The other day I tweeted a link to a Parchment & Pen post by Michael Patton and noted that it all sounded quite a bit Nestorian. The post was an attempted refutation of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and of course, Reformed types have been accused of Nestorianism on this point for as long as there have been Reformed folks. Lisa Robinson then tweeted the following:
@nicknorelli That’s why I think we need to abolish the Jesus living in our heart language.
— Lisa Robinson (@theochick) March 9, 2013
To which I responded, “where do I sign?”
So Lisa has just written a post about this issue and I’d like to add my two cents in response. First of all, just by way of clarification, my problem with the whole “Jesus lives in my heart” language is that it has become a sentimental slogan; an evangelical catchphrase. It’s not actually the theology of the sentiment that I find fault with.
On the contrary, I think there’s something to it. Colossians 1:27 is as good a place to start as any. Paul speaks of “Christ in you [i.e., the Colossians and by extension all believers]” as a “mystery” and the “hope of glory.” The NLT translates Χριστος εν υμιν as “Christ lives in you.” Or take the words of our Lord in his high priestly prayer as recorded in John’s Gospel, specifically the closing of the prayer:
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:20-26 ESV)
Note in particular the phrase “I in them” (εγω εν αυτοις) repeated in both verses 23 and 26 (καγω εν αυτοις). So it’s not like the concept of Jesus living in our hearts is theologically untenable. It’s just an annoying (to my ears) way of putting things. It’s like saying that your “in love” with God rather than just saying you love him. There’s nothing really wrong with it, I guess, but I wouldn’t say it so I’d prefer others not to either.
As far as Lisa’s appeal to CMP’s arguments against transubstantiation to support her position, that’s where I want to cry foul and shout NESTORIANISM at the top of my lungs. All this talk about Jesus’ “undivinitized” human nature being seated squarely on the right hand of the Father in heaven seems to miss the very spirit of Chalcedon that CMP initially appealed to. The point of Chalcedon is that there’s a single divine person who became incarnate. What that person does, he does. His natures don’t do anything apart from the person. This glorified enfleshed divine person is truly in his people and really present in the sacrament of communion.