Friday, February 13, 2009

Marcion, Adolf von Harnack, and the OT

Here's a quote from Adolf von Harnack on Marcion and the OT:

"To reject the Old Testament in the second century was a mistake which the Church rightly repudiated; to retain it in the sixteenth century was a fate which the Reformtion could not yet avoid; but to continue to keep it in Protestantism as a canonical document after the nineteenth century is the consequence of religious and ecclesiastical paralysis" (Marcion, 418).

Well not much to say after that one!


Rod said...

I am not shocked. Oh, Liberal German protestantism at its best.

Gordon Kennedy said...

I was distressed by this quote, but have waited until now to comment. I've been reading Eberhard Bethge's Biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In 1936-37 the seminarians from Finkenwalde undertook missions in districts near the seminary. Bethge writes, 'The seminarians found it impossible to establish contact with people who were openly hostile and others who had been intimidated [by teh Gestapo]. In another locality fifteen of forty-four confirmation candidates attended the first class and only three came to the next one - because the Old Testament prophets had been mentioned and these prophets were Jews.'
The desire to reject the Old Testament on the part of scholars like von Harnack was either part of, or was used to fuel anti-semitism in 1930's Germany. For many Christians and millions of Jews this was not an obscure scholarly dispute about the place of the OT in the church, but a matter of life and death.
This liberal protestant scholarship is something that should be the subject of repentance in the church as we review the effects it has had in the world, and in the church.