The Apologetic Of The Old Testament: The Basis Of A Biblical And Christian Apologetic -- By: Bernard Ramm

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 01:4 (Fall 1958)
Article: The Apologetic Of The Old Testament: The Basis Of A Biblical And Christian Apologetic
Author: Bernard Ramm


The Apologetic Of The Old Testament:
The Basis Of A Biblical And Christian Apologetic

Bernard Ramm

Bethel Seminary

I have many times searched the New Testament to find in it the basis of a Christian theistic system, or some hint as to the structure of an apologetic system. That there is an apologetic element in the New Testament cannot be denied, as evidenced by such works as Scott, The Apologetic of the New Testament, or Heffern, Apology and Polemic in the New Testament, or Macgregor, Studies in the History of Christian Apologetics: New Testament and Post-Apostolic. It seemed to me, however, that there were certain things unstated in the New Testament which needed statement. The evidential and apologetic element certainly is there in the Person of Christ, in the supernatural propagation of Christianity recorded in the Book of Acts, and in the conversion and career of Paul. After years of reflection on this problem, it suddenly occurred to me that what was assumed in the New Testament and nowhere explicitly stated was the rich theism of the Old Testament. The New Testament presumes the existence of God and certain of his attributes; the doctrine of creation and the associated doctrines of preservation and providence; the existence and supreme worth of the spiritual order; and, the concept of God’s purposes at work in human history bringing to pass the will of God, especially in the realms of judgment and salvation. Although it is true that Christianity makes certain significant additions to these doctrines and presumptions, it nevertheless seems obvious to me that the basic theistic scheme here so briefly outlined is carried over from the Old Testament by the writers of the New Testament. After all, this should not be surprising when we realize that the bulk of the New Testament writers were Jewish. From the religious ideas of their Jewish culture, and from their reading or hearing of the Old Testament, they would have learned of the world view of the Old Testament. Further, in that they believed that Christianity was not a denial of the religion of the Old Testament but its fulfilment, they would be sympathetic to all eternally valid truth of the Old Testament.

This leads us to our thesis, namely, that the fundamental theistic system of the Bible is laid in the Old Testament, and if we wish to formulate a Biblical theism we must start there. Works that have been of special help in working out this thesis are Young, My Servants the Prophets; Robinson, Inspiration and Revelation in the Old Testament; Wright, The Old Testament Against its Environment; and, Dawson, The Origin of the World According to Revelation and Science.

As we examine the Old Testament we find that the entire Old Testam...

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