CFC Lecture

Malcolm Yarnell: Christology without Christlikeness — Triumph and Failure at the Council of Chalcedon

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The Council of Chalcedon (451) was one of the most important events in church history. What were the triumps? What were the failures? And what can we learn along the way?

Dr. Malcolm Yarnell addresses these questions (and more) in the 2020 Drummond-Bush Lecture at the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture.

Malcolm B. Yarnell III is Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Yarnell’s most recent book is a biblical theology, Who Is the Holy Spirit? (Nashville, 2019). His most widely reviewed volumes include a biblical theology, God the Trinity (Nashville, 2016); an historical theology, Royal Priesthood in the English Reformation (Oxford, 2014); and a theological method, The Formation of Christian Doctrine (Nashville, 2007).

Watch the lecture above, or read a handful of quotes below.


Theology and historical context are inseparable from one another.

“Theology and historical context are inseparable from one another.”

“Even as we deal with the perfect Word of God, which is without error, we ourselves in our expressions can be filled with error — and even in the way in which we express true theological statements can be problematic.”

“It ought not to be lost on us that the division within the late Roman imperial Christians allowed Islam to expand in its military force.”

“Oh the division brought about by the misuse of power, advancing orthodoxy Christology without a Christlike spirit.”

“The way of Christ’s people before his Second Coming is the way of the cross and humility, not the way of glory and domination. The Lord will triumph in the end, so have faith! The question before us now is this: Will we make the hard choices to align our personal lives and our ecclesiastical cultures with his cross-bearing way? Or will we repeat the horrific errors of the Council of Chalcedon even as we honor their impressive dogmatic formula?”

Lessons for Today:

  1. Grace
  2. Analogy
  3. Diversity
  4. Unity
  5. Imperfection
  6. One King
  7. Cruciform Christianity

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The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.

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