credited with supernatural power which at first he thinks it not worth while to deny and finally gratifies the multitude by pretending to exercise, roused by opposition to polemics and invective until the delightful young rabbi becomes a gloomy giant, an intractable fanatic, a fierce revolutionist, whose denunciation of the powers that be brings him to the Cross, ? what is there in him to account for the moral wonder which we call Christianity and the beginnings of its empire in the world? Neither delicious pastorals like those of Jesus? first period, nor apocalyptic fevers like those of his second period, according to Renan?s gospel, furnish any rational explanation of that mighty movement which has swept through the earth and has revolutionized the faith of mankind.?

Berdoe, Browning, 47 ? ?If Christ were not God, his life at that stage of the world?s history could by no possibility have had the vitalizing force and love compelling power that Renan?s pages everywhere disclose. Renan has strengthened faith in Christ?s deity while laboring to destroy it.?

Renan, in discussing Christ?s appearance to Paul on the way to Damascus, explains the inward from the outward, thus precisely reversing the conclusion of Baur. A sudden storm, a flash of lightning, a sudden attack of ophthalmic fever, Paul took as an appearance from heaven. But we reply that so keen an observer and reasoner could not have been thus deceived. Nothing could have made him the apostle to the Gentiles but a sight of the glorified Christ and the accompanying revelation of the holiness of God, his own sin, the sacrifice of the Son of God, its universal efficacy, the obligation laid upon him to proclaim it to the ends of the earth. For reviews of Renan, see Hutton, Essays, 261-281, and Contemp. Thought and Thinkers, 1:227-234; H. B. Smith, Faith and Philosophy, 401-441: Christlieb, Mod. Doubt, 425-447; Pressense, in Theol. Eclectic. 1:199; Uhlhorn, Mod. Representations of Life of Jesus, 1-33; Bibliotheca Sacra, 22:207; 23:353-529; Present Day Tracts, 3: no. 16, and 4: no. 21; E.G. Robinson, Christian Evidences 43-48; A.H. Strong, Sermon before Baptist World Congress, 1905.

4th . The Development theory of Harnack (born 1851).

This holds Christianity to be a historical development from germs, which were devoid of both dogma and miracle. Jesus was a teacher of ethics, and the original gospel is most clearly represented by the Sermon on the Mount. Greek influence, and especially that of the Alexandrian philosophy, added to this gospel a theological and supernatural element, and so changed Christianity from a life into a doctrine.

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment