The New Testament -- By: A. Berkeley Mickelsen

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 09:2 (Spring 1966)
Article: The New Testament
Author: A. Berkeley Mickelsen

The New Testament

A. Berkeley Mickelsen, Ph.D.

In theology, each of us has probably asked, “What reasons do we give for the options we choose? Why do I hold to this or that?” We all know we can give bad reasons for bad options. We can give good reasons for bad options. We can give bad reasons for good options, and we can give good reasons for good options. But as evangelicals, we ought to give good reasons for good options in theology.

I. Current Discussions on Constantly Recurring Themes

A constantly recurring theme today is the synoptic problem. Those of us who have studied the Gospels for awhile met the problem when we were young and it will still be there when we are old. The nature of the synoptic problem is discussed by William R. Farmer in his book The Synoptic Problem: A Critical Review of the Problem of the Literary Relationships between Matthew, Mark and Luke. F. C. Grant in the magazine Interpretation discusses this in the July issue of 1965. Grant summarizes and evaluates Farmer’s view that Mark is an abridgement of Luke and Matthew. For Farmer, Mark is not the earliest Gospel. Grant points out that Farmer argues ad hominem. I might add that ad hominen arguments are not confined to Farmer. Many others have used them as well. But Grant says some interesting things. He points out that the idea of saying that older scholars were prejudiced because of their scientific belief, or their conservatism, or their ready acceptance of received views is dangerous. He makes it clear that he, as a liberal scholar, was criticized on these grounds. One man said that his views of Luke were due to the fact that he was an Episcopalian and therefore naturally moved by aesthetic considerations! His answer simply was, “We scarcely expect to discover New Testament scholars advancing objections which are purely personal, subjective, political, social, scientific presuppositions.” Some years ago I talked with Prof. Farmer about the Synoptic problem and Solage’s Harmony A Greek Synopsis of the Gospels. I wanted to get a fair view of Farmer’s work. I talked with him about his approach. He seemed quite indifferent to Solage’s method as well as results. Solage at least has given us a graphic picture of the evidences. Hence the Synoptic problem is a crucial issue which is being restated today.

The matter of the Kingdom of God is another issue which is ever being restated. Norman F. Perrin reviewed the recent volume of George Ladd, Jesus and the Kingdoms The Eschatology of Biblical Realism. His biggest objections to lad were in terms of Ladd’s approach, his methodology, and finally his conclusions. He claims that Dr. Ladd takes

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