Examining a High Church High Christology Claim

Gottesdienst set forth an argument that a High Christology correlates with a High Liturgy.   More importantly, this article nicely summarizes why a lot of Protestants go to the High Liturgical traditions (though rarely to Lutheranism, which this article suggests).  High Traditions often convince acolytes to join, not on the basis of a High Liturgy being superior, but on the basis of a Higher view of Jesus.  What he says below–and I am appreciative of the article, though I will criticize it–could have been said by Orthodox or Romanists.


“High Church” Liturgy goes hand-in-hand with a high Christology, which believes, teaches, and confesses that the Man Christ Jesus is the one true God; that St. Mary is the Mother of God, because the Son that she conceived in her womb and bore in her body is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity; and that it was, indeed, the Lord our God who was crucified, dead, and buried, under Pontius Pilate on Good Friday.

I understand he is offering a working hypothesis, but eventually he will have to substantiate the above claim. Most Anabaptists today I know can affirm the above.

This high Christology recognizes, likewise, that Christ Jesus, the Son of the Living God, who is also true Man, crucified and risen from the dead, is actively present and at work in the Liturgy; that He is, in fact, the true and divine Liturgist, who speaks, does, and gives Himself and all good things to us by His preaching of the Gospel and His administration of the Sacraments in the Divine Service.  He is acknowledged and adored in the earthly and external means by which He serves His Church, because we affirm and confess the unity of His two natures in His one Person, even as He deals with us through humble instruments under the Cross.

I like the language of Christ being the chief Liturgist.  This is good atonement theology.   If Christ is the Liturgist offering his sacrifice to the Father, then he can’t be sacrificed by the priest in the Mass.  Very good here.  But, I’m very iffy on his being “adored” in the external means. Does that mean I worship the cracker?  What the author didn’t say is anything regarding the communicatio idiomatum.   Lutherans confess that Christ’s divine nature communicated its attributes to the human nature, making it omnipresent among other things.  But few humans I know are omnipresent.

A high view of Christ also affords a high regard for His Bride, the Church, who is adorned with His righteousness and holiness, His innocence and blessedness, His beauty and His grace.

Not bad, it would be very interesting if he developed this.

It seems to me, at any rate, that a “high church” attitude and approach to the Liturgy has far more to do with Christology, first and foremost, before it has anything to do with ceremony.  Although it is meet, right, and salutary that appropriate bodily ceremonies should accompany and adorn the verbal confession of Christ, in practice, those ceremonies will differ in various ways from place to place, and from time to time; whereas Christ our Lord remains constant at all times and in all places, and so should our Christology.

I like the idea of Christology driving everything else, but I don’t see the connection between Chalcedon and ceremony.  And if there is such a connection, then the ceremonies should be relatively constant since Christ’s human nature doesn’t change.

In brief, I would describe a “high church” Christology as typically Alexandrian, following in the footsteps of Athanasius, Cyril, Aquinas, Luther, and Chemnitz.

Mostly true, though Athanasius believed in the extra-Calvinisticum.