CHRISTOLOGICAL CONFUSION & CHINA'S REFORMING CHURCHES
Dr. Bruce Baugus
作者現任清教徒改革宗神學院系統神學和護教學教授（Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary）。曾任改革宗神學院哲學及神學副教授（Associate Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary）。著作包括《改革宗道德神學的根源》（The Roots of Reformed Moral Theology）（宗教改革遺產圖書，2022年）和《中國改革宗教會》（China’s Reforming Churches: Mission, Polity, and Ministry in the Next Christendom）的編輯（宗教改革遺產圖書，2014年）
Christological confusion has sunk a root into the rich soil of China's emerging Reformed community. At present, some pastors and others on the mainland believe Christ's human nature is uncreated and eternal. What is more, some believe this view represents orthodox Reformed Christology. Although it is unclear just how pervasive this view has become, the controversy is known throughout China's reforming churches due to the prominence of a current proponent. Soliciting varying responses across East Asia, the vast majority of China's Reformed believers, including many of those most concerned about this man's Christology, highly regard him and his ministry. For this reason, most appear to be willing to overlook or even accommodate this odd opinion.
Largely unknown in the West, the scope, depth, and apparent persistence of this confusion in China's vibrant but tender Reforming churches deserves some attention from the global Reformed community--which is not isolated from these developments. The humanity of Jesus Christ is created and finite, just as ours; the view that his human nature is, in any actual sense, uncreated and eternal is problematic and potentially dangerous to the faith.
Preview of Series
This post is the first in a twelve-part series on the current Christological confusion in East Asia. In the next post I briefly describe the cause and context of this confusion within China's emerging Reformed community. Posts 3 and 4 briefly present the traditional, orthodox understanding of the biblical teaching on the origin of Christ's human nature as codified in the ecumenical creeds (post 3) and Reformed standards (post 4). In posts 5-11 I inspect seven statements (one per post) about the human nature of Christ contributing to the current confusion, before concluding the series in post 12.
（博文一結束 Post 1 Ends）
Context & Cause of the Current Confusion
In one of the most fascinating developments in global Christianity today, many pastors and other believers in China are embracing Reformed theology and reforming their beliefs and practices. Though a few observers challenge the claim, a Reformed community in China (as opposed to isolated individuals and congregations) does exist, and not just online. The tendrils of this community often twine around the ministries of a relatively few widely recognized ministers. As such, these individuals, whose ministries are often based outside of China, exercise remarkable influence on theological opinion within the still relatively secluded world of Reformed Christianity on the mainland.
For many years now, and at least as recently as 2013, one such influence with an international ministry and reputation has been saying some very confusing things about the human nature of Jesus Christ.  At times, he has attempted to clarify and defend his comments. One such attempt is found in a series of three recordings he made in 2012, which were subsequently transcribed and translated by others. Though these three recordings and a booklet he published in 1991 are the sources cited below, the primary source of the confusion in China's Reformed community has been his oral statements to the same effect in sermons, lectures, and especially question and answer sessions.
雖然此君（譯註：唐崇榮）公開的講述是目前錯解的主要源頭，一位改革宗觀察者解釋到，「對於基督人性為非受造的信仰是中國基督教中與改革宗神學有關之領袖長久以來的傳統，包括賈玉銘（Jia Yuming）。」這個傳統看起來也被反映在《比利時信條》（the Belgic Confession）的中文翻譯之中。所有這一切原先就有的，對於這個觀點支持者的宣告可能使得他看見了一個根深柢固、非常古怪的東方基督論傳統—一個無法獲得支持而逐漸消亡的傳統。
Though this man's public statements are the source of the current confusion, as one Reformed observer explains, "the belief that Christ's humanity is uncreated actually has had a longstanding tradition among Chinese Christian leaders associated with Reformed theology, including Jia Yuming."  This tradition appears to be reflected in the widely used Chinese translation of the Belgic Confession, which curiously drops the original's explicit affirmation that the human nature of Christ is created.  All of this predates the current proponent of this view, whose statements may represent what he sees as an established, albeit eccentric, Eastern Christological tradition--a tradition that seemed certain to fadeaway without his advocacy.
A Cautious Critique
Some of the church's greatest fathers have occasionally said some odd things about Jesus Christ, things later generations viewed as ill-advised or just plain wrong. Take Athanasius of contra mundum fame for his stand against ascendant Arians. Once, while trying to show how his adversaries mangled Hebrews 3:2 about Jesus' becoming or being made or appointed high priest, he drew this analogy of the incarnation:(https://biblia.com/bible/kjv1900/Heb%203.2)
救主在祂的來臨中所作的，就是這個亞倫根據律法所預表的。亞倫並沒有因為披上了大祭司的衣袍而有任何的改變，披上衣袍的他仍是一樣⋯同樣的，在主的身上，我們也當正確的領會，他並沒有因為取了肉身而變得不一樣；「成為（He became）」和「 被造（He was made）」不能被理解為好像道被造，而使道，作為萬有的塑造者，隨後因著披上了一個有起源並被造的肉身被造為大祭司，也以這個方式為我們獻上自己；有鑒於此，被稱作是被造的。
What the Savior did on His coming, this Aaron shadowed out according to the Law. As then Aaron was the same and did not change by putting on the high-priestly dress, but remaining the same was only robed, . . . in the same way it is possible in the Lord's instance also to understand aright, that He did not become other than Himself on taking the flesh, but, being the same as before, He was robed in it; and the expressions 'He became' and 'He was made,' must not be understood as if the Word, considered as the Word, were made, but that the Word, being Framer of all, afterwards was made High Priest, by putting on a body which was originate and made, and such as He can offer for us; wherefore He is said to be made. 
Comments like these continue to fuel sometimes uncharitable suspicions that Athanasius operated with a deficient view of Christ's humanity--that the Son assumed something less than a fully human nature complete with intellect and will.  Even if Athanasius was not confused about the humanity of Christ, this analogy and some of his other remarks confuse readers and obscure his orthodoxy as much as they disclose it.
Elsewhere, Athanasius affirms the union of the divine Word with a fully human nature, body and soul.  So, we should not conclude too much from an odd analogy here or argument there. Whether the one above is helpful or confusing is a different question than any we might ask about Athanasius's Christology. We may conclude, that is, that this analogy is very confusing or that argument not at all helpful while taking no position on or even defending the source's overall view of Christ's humanity.
Similarly, the following critique centers on the cause of the current Christological confusion within China's emerging Reformed community. The immediate cause is found in certain public statements. I take no position on whether these statements are being understood correctly or if they accurately represent this brother's views; I only conclude that his statements are the cause of some confusion that deserves at least this much attention.
（博文二結束） （Post 2 Ends）
1. For several good reasons I need not explain here, I am not going to name the current source of this apparently confused and certainly confusing teaching. Those most likely tobenet from me doing so will already know who it is; those who do not know probably do not need to know.
2. Jia (1880-1964, formerly known as Chia Yu-ming) had strong ties to prewar Presbyterianmission work in China, teaching at both Nanjing Jinling Seminary and North China Theological Seminary. He gained an international reputation and became vice-chairman of the Committee of the Chinese Church Three-Self Patriotic Movement in 1954. BiographicalDictionary of Chinese Christianity, (http://www.bdcconline.net/en/stories/j/jia-yuming.php; accessed July 22, 2015)(http://www.bdcconline.net/en/stories/j/jia-yuming.php;)
3. This edition of the Belgic Confession was translated by Charles Chao, published byReformation Translation Fellowship, and is now available online athttps://www.ccel.org/contrib/cn/creeds/belgic.html .(https://www.ccel.org/contrib/cn/creeds/belgic.html)
4. Athanasius, Against the Arians, 2.8.
5. See, for example, Christopher Beeley, The Unity of Christ: Continuity and Confllict in Patristic Tradition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), 165. Beeley's harsh interpretationof Athanasius includes accusations that he invented the Arian controversy and died a bittercontroversialist defending his narrow Word-Flesh Christology.
6. In Letter to Epictetus, 7, he writes this: "But truly our salvation . . . does not extend to the body only, but the whole man, body and soul alike, has truly obtained salvation in the Word Himself. That then which was born of Mary was according to the divine Scriptures human by nature."
In his own words, the question is "whether Christ's human nature and his physical body were created or pre-existent before the creation of the world."  The orthodox answer, which the Reformed tradition maintains, is that the human nature of the incarnate Son, body and soul, is finite and created just as ours and is assumed by him in the conception that occurs by the power of the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb. By the means of this conception the Son becomes fully human without ceasing to be fully divine.
As Paul writes to the Galatians, "when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law" (Gal 4:4 ). Clearly, the fullness of time came at a particular historical moment. Prior to this moment, from an historical perspective, the Son was not human; after this moment he is. That moment marks the unique event of the incarnation when the Son "became man" and has consistently been identified as the moment of the mysterious conception in the virgin's womb.(https://biblia.com/bible/kjv1900/Gal%204.4)
Christ's humanity does not exist abstracted from and independent of the particular man he became in the incarnation. On the contrary, the human nature he assumes and possesses today just is the humanity of the particular human being he is, body and soul, as conceived in Mary's womb, born in Bethlehem, crucified, raised again, and ascended. The Son is now consubstantial with us because he became a particular man, Jesus of Nazareth, at a unique historical moment. While it is appropriate to speak of human nature abstractly, there is no actual sense in which the Son shared our nature prior to becoming incarnate in Jesus Christ.
大公會議信經 Ecumenical Creeds
This is what the church affirms in her ecumenical confessions. The Nicene Creed states that the divine person of the Word "came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man," something he otherwise was not. He did not merely assume a physical body in the incarnation but actually became fully human without ceasing to be fully divine.
Likewise, Chalcedon asserts that Jesus Christ is,
Truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably.
「在這末後的日子」道成肉身使得根據其神性仍然「與父同質」（consubstantial with the Father）的子，照著祂的人性也「與我們同質」（consubstantial with us）。雖然沒有一個說法特別的否認祂的人性先存於祂的成為肉身，但是也沒有任何說法容許那樣的觀點。在任何實際的意義上肯定祂在成為肉身前擁有人性似乎就是否定正統教義對於道成肉身本身的理解，就是神聖的子在時間的某一點中取了一個完整的人性—身體與魂。
The incarnation "in these latter days" made the Son, who remains "consubstantial with the Father" according to his divine nature, also "consubstantial with us" according to his human nature. Although neither symbol explicitly denies his human nature pre-existed the moment he became incarnate, neither one seems to permit such a view. To assert he possessed a human nature in any actual sense prior to becoming incarnate would appear to deny the orthodox understanding of the incarnation itself, that the divine Son assumed a fully human nature, body and soul, at a specific point in time.
As we shall see in the next post, what appears to be the case in the ecumenical creeds is made explicit in the Reformed standards.
1. All quotes of the author are from reliable translations of Chinese originals, consisting of both published literature and transcriptions of sound recordings of the source of these remarks. I am gratefully indebted to three individuals who translated and edited the English transcripts I cite, with only incidental modifications, in this essay. As mentioned before, I have decided not to identify the speaker by name in this series.
Reformed Standards on the Human Nature of Christ
The Reformed confess the same orthodox Christology. Here, for example, are Q&As 36 and37 of the Westminster Larger Catechism:
Q. 36. Who is the Mediator of the covenant of grace?
A. The only Mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the Father, in the fullness of time became man, and so was and continues to be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, forever.
Q. 37. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet without sin.
The Belgic Confession, written while the Anabaptist error of the supposed heavenly origin of Christ’s flesh was still fresh, is even more assertive on the origin of Christ's humanity:
Article 18: Of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ
We confess, therefore, that God . . . sent into the world, at the time appointed by him, his own only-begotten and eternal Son, who took upon him the form of a servant, and became like unto man, really assuming the true human nature, with all its infirmities, sin excepted, being conceived in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit, without the means of man; and did not only assume human nature as to the body, but also a true human soul, that he might be a real man. For since the soul was lost as well as the body, it was necessary that he should take both upon him, to save both. Therefore we confess . . . that Christ is become a partaker of the flesh and blood of the children . . . and became like unto his brethren in all things, sin excepted, so that in truth he is our Immanuel, that is to say, God with us.
Article 19: Of the Union and Distinction of the Two Natures in the Person of Christ
We believe that by this conception, the person of the Son is inseparably united and connected with the human nature; so that there are not two Sons of God, nor two persons, but two natures united in one single person: yet, that each nature retains its own distinct properties. As then the divine nature has always remained uncreated, without beginning of days or end of life, filling heaven and earth: so also has the human nature not lost its properties, but remained a creature, having beginning of days, being a finite nature, and retaining all the properties of a real body. And though he has by his resurrection given immortality to the same, nevertheless he has not changed the reality of his human nature; forasmuch as our salvation and resurrection also depend on the reality of his body. But these two natures are so closely united in one person, that they were not separated even by his death. Therefore that which he, when dying, commended into the hands of his Father, was a real human spirit, departing from his body. But in the meantime the divine nature always remained united with the human, even when he lay in the grave. And the Godhead did not cease to be in him, any more than it did when he was an infant, though it did not so clearly manifest itself for a while. Wherefore we confess, that he is very God, and very Man: very God by his power to conquer death; and very man that he might die for us according to the infirmity of his flesh.
Echoes of Nicea and Chalcedon are clear in these Reformed standards and their elaborations on the origin of Christ’s humanity are explicit. The divine Son "became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul." His humanity originates with the supernatural conception by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb and is "of her substance." Christ's human nature is consubstantial with us, and though at the time of the conception in Mary's womb it was inseparably united to the divine nature in the person of the Word, it "remained a creature, having beginning of days [and] being a finite nature" just as he "remained uncreated, without beginning of days or end of life, filling heaven and earth" in his divine nature.
So, the Reformed standards maintain, without deviation, the much-repeated formula of Gregory of Nazianzus: "What [the Son of God] was he continued to be; what he was not he took to himself."  Views that posit an eternal human nature united with the Son do not—at least not the sense Gregory intended.
 Orations, 29.19.
Confusing Claims About Christ's Humanity
讓我們轉向東亞的混亂局面，我們的弟兄（譯註：指唐崇榮）肯定「子來到世界成為一個人」 並「真正的成為人」。他解釋到，成為人乃是子獨特的（作為）「因為父與聖靈絕不可能進入世界成為肉身。」並且，「子成為人乃是源自於道，這個道成為了 Logos ensarkos，在肉身中的道（Word-in-flesh）」。（1）
Turning to the confusion in East Asia, our brother affirms "the Son came into the world to be a human being" and "truly became human." Becoming human, he explains, is unique to the Son "since the Father and the Spirit never came into the world to be incarnate." Also, "the Son who became human was originally the Logos, and this Logos became Logos ensarkos ,Word-in-Flesh."
It is difficult to know just what becoming human amounts to, however, since he also "claims. . . first, that Christ's human nature and Christ's body are uncreated and, second, that Christ's human nature has existed from all eternity." On the surface, these two assertions seem impossible to square with the Christology of the ecumenical and Reformed standards cited above (see parts 3 (http://www.reformation21.org/articles/an-orientation-to-chinasreforming-
churches-part-three.php) and 4 (http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/09/christological-confusion-china-3.php)). In defending these statements, he admits they "completely contradict" views held by "the so-called ancient catholic church" and "many of the so-called great Reformers." Yet, he also suggests "this great controversy is a matter of terminology and definitions" and claims "my terminology is different from the terminology and definitions that others use."
First Statement: Human Nature & Humanness
Idiosyncratic uses of long-established theological terms do tend to complicate matters. He attempts to redefine a standard Chinese term for human nature (人性, rénxìng), for example, in order to distinguish between human nature (or humanity) in some broad sense and a special sort of human nature he calls, in English, "man-ness" (and for clarity's sake I will call humanness).
他解釋到，原人性（humanness）「與承襲自教義史和古教會傳統之人性（的觀念）不同」；它乃是「正式的起因（formal cause）」或「人性的起源（original form of human nature）」。（6）原人性（humanness）指的是人性的「原型（prototype）」，是非受造並永恒的，「在創造世界之前。。。就已經在神的裡面。」（7）他結論到，這個原始形式的人性就是神的形像，就是耶穌基督。
Humanness, he explains, "is different from the [concept of] human nature . . . inherited from the history of theology and from ancient church tradition;" it is the "formal cause" or "original form of human nature." As such, humanness refers to the uncreated and eternal "prototype" of humanity that, "before the creation of the world, . . . was already within God." This original form, he concludes, is the image of God who is Jesus Christ.
另一面，人性（human nature）乃是各人根據在原型的樣式—在神的形像中—被創造而擁有的。在創造之前，他宣稱，「基督已經擁有一種原始並永恒的人性形式（即，原人性，humanness），在祂來到世界後，祂得到了一個有肉身的人性（an incarnate human nature），即人類的身體。」（8）接著，子在一種意義上乃是永遠的人；在另一種意義上，在道成肉身中，祂藉由取得一個物質的人類身體，看似（apparently）成為人。
Human nature, on the other hand, is what individual humans possess by being created in the likeness of the prototype--in the image of God. Prior to creation, he states, "Christ was already in possession of an original and eternal form of human nature [that is, humanness],and then after he came into the world, he came to possess an incarnate human nature, the nature of a human body." The Son, then, who is eternally human in one sense(humanness), apparently became human in another sense in the incarnation by assuming a physical human body.
This vaguely sounds like Origen's broadly platonic view of the incarnation, which is the subject of the next post.
 First Recording.
 Second Recording.
 Second Recording.
 First Recording. He returns to this point to open the Third Recording.
 First Recording. Since he is obviously speaking about something that pertains to humanity, male and female, rendering his peculiar sense of ⼈性 (rénxìng) as humannessseems better.
 Original form could also be translated as formal cause. The speaker uses 因 (yīn), whichis often translated as cause, but here has the sense of formal cause.
 Third Recording.
 Third Recording.
Second Statement: Platonic Dualism
正如上篇博文末尾所指出（見第五部分），他(指：唐崇榮)在區別人性(human nature)和原人性(humanness)下對道成肉身的討論，聽起來有點像俄利根(Origen)（或以撒華茲)(Isaac Watts）。俄利根相信人類靈魂是先存的，並教導聖子的道成肉身分為兩個階段，第一階段是從創造之初，祂就與耶穌之未墮落的人性靈魂的聯合，第二階段是在馬利亞腹中與人性身體聯合。俄利根解釋說，聖子與人性靈魂的先前聯合（譯註:即第一階段）正是何以「在整本聖經中，不僅用人的言語來說到神性，而且也用神聖尊貴的稱謂來修飾人性。」 （http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/09/christological-confusion-china-4.php）
As noted at the end of the previous post (see part 5 ), his discussion of the incarnation under the distinction between human nature and humanness vaguely sounds like Origen (or Isaac Watts). Origin believed in the pre-existence of human souls and taught a two-stage incarnation of the Son, the first consisting of his union with the un-fallen human soul of Jesus from the beginning of creation and the second a union with a human body in Mary's womb. The prior union of the Son with a human soul is why, he reasons, "throughout the whole of Scripture, not only is the divine nature spoken of in human words, but the human nature is adorned by appellations of divine dignity." (http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/09/christological-confusion-china-4.php)
我們的講者（譯註:指唐崇榮）也提出了類似的主張，從聖經所見證道成肉身之前人性就有「尊貴和榮耀」而得出了同樣的結論。 雖然他不贊同人性靈魂是先存的，但他將人性(humanness)視為人類的原始、先存的形式，後來體現在拿撒勒人耶穌身上，祂是所有受造之人的原型。這說法很接近俄利根的說法。傳統上，人性靈魂（anima）被認為是人性身體的形式（forma corporis）。大多數改革宗神學家對此採用了廣泛的亞里士多德式的解釋，其中形式(form)（在這種情況下指「靈魂」）只存在於所形成的特定事物(particular)（在這種情況下指「具有身體的人」）中。 然而，像俄利根一樣，我們的講者(譯註:指唐崇榮)擁抱柏拉圖二元論的一種版本，其中形式獨立於形成的事物而真實地存在：
Our speaker makes similar claims, drawing the same conclusion about the biblical witness to humanity's "dignity and glory" prior to the incarnation. Though he does not endorse the pre-existence of the human soul, his notion of humanness as the original, pre-existing form of the humanity later embodied in Jesus of Nazareth and prototype of all created humans comes close. Traditionally, the human soul (anima) is conceived as the form of the human body (forma corporis). Most Reformed theologians adopted a broadly Aristotelian interpretation of this, in which the form (soul, in this case) only properly exists in the particular thing formed (the embodied human). Like Origen, however, our speaker embraces a version of Platonic dualism in which forms really exist independent of the thing formed:
Humanness is the essence within human beings, the essence by virtue of which human beings are human. This human essence has existed from all eternity, and is something within God's being that he intended to use as the gene for his creation of humankind. It is the image of God; it is the ontological being of Christ. 
In other words, the original, pre-existing form of humanity (humanness) is not just an idea in God's mind but an actually existing thing, which he, unlike Origen, declares eternal and locates within God's being. The implication of this for understanding the unique moment of the incarnation in Mary's womb is taken up in the next post.
 Origen, De Principiis, 2.6.3-5. See also Isaac Watts, "The Glory of Christ as God-man" in The Works of the Rev. Isaac Watts, vol. 6 (Leeds: Edward Baines, 1813), pp. 484-670, and the discussion of this work in Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968), pp. 423-28.
 First Recording
 Ordinarily, form and matter are considered inseparable in this tradition. The separation of soul from body in death is a temporary, abnormal state.
 First Recording
Third Statement: Incarnation as the Assumption of a Body (Alone?)
Despite his apparent anthropological dualism, our brother does not actually affirm a two-stage incarnation (or refer to humanness as his soul). Origen believed Christ's human soul was un-fallen and pre-existent but also created and assumed by the Son at the beginning of creation. But here, Christ's humanness is said to be uncreated and eternal, not something assumed but "something within God's being." So, there is only one incarnational moment, which involves the assumption of a physical human body by the one who is already human without the incarnation. Thus, in explaining the meaning of " Logos ensarkos, Word-in-flesh," he declares this:
About this "flesh", the Bible has made three important statements: (1) "the Father has prepared a body for me"; (2) the Son Himself took the form of a slave, thus inheriting a physical body from Mary; (3) the Virgin conceived and gave birth by the Holy Spirit, so God came to dwell among us--Immanuel.
He proceeds to explain from these three points why he is unwilling to call Christ’s body (or flesh) created, which we will return to in part 10. The point here is to observe the apparent reduction of the incarnation to just the assumption of a physical human body. Again, in his words, "Christ was already in possession of an original and eternal form of human nature, and then after he came into the world, he came to possess an incarnate human nature, the nature of a human body."
這句話可以理解為，不只約化了道成肉身，而且將受造的人性（created human nature）約化為擁有人性的身體，或我們「憑藉擁有身體」所獲得的某些性質。然而，他否認這一點，而說「一個人之所以是人，是因為在他或她內在存在『人性』（在『原人性』意義上）」。 如前所述（見第5部分），「『原人性』是人內在的本質，是人作為人的本質」。 但是，根據他的說法，聖子從永恆就已經擁有了『原人性』，因此在這意義上基督已是人。因此，聖子並沒有在人性的意義上取得人性，也沒有在馬利亞的腹中受孕時成為完全的人，而只是獲得了「人性的身體」。
This statement could be read as reducing not just the incarnation, but created human nature to possessing a human body or some property we acquire "by virtue of having a body." He denies this, however, and prefers to say "a human being is human because there is human nature [in the sense of humanness] within him or her." As already observed (see part 5 ), "humanness is the essence within human beings, the essence by virtue of which human beings are human." But, according to him, the Son already possessed this from eternity and thus was a human being in precisely this sense. So, the Son did not assume human nature in the sense of humanness or become fully human when conceived in Mary's womb, but acquired just "the nature of a human body."(http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/09/christological-confusion-china- 4.php)
By insisting on the pre-existence of Christ's humanness, he arrests this view from collapsing into a Word-flesh or Apollinarian Christology. Although these statements suggest a broadly Apollinarian view of what the Son assumed in the incarnation, the speaker insists that the incarnate Son "has a [human] body, a soul, affection, reason, and a will just like us." It is unclear whether his human soul is identical with his humanness prior to the incarnation(asarkos) or only as embodied (ensarkos), but humanness seems to refer to the spiritual(intellectual and volitional) aspect of Christ's human nature, and thus his humanity includes both body and soul, including the intellectual aspect denied by Apollinarians.
Avoiding Apollinarianism, however, is little consolation.
 Third Recording. Also worth noting, the speaker identifies flesh with body and contrasts it to both the soul and what Jesus possessed prior to the incarnation.
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 Hodge, Systematic Theology, pp. 421-23, interprets Emanuel Swedenborg's extensive but scattered comments on the incarnation as positing an eternal humanness in God that becomes materially manifest in time by the God's assumption of a physical body. Hodge is followed by Donald G. Bloesch, Jesus Christ: Savior & Lord (Downers Grove: InterVarsityPress, 1997), p. 137.
Fourth Statement: The Recast Image of God
Recast by the concept of Christ's eternal humanness (see part 5 ), the image of God is no longer just about the way humans were originally created in God's likeness but now also about how humanity's original form eternally exists "within God's being." He reasons that "the image of God is Christ and therefore Christ in eternity is the original form of human nature." Turning the imago Dei on its head, he proceeds from the claim that "humanness is the essence of Christ and . . . Christ is the image of God" to the (http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/09/christological-confusion-china-4.php) conclusion that "this image contains within it the original form of the essence of human nature. Perhaps," he proposes, "this could be called the 'Unknown humanity of God in Christ'." 
正統改革宗神學家有時說基督是神本質的形像（imago essentialis），因為作為子，祂與父是本質相同。然而，當他們這樣說時，他們小心翼翼地將這種神聖形像的意義與人類按照神的形像（imago accidentalis）創造的意義區分開來，並否認人類擁有神本質的形像。
Orthodox Reformed theologians sometimes speak of Christ as the essential image of God (imago essentialis) in the sense that, as the Son, he is co-essential with the Father. When they do, however, they carefully distinguish this sense of the divine image from the sense in which humans are created in God's image (imago accidentalis), and deny that humans possess the essential image of God.
As the incarnate Son, Jesus Christ in some sense makes the invisible God visible. Hence he is "the image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15 ) and "the exact imprint of his nature" (Heb 1:3 ) in away that surpasses anything that could be said of mere humans. Only the incarnate Son bears the essential image and it cannot be transmitted, lost, or damaged anymore than he could be duplicated or fail to be the second person of the Trinity. (https://biblia.com/bible/kjv1900/Col%201.15) (https://biblia.com/bible/kjv1900/Heb%201.3)
The image of God in mere humans, however, is a natural gift originally given to Adam at creation. From him, it has been passed on to the whole race and, in the fall, was also severely damaged and partly lost. The damage was done to the intrinsic aspect of the divine image, which is how humans are, like God, spiritual beings with intellect, will, and affections. Though damaged, these faculties survive the fall and in this sense humans continue to bear the divine image. The extrinsic aspect of the divine image, which is how Adam and Eve, also like God, were originally righteous, holy, and pure, was lost in the fall.
To confuse the Son's essential image with the image of God given humanity is to confuse the divine and human natures. Our speaker is aware of the danger:
Here, I do not intend to confuse Christ's human and divine natures. What I mean is that Christ's human nature [or humanness], which is the original form by which human nature is created, is within him.
The statements on the image of God above, however, fail to maintain any distinction between the essential image of God in Christ as the divine Son and the divine image given to humanity as a gift. Consequently, they fail to prevent this kind of confusion between the divine and human natures. On the contrary, by tracing the imago Dei in humans back through "the ontological being of Christ" to "God's being," this sort of confusion seems unavoidable.
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 Second Recording. The phrase "Unknown humanity of God in Christ" is originally given in English by the speaker and thus not translated, and for that reason offset here in quotation marks
 This sense of the imago essentialis should not be confused with, for example, G. C. Berkouwer's use of that term in Man the Image of God: Studies in Dogmatics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962), pp. 38-41, to refer to the constitutive aspect of the image of God inhumanity. Note also that Lutheran theologians draw a similar distinction between the substantial image of God (imago substantialis) uniquely in Christ as the divine Son and the accidental image (imago accidentalis) originally in Adam.
 Second Recording
Fifth Statement: Merely Functional Likeness
Ironically, holding a univocal view of God's image (see part 8 (http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2016/01/christological-confusion-china-7.php)) leads our speaker to insist that Christ's human nature "is fundamentally different from us who have been created." This is a startling departure from the Chalcedonian tradition's confession that the incarnate Son is "consubstantial with us according to the manhood [and]in all things like unto us, without sin" (see part 3 (http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/09/christological-confusion-china-2.php)
If there is only one kind of divine image and that image is the eternal Son and is also the essence of humanity then it follows that the eternal Son must be eternally human in some sense--the sense of his eternal humanness. As he puts it,
Jesus Christ possesses God's image, [while] we were created after God's image. Therefore, Christ himself is the image, which is the gene of human nature. Well, within Christ is the original form of human nature, or original human nature. This is something that is not created. This is what I mean. So, I believe that Christ's human nature is uncreated and pre-existent within God.
Since humankind was created in this image, humankind is said to have been created in the image of God, that is, created in Christ's likeness. Now, since humankind was created in Christ's likeness, Christ must have pre-existed before the creation of all human beings. The "humanness in Christ" has always pre-existed within Christ. This is what I mean to express.
So, Christ is the original human, we are the copies created in the likeness of his humanness: "we reflect Him, he is the prototype."
Because his human nature is uncreated and pre-existent we cannot say he is like us in everyway except sin--or conversely, that we are just like him. We must instead conclude that his "humanness is not very similar to what is traditionally referred to as humanity or human nature" and that, even as incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth, he is only "like unto us in many things." Even "his body is entirely different from ours."
Directly addressing the Chalcedonian claim Christ is like us in every way except sin, he asks,
Is he like unto us in all these things? He is a human being, so, just like us, he could grow hungry, thirsty, and physically weary; he would sleep; he experienced many of the things that we experience.
But the many ways he is like us may relate only to a range of bodily functions and corresponding experiences:
His body is entirely different from ours, because our bodies have been created. . . .Jesus Christ's body was neither created from dust, nor from the union of a man and a woman, . . . so his body is certainly different from ours. Different, yet, he truly became human, and he had to possess all the functions of the kind of bodies that we have, so he would sleep, he would be tired, he would grow hungry, he would be thirsty, etc. The functions of his body were "like unto us in all things."
雖然耶穌的身體功能必需要像我們一樣，但單憑具體的經驗並不能保證祂與其他人同質（consubstantial）。功能性相似的身體並不足以確保符合迦克墩傳統（更不用說希伯來書的作者）所堅持的那種對人性的認同，這（同質的人性）是「為了我們的救贖」所必需的。正如拿先斯的貴格利（Gregory of Nazianzus）所宣告的格言：「祂所沒有取得的，就不能被醫治。」
Although Jesus is necessarily like us in his bodily functions, embodied experience alone falls short of being consubstantial with the rest of humanity. Functional somatic similarity, if you will, is not enough to secure the kind of identification with humanity the Chalcedonian tradition, not to mention author of Hebrews, maintains is necessary "for our salvation." As the maxim laid down by Gregory of Nazianzus declares, "that which was not assumed is not healed."
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 Letter to Cledonius (Ep. 101), p. 5
Sixth Statement: An Uncreated Body
The Belgic Confession insists the eternal Son became fully human and that "the human nature" he assumed did not lose "its properties, but remained a creature, having beginning of days, being a finite nature, and retaining all the properties of a real body" (see part 4 ) Our brother in Asia, however, denies that the human nature of Jesus is created. We have already(http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/09/christological-confusion-china-3.php)
observed his peculiar claims regarding the eternal humanness of the Son (see part 5 ), but he also denies the body of Christ was created.(http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/09/christological-confusion-china-4.php)
Suggesting that there are only two biblical accounts of how a human being may be created--either from the dust as Adam and Eve or through sexual intercourse as the rest of the race--he concludes that since neither applies to Jesus we cannot say that his body has been created:
Is it permissible or appropriate for us to apply the word "created" to matters relating to the Son's body? Personally, I think I am not very willing to use this word, because the Son is the Creator--the Son's origin has existed from all eternity, eternity past, and what it means for the Son to have "become" flesh upon the incarnation is a mystery
More strongly, he writes that the claim that "the Lord Jesus is not only the Creator but is also created and partakes in that which is created" is "greatly problematic."
Jesus is [the Creator]. If his body is created, then his whole body is self-created, and he entered into that which he himself created. Then, in the final analysis, is a portion of him a partaker of creation or does a portion of creation partake of him? You have turned him upside down! . . . The Bible never mentions Jesus having a created portion; this is the heresy of Arianism, the heresy of Gnosticism, the heresy of Witness Lee that has come to harm the church.
Within Jesus Christ there is no created portion. He is the Creator, he is worthy to receive worship and eternal praise. . . . Jesus Christ is not created; in the person of Christ, there is no created portion, even within his human nature and flesh, he is still God revealing himself to man by his boundless power within the scope of flesh, and is[thereby] our savior
The Chalcedonian tradition, however, is not in danger of slipping into Arian, Gnostic, or any other error by insisting the human nature of Christ is finite and created.
The mention of Witness Lee, Watchman Nee's disciple and successor, may be telling. Still living in 1991, when these last comments were first published, our speaker may have been distancing himself from Lee's teachings. Any allowance one might make for polemical overstatement, however, is undermined by his continued defense of this same position over twenty years later:
Now, was Jesus' body created or not? I say No. What I mean is that His body is entirely different from ours, because our bodies have been created . . . Jesus Christ's body was neither created from dust, nor from the union of a man and a woman. His body was not created in either of these two ways, so His body is certainly different from ours 
His commitment to this peculiar view--that Christ's body is uncreated--is entrenched, but perhaps not incorrigibly so.
重要的是，我們的講者並沒有聲稱基督的身體是永恆的或有源自天上的。目前尚不清楚他還有哪些其他選擇，但他並沒有明確主張如在激進改革家卡斯珀·士閔克非（Casper Schwenckfeld）（他的觀點源自莫奇奧利茨派（Melchiorites）,或被稱為霍夫曼派（Hoffmanites）和門諾派（Mennonites），或當代神學家斯蒂芬·韋伯（Stephen Webb）所提倡那種屬天肉身基督論。然而，他（指唐崇榮）反對在創造主耶穌基督裡面沒有任何「被造的成分」的想法，他似乎沒有其他選擇，只能選擇一個永恆的（基督人性）。從這個意義上，就是是基督的身體源自天上。然而，與其肯定那麼多，他更願意宣佈基督身體的起源是一個不可逾越的奧秘。
Importantly, our speaker does not claim Christ's body is eternal or has a heavenly origin. It is not clear what other options exist, but he does not explicitly advocate the sort of heavenly flesh Christology we encounter in the radical reformer Casper Schwenckfeld, whose view took root among the Melchiorites and Mennonites, or the contemporary theologian Stephen Webb. Yet he takes exception to the very idea that there is any "created portion" within Jesus Christ, the Creator, and this seems to leave no other option but an eternal and in that sense heavenly source of Christ's body. Rather than affirm as much, however, he prefers to declare the origin of Christ's body an impenetrable mystery.
In an apparent effort to protect the glory of Christ as the Creator he guts the incarnation of the greater glory of God's gracious condescension to sinners in Jesus Christ. The incarnation is an offense to humanity's fallen and constantly overreaching reason, Kierkegaard observed. Every Christological heresy can be understood as an attempt to dodge this offense—the apparent absurdity of the incarnation to finite reason. Offended by the creatureliness of the eternal Son incarnate, our speaker may be in real danger of denying the reality of the "one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all" (1 Tim 2:5-6 ).(https://biblia.com/bible/kjv1900/1%20Tim%202.5-6)
 First Recording.
 This is translated from Q&A XIII of his 1991 booklet on Christology, published in Chinese by his ministry organization.
 Booklet, Q&A XIII, 1991. Arianism broadly refers to a family of Christologies that view the Son as a created being, denying he is consubstantial with the Father (and also with humanity, ordinarily). Gnostic Christologies are often docetic--one way or another God only seemed to be human. Here, however, the speaker almost certainly has in mind the common gnostic belief that creation is the work of a lesser being--a demiurge--which may or may not be associated with the Son. As for Witness Lee, the allusion is more difficult to identify, but a summary of his unusual view of the incarnation is given in his booklet, All-Inclusive Spirit of Christ (Los Angeles: Living Stream Ministry, 1969):
Take a cup of plain water and mix it with tea. Now the water is more than just water. Originally, it was water, but now it is water mingled with tea. Before Christ was incarnated, He was God alone, but after His incarnation He is God mingled with man. In Him is not only the divine nature but also the human nature, the human essence, the human element. He is God, He is the Father, He is the Son, He is the Spirit, and He is man. He is so rich!
Note both the mingling metaphor and incarnation of both Father and Spirit with the Son in Jesus Christ. Whether these are Lee's actual views or just imprecise and confusing ways of expressing himself is debated.
 Booklet, Q&A XIII, 1991.
 Third Recording, in which he also says "I have examined the Christology that I have taught, namely, the printed book Christology [基督論] that I mentioned, as well as my recently published book, The Eternal Christ and Jesus of History [永世的基督和歷史的耶穌]. As I carefully examined them, I believe that my basic view remains unchanged."
 Schwenkfeld eventually published his views in the Great Confession of the Glory of Christ (1541). Webb's work, Jesus Christ, Eternal God: Heavenly Flesh and the Metaphysics of Matter (Oxford, 2012), is intended to be a theological bridge between Christianity and Mormonism, but to my knowledge has not been used by any supporters by orthodox believers on either bank of that divide.
Seventh Statement: The "Unknown Humanity of God in Christ"
卡維里（Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen）觀察到，「直到近代，[基督]人性先存在的想法不僅沒有獲得肯定，而且很多時被認為是危險的，甚至是異端的。 然而，這並沒有阻止不斷挑釁的卡爾·巴特對基督論的想法。他首先在他的《教會教義學》中暗示這個，後來在瑞士改革宗牧師協會面前論證，神在基督裡的人性必須在福音派神學中佔有中心地位。他承認，他和他的同僚們在反對神學自由主義的論戰中「把[對神的看法]從中心移到了邊緣，從強調的原則轉移到了不太強調的從屬」，他現在認為恢復（神在基督裡的人性）是一項緊迫的任務。 從那以後，其他一些神學家也玩起了這種說法。其中包括Wilhelm Vischer，Donald Bloesch，Robert Jenson，Thomas Senor和之前曾提過的Webb。 顯然，我們在亞洲的兄弟應該被添加到這個名單中。
"Until recent times," Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen observes, "the idea of the pre-existence of the human nature [of Christ] was not only not affirmed but at times considered to be dangerous or even heretical." This did not prevent the ever-provocative Karl Barth from
Contriving such a Christology, however. First hinted at in his Church Dogmatics, he later argued before the Swiss Reformed Ministers' Association that the humanity of God in Christ must have a central place in evangelical theology. Admitting that he and his cobelligerents had "moved [this perspective on God] from the center to the periphery, from the emphasized principle clause to the less emphasized subordinate clause" in their polemic against theological liberalism, he now considered its recovery an urgent task. Since then a number of other theologians have played suit. Among them are Wilhelm Vischer, Donald Bloesch, Robert Jenson, Thomas Senor, and the already noted Webb. Apparently, our brother in Asia should be added to this list.
Although he does not cite any sources for his statements (other than a few dubiously translated or interpreted places in Scripture), his language sometimes seems lifted right out of Barth's several discussions, including his claim that the eternal humanness of Christ is the uncreated "prototype" of humanity and "could be called the 'Un-known humanity of God in Christ'." Here, for example, is Barth's discussing the creation of humans:
There is a real pre-existence of man... namely, a pre-existence in the counsel of God, and to that extent, in God Himself, i.e., in the Son of God, in so far as the Son is the uncreated prototype of the humanity which is to be linked with God... As God Himself is mirrored in this image, He creates man 
On the humanity of God, Barth declares "it is precisely God's deity which, rightly understood, includes his humanity" and that "His deity encloses humanity in itself." Humanity, he argues, is hidden within the divine being but revealed through Jesus Christ: "In Him the fact is once for all established that God does not exist without man." Again, "in the mirror of this humanity of Jesus Christ the humanity of God enclosed in His deity reveals itself." 
巴特明白，「我們已經從基督中心推進到......關於神的人性（以馬內利）的陳述，這不能不產生最深遠的後果。」  但後果是由一個人提出的特定觀點的細節決定的。儘管語言相似，但巴特和我們在亞洲的兄弟從不同的出發點對基督的人性先存有不同的看法，最終持有不同的立場——後者甚至比前者更奇特。
Barth understands that "the statement regarding God's humanity, the Immanuel, to which we have advanced... from the Christological center, cannot but have the most far-reaching consequences." But the consequences are determined by the details of the particular view one advances. Despite the similarity of language, Barth and our brother in Asia arrive at the irrespective views on the pre-existence of Christ's humanity from distinct starting points and, in the end, hold distinct positions--the latter's even more exotic than the former's.
This is not the place to enter into a comparative study of Barth's view of Christ's pre-existent humanity and the variety of this species taking root in China today. But, as Barth correctly notes, any statement regarding the humanity of God in Christ will have profound consequences, some of which, as Kärkkäinen observes, have long been considered dangerous to the understanding of Scripture captured in the Chalcedonian definition set down in 451.
 Kärkkäinen, Christ and Reconciliation: A Constructive Christian Theology for the Pluralistic World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013), pp. 184-85.
 His 1956 address to the Swiss Reformed Ministers' Association was entitled "The Humanity of God" and subsequently translated into English and published in Karl Barth, The Humanity of God (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1960), pp. 37-65. See also Barth's Christocentric discussion of election in Church Dogmatics II/2 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1957),pp. 95-194 (especially p. 145), and of the creation of "real man" in Church Dogmatics III/2(1960), p. 155.
 See, for example, Wilhelm Vischer, The Witness of the Old Testament to Christ, trans. A.B. Crabtree (London: Lutterworth, 1949); Donald G. Bloesch, Jesus Christ: Savior & Lord(Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1997), pp. 132-43; Robert W. Jenson, Systematic Theology, vol. 1 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), especially pp. 125-45; and Thomas D. Senor, "Incarnation and Trinity" in Reason for the Hope Within, ed. by Michael Murray (Grad Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), pp. 238-59, especially 241-52. Bloesch also names Klaas Runia and Ray Anderson as proponents, p. 137. Like Matt Slick, President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, who states "Jesus is uncreated" several times in his article on "Jesus" available at https://carm.org/cut-jesus , it is difficult to know Runia and Anderson intended to assert the uncreated humanity of Christ or were just speaking loosely about his pre-existence as the Son. After Barth, Jenson's views have attracted the most attention, including sharp critiques by Simon Gathercole, "Pre-existence and the Freedom of the Son in Creation and Redemption: An Exposition in Dialogue with Robert Jenson," International Journal of Systematic Theology, 7.1 (January2005), pp. 38-51, and Oliver D. Crisp, "Robert Jensen on the Pre-existence of Christ," Modern Theology 23:1 (January 2007), pp. 27-45, the latter concluding Jenson's view is "simply incoherent," p. 42.(https://carm.org/cut-jesus)
 Second Recording.
 Church Dogmatics III/2, p. 155.
 Barth, Humanity of God, pp. 46, 49, 50, and 51, respectively (emphasis original). It is worth noting that the Barth's language regarding the humanity of God has spread far beyond just those who afrm Christ's humanity is pre-existent. Take, for example, the title to James Torrance's festschrift, Christ in our Place: The Humanity of God in Christ for the Reconciliation of the World: Essays presented to James Torrance (Eugene: Pickwick, 1989)or the language of Jürgen Moltmann in many passages of The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993).
 Barth, Humanity of God, p. 52.
There may be ways to construe the supposed pre-existent humanity of Christ without transgressing Chalcedonian orthodoxy--Klaas Runia certainly thought Barth achieved this.
For this reason, among others, Reformed theologians have generally treated this view as objectionable but not, by itself, heretical. Even though some of the statements reviewed in this essay are difficult to square with Chalcedon and obviously incompatible with the Reformed standards cited above, my concern here is not assessing this man's views but addressing the Christological confusion his statements are causing within Reformed circles on the mainland of China (and beyond).
Perhaps these statements do not accurately represent his views. They are imprecisely stated, somewhat speculative, and not clearly argued from Scripture. There are also layers of language involved here and at least two years has passed since these recordings were made--enough time for him to have already changed his mind.
Whatever the case may be, these statements are circulating throughout mainland China, influencing believers who are just discovering the Reformed tradition, and causing enough Christological confusion to warrant our concern. Anyone who develops their Christological views around these "two claims, . . . first, that Christ's human nature and Christ's body are uncreated; and, second, that Christ's human nature has existed from all eternity," seems certain to stray from the Chalcedonian Christology the orthodox Reformed standards consistently maintain. Jesus Christ is not a bodily manifestation of an eternal humanness hidden within God; God-incarnate is not just similar to us with respect to a range of bodily functions but consubstantial with us--just like us in every way except sin; and there is no such thing as an uncreated physical body.
Though the divine and eternal Son assuming a fully human nature, body and soul, created and finite just like ours, is a scandal, it is the glorious scandal of God's saving grace in Jesus Christ, necessary for us and our salvation.
 Klaas Runia, The Present-Day Christological Debate (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press,1984), pp. 16-21.
 An interesting example of this is Hodge, Systematic Theology, pp. 421-28, who treats the views of Swendenborg and Watts on this point as merely objectionable and describes the latter as undoubtedly "a devout worshiper of our Lord Jesus Christ," p. 423.
Since writing and submitting the series of posts (beginning here) on the pervasive Christological confusion in China, I have received a communication confirming that my caution about attributing to our brother the view suggested by his assertions is well founded. As I muse in the final post of the series, (http://www.reformation21.org/articles/an-orientation-to-chinas-reforming-churches.php)
Perhaps these statements do not accurately represent his views. They are imprecisely stated, somewhat speculative, and not clearly argued from Scripture. There are layers of language involved here and at least two years has passed since these recordings were made--enough time for him to have already changed his mind.
According to this recent communication, this brother declares that he "embraces the totality of the Reformed faith" and made some of the assertions at the root of the present confusion in unguarded extemporaneous moments. He did not intend to confuse anyone on the doctrine of Christ's humanity, does not believe the assertions circulating widely in China are well-understood, and denies that they "adequately represent" his full or final position on this matter.
So far as I can see, this is encouraging news. The confusion itself persists, of course, and deserves whatever attention is necessary to clarify just what the biblical and confessional teaching on Christ's humanity is; going forward, may we concentrate on the doctrinal issue at hand with one heart and mind for the welfare of the church here, there, and everywhere.