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PRESUPPOSITIONS OF CHRISTIANITY, THE OLD TESTAMENT.pdf

PRESUPPOSITIONS OF CHRISTIANITY, THE OLD TESTAMENT.pdf

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Published by glennpease

By Robert J. Drummond D.D.


' Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the
Prophets : I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.' — MATT. v. 17.

By Robert J. Drummond D.D.


' Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the
Prophets : I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.' — MATT. v. 17.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 11, 2013
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PRESUPPOSITIOS OF CHRISTIAITY, THE OLD TESTAMET By Robert J. Drummond D.D. ' Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets : I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.' — MATT. v. 17. OUR Christianity is unique, a thing by itself; but it has not come into existence without any ties with the past. It is original ; it is not eclectic ; but it has one great root from which it has sprung and of which it claims to be the perfect flower. That is the revelation of God to Israel, recorded in the sacred books of that people, the collection of which we call the Old Testament. To a full and proper under standing of Christianity, a man must know the Old Testament ; he must in a measure be familiar with the religion of the Jews. His own faith has blossomed out of that, and owes much to it. The law of development, the principle of evolution, has a clear example of its working here. Indeed, an attentive study of the history of Israel shows the process at work 41 42 FAITH'S CERTAITIES throughout its course and the sifting through shock of contact with ruder forms of religion, by which the faith of Judaism reached on to ever purer views of God and man and man's responsibility. In the course of it almost every type of religion was touched. The re
 
ligions of the desert, of Egypt, of Canaan, of Assyria, of Babylon, of Persia — fetishism, idolatry, elemental worship — were met in con tact and recoil by the Hebrew, and his know ledge of God gained from his own teachers was quickened and clarified by contrast and affinity, by fascination and protest. Under these influences it ripened till in the fullness of the time Christ came, fulfilled the law and the prophets, and superseded them by the perfect faith towards which throughout all was work ing. It is the presuppositions of Christianity in the Old Testament that we shall look at here. To the rest, Christianity, at any rate in its primi tive and purest form, owes nothing directly. Its debts are directly, and in the first instance only, to the Old Testament faith. I. I would even emphasise the statement in that form as my first point. It is not to Judaism as it existed in Christ's time that any CHRISTIAITY PRESUPPOSITIOS 43 debt is due. It is to the religion which is enshrined in the Old Testament. And the distinction is vital. There is a serious differ ence between Judaism as Christ found it, and the religion which He recognised as the truth in the much misunderstood sacred books of His people. There was there the revelation which God had given of Himself, and there was alongside of it the man-made version which passed current in the Temple and in the synagogue, which was expounded in the schools, and which was practised by the Pharisee. The latter has its modern survival, but it is not Christianity. It is the Judaism of
 
the present day, with the modifications and embellishments which have made it what it is in order to serve a people without a country or a central shrine, at which alone they might per form the rites which ought to be observed, but perforce must lie in abeyance. It is not to that we turn to find the presuppositions of Christianity. That has little to tell us. Our Lord, in fact, repudiated the whole body of tradition, because, as He said, the Scribes and Pharisees made void the law of God by their tradition. 44 FAITH'S CERTAITIES What Christ approved, the springs from which He drew, was what He found for Himself in the sacred page, truths that were cherished by simple-hearted folks, ' the Quiet in the Land/ of whom His mother Mary and her husband Joseph, Simeon and Anna, and many others like them, were examples. In general, this type of religion was more in sympathy with the views of the prophets and the psalmists than with those ideas that magnified the ceremonial law and elaborated its precepts as if those were the essence of the Mosaic religion. In other words, as I say, Christianity's debt is not to Judaism but to the Old Testa ment. The religion of the ew Testament claims to be itself the true child and heir, pupil and exponent, of God's earlier revelations of Himself through Israel's history, laws, and spiritual leaders. ' In the Old Testament/ as Wendt says, 'are the chief sources whence Jesus derived His own religious education. . . . But the question is not merely what the Scribes specially sought and prized in the Old Testa

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