But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more (John 16:5-10).
When Jesus spoke these words at the Last Supper, He was announcing to His disciples: “I’ve got good news and bad news.” He knew that they would be overwhelmed by the bad news. The bad news – His death – would be more than overcome by the good news: His resurrection. But there were two parts to His good news-bad news scenario. His death and resurrection would be immediate. After this, there would be another pair: His ascension, followed by the advent of the Holy Spirit. This was the focus of His words in John 17.
The modern Church has given up hope in the good news aspect of the second pair. This constitutes the burden of modern history – not evolutionism, not Marxism (more obvious today than half a decade ago), not the public school system, not drugs, existentialism, or the inevitable collapse of the Social Security retirement system. The essence of today’s malaise is that the Church of Jesus Christ, two millennia after His birth, does not believe that the trade-off between the ascension and the advent of the Holy Spirit was positive. They desperately want Jesus to come back.
Christology and Covenantalism
Jesus Christ’s incarnation and life were expressly covenantal. That is to say, Christology is covenantal. I suppose I am the first person to discover this, so that means it has to be wrong, according to my many critics. But in a discussion I had recently regarding the resurrection, this insight hit me: the five-point covenant model matches the life of Christ.
Transcendence/immanence: one person, two natures, fully God and fully man, in union but without intermixture.
Hierarchy/authority: the son of man, the second Adam, the logos who perfectly spoke God’s authoritative word in history.
Ethics/law: fulfiller of the Mosaic Law (Matt. 5:17-19).
Oath/sanctions: bodily death: (negative) and resurrection (positive).
Succession/inheritance: bodily ascension to God’s right hand and joint sender, with God the Father, of the Holy Spirit (John 15:26).
The Church’s universally agreed-upon creeds have affirmed these five provisions. The Western Church has emphasized the joint procession of the Holy Spirit from Father and Son (“the Filioque”).
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)