Magazine article The Christian Century

Speaking of Faith

Magazine article The Christian Century

Speaking of Faith

Article excerpt

Speaking of faith

IN HIS ARTICLE "What do we mean by faith in Jesus Christ?" (Oct. 6) B. A. Gerrish seems overly anxious about how the modern habits of relativism and historical criticism seem to threaten the foundations of Christology. Relativism is only an opinion arising out of an awareness of the social fact of pluralism, and pluralism has been a situation faced by the church to one degree or another since the time of the apostles.

Historical criticism has been around for centuries. When it is applied to the New Testament it does not necessarily result in a crisis in the church's apprehension of Christ, but it only relocates the church's understanding of the "harmony" of the Gospels from the coherence of the narratives themselves to the coherence of the portrayal of the one Christ in the narratives.

In its own way, the Chalcedonian formula was an attempt by the church in the Hellenistic world to witness to what the 19th-century German theologian Martin Kahler called "the historic biblical Christ" who is "the originator of the biblical picture of the Christ." Faith is knowledge of and trust in the Christ who reveals himself in the Gospels and the apostolic witness of the New Testament as confirmed in the living tradition of the church. …

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