Editorial -- By: Samuel J. Schultz
BETS 10:4 (Fall 1967) p. 177
Rationalistic criticism has decimated the Bible for a large segment of modern scholarship. The deistic insights of the eighteenth century undermined the foundation for man’s belief in God. Subsequently man’s worth and dignity were seriously brought into question. A logical sequence to a disbelief in God was the question of man’s origin and destiny. The creation of man as an act of God as well as man’s future hope are garbled in the theology of modern scholarship as the Scriptures are approached with variating presuppositions. For naturalistically minded scholarship of the Bible it seems difficult to maintain any semblance of a message of saving faith for man. If the reliability of the Gospel accounts or the rest of the New Testament are subject to question then the ultimate problem is apparent—can the account of the death and resurrection of Jesus be used as the basis of our faith. In an intercollegiate discussion on this subject a student raised this incisive question: “If I cannot believe that Jesus said ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’ then what can I believe?”
The biblical scholar who confesses his hope for salvation in the here and now as well as in eternity can scarcely adopt the decimated Bultmanian appraisal of Christ who is alive only in the words confronting man in the existential situation in life. A Christology that offers a foundation for salvation must rest finally in the written word of God.
The Christian scholar often faces the question of how much of the naturalistic scholarship he can adopt and yet maintain the basis for his faith in Christ. Unfortunately this question is sometimes reduced to a choice of Christ or the Bible. This is hardly the alternative for the committed Christian scholar. His commitment to Christ cannot be separated from the Bible which provides the historical basis for his faith.
How much or how little of the Bible must a Christian scholar retain for the basis of his faith? Some in practice propose that the New Testament is crucial to our faith but by silence ignore the Old Testament. Others adopt and indorse rationalistic attitudes and theories concerning the Old Testament failing to recognize the supernatural aspects during Old Testament times. Revelation and inspirations are often reduced to humanistic conceptions and cultural perspectives in their historical setting. Others take this same attitude toward the New Testament record projecting a purely naturalistic Jesus but insisting that only at the point of death on the cross God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.
More common within the evangelical community of scholars is the perspective of selection. Believing that the Bible is the trustworthy or infallible guide for fa...
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