The Consciousness Of Christ The Key To Christianity -- By: Dwight Mallory Pratt

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 062:246 (Apr 1905)
Article: The Consciousness Of Christ The Key To Christianity
Author: Dwight Mallory Pratt

The Consciousness Of Christ The Key To Christianity

Reverend Dwight Mallory Pratt

Never were the truths of our holy religion subject to such searching criticism as to-day. This is no occasion for fear, but for congratulation, provided only the searching be done by men of vision. Well has it been said, that “the menace of our times is the critic with no faith and with no sense of the fundamental questions of faith.” “The navigator is not an astronomer: his first concern is to sail by the heavens, not to make a map of them.” Many men are attempting to be astronomers, who are fitted only to be navigators. “The critic of an experience must be its expert.” The key to Christ’s life is not found in the laboratory, but in the Holy of Holies. Not what we think of Christ, but what he thinks of himself, must be the key to our knowledge. The consciousness of Christians must rest upon and be enlightened by the consciousness of Jesus. “In his light we see light.”

What then were the fundamental facts in the consciousness of Jesus? What was his view of himself? Of his many claims to the supernatural, we may mention five: preexistence, infallibility, sinlessness, supernatural power, and capacity, as Son, to reveal God.

1. Preexistence.—This stupendous claim lifts Christ out of the category of ordinary men. He said, “Before Abraham was, I am”; “I came down from heaven”; “I proceeded forth and came from God: neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” No other human being could ever say this. We are not conscious of preexistence. The claim of Jesus is possible on the basis of the truth of the historic story of the Nativity and Incarnation. The method of the Nativity, so unhesitatingly affirmed by St. Matthew and St. Luke, is possible only on the basis of a preexistent personality. The incarnation of such a preexistent person, not only explains, but necessitates, a supernatural generation. Add sinlessness to preexistence, and this product from ordinary generation would be a greater miracle than the supernatural conception of Mary. “Jesus Christ was a new departure in human life.” “We inevitably associate with the ordinary process of generation the production of a new personality.” But Jesus was not a new personality,—else his claim to preexistence was the wildest fancy or the most stupendous fraud.

Paul penetrated the mystery of the manger cradle when he drew the distinction between the first and second Adam. The one was of the earth, earthy; the other, the Lord from heaven. The former was a living soul; the latter, a life-giving spirit. The birth of Jesus must, in some way, be the regeneration of humanity. We cannot fathom the mystery of the process, but we ...

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