The Messianic Views Of Christ’s Contemporaries -- By: George H. Schodde

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 041:162 (Apr 1884)
Article: The Messianic Views Of Christ’s Contemporaries
Author: George H. Schodde

The Messianic Views Of Christ’s Contemporaries

Rev. George H. Schodde

The marked attention which biblical studies, in the technical sense of the word, are receiving in the English-speaking theological world can certainly prove only profitable to the church of Christ. The more teachers and people are brought into active and living communion with the revealed word, and the more they learn to regard this word as the only and immediate source of Christian faith and life, the better it will be for the healthy development of the church. Even if this theological discipline has been abused, and has of late, especially in reference to the Pentateuchal problem, built upon the foundation of Moses, the prophets, and the apostles, not gold and silver, but straw and stubble, this would not justify conservative and truth-loving people in putting these studies under the ban, or in stamping the Cain-mark of heresy on any attempt to unfold the truths of revelation in any other manner than that prescribed by traditional methods and ways. Abusus non tollit usum is true here as elsewhere. And the history of dogmas proves that the victory is not to the rash and reckless, but clings to the banner of truth. Not many decades back it was well-nigh regarded an axiom in critical circles that the fourth Gospel was unauthentic; now only the most liberal of the liberals dare whisper such a sentiment. Magna est Veritas et praevalebit.

Not the least favored department in this sphere is that of biblical theology, especially the theology of the New Testament. While in reference to the Old Testament researches have been chiefly made in the direction of Isagogics or Introduction, and here again principally in regard to the authenticity of certain books, prominently the Pentateuch;

in the New Testament, the separate books, which were not so much sub judice as to origin, author, or age, have been examined more with reference to their positive contents and doctrinal teachings, and their investigation has assumed more of an exegetical character. As biblical theology, which is an historical branch in the family of theological sciences, seeks among other things to understand the various books in the light of the age in which they were written, it must everywhere endeavor to draw this historical background in as vivid and faithful colors as possible. And it is from this standpoint that the history of New Testament times (Neu-testamentliche Zeitgeschichte), which has for its object the delineation of the New Testament age in its religious, political, and social aspects, has proved such a thankful auxiliary to the study of the Gospels and the Epistles. While as yet we have no larger English work on this subject to compare wi...

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