Scholarly readings portray John Chrysostom as less than sure-footed in his Christology, suggesting a duality in his understanding of Christ’s person and consequently viewing his soteriology as inconsistent. Some scholars have argued that Chrysostom’s Christology denies the direct personal presence and experience of God in the incarnation. While other scholars have maintained that the philosophical, theological, and anthropological influences of the Antiochene christological school caused Chrysostom to deny that the incarnation has any effect upon God, suggesting that its movement was wholly toward man while its effects remained on earth.
Against these claims, the present study offers an account of the profound potency of Chrysostom’s christological and soteriological thought. First, I will examine Chrysostom’s commentary on Hebrews on the ontology of the incarnation to demonstrate that his christological thought is unitive—he views the Logos-Son as the single subject in Christ who enters brotherhood with humanity in the incarnation. Second, I will argue that Chrysostom’s emphasis on Christ’s solidarity with us in his suffering and death suggests that he views the reality of these experiences as essential for our salvation. Finally, I will show from Chrysostom’s perspective that a docetic Christology is untenable, for a Savior devoid of a complete incarnate experience is deficient and imperfect. In Chrysostom’s view, it was soteriologically imperative that Christ identify with us in every way, for the reality of our salvation is contingent on the authenticity of his identification with us.