Thursday, April 4, 2013

an individuality that is irreducible


"The figure of Jesus in the Gospels possesses an individuality that is irreducible, a shining, startling vividness against which criticism ultimately will fail. Yet criticism has had its beneficent results; it has shown with increasing plainness that the picture of Jesus in the New Testament is essentially one. 

"Gone is the day when a few miracles could he removed in order to leave a supposed historical account of an instituter of a new religious life or a preacher of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Recent criticism has carried us far beyond all such easy solutions of the problem as that. 

"The Jesus of the New Testament is an organic whole; the New Testament writers are dominated one and all by the conviction that Jesus was a supernatural Redeemer come into this world for the salvation of men. 

"Increasingly the great alternative is becoming clear: give Jesus up, confess that his portrait is forever hidden in the mists of pragmatic legend; or else accept him essentially as he is presented to us by the Evangelists and by Paul."

--J. Gresham Machen, The Gospel And The Modern World: And Other Short Writings.

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