The Doctrine Of The Apostles -- By: S. R. Asbury
BSac 27:105 (Jan 1870) p. 135
The Doctrine Of The Apostles
The Discourse Of Stephen
Stephen may be recognized in his single speech as the immediate predecessor of Paul. We meet here with all those ideas which distinguish the doctrine of Paul from those already considered. It might be expected that the teaching of Jesus as to the profound antithesis between Law and Gospel would be apprehended and further developed by some believers prior to the conversion of Paul; and hence there is no reason to doubt the historical character of this discourse. A token of its genuineness has also been discovered in the circumstance that the expression “Son of
BSac 27:105 (Jan 1870) p. 136
Man,” used by Jesus himself, and still current in the infant church, occurs here for the last time in the New Testament.
The Fundamental Idea
of the discourse is the irreceptivity of the Jewish people in all periods towards the divine revelation. Their unbelief with respect to Christ is not isolated, but constantly repeated, and ends in their exclusion from the kingdom of God.
In Stephen’s discourse, the imperfection of the Mosaic law and ritual is first expressly set forth, and the impending dissolution of the old covenant prophesied. While James, and Peter in the earlier period of his ministry, in accordance with their position towards the law and ritual, attributed to the believing Jews a certain preference over heathen converts, on account of their observance of the law, Stephen is the immediate predecessor of Paul in regarding this adherence to the legal point of view as only an imperfect stage of development, and in bringing into full consciousness the inadequacy of the Mosaic ritual. It was natural that this should be done first by a Hellenist, like Stephen; the Hellenists being naturally most inclined and adapted to apprehend and set forth the universal elements of Christianity.
The Doctrine Of Paul
The Sources. The discourses of Paul recorded in the Acts, though presenting less of his peculiar view of Christian truth than the Epistles, are not without importance. Had it been the intention of the author of the book of Acts, as alleged by some modern critics, to approximate the teaching of Paul as much as possible to that of Peter, there would have been some difficulty in discriminating between them, whereas the differences are palpable even in the forms of presentation. Nor are the speeches of Paul made up from his Epistles, since between these, also, there is evident distinction, together with essential agreement.
BSac 27:105 (Jan 1870) p. 137
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