This book has three main sections, each considering an aspect of the person of Christ and each linked to one title in the Saviour’s name, the ‘Lord Jesus Christ’.
In the first, he is ‘Lord’. Here the doctrine of Christ’s deity is opened up from eternity, in time, and to eternity. The author offers an array of biblical proofs and theological explanation covering the essentials of this vital scriptural truth.
Section two deals with Christ’s humanity as Jesus. Beginning in the Old Testament, we are introduced to pictures of his coming in the flesh. This was through Christophanies and prophecies until, in the fullness of time, the eternal Son was born of the Virgin.
Olyott stresses the importance of Christ’s humanity in both body and soul. He took our nature (apart from sin) to save us from sin. He remains a man, glorified in heaven. While this section is good, it lacks emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Christ. As part of his humiliation, Christ was dependent on the Spirit, for example, to preach (Luke 4:18) and to perform miracles (Matthew 12:27-28).
The third section brings the deity and humanity together. He is ‘Christ’, the God-man: one person with two distinct natures. His every act is the act of the one person, yet each nature can only act according to its own peculiar properties.
For example, as God, Christ cannot die; as man, Christ is not omnipresent. The Lutheran view, which affords divine attributes to Christ’s human nature, is critiqued and rightly rejected here. The book ends with a review of ancient and modern heresies on the person of Christ. Two appendices provide relevant statements from the Creed of Chalcedon and the Athanasian Creed.
This is precisely the kind of book the church needs today. Abandonment of truth in our culture has led to abandonment of doctrine in the church. Men want an encounter with their own personal Jesus — even an unbiblical one who cannot save.
Olyott takes us to the heart of the matter, marshalling an abundance of scriptural teaching along the way. His understanding of the Word is knowingly in line with the historical creeds of the church, stretching back to Chalcedon and Nicaea. He is resolved to show the modern church the pertinence of these creeds.
The work benefits from Olyott’s lucid style and ability to present difficult doctrine clearly to the reader. It is an entry-level book and other works could take us further in our understanding of the glorious person of Christ, but this is far from a criticism.
It is exactly the kind of book we need. Christians should read it for themselves, families could read it together and congregations could study it in groups to deepen both their understanding and love of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hollybush, East Ayrshire