Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Oliver Chase Quick on "the essential newness of the Christian revelation"

The Christian Creed sets before us as the object of our faith nothing less than the unsearchable love of God.  It affirms that that love was once for all revealed in Jesus, who died in every circumstance of shame and horror, and rose again for men.  And therefore it assures us at the same time that no experience, however terrible or repugnant, can be such that through it no fresh discovery of God's love is possible for one who has God's Spirit in his heart.  Here then is the gospel which provides the truly permanent object of faith.

Nineteen hundred years ago that gospel itself was new in time.  Then to say, "I believe in God the Father and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord" was indeed a new discovery, the discovery of a new world.  St. Paul writes at times as one bewildered by the novelty of the one new thing which the clever Athenians could neither tell nor hear, the thing which had shown the weakness of God to be stronger, and the foolishness of God to be wiser, than every work of man's hand and thought of man's brain.  But to-day, what we have to prove in thought and life is this, that the essential newness of the Christian revelation is not a temporal newness, which, as the centuries pass, passes itself into old age.  It is as true now, as it was when the Epistle to the Hebrews was written, that "that which waxeth old is near to vanishing away".  We believe in Christianity not because it is old but because it still is new.  It is the gospel of an ageless truth of which ever fresh discoveries are to be made; and in making them our faith itself must live.  Christ's call to union with himself through sacrifice will bring as fresh a revelation when the earth is becoming uninhabitable by the exhaustion of the sun, as it did when Mary cried "Rabboni" and Paul was blinded by the light on the Damascus road.

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