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On the Incarnation

by Athanasius

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Discussion Guide Price: $7.00
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If you work closely with Christian high school students, you will not be shocked to hear that many of them cannot define the doctrine of the Incarnation. Although most Christian students would readily affirm that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man, they don’t know what to call that belief, and they don’t spend much time reflecting on it.

That changes when students find out about Athanasius and read his classic On the Incarnation. Though it seems obvious to modern Christians that the Bible teaches the doctrine of the Incarnation, Athanasius lived at a time when the Incarnation was attacked from all sides. Some thought Christ only appeared to have a physical body; some thought Christ was a created being. Because the Arian heresy fit nicely with Constantine’s ideas about church and state (the emperor should be above the church, he felt, just as the Father was presumed by Arians to be above the Son), there was a real danger that the “official” doctrine of the Roman Empire would be heresy.

During that time of uncertainty, one man stood firm. His moral courage earned him one of the coolest epitaphs imaginable: Athanasius contra mundum—Athanasius against the world. While other men followed reason and public opinion hither and yon, Athanasius trusted the Word of God and won the day, proving that it is better to be right than popular.

Christian students will naturally respond to Athanasius, first, because he was steadfast, and second, because his book demands that we think deeply about the implications of the Incarnation. Teachers will be thrilled by the dialogue that ensues, as well as by the excellent introduction by C.S. Lewis that serves as the preface to this particular edition.

by Jeff Baldwin