#
#
Home
About us
Publications
Issues
How we can help
Events
Latest news
Press Releases
How to join
Contact us
#
Quick links
Churchman
Church Society Trust
Cross+way

 The Principles of Theology - Introduction
Introduction

Revelation[1]

The word “Revelation” almost suggests its own meaning of the unveiling of something hidden. It corresponds to the Greek word “Apocalypse”, or “Uncovering” (Rev. 1:1). In the present connection the word refers to the Revelation of God, the “Unveiling” of the Unseen God to the mind and heart of man. While the term is variously applied,[2] there are certain specific uses which call for definite consideration. (1) There is the Revelation of God through Nature, referring to the indications of wisdom, power, and purpose in the world around (Rom. 1:20). (2) There is the Revelation of God in Man, referring to the traces of God’s “image and likeness” in man’s conscience, emotional nature and personality in general, involving the consciousness of obligation, the desire for fellowship, and the craving for satisfaction. (3) There is the Revelation of God in History, which means the marks of an over-ruling Providence in the affairs of the human race, and the traces of a progress in the history of nations and mankind in general. (4) There is the Revelation of God in Judaism. The Old Testament involves and records a special supernatural communication of God to man, a disclosure of His character and relationship. (5) There is the Revelation of God in Christianity. This is the crowning feature of God’s self-manifestation in the Person of Christ for human redemption.

The problem of Revelation is the correlation of the supernatural disclosure of the character, purpose, and grace of God with the historical and fragmentary process by means of which this progressive revelation has become a received tradition.[3] It is essential that justice be done both to the supernatural fact and also to the human elements of the Revelation. In the course of this we are brought face to face with the antitheses of Revelation and discovery, of Revelation and speculation, of Revelation and evolution; and while accepting to the full all historical processes we are led to the conviction (1) that Christianity is only adequately explained as a Personal Revelation of God, Who used and guided history for this purpose; and (2) that history, discovery, philosophy, and evolution are simply the means or channels by which the Revelation has come.

The possibility of Revelation is based on two grounds: (1) The Being of God as Supreme (which for the moment we assume) must necessarily be able to reveal Himself. A Personal God necessarily involves the power of a self-revelation. Theistic belief makes Revelation possible. (2) The nature of man bears the same testimony, for the fact of his personality with all its desires and possibilities involves a capacity for communion with a being higher than himself.

The probability of Revelation is also based on two grounds: (1) Granted a Supreme Personal Being, we are compelled to predicate His willingness as well as His ability to reveal Himself. Even human personality with its desire for self-revelation makes a revelation of God antecedently probable. (2) The needs of man point in the same direction, for as man, and still more as a sinner, he needs a Divine Revelation to guide and guard, to support and strengthen him amidst the problems and dangers of life.

The proofs of Divine Revelation are varied, converging, and cumulative. (1) Speculatively, we argue that “the universe points to idealism, and idealism to theism, and theism to a Revelation.”[4] (2) Historically, the Christian religion comes to us commended by the testimony of (a) miracle; (b) prophecy; and (c) spiritual adaptation to human needs. (3) Behind these are the presuppositions of natural religion, as seen in nature, man and history. (4) But ultimately the credibility of Christianity as a Revelation rests on the Person of its Founder, and all evidences converge towards and centre in Him. The fact that God has made other manifestations of Himself in the course of history does not set aside the culmination of Revelation in the Person of Christ. All truth, however mediated, has come from the primal source of truth, and the genuineness of Christianity does not set aside the genuineness of other religions as “broken lights”. The real criterion of all religions claiming to be Divine is their power to save. Not truth in itself, but truth in life, and truth as redemptive, constitutes the final and supreme test of religion.

The method of the Christian Revelation is first and foremost one of Life; that is, it is a revelation of a Person to persons. Christianity is primarily a religion of facts with doctrines arising out of the facts. All through the historic period of God’s manifestation, from patriarchal times to the period of Christ and His Apostles, Revelation was given to life and manifested through Personality. But the Divine life has been expressed in Word, first oral and then written. Both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament we see first what God was and did to men, and afterwards what He said. So that while we distinguish between the Revelation and the Record, the former being necessarily prior to the latter, yet the Revelation needed the Record for accuracy, and also for accessibility to subsequent ages. Then, too, Scripture is not merely a record of Revelation, for the history itself is a Revelation of God. While from one point of view the Bible is a product of the Divine process of self-manifestation, on the other the Bible itself makes God known to man. It is in this sense that Christianity, like Judaism before it, is a book religion (though it is also much more), as recording and conveying the Divine manifestation to man. A Revelation must be embodied if it is to be made available for all generations, and the one requirement is that the medium of transmission shall be accurate. Christ as our Supreme Authority needs for His manifestation to all ages the clearest and purest available form.

Revelation having been mediated through history has of necessity been progressive. The first stage was primitive Revelation. How men first came to think of God is, and probably must remain, a matter of conjecture, for as so little is known about primitive man there must also be little known about primitive religion. One thing, however, is clear, that the terms “savage” and “primitive” are not synonymous, for the savage of today represents a degeneration from primitive man. Analogy favours the idea that primitive Revelation was a sufficient manifestation of God to enable man to receive and retain a true relation with his Creator; that man, when created, had an immediate capacity for entering into fellowship with God, and with this religious endowment we assume a measure of Divine Revelation sufficient to enable man to worship in an elementary way, and to remain true to God. Some such assumption is necessary for the very conception of Revelation, unless we are to resolve religion into merely human conjectures about God. There is no argument against primitive Revelation which is not valid against all Revelation, Christianity included. Then followed in due course the Revelation of God in the Old Testament, and whatever views may be held as to its origin and character it is impossible to avoid being conscious of something in it beyond what is merely human and historical. It does not merely represent human endeavours after worthier ideas of God; it records a true idea of God impressed on the people in the course of history under definite direction. The Old Testament presentation of God is so different from that which obtained elsewhere that apart from a supernatural Revelation it is impossible to account for so marked a difference between peoples who were in other respects so much alike. The New Testament Revelation was the crown and culmination of the Divine self-manifestation. It was given at a particular time, mediated through one Person, and authenticated by supernatural credentials. In Jesus Christ the self-disclosure of God reached its climax, and the New Testament is the permanent, written embodiment of the uniqueness of Christianity in the world. “God, who in ancient days spoke to our forefathers in many distinct messages and by various methods through the prophets, has at the end of these days spoken to us through a Son” (Heb. 1:1,2; Weymouth).

The purpose of Revelation is also life, God’s life, to be received and possessed by man. This practical character is marked everywhere. The “chief end of Revelation” is not philosophy, or doctrine, or enjoyment, or even morality. Christianity has these, but is far more than them all. It is the religion of Redemption, including Salvation past, present, and future. The “chief end” of God’s self-manifestation is the union of God and man, and in that union the fulfilment of all the Divine purposes for the world. Man is to receive God’s grace, recognise His will, reproduce His character, render Him service, and rejoice in His presence here and hereafter.

Faith

Literature. – Mule, Faith: Its Nature and Work; Inge, Faith and Its Psychology; Johnston, A Scientific Faith; Edgehill, Faith and Fact (Index, s.v. “Faith”); Warfield, “Faith in its Psychological Aspects” (Princeton Theological Review, Vol. 9, p. 537); Mabie, Under the Redeeming Ægis, Ch. 5.

The subject of Revelation naturally leads on to that of Faith, which is a matter of vital importance to Christianity and the Christian. Faith is the human attitude to the Divine Revelation, the attitude of the soul to Christ as the manifestation of God. Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and Faith is the means of man’s coming to God by Him (Matt. 11:27; John 1:18; 14:6). It is not difficult to understand the interest and importance of Faith. As it is the foundation principle of earthly life in every aspect of relationship, from that of childhood through school days to maturity, in personal, social, commercial, and national affairs, so it enters into religion, and we are thus able to see the meaning of the words, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb. 11:6). Trust is the only adequate answer to God’s Revelation. Just as the absence of faith makes it impossible for human beings to have any dealings with each other, so the absence of faith in God makes it wholly impossible for us to have any association with Him. “He that cometh to God must believe” (Heb. 11:6). Trust is thus the correlative of truth. Faith in man answers to grace in God. As such, it affects the whole of man’s nature. It commences with the conviction of the mind based on adequate evidence; it continues in the confidence of the heart or emotions based on the above conviction, and it is crowned in the consent of the will, by means of which the conviction and confidence are expressed in conduct. This is perhaps the meaning of the words, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). The passage is not so much a definition of faith as a description of it in relation to life, and as such it is illustrated by the examples of faith throughout that chapter. Thus faith is the outgoing of the whole nature to what it believes to be true, or rather, to Him Who is held to be the Truth. It is this that Hooker meant when he spoke of faith as including (1) the certainty of evidence, and (2) the certainty of adherence. Faith is not blind, but intelligent, since it rests on the conviction of the authority of Christ as Teacher, Saviour, and Lord. The threefold Revelation of Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King, revealing, redeeming, and ruling, is met by the response of the whole life, intellect, emotion, and will. This combination of all the elements in human nature involves a moral decision which is illustrated in almost every part of the New Testament (Acts 2:41; 17:11; 1 Thess. 1:5; Jas. 1:21).

But it is necessary to note that the word Faith is also used for the substance of doctrine as well as for the attitude of the soul, for fides quæ creditur as well as fides qua creditur. This is sometimes spoken of as “the Faith”, meaning the Christian truth which is everywhere believed among Christians. It is seen in such expressions as “the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3, R.V.); “the common faith” (Tit. 1:4); “the faith of the Gospel” (Phil. 1:27). This twofold use of the term “Faith” necessitates the greatest possible care in distinguishing between believing truths and trusting a Person. The Church Catechism first of all refers to believing “all the articles of the Christian Faith”; that is, the various parts or points of the Christian religion. But this is only a means to an end, since the supreme object of Christian faith can be none other than God Himself. Consequently, the Catechism appropriately follows the rehearsal of the Creed by the Question and Answer, “What dost thou chiefly learn by these articles of thy belief?” “I learn to believe in God”. It is only too possible to believe with an intellectual conviction the facts and truths of Christianity, and yet to fall short of full trust in God. When we read that the devils believe and tremble (Jas. 2:19), we see the difference between intellectual conviction and personal trust. These two elements of faith are found from time to time in Holy Scripture. Thus our Lord speaks in one passage, first, of “hearing His Word”; that is, receiving and accepting intellectually what He said; and, then, of believing on God Who sent Him; that is, personal trust in God arising out of the acceptance of Christ’s Word (John 5:24). Nothing short of the latter can satisfy the requirements of the Christian religion.[5] All facts and truths are intended as the food, warrant, and inspiration of full trust, and are intended only to lead to this outgoing of the whole soul in personal confidence in and dependence on God. Danger lies in the frequent implication that man only needs instruction, while overlooking the solemn truth that by reason of sin he needs illumination as well. So that while the intellect is not to be neglected, faith is very much more than knowledge. It is not mere belief in a thought, or conception, or idea. It is the expression of the whole nature of man in response to God’s approach in Christ. As such, it involves personal committal and confidence. Conviction alone stops short with orthodoxy, and is liable to lead to formalism, but to be orthodox is not to be saved. Faith is the surrender of the soul to God and the appropriation of the grace which saves. Correct views of Christ are essential and vital. It behoves us to be thoroughly acquainted with the facts and truths of the Christian religion related to the Person of Christ, His Resurrection, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and all else. But it must not be assumed that all is settled when the facts of the Christian religion are guaranteed and understood. We may inspect the records and make sure of the history and all the while may only obtain information about God without a personal experience of Him in the soul. Intellectual beliefs are valuable as means to ends, but not as ends themselves. In all true faith, therefore, there will of necessity be the three elements of knowledge, assent, and confidence, and anything short of these will never give the full Christian trust. The knowledge of God consists in sympathetic understanding of His character. We only know our friends so far as mutual sympathy gives us insight into their real nature. There are certain distinctions in the original languages of the Creeds, the Latin of the Apostles’ Creed and the Greek of the Nicene Creed, which help to make this clear. In Latin Credo Deum (esse) means, “I believe God exists”; Credo Deo, “I believe what God says”; Credo in Deum, “I trust God.”[6]

When once we have learned that God is the True Object of faith and we have been made acquainted with the substance of Christian truth, we naturally enquire what precisely we are to believe about God as essential, as distinct from that which is purely accidental. Our enquiry is met by being directed to Holy Scripture. This is the guide and standard of our faith, and the supreme authority as to what we are to believe. We shall see in Article 6 that this is the fundamental principle of the Church of England. “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.” God has given His people a written Revelation of Himself, and this tells us clearly all that it is necessary for us to know about God. The more we ponder this Revelation the more we shall learn to know and trust God Who is revealed here. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). The Bible is therefore of first importance for Christian knowledge and life. In theological language it is “the Rule of Faith”, affording us information about truth and preserving us against error. The Creeds which we accept and hold are summaries of what the Bible contains, and are subordinate to the Bible as a secondary Rule of Faith.

Doctrine

The New Testament has two words for doctrine, διδαχῄ, and διδασκαλία (2 Tim. 4:2,3; Tit. 1:9). Both together they occur about fifty times. The word “doctrine” itself is colourless, and is therefore used for truth and error: (a) doctrine of God (Tit. 2:10); of Christ (2 John 9); “sound” (1 Tim. 1:10); “good” (1 Tim. 4:6). (b) Of men (Col. 2:22); of demons (1 Tim. 4:1); every wind (Eph. 4:14); divers and strange (Heb. 13:9). This necessitates the use of the term “Christian” doctrine to express the truths of Divine Revelation, and perhaps we may define Christian doctrine as the fundamental truths of revelation arranged in systematic form. Dogma, like other Greek words in μα, stands for something fixed, completed, quod statutum est.[7]

Theology

The term “theology” is used for the scientific expression of all truths relating to divine revelation. Just as nature has to be distinguished from science, so has revelation from theology. Science is the technical expression of the laws of nature; theology is the technical expression of the revelation of God. It is the province of theology to examine all the spiritual facts of revelation, to estimate their value, and to arrange them into a body of teaching. Doctrine thus corresponds with the generalisations of science. Theology, as the science of religion, is concerned with all the phenomena of revelation recorded in Holy Scripture.

Special attention has been given of recent years to what is now known as Biblical Theology, which means theology drawn direct from the Bible and formulated along the lines in which it is there presented. It possesses at once variety and unity; variety, because it was not given all at once, but at stages; unity, because the Bible is held to contain a complete view of theological thought. It is the work of Biblical Theology to set forth this variety and unity of truth.

Dogmatic Theology is the systematised statement of truth deduced from the Bible, the intellectual expression in technical language of what is contained in the Word of God. Martensen defines dogmatics as “the science which presents and proves the Christian doctrines regarded as forming a connected system.”[8] Dogmatic Theology is not necessarily non-Biblical, and Biblical Theology itself depends on the standpoint of the writer.[9]

There is obvious danger in every attempt at systematising Christian truth, as we may see from the great works of men like Aquinas and Calvin. The human mind is unable to find a place for every single Christian doctrine, and it is far better to be content with “Articles”, or “points”, with gaps unfilled, because it is impossible for thought to be covered by them. General lines of Christian truth are far safer and also truer to the growth of thought and experience through the ages. This method prevents teaching becoming hardened into a cast-iron system which cannot expand. It is the virtue of the Church of England Articles that they take this line and do not commit Churchmen to an absolute, rigid system of doctrine from which there is no relief and of which there is no modification.

Creeds, Confessions, and Articles

Faith is response to divine revelation, and confession is the expression of faith.

“What song is to the victory it celebrates, confession is to the religious spirit. … Religion, like Science, not only seeks and finds the hid treasures of truth, but is fain to cry ‘Eureka’. … Religion only betrays an instinct which is universal throughout all the higher interests and activities of humanity when it thus gives utterance, in language as august as lips can frame, to its mature convictions.”[10]

Every religion has a Creed in one form or another, and we are therefore not surprised to find that the confession of the Christian faith has taken various shapes through the ages. The Creed, properly so-called, is a short, comprehensive statement of belief suitable for discipleship and worship. The earliest form of this was personal, expressive of personal confidence in Christ; it was the natural outcome of the possession of spiritual life. But even here the intellect was necessarily involved, for to believe in Christ was to take up some intellectual attitude in relation to Him. Very soon a more elaborate confession of faith was felt to be necessary, and in due course enquiry and examination at Baptism led to further tests and requirements. Later on the pressure of various heresies accentuated the need of a careful statement of the Christian position.

The making of Creeds may be said to have covered the first four centuries of the Christian era, and then nothing of importance in this respect happened until the dawn of new light and life in the sixteenth century, when confessions of faith and full statements of specific belief arose in connection with the Reformation movement. There had been debates and discussions in the Middle Ages, but they were not theological and Christological. There seems to have been no desire to reopen problems settled ages before by the great Councils, but there was much thought and no little discussion on such matters as the Church, Ministry, Sacraments, and personal religion. When, however, the various Reformed Churches broke loose from Rome it was found essential to state their position with reference to the specific reasons for protest. As a result we find entire agreement on fundamental facts with very different expressions of the specific applications of those facts.

Creeds and Confessions are sometimes contrasted to the detriment of the latter, but a study of the historical order of emergence of these documents of the faith suggests a comparison rather than a contrast. As we follow in order the three Creeds themselves, the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian, we find that there is a tendency to elaboration, to a fuller theological statement, and to an explanation of what is involved in the original summary of belief. The confessions of faith in the sixteenth century are really only an extension, prolongation, and development of the same process.

If it be said that these Articles and other documents of the sixteenth century are incomplete, and do not provide an adequate statement of belief, it may be pointed out that the same is true of the Creeds. There are many subjects unnoticed in the ecumenical documents of our faith, and we believe this is one of the instances in which the Church has been definitely guided by God. The Church Universal is only committed to a comparatively few fundamental realities, and we might as well complain of the incompleteness of any of the three Creeds as criticise the incompleteness of any of the sixteenth-century Confessions of Faith. They must be judged in the light of the circumstances which gave them birth, and with strict and constant regard to their specific purpose.

The Anglican Articles

The Thirty-nine Articles have a threefold value and importance:
(a) Historical: in relation to their origin. They are part of the Reformation position and protest. Definition was necessary on the part of all who differed from Rome, and as a result all the Reformed Churches drew up their protest in the form of Confessions, or Articles. Our Articles are thus not only analogous to documents of Continental Churches, but were also influenced by them. They cannot be separated from their historical root in relation to Rome. They mark the position of the Church of England as it was re-stated in the sixteenth century, and they are equally important now for the same reason. They still mark our present position and attitude.

Another aspect of the connection of the Articles with Rome lies in the fact that they were written by men who had been taught and trained in the system of Roman theology, and a knowledge of the Roman Catholic controversy is therefore essential to a full understanding of the Articles. But in addition to the necessity of declaring their attitude against Rome, the Reformers were compelled to take action against dangers from the opposite direction. The inevitable swing of the intellectual and moral pendulums had produced serious errors of many kinds, and these were being charged by Rome on all Reformers and attributed to the Reformation movement in general. It was therefore essential not only to define what the true Reformation position was, but also to do everything possible to safeguard its members from reactionary or other errors which had become rife in different localities.

(b) Doctrinal: in relation to Church doctrine. They are of supreme value as giving the standard of Church of England doctrine on (1) points identical with the doctrines of other Churches, and on (2) points characteristic of our own position. They give with exactness, balance, and fullness the supreme voice of our Church on all matters covered therein.

(c) Practical: in relation to the Christian life. The Articles express the intellectual position involved in being a believer, the explicit, intellectual sign of what is spiritually implicit from the first moment of faith in Christ. When He is accepted as Saviour, Lord, and God, everything else is involved and possessed in germ. We commence by faith and go on to knowledge. It is inevitable that we should think out our position. St. Peter tells us to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Pet. 3:15), and we see the natural order of experience followed by expression. (1) Hope possessed; (2) having a reason for our hope; (3) giving a reason. The intellectual grasp of Christianity is essential for a strong Christian life, for giving balance and force to experience, for protection against error, for equipment for service. It is possible to be thought spiritual and yet to be only emotional without intellectual clearness and power. This will inevitably produce weakness and lead to the earnest soul becoming a prey to error from one side or another.

It is easy to decry doctrine, and yet the power of science today is in its dogmas, not in its generalisations. Great ideas, like the conservation of energy, gravitation, the indestructibility of matter, as held and taught by scientists, are a great power. In the same way Christianity must be strong in its ideas of the personality of God, the Person and Work of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and other related truths. If it be said that religion is possible without doctrine, it may be fully admitted, and yet the question at once arises of what sort will it be. It can only be suited to spiritual childhood, not manhood. Great music involves the theory of music, and a religion without theory will be like a babe with love, but with no ideas. It is doctrine that makes grown men. It is simply impossible to have a religion worthy of the name without some dogma.[11]

It is, of course, essential to remember that theology is not merely a matter of intellect, but also of experience. Theology is concerned with spiritual realities, and must include personal experience as well as ideas. Pectus facit theologum. This association of theology with experience will always prevent the former from continuing merely abstract and philosophical. Dogmatics, as Martensen points out, must come from within the Church, and not from outside. It is a science of faith, with faith as its basis and source.[12] In past days theology has been too closely limited to metaphysics, intellectualism, and philosophy. The Articles bear the marks of this tendency of the age which produced them. But while the intellectual element must necessarily always be at the basis of every presentation of Christian truth, the intellect is not the only, perhaps not the dominant factor, and other elements must enter. The feeling equally with the reason must share in the consideration of theology, because theology is of the heart, and the deepest truths are inextricably bound up with personal needs and experiences. The moral consciousness of man must also find a place and conscience be allowed to take its part in the provision of a true Creed. This is only one instance out of many which proves the impossibility of limiting ourselves to that which is merely rational, and also the absolute necessity of emphasising the personal and ethical in our discussion of theology. Time was when Dogmatics and Ethics were separated, and the latter regarded as subsidiary and supplementary to the former. But this is not possible today. A theology which is not ethical, while it includes ethics, cannot be rightly called theology.[13]

But here again we must not allow ourselves to go to the opposite extreme and refuse a place to metaphysics and philosophy in our consideration and construction of Christian theology. It is impossible to keep our view of Christianity in any watertight compartment, be it purely intellectual, or purely emotional, or purely ethical. As Christianity speaks to every part of our nature, so every part must take its share in the reception and expression of Christian theology.

Our study of doctrine must therefore include the consideration of God as its Object of Faith, and the Standard of duty, and the relation between God and man must be shown to include both worship and work, attitude and action, creed and conduct. Our doctrine of Theism, of Christology, of the Holy Spirit, of Divine sovereignty, of the Atonement, of sin, of justification, and the rest, must be closely and constantly related to life in every part if it is to be of weight in modern days. While not making human feeling the sole standard of truth, or human duty the test of theological accuracy, we must certainly enquire whether our intellectual conception of truth possesses ethical vitality, whether it makes for practical righteousness. History in the past warns us against the tendency to allow the intellectual aspects of Christianity to become abstract. We see this in the dreary wastes of controversy which followed Chalcedon, and again in the era of Protestant scholasticism which followed the warm, living experience of the Reformation Age. On the other hand, recent theological discussions have given us an equally grave warning against the tendency to rest in anything merely emotional without satisfying ourselves of its intellectual validity. Modern impatience against dogma, whether on the part of the Ritschlian theologian, or of “the man in the street”, springs essentially from the same fundamental source, and is a phase of that practical agnosticism which would insist that no valid knowledge of God and His truth is possible. We must therefore preserve the mean between these two extremes, neither excluding ethics from theology, nor regarding theology as “a footnote to morality”. When Creeds, Confessions, and Articles are thus related to every part of personality – mind, emotion, conscience, and will – we may feel sure that our theology is what it ought to be.

The sole and sufficient guarantee of Christian doctrine being at once intellectual and experimental is its constant and close association with the Person of Jesus Christ. In order to avoid anything dry and lifeless we must relate every truth to the living Person of Him Who declared, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. When it is realised that “Christianity is Christ”, that Christ Himself is the substance, source, and spring of all doctrine, our theology will be truly Christian.

 

[1] This section is summarised from the writer’s article “Revelation”, in Hastings’ One Volume Bible Dictionary. The subject is also treated with great fullness and force in the earlier part of Revelation and Inspiration, by Orr.

[2] The widest use is found in Gwatkin, The Knowledge of God, Vol. 1, p. 5, “Any fact which gives knowledge is a revelation … the revelation and the knowledge of God are correlative terms”.

[3] 2 Cor. 3:14 illustrates both aspects, objective and subjective, of the “unveiling”.

[4] Illingworth, Reason and Revelation, p. 243.

[5] Bishop Pearson (Creed, Article 1) quoting Durandus, says: “‘credere in Deum’ non est præcise actus fidei, sed fidei et caritatis simul.”

[6] “In every movement of faith, therefore, from the lowest to the highest, there is an intellectual, an emotional, and a voluntary element, though naturally these elements vary in their relative prominence in the several movements of faith. This is only as much as to say that it is the man who believes, who is the subject of faith, and the man in the entirety of his being as man” (Warfield, Princeton Theological Review, Vol. 9, p. 566).

[7] “A dogma is not a δόξα, not a subjective, human opinion, not an indefinite, vague notion; nor is it a mere truth of reason, whose universal validity can be made clear with mathematical or logical certainty: it is a truth of faith, derived from the authority of the word and revelation of God; - a positive truth, therefore, positive not merely by virtue of the positiveness with which it is laid down, but also by virtue of the authority with which it is sealed” (Martensen, Christian Dogmatics, p. 1).

[8] Christian Dogmatics, p. 1.

[9] “Biblical or New Testament theology deals with the thoughts, or the mode of thinking, of the various New Testament writers; systematic theology is the independent construction of Christianity as a whole in the mind of a later thinker. Here again there is a broad and valid distinction, but not an absolute one. It is the Christian thinking of the first century in the one case, and of the twentieth, let us say, in the other; but in both cases there is Christianity and there is thinking, and if there is truth in either, there is bound to be a place at which the distinction disappears” (Denney, The Death of Christ, p. 5).

[10] W. A. Curtis, History of Creeds and Confessions of Faith, p. 2.

[11] “Undogmatic religion is, strictly speaking, a contradiction in terms. Dogma is not indeed like Faith, the living spirit of religion; but it is at least the skeleton of all embodied religion, the framework, however transitory, of the physical organisation of its life. Faith that is real will out. Faith that is uttered in dogma, like life that is born, may perish; but it is the medium of a manifested spiritual life, mortal like flesh and blood, but like them with a sanctity of its own” (W. A. Curtis, op. cit., p. 3).

[12] “It springs out of the perennial, juvenile vigour of faith, out of the capacity of faith to unfold from its own depths a wealth of treasures of wisdom and of knowledge, to build up a kingdom of acknowledged truths, by which it illumines itself as well as the surrounding world” (op. cit., p. 3).

[13] Fragment of a conversation between a Professor of Moral Science in an American College and a student just about to graduate from a certain Theological Seminary:
Professor: “Are you entirely satisfied with your course in theology?”
Student: “No, the course has been of value to me, but it has one lack.”
Professor: “What? I am interested.”
Student: “In studying the Bible and Christian doctrine no connection was anywhere made with moral science.”
Professor: “I am not surprised. The theologian is quite wont to forget that a sinner is a man” (O. A. Curtis, The Christian Faith, p. 2).

 

back to top

 
Related Links

The Principles of Theology

>> Buy from the online store

>> 39 Articles Issues pages

>> Griffith-Thomas biography


Content of The Principles

>> Index

>> Preface by J I Packer

>> Introduction

>> 1 - Trinity

>> 2 - Christ

>> 3 - Descent into Hell

>> 4 - Resurrection

>> 5 - Holy Spirit

>> 6 - Holy Scripture

>> 7 - The Old Testament

>> 8 - The Three Creeds

>> 9 - Of Original or Birth Sin

>> 10 - Of Free Will

>> 11 - Of the Justifcation of Man

 



Publications

>> REAL

>> Ussher : A Body of Divinity

Available Online

>> Churchman

>> Cross†Way

>> Principles of Theology

>> English Prayer Book

>> Clergy Appointments

>> Remembrance Sunday

From the Archives

>> Church Association Tracts

>> Great Churchmen

>> Veritatis Viribus

>> Church Book Room

>> Old Reports

>> Other Leaflets

The Store

>> Churchman

>> Cross†Way

>> Conference CDs

>> Church Society titles

>> Other Publishers

 search church society
Bullet Click for advanced search
Home | About us | Publications | Store | Issues | Events | Press releases
Membership | Contact us | Search | Links | Churchman | Church Society Trust | Cross+way