Tonight I spoke at our college ministry on the Supremacy of Christ. In rhetoric we use the term “exigence” to describe how important it is to begin a speech with the “problem.” Exigence raises tension among the listeners so they are inclined to listen to what you have to say. I began the message with what many consider to be the most important argument in the history of the church- the Arian controversy- Was Jesus Christ fully God? By way of summary:
Enter: An argument over a vowel.
Homoiousios: “of like substance/being”
Homoousios: “of the same substance/being”
As one 4th century theologian said, “never had there been so much energy spent over a single vowel.” So in 381, theologians from around the world gathered in Nicea to declare that Jesus Christ was “homoousios” with the Father. “This affirmation has since come to be widely regarded as the benchmark of Christological orthodoxy within all the mainstream churches, whether Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox.” (Christian Theology by Alister McGrath p. 287)
Jesus is God. Hooray!
One little iota (the Greek vowel) almost jacked up our world pretty bad because what we believe about Jesus may be the most important thing about us.
Consider the fact that to this day, one iota continues to be the foundation of most every cult.For the other side of this issue, related to the humanity of Jesus, click here.