Tuesday, January 15, 2008
"Christianity is not a gnosticism grounded in ahistorical myths, but rather a revelation religion based upon certain very key historical events wherein God disclosed himself to us. At its best, historical criticism orients us to this truth. The principal vice of the historical-critical method is its epistemological imperialism, by which I mean its tendency to do its work in abstraction from the dogmatic and doctrinal tradition of the church. Both Küng and Schillebeeckx—to give only two examples among many—bracket the Chalcedonian and Nicene doctrinal statements and attempt to articulate the meaning of Jesus afresh, on the basis of their historical-critical retrieval. This is a grave problem. The attraction of the "Jesus as symbol" approach—practiced by Schleiermacher, Tillich, and Rahner among many others—is that it presents a Jesus who is easy to believe in, for he functions only as a cipher for a pre-existing spiritual experience. But such a Christ is, as Kierkegaard noted long ago, not really worth believing."