It is often asserted that the Christian Faith is founded on two pillars:
On the face of it this assertion seems quite plausible. After all … The dogmas of Trinity and Incarnation seem to conveniently encapsulate the entirety of the Christian Faith. Yet, as we have entered the Octave of the Ascension, it is time to reconsider this assertion. Fr. John Behr has put forward a critique of the idea that Trinity and Incarnation are the two pillars of Christian Faith. His suggestion is to return to an older understanding of Christian Faith and its foundations.
The Cross of Jesus Christ is in fact the foundation of Christian Faith. It is through the medium of Scripture that Jesus Christ is revealed to be the Word of God whose Father is in heaven and whose Spirit is given at Pentecost. In other words: the Trinity and Incarnation are truths arrived at through contemplating the Cross by the medium of Scripture. Fr. Behr points out it is crucial to understand that what is exegeted is not first and foremost a list of canonical books we call Scripture. Rather what is exegeted is Jesus Christ by means of Scripture. We are not “Biblians” but CHRIST-ians. Easter or Pascha is the foundation of the Christian Faith.
The Bible is not therefore the primary focus of our attempts to know God. The Bible provides the words, images, concepts, it provides the context through which God is known. This knowledge of God through Scripture is not gained by dialectical studies, not by finding out the sources the authors of a biblical book have used, nor by learning the history of the text. God is known through Scripture by God’s gracious revelation. In and through prayerfull reading (in liturgy & lectio divina) we lift our hearts/minds to the place where God reveals himself.
The Passion of Jesus Christ is as it were the lens which concentrates the various rays of Scripture into one so as to reveal its true message. Jesus Christ is the Word of God whereas the Bible speaks of Him.
Enjoy: Behr Paschal Foundation
Fr. Gregory Wassen