Do Jesus’ titles and roles in the New Testament aid or hinder Christology? Include descriptions and contrasts in your explanation.
The roles and titles aid Christology through the provision of detailed information on various aspects of Jesus’ life. They contribute towards an understanding of the meaning and identity of Christ (McMahon 32). Since Christology is the study of Jesus and his mission, the titles and roles provide it with relevant and comprehensive information. According to McMahon (134), he fulfilled the roles of various titles including the Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah, High Priest, and Lord. The manner in which he fulfilled the roles contributed towards various areas of Christology including Christ’s birth, Deity, humanity, death, and resurrection. For instance, the title of ‘Suffering Servant’ was fulfilled through Jesus’ suffering and atonement for the people’s sins. It contributes towards Christology by outlining Jesus’ humanity and Messianic nature.
Which genre-letter or gospel- do you think is a better contributor to the field of Christology? Explain your view.
Gospels are better contributors to the field that letters due to various reasons. Firstly, Christology focuses on the life and teachings of Jesus. The Gospels provide more direct, chronological, and comprehensive accounts of both life and teachings of Jesus than the letters. Secondly, they present different authors’ accounts of the same topic; life and teachings of Jesus. The various perspectives facilitate comprehensive understanding. Thirdly, the letters are not better than gospels because they focus on the teachings derived from Jesus’ life and not the life itself. Christology focuses on more than just Jesus’ teachings (125).
When the church established a New Testament canon with four gospels in it, did it deprive, or did it overwhelm, the later Christological tradition based upon it?
It neither deprived nor overwhelmed the later Christological tradition. Firstly, it did not deprive Christology because the various books produced the different perspectives of Jesus’ life as described by the authors; this ensured a comprehensive analysis of Christ. Secondly, it did not overwhelm Christology because the various books allowed the provision of additional information on the life and missions of Christ that some authors lacked. For instance, the social and historical context of the Gospel of Luke was defined by circumstances requiring a gospel with an apologetic tone. On the other hand, the context of Matthew was defined by strife (McMahon 150).
Are there contradictory Christologies in the New Testament and, if so, how should Christians view this?
Yes, the New Testament contains contradictory Christologies. Christians should view them by first realizing that various authors contributed towards the New Testament books. Thus, a historical account of Jesus’ life and teachings is likely to have slight omissions or inclusions depending on each book’s author (Kruger). The accounts written by Mark, John, or any other author cannot be completely similar. Instead of criticizing the contradictory Christologies, Christians should analyze all of them comparatively to gain comprehensive understanding and learn from Christ’s life and teachings.
Kruger, Michael J. “Gospel Critics and the Argument from Silence.” Canon Fodder, (2014): Web. Available from: < http://michaeljkruger.com/gospel-critics-and-the-argument-from-silence/ > [Accessed July 24, 2015].
McMahon, Christopher. “Chapter 4: New Testament Christologies.” Understanding Jesus: Christology from Emmaus to Today. Winona: St. Mary’s Press, (2013): Print.