The Doctrine Of Peter -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 026:104 (Oct 1869)
Article: The Doctrine Of Peter
Author: Anonymous

The Doctrine Of Peter5


Among the sources for the exhibition of the doctrine of Peter we must not include Second Peter, since the doubts as to its genuineness, are due not merely to modern criticism, but to the tradition of the ancient church, and are not removed by the consideration of its doctrinal contents. The true sources are the First Epistle of Peter and his speeches in the Acts. The exhibition of the Petrine doctrine will show that the fundamental conceptions are the same in both. The genuineness of First Peter is universally acknowledged; for it presents the apostle in exact accordance with the idea we form of him from the Gospels. The idea that it has a Pauline character must be rejected on a close examination of its doctrine. There are many ideas in the Epistle which are not found in Paul in the same form, and vice versa. Paul may have exercised some influence over Peter; but we do not find his peculiar phrases in the Epistle. Still, the Petrine doctrine may be regarded as the mere undeveloped, preliminary stage of the Pauline.

With respect to the readers of the Epistle, the view seems at first most natural that Peter, as the apostle of the circumcision, wrote to the Jewish Christians. But it is evident that Peter had not himself preached to those whom he addresses; and an unbiased exposition will show that the doctrine applies equally well to converts from heathenism.

The historical position of Peter in the apostolic church is between James and Paul. He did not hold that Jewish descent entitled to a share in Christ’s redemption; but he did believe this to be the original birthright of the Jews,

and that the heathen could participate in it only through acceptance of the Mosaic law. Missions to the heathen were not at first approved by him, and, though he was specially directed to extend his labors to them, he seems never to have been at home in the work. That his views afterward underwent a change may be supposed, but cannot be proved. Peter’s sphere of activity doubtless affected his apprehension and presentation of Christian truth. Thus he emphasizes the unity rather than the differences of the two economies. He also expected the Jewish Christians to observe the law from piety towards it, not for the sake of legal justification, though, according to Acts 15:10, he exonerated the Gentile Christians from such observance,

In an apostle of such strong individuality and occupying so important a position we should expect to find a peculiar apprehension and presentation of doctrine. Bruckner and Neander, however, fail to recognize any distinct ...

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