Sunday, July 19, 2009
Mary is the Theotokos, the God-bearer. That term often brings up fear and knee-jerk reactions out of Protestants. The fear is borne of the thought that if we call Mary the Theotokos, it links Protestants to the apostate Roman Catholic Church. We need not fear that link when we call Mary the Theotokos. Affirming Mary as Theotokos does not equate to idolatry. To deny Mary as the Theotokos is an attack on the incarnation of Christ.
Jesus is fully God, fully man. Christ's two natures are united and inseparable. Therefore, Mary is the God-bearer.
The other aspect of Nestorian thinking is that only Christ's humanity died on the cross. Most Protestants today are Nestorian in their theology of Christ on the cross. Even very traditional, orthodox Calvinists are Nestorians. They do a bit of a jig to deny this, yet in reality the teaching is Nestorian. The teaching is that Jesus' perfect humanity died on the cross; not his divine nature. So the separation is made.
What is Nestorianism? In my own words, it is the separating of Christ's humanity from His divinity. As is usual in church history, it takes a heretic to come along for the church to codify orthodoxy. Nestorius was that heretic. He was a bishop in Constantinople, and he preached against Mary as Theotokos. As a result of this conflict, the church is left with the Chalcedon Creed.
Are Nestorians Christians? Yes, I believe so. We are saved by Jesus; not by correct doctrine. Dear Reader, this brief post is to encourage you to consider this topic further.