Cortez, Mark. Christological Anthropology in Historical Perspective: Ancient and Contemporary Approaches to Theological Anthropology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, pp. 272, $27.99, paperback.
Marc Cortez is currently associate professor of theology at Wheaton College. His prior works include Theological Anthropology: A Guide for the Perplexed (T&T Clark, 2010) and Embodied Souls, Ensouled Bodies: An Exercise in Christological Anthropology and Its Significance for the Mind/Body Debate (T&T Clark, 2008). As the title of these previous monographs indicate, Cortez has an interest in theological anthropology. The recently published Christological Anthropology in Historical Perspective: Ancient and Contemporary Approaches to Theological Anthropology represents his third full length contribution to this field.
What makes us human? This is a question upon which much ink has been spilled. Most studies attempting to answer this question have tended focus on one of several topics: 1) human origins, 2) ethics, and 3) the imago dei. What Cortez brings to this already oversaturated field is a rethinking of the methodology upon which so many of these studies are founded. Cortez’s approach to theological anthropology is strictly Christological.
You can read the rest of the review at the Journal of Biblical and Theological Studies.
About a month ago I took a look at The Gospel Coalition’s Blog: FAQ’s. Here they provide summaries about current events and answer frequently asked questions regarding these current events. Most of these blogs have to do with popular culture or politics. One article that really jumped out at me was their article regarding the Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare.
At one point in the article, the author says that “Obamacare’s vast expansions of the multi-trillion-dollar Medicaid program are arguably much more significant than the mandate. Medicaid is jointly funded between the federal government and the states, and already consumes an ever-increasing share of state spending…. They (Republicans) complained to the Court that this was a threat to independent state self-government.” Later on in the article the author frames this issue in such a way as though it seems as though it will rob religious organizations like the Catholic hospitals and Christian universities of their religious freedom. Thus for this author the key theological issue at hand is the relationship between church and state.
The Theological Issues at Hand…
The theological issues at hand are regarding the role of the government and anthropology. Romans 13 says that “there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God…. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.” Without a doubt there are governments that are not serving the good of the people, they oppress and kill their citizens. But in this case, we have the government trying to defend one good of the people, namely their healthcare. The claim that this healthcare program intrudes upon the rights of individuals is a claim regarding what the “good” of the people is. The theological issue at hand is “what is the better good of a person?” Are individual rights more important or is the access to healthcare more important? The first position doesn’t have high regard for the physical side of humans and elevates the non-physical attributes of humans (the will). The second position can be regarded as reductionist, humans are merely physical beings thus their physical well being is what matters most. Because these two theological issues are at hand in this one political issues, disagreements are bound to happen.
Reframing the Question
I am not arguing for or against this particular health care proposal. All I am doing is pointing out that the fundamental issue at hand has been presented as a disagreement between what the relationship between church and state should be. I am saying that this is not the fundamental disgreement. The fundamental disagreement between both sides is about what the ultimate good for a human being is. Thus in conducting these discussions we need to be clear about what we are arguing about (or what we should be arguing about), namely what is the ultimate good for a human. This is the real question that needs to be answered in the discussion about healthcare.