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Scholastic Lutheran Christology is the orthodox Lutheran theology of Jesus, developed using the methodology of Lutheran scholasticism.
On the general basis of the Chalcedonian christology and following the indications of the Scriptures as the only rule of faith, the Protestant (especially the Lutheran) scholastics at the close of the sixteenth and during the seventeenth century built some additional features and developed new aspects of Christ's person. The propelling cause was the Lutheran doctrine of the real presence or omnipresence of Christ's body in the Lord's Supper, and the controversies growing out of it with the Zwinglians and Calvinists, and among the Lutherans themselves. These new features relate to the communion of the two natures, and to the states and the offices of Christ. The first was the production of the Lutheran Church, and was never adopted, but partly rejected, by the Reformed; the second and third were the joint doctrines of both, but with a very material difference in the understanding of the second.
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Main article: Communicatio idiomatum
The communicatio idiomatum means the communication of attributes or properties (Gk. idiomata, Lat. proprietates) of one nature to the other, or to the whole person. It is derived from the hypostatic union and the communio naturarum. Lutheran theologians distinguish three kinds or genera:
The Reformed divines adopted the communicatio idiomatum while disagreeing with the Lutheran formulation, especially regarding the genus maiestaticum (although they might approve the first two kinds, at least by way of what Zwingli termed allaiosis, or a rhetorical exchange of one part for another); and they decidedly rejected the third kind, because omnipresence, whether absolute or relative, is inconsistent with the necessary limitation of a human body, as well as with the Scripture facts of Christ's ascension to heaven, and promised return (see Black Rubric). The third genus can never be fully carried out, unless the humanity of Christ is also eternalized. The attributes, moreover, are not an outside appendix, but inherent qualities of the substance to which they belong, and inseparable from it. Hence a communication of attributes would imply a communication or mixture of natures. The divine and human natures can indeed hold free and intimate intercourse with each other; but the divine nature can never be transformed into the human, nor the human nature into the divine. Christ possessed all the attributes of both natures; but the natures, nevertheless, remain separate and distinct.
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This is the state of humiliation and the state of exaltation. This doctrine is based upon Philippians 2:5–9. The state of humiliation embraces the supernatural conception, birth, circumcision, education, earthly life, passion, death, and burial of Christ; the state of exaltation includes the resurrection, ascension, and the sitting at the right hand of God.
But here, again, the two confessions differ very considerably. First as to the descent into Hades. The Scholastic Lutherans (see: Lutheran High orthodoxy, 1600–1685) regarded it as a triumph over Hell, and made it the first stage of exaltation; while the Reformed divines viewed it as the last stage of the state of humiliation. It may be viewed as the turning-point from the one state to the other, and thus belonging to both. Secondly, the Lutheran Confessions of the Book of Concord refer the two states only to the human nature of Christ, regarding the divine as not susceptible of any humiliation or exaltation.
The Reformed divines refer them to both natures; so that Christ's human nature was in a state of humiliation as compared with its future exaltation, and his divine nature was in the state of humiliation as to its external manifestation (ratione occultationis). With them, the incarnation itself is the beginning of the state of humiliation, while the Book of Concord excludes the incarnation from the humiliation.
Finally, the Scholastic Lutherans regard the humiliation only as a partial concealment of the actual use (Gk. krypsis chreseos) of the divine attributes by the incarnate Logos.
The threefold office or function of Christ was first presented by Eusebius of Caesarea. The theologians who followed Luther and Melanchthon down to the middle of the seventeenth century treat Christ's saving work under the two heads of king and priest. Calvin, in the first edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536), did the same, and it was not till the third edition (1559) and the Genevan Catechism that he fully presented the three offices. This convenient threefold division of the office of Christ was used by the theologians of both confessions during the seventeenth century. Ernesti opposed it, but Schleiermacher restored it.