Sunday, August 26, 2007

Wright on Faith and History

Wright writes on the necessity of a historical approach to the Gospels...
But does it really matter? Many faithful Christians find themselves disturbed and irritated by this emphasis on the historical, and on the vagaries and uncertainties of historical research. Is this what faith is all about? Does not faith move in an entirely different realm? Certainly it is not the case that we can be saved by the acceptance as true of certain historical phenonena in the past. Certainly it is true that Christian faith will not collapse, if this or that historical detail is shown not to be true. Certainly it is not the case that, if every single detail of the Gospel narratives was faithfully and exactly authentic as history, faith in Jesus Christ would automatically result.

But having allowed all this, I still think that it is possible to gravely underestimate the significance of the historical in Christian faith. Theologically, history is important. If we believe that in Jesus Christ God did finally and definitively intervene in the world of men, we are committed to the view that history is the chosen sphere of his working, and that therefore history, all history, including the history of you and me today, is related to the process of revelation. But there is something even more important than this. Professor Bultmannand his colleagues inssit again and again, and rightly, on our encounter with God in Jesus Christ. But whom do we encounter? Is he, as Giovanni Megge has paraphrased the thought of Bultmann, one who is no more than the geometrical point, which has position but no magnitude?...When the believer comes to the Holy Communion, what does he imagine himself to be doing?

Interpretation of the NT, 311