Apostles Research Paper

Pages: 10 (3211 words)  ·  Style: Turabian  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

All the more that even many of those who content themselves with a lesser idea of the Redeemer reject this dominant view only because they are suspicious of the miraculous in general; whether they overlook the distinction which we have laid down, or reject it; or because they believe that along with it they must accept a doctrine of the Trinity which is offensive to them on account of its polytheistic complexion. It is therefore to be hoped that many will find it easier to accept, in a freer presentation, a view by which they are repelled when they find it invested in hard scholastic forms (Denny & Taylor, 1985).

The Apostles

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It cannot, however, be definitely proved that the same form of doctrine prevailed universally in Christendom where the same faith about the relation to the Redeemer underlay it, the reason being that neither understanding nor terminology had sufficiently developed for that. Also it is undeniable that alongside this view of the Redeemer other different and lesser ones were current in Christendom very early. For both these reasons the question cannot be avoided whether the view of the Church can really be vindicated as the original one by statements of Christ Himself and of the Apostles, or whether they are right who assert that it is a view which arose later. Here it must be premised, that even supposing the originality of our doctrine were not proved, it still would not follow that it is false or arbitrarily invented, provided only that those original testimonies are not demonstrably at variance with it. But the question itself, it must be admitted, is so complicated that it cannot be decided in a manner which could win general acceptance, so long as, on the one hand, the most various opinions exist alongside each other as to the way in which the New Testament writings came into existence and as to who their authors were, and, on the other hand, exegetical methods are so various and so arbitrary.

Research Paper on Apostles the Particulars of the Assignment

So long as it is possible to dispute interminably over the meaning of particular passages, it is useless to have recourse to particular sayings of Christ's own to prove His essential sinlessness or the being of God in Him. But anyone who in the interpretation of particular passages is not content merely with a sense in harmony with his own theory, but keeps an open mind for a true impression of the whole, will scarcely be able to ascribe to the sayings of Christ about His relation to men and to His Father 3 (having regard to the way in which they complete and pervade each other) a lesser content than that set forth in our propositions, although perhaps not precisely in the sense of the ecclesiastical formulae relating to the doctrine of the Trinity. And at the same time these sayings are not of such a kind that they destroy the reality of Christ's human existence, as if in His temporal consciousness He had, say, a recollection of a separate existence of the divine in Him, before His incarnation.


Only after the departure of Christ from earth was it possible for the Holy Spirit, as this common spirit, to be fully communicated and received.

The Holy Spirit and Ascension of Christ

Let us compare this proposition with what is most often taught on this point and is stated not only when the subject is dealt with in presence of a congregation, but predominantly in the public teaching given, where the procession of the Holy Spirit is indeed set forth in the doctrine of the Trinity as timeless and eternal, but the outpouring of the Spirit, as the beginning of His activity within the Christian Church, is connected with the event of Pentecost. The first point needing defense is this, that as has at least been indicated in our argument, the Holy Spirit must already have been at work, even though incompletely. Now it certainly is true that Christ Himself makes His going away a condition of the sending of the Spirit;

but it is equally true that He Himself communicated the Spirit to them before His final departure from earth, and indeed that He even assumed that the Spirit had been already present with them; for whatever is a divine revelation in the soul relatively to Christ

is also a work of the Spirit (Denny & Taylor, 1985). Now these various statements are not easily to be harmonized, unless what Christ is said to have expected at His Ascension in Jerusalem

was simply a complete filling with the Spirit. If now we start from the position that the Holy Spirit is the inmost vital power of the Christian Church as a whole, we must go back to the two most elemental aspects of life, the living susceptibility and the free spontaneous activity; for these together (Bruce & Rupp, 1968), in their reciprocal relations, are that by which life is constituted; life being the more complete and the more fully developed, the larger the sphere covered by each of the two, and the more exact their mutual correspondence.

Kingdom of God

In company with Christ the susceptibility of the disciples developed, and in their steady apprehension of what He offered to them there was laid the foundation of their future effectiveness as workers for the Kingdom of God. Hence, as they related their apprehension entirely to the Kingdom of God preached by Christ, each recognized this susceptibility in the others as the very same thing, grounded and upheld in the same way in them all. There came to be among them a fellowship in apprehension, and as face-to-face with Christ each was able to represent the rest in question and answer, this susceptibility revealed itself as an essential factor in the common spirit. In this sense the right apprehension of Christ is itself ascribed to the Holy Spirit. 2 On the other hand, they had at that time no really spontaneous activity of their own. What Christ suggested to them in that line was practice, not performance proper, and just for that reason it was not free activity, but one that needed on each occasion a new special impetus. One step in the transition towards complete spontaneity is shown in the communication of the Spirit, just referred to, in the forty days after the Resurrection. For the right binding and loosing of sin is in the main just an expression of a fully formed susceptibility for what relates to the Kingdom of God. This expression, however, is inconceivable except as having a reaction on those whose sins are bound or loosed; it therefore marks a transition to free spontaneous activity; and obviously the susceptibility reveals itself most distinctly as the common spirit in expressions which presumably are unanimous.

The common spirit was, as yet incomplete; hence during the personal presence of Christ there can have been no completely common life representing at that time the Kingdom of God. And this, as a matter of fact, was the case. For the more a common life depends on an individual life, the less is it an existence in common (Orlinsky & Bratcher, 1991). In part it is so far not equipped for permanent identity amid the changes of death and birth; in part a common life ought to be one whole, but not an individual person. The more all depend on one, each receiving his impetus from him, the more all are merely his tools or members, and the whole is just the enlargement of this one personality. Or if we consider the multiplicity of individual lives, the whole is really more like a household or a school than an existence in common.


The ancients viewed the State in which all are unconditionally subject to the will of an individual, as an enlarged household, where various living tools move at the command of one master; and school for us means a spiritual life in common which entirely depends on the thinking power and art of making disciples possessed by an individual, who puts a common stamp on them all. In this sense, of course, Christ's life in company with His disciples was both a household and a school. But a house is scattered on the master's death, and if its members are not caught up in some new bond, they disperse. So, too, in a school, if no other common motive comes to replace the original thirst forlearning and personal attachment, no further progress takes place after the master's death, and the previous bond of union gradually dissolves. We find the disciples in the mood thus to disperse after Christ's death, and up to the time of His Ascension their life together was so much interrupted and decreased as to become quite formless. But even when Christ was alive it could not but be that each felt mainly dependent on Him, and sought to receive from Him; no… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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