Did Rushdoony have a Nestorian 'nod'?

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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
This is something that has come up in discussions I've had with former theonomists, and since it deals with the heart of Christology, it can't be easily dismissed.

Thesis: Rushdoony is a Nestorian because he separated the flesh of Christ from the worship due to the Divine Person.

Rushdoony: “But the Council made it clear that only God could be worshipped; not even Christ’s humanity could be worshipped, but only His deity. The humanity of Christ is not nor ever could be deified” (Foundations, 41).

Council of Ephesus/Cyril: ‘It is horrible to say [as Nestorius does] in this connexion as follows: ‘the assumed as well as the assuming have the name of God.’ For the saying of this divides again Christ into two, and puts the man separately by himself and God by himself. For this saying denies openly the Unity, according to which one is not worshipped in the other, nor does God exist together with the other; but Jesus Christ is considered as One, the Only-begotten Son, to be honored with one-adoration together with his own flesh”

11th Anathema: Whosoever shall not confess that the flesh of the Lord giveth life and that it pertains to the Word of God the Father as his very own, but shall pretend that it belongs to another person who is united to him [i.e., the Word] only according to honour, and who has served as a dwelling for the divinity; and shall not rather confess, as we say, that that flesh giveth life because it is that of the Word who giveth life to all: let him be anathema.”
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Rushdoony: “But the Council made it clear that only God could be worshipped; not even Christ’s humanity could be worshipped, but only His deity. The humanity of Christ is not nor ever could be deified” (Foundations, 41).

I suspect the sentence that I have highlighted is key to understanding Rush's meaning with respect to this issue. While I would need to check the source more closely (I no longer own the book), could he be arguing against the mixing of the two natures?
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I would understand him as saying that the humanity of Christ is not worshiped as such. In other words, we don't carefully exclude the humanity of Christ when we worship, but the abstract humanity is not the formal ground of adoration.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
I would understand him as saying that the humanity of Christ is not worshiped as such. In other words, we don't carefully exclude the humanity of Christ when we worship, but the abstract humanity is not the formal ground of adoration.

Is this verse to the point at all?
2 Corinthians 5:16
Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I haven't read on the issue raised in the OP in 25 years, but I do not recall this particular point being viewed with concern among the TRs; people in that crowd debated everything. (At the time, I read both volumes of Foundations and went to Chalcedon when in Atlanta.) If any strength from that late-century movement continues, it would be an understanding of the relationship between the one and the many in the Godhead.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I see him as saying (yikes, this sounds like an evangelical group bible study) that he is separating the humanity from the one person. We offer worship to the one person, which includes his humanity. Rush specifically denied the humanity is worshiped at all, whereas Cyril (and Ephesus) says it is along with the Person.

By not allowing the humanity to be part of the worship, Rushdoony dislocated the unity of Christ. There is now the divine person + the humanity, the latter not receiving worship.

Nestorianism is not saying there is two dudes named Jesus. It is saying there are two acting subjects in the one prosopon of Christ.
 
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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
In that case, a Nestorian "nod" is perhaps not an unfair description. That, of course, is a different thing from saying that he was a fully blown Nestorian.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
In that case, a Nestorian "nod" is perhaps not an unfair description. That, of course, is a different thing from saying that he was a fully blown Nestorian.

I don't think he was a full-blown Nestorian. With the exception of a few Clarkians, few people actually want to be identified with heretics.

He did have a bad habit of notoriously misreading ancient fathers.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
This is something that has come up in discussions I've had with former theonomists, and since it deals with the heart of Christology, it can't be easily dismissed.

Thesis: Rushdoony is a Nestorian because he separated the flesh of Christ from the worship due to the Divine Person.

Rushdoony: “But the Council made it clear that only God could be worshipped; not even Christ’s humanity could be worshipped, but only His deity. The humanity of Christ is not nor ever could be deified” (Foundations, 41).

Council of Ephesus/Cyril: ‘It is horrible to say [as Nestorius does] in this connexion as follows: ‘the assumed as well as the assuming have the name of God.’ For the saying of this divides again Christ into two, and puts the man separately by himself and God by himself. For this saying denies openly the Unity, according to which one is not worshipped in the other, nor does God exist together with the other; but Jesus Christ is considered as One, the Only-begotten Son, to be honored with one-adoration together with his own flesh”

11th Anathema: Whosoever shall not confess that the flesh of the Lord giveth life and that it pertains to the Word of God the Father as his very own, but shall pretend that it belongs to another person who is united to him [i.e., the Word] only according to honour, and who has served as a dwelling for the divinity; and shall not rather confess, as we say, that that flesh giveth life because it is that of the Word who giveth life to all: let him be anathema.”
My understanding of Jesus would be that since He was God incarnated as a Human , we are not allowed to seperate Him into either God or human, but that He is is both , so we worship Jesus as Lord. Period.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
My understanding of Jesus would be that since He was God incarnated as a Human , we are not allowed to seperate Him into either God or human, but that He is is both , so we worship Jesus as Lord. Period.

Of course, but in that worshipping the one Jesus as Lord, is his flesh also being worshiped? That's where Rushdoony said "No." And that "No" is what Cyril called anathema.
 

Jonathan R

Puritan Board Freshman
I recall John Owen in his Christologia stating something very similar. Something along the lines of the reason for worship of Jesus is due to his Divine nature, not the human nature.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I recall John Owen in his Christologia stating something very similar. Something along the lines of the reason for worship of Jesus is due to his Divine nature, not the human nature.

I don't have the Owen quote at hand, but you can't separate the two natures. The only way to do that is to isolate one apart from the entire Person. Cyril said that was Nestorian.

It's a common refrain, so common that it worked its way into liturgy, that the flesh of the God-man was "life-giving."
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
This question has to be approached like that of ubiquity, i.e., in terms of WCF 8.7 or Heidelberg Catechism #s 47 and 48. It is not separating the two natures to say that the ground for worshipping God the Son is his divinity.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
This question has to be approached like that of ubiquity, i.e., in terms of WCF 8.7 or Heidelberg Catechism #s 47 and 48. It is not separating the two natures to say that the ground for worshipping God the Son is his divinity.

I would agree with that, but I would modify the last statement to say that the ground of worshipping God the Son is the divine Person, and not so much a divine nature abstracted from that person. Cyril is very clear that we can't abstract the natures in practice.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
That's probably a helpful modification with regard to Christology. But we worship the Father and the Spirit because of divinity, so I am not willing to lose the clarity of what it is that authorizes worship. On Christology, my concern is that we need to retain the ability to talk about the natures without confusing them in spite of their concrete union in the person.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
I would agree with that, but I would modify the last statement to say that the ground of worshipping God the Son is the divine Person, and not so much a divine nature abstracted from that person. Cyril is very clear that we can't abstract the natures in practice.
Jesus is forever both fully God and man, with both natures always, so would we not be worshipping Jesus period?
 
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