Deeper Doctrine


By: Colonel Richard Munn

The incarnation of God is a uniquely Christian conviction—God the divine “in the flesh.” Other gods remain conspicuously far away from humanity, or they may come to earth and play at being human for a while.

In contrast, God Almighty, Jehovah, is born as a babe at a definite point in time, at a certain place, on a certain date, weighing so many pounds and needing His mama’s milk. The biblical account is clear: He then grows in “wisdom and stature,” subsequently experiencing hunger, thirst, fatigue, temptations, and sorrow. At His death we read of fear, blood, pain, groaning, and “breathing his last.”

All of these are deeply recognizable human experiences. It means that we can instantly identify with Jesus; He is one of us, not aloof and afar. God “moved into the neighborhood,” memorably writes Eugene Peterson.

The ramifications of this are profound for us:

  • A theology of presence where simply being with people in their suffering and pain is valued over words.
  • Incarnational ministry where choosing to identify and reside with a community for a sustained time predominates.
  • Friendship evangelism where genuinely being a friend with a person, maybe especially a non–Christian, distinguishes a relationship.

The Salvation Army chorus got it right:

He came right down to me,
He came right down to me,
To condescend to be my friend,
He came right down to me.

A perfect description of incarnation. A perfect chorus for advent.