Pauline Theology Relative to the Death and Resurrection of Christ -- By: Charles Lee Feinberg

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 095:379 (Jul 1938)
Article: Pauline Theology Relative to the Death and Resurrection of Christ
Author: Charles Lee Feinberg

Pauline Theology Relative to the Death and Resurrection of Christ

Charles Lee Feinberg

The theology of Paul has been in recent years the subject of no little controversy. He has been accused of formulating a speculative system which has been the product of his own fertile imagination and wholly devoid of historical basis. We are told that the apostle Paul has perverted the simple message of Christ concerning the approaching kingdom, into a theology inconsistent with the mind and purpose of Christ. Some claim he is a second founder of Christianity and really the destroyer of the Christianity of Christ.1 Their cry is “Back to Christ” and their work is professedly the quest for the historical Jesus. It is maintained further

that “It was not his religious beliefs, but his religious experience, which was of supreme importance to him.”2 In other words, Paul’s experiences are the abiding values, even as ours should be for us, but his terminology must be relegated to the past. What the apostle has done is really to destroy the simplicity of the Gospel message and to substitute in its place a series of doctrines concerning the way of salvation. In refutation of these contentions we must remind our friends that Paul was warranted, first of all, in emphasizing the death and resurrection of Christ, because Christ Himself attached great importance to these facts. Secondly, Paul’s doctrines were not based upon some mental aberrations but upon demonstrable historic facts and events. Furthermore, the Church in its early history did not regard Paul as an innovator, nor did the intimate friends and apostles of Christ. Moreover, the apostle always regarded himself as a true disciple of Christ, never intimating by so much as a word that he disagreed with any of Christ’s teachings or commandments. Finally, we must certainly hold very poor views of the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, if we doubt Paul when he says: “I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Who can deny these words and still maintain a consistent belief in the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures? The alleged discrepancy between Paul and Christ and the extended controversy over it appear, then, to be products of the minds of the objectors to the theology of the apostle.

What was Paul’s teaching concerning Christ? The apostle in speaking of the coming judgment in the second chapter of Romans calls his teaching “my gospel.” Later, in exhorting and encouraging Timothy in his work of the ministry, Paul again...

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