Kenneth Tanner, On the Incarnation

I love how Jesus is so central to Kenneth Tanner’s message. I asked Kenneth right away in our conversation about what he sees would be a vital point of reformation in the church. He talked about refocusing the centrality of Jesus Christ. Awesome!

Jesus Christ is the full revelation of who God the Father is. Jesus is the disclosure to us of who God is and also, what it means to be human. Yes, in Christ there is a new way to be human and participate in the Divine Life!

Partakers of the Divine Nature

Imagine that! We are partakers of the Divine Nature! And how? Through the promises of God! His assurance that this is so!

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

2 Peter 1:2-4

About Kenneth Tanner

Kenneth Tanner pastors at Holy Redeemer in Rochester Hills Michigan. You can connect with Kenneth and follow him at his facebook page!

I first heard of Kenneth through John MacMurray. Kenneth will be speaking at a conference with John MacMurray, Paul Young Young, Brad Jersak, C. Baxter Kruger and more at The Open Table Conference in Portland in June. We talked about him in our interview and there are a few quotes in MacMurray’s book, A Spiritual Evolution. The one I bring up in this conversation is this:

“When we read the Bible with the church we learn that not every line of Scripture has equal weight in answering the question, “Who is God and what is God like?””

pg 284 A Spiritual Evolution by John MacMurray

Quotes from Kenneth

Kenneth has a way of sharing happy theology in a way that makes you think. Just today I spent a good hour or more wondering what he was getting at and if Jesus had something in it for me. He highlights in our talk a beautiful point about why Jesus was baptized and we touch on the vicarious nature of Christ’s life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Enjoy these Kenneth quotes:

On Behalf Of ALL

“Christ has taken all humanity down with him into the Jordan, into the waters of repentance, washing all who bear human identify because by Mary and the Spirit he partakes of the one nature shared by every human,

and Christ has likewise taken all humanity up onto the hard wood of the cross, dying a death that causes death to disappear from our shared human nature like straw from fire, and though some may choose to live in denial of their reconciliation to God in the flesh of Jesus, though some may choose to exist apart from Love

—which is to live hell, in this life and in the life of the age to come—

the reconciling work of God in Christ on behalf of all who bear human nature is accomplished, the union between God and human nature is in the flesh of Jesus irrevocable, permanent.

We can, it seems, make a most improbable choice to reject participation in this union but this is not God’s desire, nor the desire of any who love the God Jesus reveals. It is reasonable to hope and pray that no one makes that choice.

This is my earnest hope and prayer.” – Kenneth Tanner

“…the incarnation of God in human flesh, and that co-suffering love—God become this particular human, sinless yet slain, molecular Lord of every cosmic particle executed beyond human semblance—redeems the creation and all living things.”

And here is where Kenneth starts out by quoting someone else and offering some commentary:

On Being Human

“Only near-sighted people can suppose that Christianity has seen its time. Christianity has only taken its first, I would say timid, steps in human history. To this day many of Christ’s words are incomprehensible because we are still moral and spiritual neanderthal men. The gospel arrow is aimed towards eternity, and that which we call Christian history is in many ways a series of clumsy and unsuccessful attempts to bring Christianity about.” — Father Alexander Men

I think this is true.

Humanity does not understand that humans are made in the image of a tri-personal God, so that being in communion, being in relationship, is the way everything is meant to flourish.

Humanity does not yet understand that this divine community is not the origin of evil or death but goodness and life.

Humanity does not yet understand that everyone is already related to this community because the one tri-personal God has made every human in their image.

Humanity does not yet understand that one of the persons of God became human, that the Son took on the *one human nature* all humans share, and so this person who is God become human, Jesus Christ, is now the brother of every man or women who ever has lived, is living, or ever will live.

Humanity does not yet understand that this means that God has already related Godself to every human as their creator, as the invisible image that each one bear, and as the human sibling of Jesus Christ.

This is true whether or not we are indifferent to this person who embodies this truth, hostile toward him, apathetic about him, skeptical about him, or welcoming him.

And I could quite literally go on and on and on.

We are not human until we are human as God is human in Jesus Christ.

Now by the infinite grace of the incarnation—because God comes to share the one human nature all humans share—our flesh too can be transfigured as the flesh of Jesus is transfigured.

This is not merely a reflection of the uncreated light, like that which shone from the face of Moses. Here now is someone greater than Moses. This person on Tabor is God become man. The Light from Light has made his light to shine in our hearts.

“You are the light of the world.” We are being transfigured from glory to glory.

Much love and grace.

I actually share a brand new song (I finished it moments before recording it at the end of the podcast. It is also at my patreon site for a free download. If you would like to connect to this blessed stream of consciousness that is Kenneth Tanner, Follow him on his facebook page!