Jesus Didn’t Use Theological Terms
Author’s Note: Theologians love big words… the bigger the better, and words most people have never heard of are best of all! Latin and Greek terms especially have a certain flair. These really showcase the religious expert’s sophistication and intelligence! This is why it is so frowned upon in theological circles to say things plainly in everyday language. One notable exception to this practice was Jesus Christ Himself! Many commentators have observed that Jesus rarely, if ever, used scholarly theological language. Strangely though, the reason for this is unclear.
Athanasius’ Favorite Word Was Homoousious
Moderator: Greetings everyone! Today’s Panel Discussion is dedicated to the always popular topic of theological terms. Our expert panel members have scaled the frosty mountains of systematic theology and the pinnacles of scholarly thought. Our format is straightforward and simple although our subject matter is anything but. Each speaker will expound on a favorite theological term until they have nothing left to say. Just kidding folks! These experts never run out of things to say! We’ll probably have to muzzle them if we want to get to dinner on time.
The Audience: Polite laughter.
Moderator: Our first presenter this afternoon is none other than philosopher and theologian par excellence Athanasius himself. We proudly hang our hats on the ideas and terms He has bestowed upon the church. The topic he has chosen for today is the ever popular and timeless word homoousious! Let’s hear it for our favorite Ath! Athanasius!
The Audience: A respectful standing ovation.
Homoousious is a Vital Part of Your Salvation!
Athanasius: Thank you my friends, thank you. Please be seated if you can. Let’s dig right in to our topic and what a topic it is! Today we will talk about the most important word in Christianity. I’m talking of course about Homoousious. It was an essential part of building the trinity and It’s astonishing that the primitive church survived so many centuries without it! How sad that so few people know what it means today much less how to spell it. It would be wonderful if people just knew how to say it correctly! We are fortunate to have a word so precise, so scholarly and so lovely as homoousious. I am living proof that it is possible to build an entire career on this one single word!
We Built Our Creeds Upon Homoousious!
There was a time when homoousious was just another run of the mill Greek word. That all changed at the Nicene Council when I made it the most important word in Christianity! It is not an exaggeration to say that the Nicene Creed is truly a Homoousian Creed. I blush to mention that many people call it the Athanasian Creed but modesty prevents me from drawing any attention to that! By the way, signed copies of my writings are available at the table in the back of the room if you are interested.
Some of you may be wondering how homoousious got to be so important. The truth is it was just another nondescript Greek word until I figured out how to use it against heretics. You all know how much I enjoy a good argument! Homoousious was a word made to order for someone like me! I don’t mean to brag but I’ve argued with so many people about so many things that I eventually became known as “Athanasius Contra Mundum”. (That’s Latin for “Athanasius Against the World”).
Bend a Knee to Homoousious… or Else!
Heretics have been excommunicated and banished for their willful refusal to bend a knee to homoousious. We’ve had to kill more than a few believers who refused to endorse it, and rightly so! I stand here today to declare that I am a homoousian and trust you are homoousians too. There can be no doubt that God wants everyone to be a homoousian! We stand guard on the high ramparts of the Kingdom of God against stubborn contrarians like homoiosians. They are simply heretics, blighted souls who refuse to applaud the doctrinal statement we worked so hard to build! The true beauty of our Creed is the way it cleverly detects and roots out homoiosians!
Homoousious or Homoiosious. What’s the Fuss?
A Question from the Audience: “Will you please explain the difference between homoousious and homoiosious? I’ve always wondered what all the fuss is about and how one little letter ended up getting so many people killed.”
Athanasius: What a great question! Just remember that homoousious means that Jesus is of the very same substance as God while homoiosious says that Jesus’ and God’s substance are pretty similar but not exactly the same. This was so important to us that we had no choice but to excommunicate or execute everyone who was thinking the wrong way. Thank God that Constantine’s army stepped in to enforce our view with military power! Once we had his army on our side things started working out pretty well! Our opponents eventually learned to keep their opinions to themselves once the Emperor’s army started stamping them out for us!
A Still Small Voice was heard saying “you make a man an offender for a word?” but the meaning of this obscure phrase was debatable. No one was quite sure what to make of this mysterious statement or where the voice came from.
Saved by Faith in Christ Plus Belief in Homoousious!
Athanasius: Things didn’t turn out so well for Arius and his followers though but that’s the price you pay for being disagreeable! It was only the single letter i separating homoousious from homoiosious that caused them so much trouble! They were just too primitive and stubborn to give it up. In closing let me remind you that choosing correctly between homoousious and homoiosious can mean the difference between heaven and hell! No kidding! I really mean it! It is good to believe in Jesus but don’t ever forget that faith in Christ plus allegiance to homoousious is the standard we have set for your salvation. Thank you!
PS: These seemingly obscure ideas are important to talk about! That’s why we do. If you think this discussion matters then why not share a link to theologyallstars.com with others. Thanks and God Bless.
Continued…Click to Read Part II
Copyright 2021 by Bob Shutes
I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!
We really appreciate your kind words Glen. Thank you!