Thursday, October 6, 2016

C.F.D. Moule and the Quote of the Day

In some reflective reading this morning, I was perusing through my copy of C.F.D. Moule's The Phenomenon of the New Testament when I came upon this quote on the importance of a Jesus rooted in history for the Christian faith (one can sense the influence Moule had on N.T. Wright, for whom the latter has referred to Moule's adoption of him after the death of his own Doktorvater, George Caird).

Decision there must be if there is to be Christian faith. Faith is faith, and no amount of photography and tape-recording of events could compel it. To see is not necessarily to believe. But, on the other hand, neither is blind faith real faith. For belief it is necessary to see--at least something. The decision to accept Jesus as Lord cannot be made without historical evidence--yes, historical--about Jesus. If it were a decision without any historical evidence it would not be about Jesus (a historical person) but only about an ideology or ideal. Even 'bare kerygma' is not basis enough for a Christian decision, if that kerygma includes no more history than the death of Jesus of Nazareth. To be sufficient it must include more. We need to know what manner of man Jesus was. We need to know how he fitted into the religious history of Israel. Some character sketch and some tradition of his sayings and his judgments and his values and some estimate of his relation to the past is integral to the proclamation that evokes decision. That is why the Gospels and the Old Testament scriptures are needed to give content to the bare proclamation. We may decide to embrace a proposition, such as that God is one; or an ideal, such as that all men should be brothers. But before we can decide for Jesus we need to know what manner of man he was, how he was related to his antecedents, why he died, and what (so far as it can be indicated) lies behind the conviction that he is alive. To take all this unexamined is not Christian decision at all, even if it may be a moral or a religious decision (79; italics original).

1 comment:

Frederik Mulder said...

Mmmmmmmm ... in the late 1960's (I think) Moule contributed a chapter in a volume where Willi Marxsen challenged the basis of belief and faith in the resurrection of Jesus ...