Thursday, June 1

Key to Tuesday's Quiz

Here are the answers to the quiz on the person and work of Jesus Christ. I used two sources besides scripture while putting the quiz and answers together: Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by R.C. Sproul, which I downloaded in a pdf. file from a site that is no longer up; and Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem.

1. Christ is
a. the surname of a man who lived 2000 years ago, whose given name was Jesus.
b. a title referring to Jesus's position and work as Messiah.
c. a Greek word meaning annointed one .
d. both a and c above
e. both b and c above.
f. none of the above.
The correct answer is e. Christ is not a surname (answer a), but a title used for Jesus, the son of Joseph--a title that refers to his position and work as the Messiah. Both Christ (which comes from a Greek word) and Messiah (which is Hebrew) mean annointed one, so the title Christ is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah (answers b and c).

2. The historic creeds and confessions of the Christian church affirm that Jesus Christ was
a. created by God the Father, and so of a similar nature to the Father.
b. a very great man, but an ordinary human imbued with supernatural powers by God.
c. of the very same nature as God the Father, and not created, but eternally co-existent with the Father.
d. one of the three ways the one person of God manifests himself.
e. both c and d above.
f. none of the above.
The correct answer is c.

Answer a is a statement of Arianism, a heresy condemned in the Nicene creed by the use of the phrase "begotten not made," and the choice of homoousios (of the same nature), which the Arians could not affirm, instead of homoiousios (of a similar nature), which the Arians would have affirmed. (See Grudem's Systematic Theology, pages 243-245, for further explanation.)

Answer b is a denial of the full diety of Christ. The early creeds affirm the full diety of Christ; for instance, the Nicene creed uses the phrase "true God from true God" to describe him.

Answer d is a statement of Modalism (or Sabellianism), an anti-trinitarian heresy condemned in the creeds. Notice that the statement refers to God as "one person" rather than "one being". Trinitarians believe that God is three persons co-existing eternally in one being, while modalists believe he is one person who manifests himself in three different roles or modes. There are, by the way, present day modalists, and the use of the word manifestations in regards to those whom Trinitarians would call "the three persons of the Godhead" is a clue that you might be dealing with someone who is a modalist. Or not. Sometimes people are just uninformed or careless in their language. (See page 242 of Grudem's Systematic Theology for more info.)

3. As a human being, Jesus
a. had a real physical body and a true human nature.
b. had two natures: a divine one and a human one.
c. was restricted in time and space.
d. was without sin.
e. both a and d above.
f. all of the above.
The answer is f. All of statements a-d are true of Jesus as a human being. Hebrews 2 tells us that Jesus partook of our humanity and was like us in every respect (except for sin, of course), so he had to have a real physical body, just like ours, and a true human nature, just like ours (answer a). Everything that is necessary for someone to be a real human being he had.

To reject the two natures of Christ (answer b) is to buy into another of the heretical views of Christ--the one called monophysitism, in which it is believed that Christ has a single nature that is a mixture of human nature and divine nature. If this were true, then Christ wouldn't be "like us in every respect", so he wouldn't be a true human being able to represent us before God.

As a human being with a human nature, Jesus accepted the limitations that all human beings have, like being in one place at a time (answer c), for instance. This one of the ways he became "like us in every respect"; except, of course, that he was without sin (answer d). You can go to Hebrews 4:15 for proof of his sinlessness.

4. Jesus was sinless
a. so that his perfect obedience could supply the righteousness we need to be saved.
b. merely to be a perfect example for us to follow.
c. even though he was tempted by sinful desires.
d. because he was spared the same sort of temptations we experience.
e. both a and c above.
f. none of the above.

The correct answer is a. That Christ be sinless (or perfectly obedient) was necessary for us to be saved. Unless he was sinless, Christ could not have been a spotless sacrifice on behalf of human beings. If he had sinned, he could not have been our saviour, but would have needed a saviour himself. Furthermore, unless he was perfectly obedient, his perfect obedience could not be imputed to those united with him. So we need both things from Christ in order to be saved: a substitute to take on the wrath of God due our sins; and the required perfect righteousness or obedience accounted to us. Both things require that Christ be sinless.

Answer b is wrong simply because of the word merely. Christ is indeed an example for us to follow, but he is much more than that, too.

Answer c is wrong because of the word sinful. As a human being, Christ had the full range of human desires, but his desires were never sinful ones, and he never wanted to fulfill his human desires in a sinful way (Hebrews 4:15 again). He got hungry, for instance, but he did not desire to appease his hunger by turning stones into bread as suggested by Satan during Christ's temptation.

At the same time, every sort of temptation that we experience, Christ experienced (Hebrews 4: 15). He was spared none of them (answer d).

5. The doctrine that Jesus was born of a virgin
a. means that Christ was generated by his mother Mary alone.
b. was the result of a miraculous work by the power of the Holy Spirit.
c. is not taught in the Bible.
d. was formulated by Constantine, and forced on the church for political reasons.
e. both a and b above.
f. none of the above.
The answer is b. Mary is his biological mother and he has no human father; rather, he was born by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). That b is true excludes answer a. That Jesus was born of a virgin is taught in the Bible in several places (Luke 1:34, for instance), excluding answer c. Answer d is my attempt at Da Vinci Code humour, and that this is false ought to be evident by the proofs already given, since the scripural passages affirming the doctrine of the virgin birth were written long before Constantine's time.

6. That Christ is the mediator
a. is agreed upon by the Father and the Son in eternity.
b. means that his work is to reconcile human beings to God.
c. required that Christ become incarnate.
d. means that those who believe have access to God through him.
e. a, b, and d above.
f. all of the above.
The correct answer is f. Statements a-d are all true of Christ's mediatorial role. A mediator is someone who works to reconcile disputing parties. In this case, there is enmity between God and humankind, and it is Christ's work that does away with that enmity (answer b). According to 1 Peter 1:20, Christ's role as "go-between" was agreed upon in eternity (answer a). Hebrews 2:17 tells us that it was necessary for him to become a human being just like we are (answer c) in order for him to represent us to God (a mediatorial work); and Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us that it is because he represents us still that we have open access to God (answer d).

How did you do? Any quibbles? Anything unclear?

And thanks to those of you who let me know you took the quiz. It's more fun to make them when I know people participate.

Update: Feel free to jump into the discussion in the comments.

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