26 March 2014

Sasse on Christian Revelation

In his essay "The Church and the Word of God," delivered in 1934, Dr. Hermann Sasse contrasts Christian revelation over against the personal revelation views of Cherbury, Fichte, and young Schleiermacher. What is Christian revelation? Here's Sasse:
The truth of our faith depends upon the fact that Jesus Christ appeared once, was sacrificed once for (Heb 7:27; 9:26, 28), that he suffered "under Pontius Pilate" [Apostles' Creed]. Should it be shown that the NT recounts not historical truth in its witness to Christ, rather only a myth, the apostles would be false witnesses (1 Cor 15:15). Then what Paul wrote would apply: "Your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished" [1 Cor 15:17-18 NKJV]. And finally, Christian revelation, directly because of this historical character, is bound to the witness of history and thus also the witnesses of history. It is bound to their word and to the written record of this word.

The contents of the Christian faith are not simply the objects of our experience. The incarnation, the death, the resurrection of Jesus Christ are not facts which we can know from our own experience. We know of them only through the testimony of the Scriptures....

Biblical revelation is an "offense" for the religious and moral man of every age, just as it is "foolishness" to the philosophies of all ages [cf. 1 Cor 1:23]. It is a foreigner also in the world of religions....

The content of Bible revelation cannot be expressed in any theoretical thesis, neither in a thesis concerning the love of God and men, nor in the form of "the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men." The content of biblical revelation is much more the truth as a person; it is Jesus Christ. (Hermann Sasse, "The Church and the Word of God" in The Lonely Way: Selected Essays and Letters, Volume I (1927-1939), 151-152.)

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