And so my question, how many of the Protestant Reformation leaders had an unorthodox Christology?
All of them...
Wrong. Luther confessed the Christology contained in all of the seven councils.
From a study board in Singapore:
Lutheran Christology - The Two Natures of Christ
Since its beginning, Christianity has been combating one heresy after another on the two natures of Christ, as God and Man. Arianism denied that Christ was truly God. Docetism denied that Christ was truly man. Nestorianism taught that Christ not only had two natures, but was actually two persons. Monophysitism thought of Christ as having only one nature, a kind of composite God and man. All of these Christologies were declared by the Church to be heretical. The Council of Chalcedon held in A.D. 451 finally declared four negations - that the one person of Jesus Christ to be acknowledged in two natures - inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, and inseparably.
I learned something new last week from Dr Joel Biermann of Concordia Theological Seminary in a lecture. He mentioned that Martin Chemnitz, a student of Luther and Melanchthon best articulates the Lutheran view in his work called "The Two Natures of Christ". Following the early Church, Chemnitz used three genera (plural of the Latin term genus) to describe how the two natures in the one person Jesus Christ relates to each other. These are very important as far as Lutheran Christology is concerned.
Each nature has its own peculiar essential or natural attributes, which it retains even in the union, yet without conversion or confusion. The difference of the natures is not abolished because of the union, but rather the property of each nature is preserved intact and takes part in forming the one person. Example this can be seen when Jesus feeds the 5,000. This was wrought with the human hands of Jesus and his divine nature.
The divine nature of Christ in itself has received nothing from the hypostatic union, but his human nature has received and possesses innumerable supernatural gifts and qualities which are contrary to its nature and which are above every name and also above, beyond, and exceeding its own essential properties, which still, however, remain unimpaired. This can be seen in Jesus walking on the water, and walking through the wall and appear to his disciples in a locked room.
More importantly this genus starkly separates Calvinism from Lutherans in their view on the Lord's Supper. Lutherans maintained that this genus allowed Christ to be physically present with his body and blood in the Lord’s Supper. As Jesus is God, Jesus – as both God and man – can be omnipresent, even in Communion. Calvinists did not hold to this genus and so they asserted that Christ’s divine nature, and not his human nature, could be present in the Sacrament - the "Spiritual Presence" View. Their reasoning is that Christ’s human nature could not be present on an altar while also being present in heaven.
The union of Christ’s two natures took place in order that the work of redemption, propitiation, and salvation might be accomplished in, with, and through both of His nature. This essentially meant that when Christ died on the cross and rose again, he did so in both natures. This genus is very important to understand. If Jesus died only in his divine nature, he could not have died. If Jesus died in his human nature only, his death could not have made satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.
Diagramatically, we can teach the above three genera by drawing a circle to represent Christ as a person and two square boxes below to represent his two natures. For Genus Idiomaticum there will be two arrows from the two square boxes going up to the circle. For Genus Majestaticum we will draw an arrow from the square box representing his divine nature going to the circle and then an arrow from the circle to the square box representing his human nature. Lastly, for Genus Apotelesmaticum we can draw two arrows from the circle to the two square boxes.
Posted 25th September 2010 by Martin Yee
While this is a modern short version of Lutheran Christology from the Saxon point of view (LCMS, WELS), it is how I remember it being taught.