stream of consciousness but an individual existent. Personhood is a matter of who, not of what. The hypostasis of someone specifies who it is, its nature specifies what it is, giving the way in which that who exists. Being fully human, however, is a matter of what one is – one’s nature – not who one is – one’s hypostasis. Whether or not the person who has the human nature is divine or human does not impact the full humanity of that person, since being a divine person in no way effects what that person is. Insofar as they have a full, working human nature, that person is thereby fully human. The absence of a human person does not, in Christ, involve an absence of anything in his humanity but rather is the result of its addition to the divine person. Christ, then, is fully human and in that sense, subsisting in a human nature, can be said to be a human person. But Christ’s personhood does not arise from the human nature on its own, existing apart from everything else, and in that sense Christ is not a human person, but in such a way that his full humanity remains intact.

All this shows, then, that on Aquinas’s views it is truly God who is redeeming us as a man, but in such a way that the divine Word retains his divine transcendence and yet also possesses full humanity and unites both divinity and humanity in a single person. To show, however, that Jesus’ humanity is truly a mediator in our salvation and not simply an instrument of God (and hence is a full humanity and able to save human beings through his life, death, and resurrection), Aquinas must elaborate a dyothelite position which allows for truly human acting and willing. Otherwise, the divine will and activity crowd out the human and it becomes the divine nature alone which is active, the human nature being merely a passive participant and not a truly human source of human willing and human activity. It is the human suffering and willing of the divine Word in a genuinely human fashion that is redemptive, after all.

In Aquinas’s view, it seems that there is first of all a coordination of the divine will and human will in Christ rooted precisely in the fact that it is one person who possesses both wills, both principles of genuinely divine and human activity. The human will of Christ receives its principle of activity and is moved towards the intentions of God by the divine will. In this way, the human will of Christ acts as an instrument of the divine will in bringing about the divine ends. It is not a mere instrument, however, as the actions of the human nature of Christ are mediated by his human will, which is free and self-determining. It is, hence, a conjoined will as the will of the very divine person using it as an instrument, but also an instrument of the rational order with its own principle of action moved via that principle by another principle of action, the divine. It is hence not passive in this interaction but actively pursues and chooses for itself the intentions and goals of the divine will.

The human will of Christ, hence, is moved by the divine will to freely act and is graced by God in its hypostatic union with the person of the Word with the grace necessary to do so. This grace perfects in some way the human nature of Christ, as human nature is always perfected through the infusion of divine grace, which thereby makes Christ’s will free to always follow the good. In this sense of freedom, freedom to do the good, the hypostatic union and corresponding instrumentality of the human will of Christ in fact guarantee the freedom of that will rather than take away from it. The divine will, then, moves the human will of Christ towards freely pursuing the good and the divine ends, but through the self-determining and active principles of the human nature, not directly and without that mediation. As a conjoined will being used by a divine will, the influence of that divine will is one from the inside (internal to that person), as it were, not an external or coercive one. This may very well require, as perhaps Aquinas, White and Crowley seem to think (see, for instance, White 415, 421), a progressive human knowledge in Christ of who he is and of God’s will in given situations, graced upon him as part of the cooperation of his human nature with his divine, thus helping to secure a psychological unity for Christ as a single, integrated person of unmixed humanity and divinity. As already said, this grace perfects Christ’s humanity rather than detracts from it. By always being aware of the good and will of God, Christ, because of his graced human nature and will, always acts in accordance with the good and divine will, the human and divine wills thus being coordinated and yet their own principles of genuinely free activity in the person of Christ.

The person of the divine Word, then, acts as a single person precisely through this coordinated cooperation of his two natures and two wills. The Word is fully God, transcendent and unchanging even in the Incarnation. The Word is fully human, possessed of a union of body and soul with a functioning human life and active, self-determining will. It is one divine person who exists in and acts through each of these natures; there is not a distinct human person in Christ. Hence, it is in Christ truly God who redeems and truly through his own humanity and its activities and will that he does so. Aquinas appears, then, to have further elaborated and defended the very balancing of the various Christological concerns that was so vigorously defended by the great councils of the church.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Patristic Christology

I have finally finished all my commitments for this semester at the GTU! I'm currently applying both for philosophy employment (please pray for that) and for New Testament PhD programs at the same time and will see where Providence takes us. In the meantime, I'll make a couple of posts from the papers (mostly summarizing my own synthesis of course materials) I wrote for my Historical Development of Christology class. Here's the first one:


Arius, Apollinaris, and Nestorius represented respectively for the early church three different foils for the development of Christological doctrine. In response to the Christological imbalances in the views of these thinkers and others after them, the successive ecumenical councils of the early church progressively centered in on a truly balanced Christology, taking into account Christ’s full humanity, full divinity, and unity, while at the same time maintaining the transcendence of God within the mystery of the Incarnation. In this essay I will consider each of the three heterodox thinkers listed above and show how Nicea, Constantinople I, Ephesus, Chalcedon, and Constantinople III all redressed in their particular ways the doctrinal mistakes of those three.

Arius was the first early heretical thinker to provoke his own ecumenical council devoted to adjudicating his views. It is arguable that one of the key determining factors in Arius’s Christology was his concern to protect the transcendence of the divine as he understood it – to keep the divine immutable and well-removed from the earthly realm of becoming and corruption. Arius’s God is, in effect, not so different from modern Deist versions of the deity, if not even more aloof from his creation, if that is possible.

The Logos serves in Arius’s thinking, as in Origenist theology of the period, as the intermediary in creation between God and the world, keeping the two firmly apart. But since the Logos is thus involved in creation, the Logos cannot be transcendent in the same way God is. With the rejection of a Platonic view of levels within God and a focus on divine transcendence as essential to divinity, this apparently lower being, the Logos, cannot have a share in that divinity. As such, the Logos must be created by God Himself, all else coming from the Logos directly rather than God in his unsullied distance from Creation.

Apart from cosmological considerations, Arius’s understanding of transcendence also pushes him towards a rejection of the Son’s divinity because of his view of the Incarnation and the nature of the unity of the Incarnate Son. Arius takes onboard the Logos-sarx framework then fashionable in Alexandria, according to which Jesus Christ had a human body but instead of a rational soul in the way other humans do, he had the supreme Logos as his rational, animating principle (I will return to this framework below in discussing Apollinaris). As such, since Christ underwent suffering and change, the Logos as his vital principle also underwent these. But since the divine nature is immutable and impassible, not to mention transcendent, the Logos cannot possess the divine nature as its own.

Arius, then, certainly protects divine transcendence as well as the unity of Christ – the Logos is not an additional entity but rather takes the role of the soul in the man Christ, thus combining Logos and human body in one incarnate being. The Platonically-influenced thought was that if something is the rational, animating principle of a human body then that basically makes it a human soul. However, the Logos was very different from a human soul, hence the worry with Logos-sarx Christology that Christ’s full humanity had been compromised. Christ becomes a kind of super-creature with a human body but something very different from the human mind or soul possessed by the rest of the human race. While preserving the need for Christ to actually suffer and die, thus entering into human reality, that very human reality is compromised by replacing the soul with the Logos. Christ, rather than being a human being, becomes in this view of the Incarnation a new kind of entity, compounded of human bodily parts and the super-creature who mediates between God and man. And if Christ, as many argued, needed to be fully human in order to fully save humans – possessing every bit of human nature in order to redeem every bit of it – then this Christ is not able to redeem us as whole human beings, bodies and souls. Jettisoning divinity for Christ, Arius thus also ran afoul of the objection that his Christ, lacking divinity, could not save, since only God can save.

The Council of Nicea, called to address Arius’s views, succeeded in theologically resolving at least some of Arius’s imbalanced theology. Without addressing issues relating to the divine transcendence or Christ’s humanity or unity, Nicea did affirm the full divinity of Christ, declaring him same in substance or being (ὁμοούσιος) with the Father. The Origenist notion of levels of divinity in the Godhead via emanation from the ultimate, transcendent, unitary God was abandoned. This safeguarded both Christ’s full possession of the divine nature shared with the Father as well as his ability to save in virtue of this fact.

Since Nicea did not address the other issues involved in Arius’s view, however, it is not surprising to see Apollinaris accept Nicea and the full divinity of Christ (or at least attempt to do so) and yet fall into other problems related to Arius’s view, all stemming from Apollinaris’s acceptance of the same Logos-sarx framework as Arius. Like Arius, Apollinaris views Christ as a composite of the Logos and a human body, the former again replacing the human soul in Christ. But once the Logos is recognized as fully divine, the combination with the Logos-sarx view, while rendering Christ a true unity, in fact causes problems in almost every other area.

Since the Logos, on Apollinaris’s view, joins with a human body, it seems to form a new, composite entity, Christ (similar to the way it does in Arius’s view) – a tertium quid neither fully human nor fully divine but something else. Just as in Arius’s view, a human body with the Logos instead of a human soul is not fully human. Christ apparently also cannot be fully divine for the additional reason that since it would seem that the Logos, as the replacement for the human soul, would have to serve as the seat of Christ’s suffering and other experiences. But that would make the Logos passable. The Logos in such a case could not have the full divine nature, lacking divine transcendence and its impassibility. Being neither fully God nor fully man, Christ would then neither save as God nor be able to redeem whole human persons since he would lack whole human personhood himself. While it could be claimed that the Logos retains its impassibility, this would require a mere appearance of suffering and human experience and hence a retreat to a docetic Christ, a denial of the true reality of the man Jesus and his real suffering, human life and free obedience for our salvation as he is swallowed up in the transcendent divine.

The First Council of Constantinople condemned Apollinaris and affirmed the true, full humanity of Christ. Rather than a mere human body, his humanity was a full one, involving a combination of both body and soul, complete humanity for the salvation of human beings. It thus also safeguarded against a violation of divine transcendence as well as the danger of docetism since the Logos was not directly compounded with a human body (and hence helped save the reality of the man Jesus).

Without the Logos-sarx framework, however, the problem of accounting for the unity of Christ returned. If we start with the divine Logos on one hand – God – and this complete human being on the other – the man Jesus – then how do we account for their unity in Christ? The unity of Christ thus provides the central problem affecting Nestorius’s Christology. Nestorius accepted both a full human nature and a full divine nature in Christ, but seems to have had problems putting them together in such a way as to form a convincing unity, so averse he was to the danger of forming a tertium quid out of the two as Apollinaris or Arius did. Nestorius’s notion of a nature was that of an concrete individual entity and hence he thought of the incarnation as the coming together of two concrete individuals, which results in one new prosopon or phenomenal reality of unity. On Nestorius’s view, then, there is not a single subject who is the Logos and hence has divine properties and who is also the man Jesus and hence has human properties – existing both as God and as man. Hence, there can be on his view no communication of idioms – no applying of predicates of divinity to the man Jesus and no applying of predicates of humanity to the divine Logos, as would have followed were the subject identical. Mary, on this view, cannot be rightly said to be the Mother of God – the Theotokos (Θεοτόκος) or God-Bearer.

Nestorius, in trying to maintain full divinity and divine transcendence on the one hand, and full humanity on the other, thus trips over the issue of the unity of Christ, which in turns raises the issue of whether Christ on Nestorius’s view would be able to save, given that only God can save, since it would seem that one would not then be allowed to say that God lived, suffered, died, and was raised for our salvation. Human mediatorship in salvation is secured, but the role of the divine, being pushed out of the created world as in Arius’s view, seems to be damaged.

The Council of Ephesus responded to Nestorius by rejecting his views as providing insufficient unity for Christ. It is one and the same Logos who is at once God and man, to whom both divine and human attributes accrue and hence Mary is indeed Theotokos. As Cyril noted, divinity and humanity are united in the one hypostasis or person of the divine Logos, hence the communication of idioms is completely appropriate (it is, in fact, just an application of the logical rule Leibniz’s Law, also known as the Indiscernibility of Identicals) – we can say both that God truly suffered on the cross and that the man Jesus is creator of the world, Second Person of the Trinity, since these are really one person, God the Son. Unity is hence found in the person of the Logos, not in some special extra relationship added as an outside extra to Christ’s divinity and humanity. Hence the unity of Christ and the divine role in salvation were secured for the time being by the council.

Ephesus, however, did not solve the question that Nestorius’s view seems to have addressed fairly well; that is, how to maintain divine transcendence and full divinity in the face of full humanity, taking both the divinity and humanity seriously as demanded by Nicea and Constantinople I. The idea of dividing humanity and divinity into two distinct, unmixed natures seems to do this, allowing for full humanity without being distorted or altered in nature by mixing with divinity and for full divinity without being distorted or altered in nature by mixing with humanity. Hence, in divinity Christ can remain transcendent and divine, whereas in humanity he can be a full, though sinless, human.

The Council of Chalcedon takes on this important usage of the notion of two natures, but without adding in Nestorius’s interpretation of the notion. That is, Constantinople does not interpret the notion of a nature in terms of a concrete individual entity. The natures are not independent things added together to form Christ but, instead, the human and divine natures are distinct sets of characteristic properties or ways of being, united in the person of Christ as the one subject of these properties who thus exists in two fully distinct ways – the divine way and a particular human way. Without changing in the divine nature, the single person of Christ took on a new mode of existence in the Incarnation, which is a change in the created order rather than in Christ qua God. Chalcedon thus takes on the important insights of the two-nature view held by people like Nestorius but without the distortions caused by too-concrete a notion of what a divine or human nature might be. Chalcedon thus successfully integrates the insights of Nicea – that Christ is fully God – and of Constantinople I – that Christ is fully human – with that of Ephesus – that Christ forms a unity in the person of the divine Logos.

The Third Council of Constantinople clarified and further developed the Chalcedonian trajectory of Christology by addressing Christ’s full humanity not merely in the sense of the possession of an abstract, though concretely realized, nature but also in terms of a fully human way of life and activity, a human use of human freedom to form a truly human life, giving truly human obedience to the Father unto death. Without a distinctly human will and human activity, which were rejected by the monothelites, there is an inherent danger of a kind of implicit Apollinarism or even docetism, where the human life of Christ is consumed by rather than perfected by the divine life he also possesses. There is a danger then in the two directions of either failing to respect divine transcendence by, in effect, replacing much of the functionality of the human soul with that of the divine Logos, or, on the other hand, failing to respect the true reality of the man Jesus. In either case, a truly human life has been compromised and, if as in the West, it is thought that such a life and human obedience are important for our salvation, then such a view will certainly not do. If Christ is to save us by humanly taking on as free, human action, a human obedience unto death on the cross, this would seem to require that he actually act and will in his human nature and that he both have a human will and source of activity and that these not simply sit there inert, as good as absent from him.

The Third Council of Constantinople addresses this concern by investing in Christ a fully human reality – Christ, in addition to his divine will, has and uses a human will, a human principle of activity. Christ, in other words, acts in both of his natures, not simply the divine one. The real human existence, activity, and freedom of the man Jesus are thus at last properly ascribed to the one Logos who is at once also in possession of a divine existence, activity, and freedom, unified together in that one divine person who acts and exists in each nature.

In conjunction with the councils before it, then, Constantinople III guarantees that Christ is truly one of us – the perfect human being and representative of us as human beings before the Father and to us of what we as Christians can and must become in Christ. At the same time, however, Christ is guaranteed as where we are able in this life to directly meet God – not mediated through creation but the divine Son himself who, in virtue of his consubstantiality with the Father, reveals to us the Father as well. In Christ, we encounter God himself in the only way we are currently able to do so – the infinite taking on the finite in order to be revealed to the finite.

The orthodox view developed in the councils examined in this paper, then, does something that the heterodox thinkers do not – that is, present a picture of Christ which balances all the important considerations and truths we get from theology and Scripture. While the heterodox views latch onto and appear to do extremely well with certain considerations, they do so at the cost of others, failing to take into account other important considerations or truths and thus ending up with a lopsided theology as a result or even a Christ who perhaps cannot even save.