Recently, Ligonier Ministries unveiled a new confessional-style statement on the person of Jesus Christ. Entitled The Word Made Flesh: The Ligonier Statement on Christ, Ligonier expressed their purpose for this statement as follows:
Today these statements are often neglected and misunderstood, resulting in widespread confusion regarding the person and work of Christ. For the glory of Christ and the edification of His people, the Ligonier Statement on Christology seeks to encapsulate the historic, orthodox, biblical Christology of the Christian church in a form that is simple to confess, useful to help teach the church’s enduring faith, and able to serve as a common confession around which believers from different churches can rally for mission together. This statement is not a replacement for the church’s historic creeds and confessions but a supplement that articulates their collective teaching on who Christ is and what He has done. May Christ use it for His kingdom.
The desire to make the truths of ancient creeds more known to the modern church is a worthy one. Much of what is contained in this statement restates those precious truths. However, sadly, an apparent lack of precision at points has created some questions about the statement. As it is important for us to be crystal clear on Jesus’ person and work, and a helpful tool in sharpening our minds on this subject is reading commentary about it, the following links are provided to that end.
Mark Jones at Reformation 21 points out what he sees as some troubling parts of the Ligonier statement. Most notably, he addresses language that implies in Article 7 that Christ’s glorified state may still contain “common infirmities.” Jones also points out that a heavy focus on justification in the document seems to exclude the other aspects of Christ’s salvific work such as sanctification, adoption, etc.
Steven Nichols, president of Reformation Bible College, responded indirectly with an explanation describing Christ’s exalted humanity. He appears to apply the concept of “infirmities” to Jesus in his resurrected and ascended state, and employs it particularly to express Jesus’ role as our high priest.
Back over at Mortification of Spin, Carl Trueman invited Mark Jones to respond further. He used the Larger Catechism to show that the Westminster divines made clear that any common infirmities Christ had in his state of humiliation have been removed now that he is exalted.
Hopefully clarity and charity will prevail.