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Conception of the New Testament, its unity not artificial, Misused distinctions, historical and dogmatic, biblical and systematic, material and formal, The death of Christ a real subject in the New Testament.
OUTLINE OF STUDY
The Synoptic Gospels
The mind of Christ and the mind of the evangelists, The idea that Our Lord’s death must have been foreign to His mind when He entered on His work, Relation to this idea of the narratives of His Baptism and Temptation, Significance of the Baptism in particular, The first suggestions of our Lord’s death and allusions to it, The taking away of the Bridegroom (Mark 2:19), and the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:40), The express predictions of the Passion: critical questions connected with them, (Mark 8:31, Mark 3:81, Mark 10:32, and parallels) — their historicity, Sense in which Christ’s death was necessary:
Relation of these two conceptions in the mind of Jesus, Bearing of Old Testament Scripture on this point, What the unintelligence of the disciples meant,
The Ransom saying:
Its historical context, Its interpretation — (a) Hellmann’s view criticized, (b) Wendt’s
Clue to the meaning —(a) In other words of Jesus, (b) In passages of the Old Testament,
The meaning of Kopher the equivalent of λύτρον, The Lord’s Supper: Views of Spitta and Hellmann criticized, The idea of covenant-blood: relation of sacrifice in general to propitiation, Exodus 24 and Jeremiah 21. In relation to the words of Jesus, The idea that ‘the remission of sins’ in Matthew 26:28 is put into a relation to Christ’s death which is inconsistent with His teaching as a whole, Propitiation, a mode of mediation.
The Earliest Christian Preaching
Results of last chapter in relation to our Lord’s experience in Gethsemane and on the Cross — not refuted but illustrated, Original attitude of the disciples to the words of Jesus, The Resurrection: the intercourse of the Risen Christ with the disciples according to the New Testament — critical problems,
(a) to Baptism or
(b) to Forgiveness.
In the New Testament these are inter-related and related to the death of Jesus, Importance of this for the unity of the New Testament.
The opening chapters of Acts:
Critical problems again, Primitive character of the Christology, Prominence of the Resurrection — why? Refutation of the idea that the death of the Messiah is only an offense which the Resurrection enables the disciples to overcome, How the earliest Christian preaching made the death of Christ intelligible, Its connection
(1) with a divine purpose, (2) with the prophecy of the Servant of the Lord, (3) with the forgiveness of sins, The Sacraments in Acts, and their significance in this connection.
The First Epistle of St. Peter:
Its ‘Pauline’ features, A ‘witness’ to the sufferings of Christ, The important passages: (1) The salutation, 1:1 f. — the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ — relation to Exodus 24, (2) ‘Redeemed from a vain conversation,’ 1:18 f. — originality of this idea — what it leaves unexplained, (3) ‘Who Himself bore our sins,’ 2:20 ff. — mingling of prophecy and testimony — Christ’s sufferings exemplary, yet more — what it is to bear sin — sin-bearing and substitution — the purpose of Christ in bearing our sins, (4) ‘Who died for sins once, the just for the unjust’ — aim of this: to conduct us to God Imitation of Christ conditioned by the consciousness of redemption, The Second Epistle ascribed to Peter.
The Epistles of St. Paul
Preliminary considerations affecting the estimate of St. Paul’s whole treatment of this subject:
(1) The assurance with which he preaches a gospel in which Christ’s death is fundamental — his ‘intolerance,’
(2) The relation of his doctrine to the common Christian tradition,
(3) Alleged development in his teaching, and inferences from such development
(4) ‘Experimental’ and ‘apologetic’ elements in it — ‘testimony’ and ‘theology’ — ‘fact’ and ‘theory’: these distinctions criticized,
(5) Connection in St. Paul’s mind of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Relations in which St. Paul defines Christ’s death: (1) To the love of God (2) To the love of Christ (3) To the sons of men. Connection of sin and death as He conceived it — death must be interpreted through the conscience — Menegoz on an alleged incoherence of the apostle.
The witness of the epistles on these points:
1 Thessalonians 5:10, ‘Who died for us that whether we wake or sleep we should live together with Him.
2 Corinthians — ‘the sufferings of Christ’ and ‘the dying of Jesus’ in ch. 1 and ch. 4, The locus classicus in 5:14 ff. — professedly contains a theory: Christ died our death. Meaning of καταλλαγή (Reconciliation) in St. Paul — Christ’s finished work — necessity for evangelizing that there should be such a work, Christ made sin for us: meaning and purpose of this, Religious and ethical theological and psychological, expressions of the same idea: how they support each other,
Galatians — exclusively occupied with this subject — Christianity asserted as the sum of the effects produced by Christ’s death, and by that alone, Rationale of this as St. Paul’s experience: how Christ’s death is conceived and preached so as to have the power which produces such effects, Conception of Christ ‘under the law’: what it means, The law (a) as expressing God’s will for men, (b) as expressing God’s judgment on men. The last is necessary to explain Galatians 3:13, and to make it intelligible that Christ’s death is a demonstration of love to the sinful,
Evasions of this argument (1) Only the ceremonial laws in question in Galatians, (2) Only the Jews are in question, (3) Curse is only equivalent to Cross, The ethical passages in Galatians 5:24 and 6:14.
Romans — the Righteousness of God demonstrated at the Cross, 3:21 ff., The Righteousness of God includes: (1) the fact that He is Himself righteous, (2) that He justifies (or holds as righteous) him who believes in Jesus.
Jesus Christ set forth in propitiatory power in His blood is the demonstration of this righteousness in both its elements
Attempts to obliterate the distinction: (1) Those which do not see the problem with which the apostle is dealing, (2) Those which profess to find the key to St. Paul in 2 Isaiah and the Psalms — Ritschl’s idea that the righteousness of God always has its correlate in the righteousness of His people, (3) Seeberg’s view, that God to be righteous is bound to provide for fellowship between Himself and men, and is pleased to do it in this way,
To understand St. Paul, we must discern Law and Necessity in the relation of Christ’s death to sin, Manner in which St. Paul deduces all Christianity from Christ set forth in His blood as a propitiation,
Criticism of the current idea that he has two doctrines of reconciliation, a ‘juridical’ and an ‘ethico-mystical’ one: views of Weiss, Ritschl, Holtzmann,
True relation of Romans 6 to Romans 3, Faith in Christ Who died includes in it a death: (1) to sin, (2) to the flesh, (3) to law, Place of the Spirit in St. Paul’s teaching in this connection, The Epistles of the Imprisonment — reconciliation extended from man to the universe, Spiritual beings whose fortunes are bound up with those of men: the Scripture support for such an idea, An imaginative expression for the absoluteness of the Christian religion, Reconciliation of men to each other as a fruit of Christ’s death, The Pastoral Epistles.
The Epistle to the Hebrews
Various affinities of this epistle: primitive Christianity, Paulinism, Alexandrian thought,
The most theological writing of the New Testament: its use of αἰώνιος
Relations of Christ’s Person and work in it according as we start from:
(a) the Incarnation — Westcott,
(b) the Priesthood — Seeberg,
Christ’s death defined by relation to God and His love: (a) directly, 2:9, (b) indirectly by allusion (1) to His commission, (2) to His obedience, Christ’s death defined by relation to sin (1:4 and passim): it is everywhere a sacrificial death, Sacrifice in this epistle to be interpreted in connection with Priesthood, Priesthood represents, embodies, and makes possible a fellowship of God and man, A priest is necessary in religion to deal with sin by way of sacrifice, Ways of interpreting this:
(1) Nature of the relation between Christ’s death and sin deduced from the effect on man ascribed to the death — meaning of ἁγιάζειν, τελειοῦν and καθαρίζειν in Hebrews,
(2) The effect on man deduced from the conception of Christ’s sacrificial death as a finished work.
What gives Christ’s death its propitiatory power? Examination of ch. 9:14: ‘He offered Himself through eternal spirit,’ The author held the common Christian view of the relation of death and sin, Examination of the passage in 10:1-10 ‘to do Thy will, O God,’ In what sense obedience is the principle of the Atonement, Connection between the work of Christ and man’s salvation by it: the relation of the ideas expressed by Substitute and Representative, Place and meaning of faith in this epistle.
The Johannine Writings
1. The Apocalypse:
The doxology in 1:5 f.: what inspires the Christian praise of Christ, The Lamb as it had been slain (5:6-14), The Blood of the Lamb (7:14, 12:11) — connecting links in thought, The Lamb’s Book of Life.
2. The Gospel:
General representation: redemption through revelation rather than revelation through redemption — current contrasts of St. Paul and St. John criticized, Place of Christ’s death in the gospel often underestimated, Examination of explicit references:
(1) 1: 29: Behold the Lamb of God, etc., (2) 2:19: Destroy this Temple, (3) 3:14, 8:28, 12:32: The ‘lifting up’ of the Son of Man death as glorifying, (4) 6:51 f.: ‘My flesh for the life of the world,’ (5) 10:11 f. The Good Shepherd, (6) 11:49: The prophecy of Caiaphas, (7) 12:24, 27: The corn of wheat, etc., (8) 12:38: The quotation of Isaiah 53., (9) 15:13: ‘Greater love hath no man than this,’ (10) 17:19: ‘For their sakes I sanctify Myself,’ (11) 18-19: The story of the Passion, All this interpreted in relation to the love of God and the necessity of men as sinners liable to die in their sins in comparison with St. Paul.
3. The Epistle:
Comparison and contrast with the Gospel,
(1) It defines Christ’s death more explicitly by relation to sin, 1:7; 2:1 f.; 3:5; 4:10. Criticism of Westcott’s interpretation of ‘the blood of Christ,’.(2) Conception of Christ as ἱλασμός — the correlatives of ἱλασμός are sacrifice, intercession, and law, (3) Propitiation and the love of God definable only through each other, Place of the Sacraments in the Gospel and First Epistle of St. John — examination of 1 John 5:6 f., Relation of the historical and the spiritual in Christianity generally, The death of Christ in St. John as a victory over Satan.
The Importance of the Death of Christ in Preaching and in Theology
No abstract distinction to be drawn between theology and preaching Considerations in relation to preaching:
(1) No gospel without Atonement The sense of debt to Christ in the New Testament. The characteristics of the Atonement must be reflected in the gospel:
(a) Perfection — ‘full salvation now,’ (b) Assurance — Romish and Protestant tendencies (c) Finality — what justification means.
(2) There may be various ways of approaching this central truth of the Christian faith — our Lord’s method with His disciples, Kierkegaard on the sense in which the Father comes before the Son, though no man comes to the Father but through the Son, Relation in Christ of Example and Reconciler — what is our point of contact with Christ?
(3) St. Paul’s meaning in delivering ‘first of all’ that Christ died for our sins
(4) Sense of sin in relation to the Atonement (a) as the condition of accepting or understanding it; (b) as its fruit,
(5) The issues of this gospel — life or death,
(1) The Atonement is the key to the unity and therefore to the inspiration of Scripture. The inspiration of Scripture and its unity are correlative terms,
(2) The Atonement is the proper evangelical foundation for a doctrine of the Person of Christ. Harnack’s attempt to dispense with Christology — why it is impracticable,
(3) The Incarnation not intelligible or credible, except when defined by relation to the Atonement — speculative, ethical, and dogmatic reasons alleged against this — view of Westcott carried to its logical issue by Archdeacon Wilson. Grounds for rejecting this view:
(a) It shifts the center of gravity in the New Testament, (b) It puts metaphysical questions in the place of moral ones, (c) It displaces passion by sentimentalism,
(4) The Atonement is the basis for all adequate doctrine of God — sense in which the New Testament teaches that God is love — sin as that which is proof against such love,
(5) The Atonement at the foundation of Christian ethics as of Christian life — Law glorified in the Passion and made an irresistible, ethical impulses.
The Atonement and the Modern Mind
Sense in which the Atonement and the Christian religion are equivalent, Sympathy and antipathy of the mind in relation to Christianity, The Atonement historically revealed, The modern mind and ‘authority, ’ Simplest expression for the Atonement: its basis in experience, The appeal against it to the Prodigal Son, Characteristics of the modern mind affecting its attitude to atonement, Those induced by the influence of physical and particularly of biological study — some favorable, some the reverse — Relation to the consciousness of sin, Those induced by the idealist movement in philosophy — disinclination or inability to take Christ at His own estimate, Those induced by the historical method of study — relativity of all things— no revelation of the eternal in time — this temper within the Church — significance of the Johannine books,
Two just requirements of the modern mind:
(1) Everything must be based on experience,
(2) Everything in religion must be ethically construed.
Sin and the Divine Reaction against it
The situation to which the Atonement is related: that of sinful men, The relations of God and men are personal, But they are also ethical, i. e., determined by something of universal import — by law, This does not mean that they are ‘forensic’ or ‘legal’, St. Paul’s view on this point, The ethical relations of God and man have been disordered by sin, No theory of the origin of sin needed evolution and a fall universal experiences,
The reaction against sin:
(a) in conscience,
(b) in nature,
Ultimate unity of the natural and the moral order presupposed in the Scripture view of sin and atonement, Many arguments against atonement based on unreal separation of the natural and the moral order, Biblical Doctrine of Sin and Death: its real meaning, Not refuted by insensibility to death, Nor even by the ethical transformation of death into martyrdom.
Christ and Man in the Atonement
Possible ideas about sin and forgiveness:
(1) Forgiveness is impossible,
(2) It may be taken for granted,
The Christian doctrine: it is mediated through atonement, The divine necessity for the Atonement — Athanasius and Anselm give imperfect expression to it — Paul on the ἔνδειξις τη δικαιοσύνης τοῦ θεοῦ in the propitiation, The human necessity for it — regenerative repentance the fruit of the Atonement,
Relation of the divine and the human necessity to each other, Definition of Christ’s relation to man in the Atonement, The conceptions of substitution and representation, The true relation of these two conceptions, Analogies to Christ’s Atonement, and their limits, Sense in which Christ’s life is absorbed in His death, Significance of the Resurrection in a true appreciation of the Atonement, Wrong inferences from Colossians 1:24: Christ never ceases to be Redeemer, nor believers to be the redeemed.
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