The Incarnation and Theological Education / Dr. James Cheung

When we consider the doctrine of incarnation, especially in this joyous Christmas season, let us follow its important implications for theological education.

(1) Transcendence and Immanence – The Incarnation means that the transcendent God became flesh and lived among men. Christ accomplished His redemptive work as fully God and fully man on earth. He claimed to be “the one who came from heaven – the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:13).

In theological education, this reminds us that transactional theology and interpersonal theology are both important. Theoretically speaking, one who loves God also loves his brother; but in practice, one does not always follow the other. We always find young preachers who have the zeal for the Lord, equipped with knowledge and ministry skills but quickly become a failure because they do not know how to get along with others. Theological education must train servants of God to relate both to God and to men.

(2) Truth is both propositional and personal – The incarnation, among other things, means God revealing His eternal truth in human flesh. This was what Christ meant when He claimed to be the truth (John 14:6).

In theological education, this means we must train men and women to be able to live out the truth of the Gospel in joy, peace and love; and not just be preachers of joy, peace and love. At the same time, the Incarnation also teaches that we must teach both by word and example. Classroom learning must go hand in hand with practical work in the church. Moreover, zeal and knowledge should always go together, and knowledge is always before zeal; otherwise we might fall into the same sin as the Israelites whose zeal was not based on knowledge (Romans 10:2).