“Jesus Christ: Exposing Heresies Past and Present“
The students at Theosis Institute kicked off the second phase of their studies revisiting an earlier module – Christology. The focus this time was on exposing past and present heresies about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dr. Shawn Smith declared that ‘the sum of all heresies is an underestimation of Christ’. Heresies will always underestimate the person or work of Jesus Christ. It will present a separation of the Godhead. Heresy is a work of the flesh; the expression of the residue of the Adamic mindset (Galatians 5:20).
In one of the sessions titled “The Orthodoxy – Heterodoxy Dialectic“, Dr. Shawn Smith explained that Christology which is the true nature of God was first developed in the four ecumenical councils.
The students were presented the Mosaic Portrayal of Christ and the Apostolic succession, two major views in the development of early Christianity (with major proponents being Irenaeus of Lyons and Tertullian of Carthage respectively); the contrast between orthodoxy and heterodoxy and a vivid presentation of the non-negotiables of Apostolic preaching.
Ratiocination, an exact train of thought was another subject examined. In speaking on this subject, Dr. Shawn Smith expounded on data, claim, inference and warrant as four vital tools of ratiocination. Other areas of study included:
- Christological developments in the Sub – Apostolic Age. The chancellor meticulously presented Platonism and the Jewish Cosmology of the World as major cosmologies that served as the foundation for heresies in the sub-apostolic age and influenced the development of early Christianity.
- The different pertinent heresies during the sub-apostolic age.
- Ebionitism which was influenced by the Jewish cosmology
- Gnosticism influenced by Platonism.
- Major Patristic Developments in Christology. Shawn Smith reiterated that Christology is the centerpiece of the gospel; it is the ground and the grammar of the gospel. He presented the four Christological councils – Nicaea, Ephesus, Constantinople and Chalcedon, highlighting in each the heresy that provoked it, and the tools of ratiocination that were used by the champions of orthodoxy to refute the heresies.
- Reclaiming the Atonement. Dr. Shawn Smith laid the foundation for the next module on Eschatology as he presented a synopsis of the atonement models: the ransom influence model, the ransom theory and the Penal Substitution model as promulgated by Anselm of Canterbury and John Calvin.
The students took their end of module examination during which they were presented with the Nicene Creed to highlight in it the affirmations and relate them with the refuted heresies.
The next module entitled “Eschatology –When Shall these things be? The Last days according to Jesus and the Apostles” is slated for November 8th to 12th as the chancellor.