The origin of Paul's religion - J. Gresham Machen - PDF ebook

The origin of Paul's religion

The origin of Paul's religion
The origin of Paul's religion 

Excerpt from Introduction:

The following discussion is intended to deal, from one particular point of view, with the problem of the origin of Christianity. 

That problem is an important historical problem, and also an important practical problem. It is an important historical problem not only because of the large place which Christianity has occupied in the medieval and modern world but also because of certain unique features which even the most unsympathetic and superficial examination must detect in the beginnings of the Christian movement. 

The problem of the origin of Christianity is also an important practical problem. Rightly or wrongly. Christian experience has ordinarily been connected with one particular view of the origin of the Chris- tian movement; where that view has been abandoned, the experience has ceased. 

This dependence of Christianity upon a particular conception of its origin and of its Founder is now indeed being made the object of vigorous attack. There are many who maintain that Christianity is the same no matter what its origin was and that therefore the problem of origin should be kept entirely separate from the present religious interests of the Church. 

Obviously, however, this indifference to the question as to what the origin of Christianity was depends upon a particular conception of what Christianity now is; it depends upon the conception which makes Christianity simply a manner of life. That conception is indeed widespread, but it is by no means universal; there are still hosts of earnest Christians who regard Christianity, not simply as a manner of life, but as a manner of life founded upon a message — upon a message with regard to the Founder of the Christian movement.

 For such persons, the question of the origin of Christianity is rather to be called the question of the truth of Christianity, and that question is to them the most im- portant practical question of their lives. Even if these persons are wrong, the refutation of their supposed error naturally proceeds and has in recent years almost always proceeded, primarily by means of that very discussion of the origin of the Christian movement which is finally to be shorn of its practical interest. 

The most important practical question for the modern Church is still the question of how Christianity came into being. In recent years it has become customary to base discussions of the origin of Christianity upon the apostle Paul. Jesus Himself, the author of the Christian movement, wrote nothing — at least no writings of His have been preserved.

 The record of His words and deeds is the work of others, and the date and authorship and historical value of the documents in which that record is contained are the subjects of persistent debate. With regard to the genuineness of the principal epistles of Paul, on the other hand, and with regard to the value of at least part of the outline of his life which is contained in the Book of Acts, all serious historians are agreed. The testimony of Paul, therefore, forms a fixed starting point in all controversy.

I. Introduction 3
II. The Early Years 43
III. The Triumph of Gentile Freedom 71
IV. Paul and Jesus 117
V. The Jewish Environment 173
VI. The Religion of the Hellenistic Age . . . 211
VII. Redemption in Pagan Religion and in Paul . . 255
VIII. The Lordship of Jesus 293
Index 319

The book details :
  • Author: John Gresham Machen was an American Presbyterian New Testament scholar and educator in the early 20th century
  • Publication date: 1921
  • Company: New York: The Macmillan Company

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