Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 126:504 (Oct 69) p. 341
“From The Historical Jesus To Christology,” Harvey K. Macarthur, Interpretation, April, 1969, pp. 190-206.
The opening sentence of this article is, “A formidable roadblock on the traditional highway from the historical Jesus to the Christ of faith has been established by the more radical form critics’ skepticism concerning our knowledge of Jesus’ ministry.” In a sense this is quite true. If the “Christ of faith” of which the author speaks is the theanthropic Son of God of historic Christianity, radical form criticism has not simply established a roadblock; it has destroyed the highway and its destination. In another sense, however, this is false; for the whole program of radical form criticism is the product of the unbelief of the critics in dealing with the biblical witness. If a person begins with confidence in the Scriptures as the inspired revelation of God, the entire problem evaporates like morning fog before the rising sun.
After worrying for a couple pages with the problem created by the “more radical” form critics, the author proceeds to develop several current alternatives. These might be classified as less radical positions of form criticism. Among these he himself adopts (with some reservations) what he calls “the Immune-from-Historical-Research School.” He insists that this group does not “reject the significance of history in the emergence of the Christian faith” (p. 201). Their point is that “while the Gospel emerged from history, it is no longer theologically important for us to know precisely, or even generally, what that history was” (p. 201). The best answer to that view is “Why Not?” The biblical writers seemed to think it was important theologically that Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead (1 Cor 15). So must we.
The author confesses the inconsistency of his view. He writes: “The immune-from-historical-research approach has had an ever-increasing appeal for me; but when I attempt to defend it from the charge of being a-historical, of proclaiming an act of God out of the blue, I find myself slipping back toward the historical-certainty camp” (p. 206). This is the only rational thing he can do, because the Christian faith is inseparably tied to the reality and validity of the historical events involved. One of our catch phrases today is “Tell it like it is.” If we are going to “believe it like it is” as far as the Christian faith is concerned, we
BSac 126:504 (Oct 69) p. 342
must believe that the biblical writers “told it like it is.”
“Christianity And Aesthetics: Conflict Or Correlation?” Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, Christiani...
Click here to subscribe