1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Footnotes
This paper attempts to show that the
elimination of miraculous works from the purview of the
imitatio Christi simply does not derive from scripture and
is not, therefore, normative. Against the traditional, restricted
view of "imitation," the NT contains a strong parenesis
for replicating the life and activities of Jesus in all
areas, including the ministry of the miraculous.
The recent trend toward a more biblical "Spirit
Christology" facilitates our thesis that a central NT theme in
Jesus' ministry was that he is presented not only as a unique
sacrifice for sin, but as a normative exemplar of charismatic
ministry for others to replicate. Hence, in this paper, after
Part I, a survey of traditional theology and developments in this
area, Part II examines the NT and its contemporary expressions of
mimesis (imitation/ replication) and its semantic field,
while Part III shows that the NT content of mimesis
requires a remarkably detailed replication of each stage of
Jesus' life and ministry, specifically including his ministry of
"signs and wonders." This paper represents an exploratory survey
of this issue. It is necessarily brief and incomplete, both in
its scope and supporting evidence.
Early on, the doctrine of Christology found
much of its shape in Greek philosophical apologetics. Since it
was no difficult matter to prove that Jesus was a man, the
overwhelming apologetic emphasis focused on establishing His
divinity, the importance of this being that only God could
redeem from sin. In Christian tradition, then, Jesus
came to be seen principally as the divine savior from sin, whose
nature and mission was utterly and transcendently unique. To
protect this image of Christ, the apologetic impulse tended to
recast the New Testament portrayal of his ministry, particularly
his miracles, into proofs for divinity, a move that had the
effect of distancing the life and actions of Jesus from those of
his mortal followers. Of course Christian tradition is far from
uniform on this, or even on most issues, but for example, St.
Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444) expresses some flavor of this
discontinuity when he insisted:
If any man shall say that the one Lord Jesus
Christ was glorified by the Holy Ghost so that he used through
him a power not his own and from him received power against
unclean spirits and power to work miracles before men and shall
not rather confess that it was his own spirit through which he
worked these divine signs let him be an anathema.
An anonymous commentator on this passage clarifies Cyril's
distinction between Christ and the apostles with respect to
miracles and the anointing of the Spirit.
The apostles worked miracles through the Holy
Ghost but as by a power external to themselves but not so Christ.
When Christ worked wonders through the Holy Ghost he was working
by a power was his own via the Third person of the Holy Trinity,
from whom he never was and never could be separated, ever abiding
with him and the eternal Father as the divine unity.
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