The Rediscovery Of Christianity -- By: B. C. Gordon

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 077:306 (Apr 1920)
Article: The Rediscovery Of Christianity
Author: B. C. Gordon


The Rediscovery Of Christianity

B. C. Gordon

St. Louis

A considerable number of modern thinkers and writers assert their rediscovery of Christianity. They make themselves conspicuous in books, magazines, and newspapers. They claim much credit for their efforts to get the Church back to what they allege is the true, the primitive, Christianity. This rediscovered Christianity is characterized by two chief features: its mission is the reconstruction of human society in accordance with genuine Christian principles; its chief concern is with right living in this present world rather than for any special regard for what is called “other-worldliness,” or for a future life.

In view of these claims as to this rediscovery of Christianity, it may be worth while to inquire respecting the origin, rise, and characteristic features of the Christian religion as it appears in the New Testament Scriptures. It is admitted that Christianity is the outcome, the flower and fruit, of the religion of Israel as revealed to that people by Moses and the prophets in the Old Testament; but this phase of the subject will not be considered in the following discussion, the object of which is to show that true, primitive, Christianity, though it has been at times and places misunderstood and misrepresented, has never been wholly lost; that it has always been known, accepted, and confessed in some portions of the Church; and, therefore, has no need of rediscovery.

An intelligent Christian, without some knowledge of the literary and historical criticism of the New Testament, would naturally get the impression that the four Gospels were the earliest portions of the New Testament; that Paul and others, to whom are ascribed other portions of that Testament, derived their knowledge of the facts, doctrines, and duties of the Christian religion from these Gospels. This is not the case. Paul’s earlier letters, certainly those

to the Galatians and Thessalonians, were written before the Gospels attributed to Matthew, Mark, and Luke were circulated. It is also certain that neither Paul nor his earliest converts ever saw or heard of the Gospel according to John. Whatever knowledge they had of Jesus, his words and works, came to them by oral tradition, by personal and private letters, and by revelations coining to them directly from the glorified Jesus and from his promised Holy Spirit, who was to abide with them, teach them, “bring to their remembrance” whatsoever Jesus had taught them. Compare Mark 13:11; Matt. 10:19, 20;

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