The Theistic Christ -- By: Charles Caverno

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 067:267 (Jul 1910)
Article: The Theistic Christ
Author: Charles Caverno


The Theistic Christ

Rev. Charles Caverno

“The old need not be therefore true,
O Brother man, nor yet the new.
Ah still awhile the old thought retain
And yet consider it again.

“The souls of now two thousand years
Have laid up here their toils and fears
And all the earnings of their pain,
Ah yet consider it again.”

Clough.

The time allotted me is brief. I must often crush into a sentence what would justly require a treatise. I will try to restrain wrath and rhetoric. Really the most modest form of expression in philosophical or rhetorical writing is, “I think” or the ̔́Ως γὰρ ἔμοιγε δοκεῖ of Socrates. I am giving my personal opinion in what I write. But I wish it understood that it is the expression of conviction. It is the result of a half-century’s study. My conviction is as “deep as life.”

I assume and assert the New Testament view of Christ as we read it, and as it has been read through the centuries. I make all allowances of error that textual or higher criticism in sane rationality can claim. I shall not respect the mere whim of subjectivism. The blunder is as eminent to treat history as myth as myth history. The critical work of the last century has left the New Testament substantially as it found it. Nothing has been discovered or done which has essentially modified

the estimate in which it has been held as a record of historic fact. Research has strengthened that estimate. The “finds” in my lifetime have all fallen one way — the way of confirmation. Instances: The Codex Sinaiticus, Tatian’s Diatessaron, the Didaché, and so forth. Prediction is a dangerous road. But I will venture the prediction that future “finds” will fall the same way.

The New Testament is verified as no other book or documents known to man. Subsequent history bears witness to it in ways conclusive. A few words written incidentally, floating down the stream of time, often indicate the character of its contents. There is a granite boulder before my door. It tells the tale of the ice age. It came from parent granite up, by, or beyond the Georgian Bay.

Take the letter of Pliny to Trajan. Pliny says that the two female slaves whom he tortured for information about the Christian religion testified that the Christians met before it was light, to eat a harmless meal together and to sing a hymn to Christ ὠς θεῶ. ῾ Ως θεῶ—there is a granite boulder in the drift of history at the end of the first century up in Bithynia by the Black Sea, telling of the fa...

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