I just finished a class called, “The Person and Work of Christ.” This book by John Walvoord was the text book for the class which is essentially a deeper look at Christology. Every Religion Major student has to take 2 semesters of Theology where we get a surface look at the doctrines of Christology. This class and book examine much deeper into this grand subject.
The book is broken down almost chronologically, first looking at the eternal Christ, the incarnation, the life of Christ, the death on the cross and the atonement, the present work of Christ, and the future work of Christ. Each chapter then has one of these subjects as it’s focus and breaks down the important points into smaller sections. A lot of space is dedicated to the citation of scripture which is necessitated with a topic such as this. Dr. Walvoord also combats opposing view points where he lists what differing views there are on a particular subject and then explains why his view is supported by scripture and thus is the more correct understanding. For example, Dr. Walvoord spends a considerable amount of time trying to dissect the various views on the incarnation. The idea of Jesus being %100 man and %100 God has been controversial (and at times, heretical) and there are various different views espousing different theories on how to cope with a subject that is beyond human comprehension. Another contentious subject is the future work of Christ. While this delves into eschatology, it is most definitely overlapped in Christology. Dr. Walvoord was the President of Dallas Seminary, so the views on the future work of Christ are premillennial and dispensational (which I’m ok with!). But by far the most captivating subject for me in Christology is the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. This is a doctrine dear to my heart because it was, in part, instrumental in my own salvation.
Obviously, studying Jesus is a thrilling endeavor to the Christian. It is curious, then, to ascertain why I dreaded reading this book. Maybe it was because I was forced to read it in a specific timeline instead of slowly digesting the information. I have read other books on Christology that were captivating, but this one was very dry. Perhaps that’s just me.
To anyone who is looking for a straightforward look at Christology, I would recommend this book. To others who are looking for a more palatable, less academic but equally intriguing read on Christology, I would recommend John Stott’s, “The Cross of Christ.”