Thursday, December 31, 2009


Excerpts from an Expository Times article by Rev. Selwyn Dawson (Auckland NZ) December 1975. Google for the full article...


* For some 'the faith' is clearly set out in the Scriptures, as 'containing all things necessary for salvation'. How true - yet how specious. It is rather like saying 'All of Shakespeare is to be found in the Concise Oxford Dictionary'.

* The creeds are not sufficient [either]. There is the great gap in the Apostles' Creed between the Birth and the Passion - which seems to say that the earthly life, teaching and ministry of Jesus are of no account. There is the omission of any ethical implications of belief, the absence of any apparent concern for the world for which Christ died - these make the Apostle's Creed quite inadequate to sum up for a sensitive modern the essence of the Faith... [It's like] interpreting a living, breathing man [Jesus] only in terms of a skeleton. Many an impeccable theology has done this.

* How then can I, a modern man, define the essence of Christianity, without using the traditional terms of creeds fashioned in and for a long vanished age? My answer, however tentative, would go something like this:

The essence of Christianity consists in building one's life upon a living relationship of love, trust and obedience in Jesus Christ in whom the invisible God has chosen to reveal himself to our human race.

If this on its own should seem too individualistic a definition, one must go on to say that:

In doing so, one becomes a part of that living fellowship, the Church, in which Jesus has chosen to manifest himself - and within whose fellowship and testimony, faith is born, and sustained.

* The familiar words of Herbert Butterfield: 'We can do worse than remember a principle which both gives us a firm rock, and leaves us the maximum elasticity for our minds; the principle 'Hold to Christ, and for the rest be totally uncommitted' (Christianity and History, 1950, p. 146).

More articles like this here.