EDITOR’S NOTE: Below, Stephen Wellum, professor of Christian theology at Southern Seminary, talks with Southern Seminary Magazine executive editor S. Craig Sanders about his new books, God the Son Incarnate and In Christ Alone.
What do you hope is the fruit of God the Son Incarnate in years to come?
I hope it would be a contemporary restatement of orthodox Christology for today, so people will be able to see the Jesus of the Bible is God the Son from all of eternity, the second person of the Trinity who has become flesh. The goal is to have people better understand the history of the doctrine. When we say, “He’s fully God, fully man, one person, two natures,” understand the depth and thought that went into that statement for the last 2,000 years. People today will be able to reaffirm what the church has always affirmed through the ages and do that in our contemporary setting.
As you were working on these projects, what was most encouraging for you personally?
It’s been an absolute delight. As I got into it I realized there’s nothing more important than who Jesus is, and as you think about the Son of God, you’re getting to the heart of the entire revelation of Scripture. You’re getting to the heart of the Son’s relationship to the Father and the Spirit. You’re having to think through how the whole Bible presents who Jesus is, and you are being led to a greater confidence, trust, worship, and obedience to this Son of God who has come, taken on flesh, lived and died for us, and accomplished our salvation. These are di cult issues to wrestle with, yet it has also resulted in a greater sense of love and adoration for the Lord Jesus.
As we look at the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, what are some of the contemporary challenges you’re most concerned about for our classical Christology?
For our own day, there is this sense that there is no one religious view that is true. That is something our entire culture has adopted and embraced without necessarily thinking about why it embraces it. Jesus is one religious figure among many, but is he alone Lord and Savior? It’s the exclusivity of Christ, his utter uniqueness, that spills over obviously into his work because you can’t have an all-sufficient work without a unique redeemer. In our day, the larger philosophical streams will try to say human language and thought is simply a construction of reality. When we say that Jesus is God the Son incarnate, we’re not just making interesting language. We’re saying something about who he truly is, about what reality really is. So the issue of truth and the defense of the exclusive, unique, and all-sufficient work of Christ are the big challenges of our day.