Recently i bought a book by Craig Blomberg called From Pentecost to Patmos, which is his introduction to the NT. I bought because of 1 point he made that is very important to highlight. NOW I like Dr. Blomberg and he says a lot of good things so this is not an attack on him but an answer to the dilemma he raised by the following points.
#1. With all of this said, however, it still remains striking how little of the contents of the gospels do reappear in whatever form, in Paul (pg. 111)
These words illustrate one of the problems in scholarship. They are not looking for the truth nor are they looking at the Bible in the correct way. They are making mountains out of molehills, over-analyzing God’s word and miss the basic points that are very vital and integral to the Christian faith. They make the Christian life some form of scholastic enterprise instead of the humble development it is.
There is a reason for this lack of quotation of the gospels in Paul’s epistles and that is the Gospels present step 1 of the Christian faith and the rest of the NT brings the information we need to grow in Jesus and become strong in our faith. We are not to remain babes in Christ drinking the gospel milk but are to move on and develop so we can handle the meat of the faith and handle problems on earth as God would want us to.
Paul’s instructions do not make him the ‘real founder’ of Christianity but only one of the apostles who brings the next steps to the new-born Christians. We cannot serve in God’s army and supervise the church if we do not know everything we are to do. Jesus gave us the foundation when he was on earth and then let his disciples and Paul bring the rest of his message.
#2. None of Paul’s letters reflect first-time evangelism, he writes to individuals and churches who already know the basics of the gospel story… (pg. 111)
What Dr. Blomberg seems to forget, which most Christians also seem to forget, is the part of the Great Commission which says:
make disciples… teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;
We cannot do that if all of the NT remains at step one and gives us the same information over and over. Paul and the other NT writers probably knew that the gospel accounts would be readily available so they knew that they did not need to repeat what the gospel authors wrote and God knew very well that he did not need to be redundant.
God wanted his followers to grow so that they would be able to handle what evil throws their way but they would not be able to do that if his writers, (and he), kept the new Christians at the first step of initial evangelism. Yes the new believers would know the basics of the gospel and the Christian faith thus they needed more so you are not going to find a lot of gospel information in the epistles. You will find gospel information in the Gospels.
#3. None of the other NT epistles has a larger frequency of references or allusions to the historical Jesus…Apparently, quoting Jesus, was not the primary purpose of early Christian letter writers. (pg. 111)
That idea probably applies only to the biblical writers not any one else as we know that the Church Fathers quoted Jesus quite a lot as well as the other NT writers in their writings. We shouldn’t disparage or think less of the NT writers because they do not continue with the gospel words. That wasn’t their purpose in writing the other NT books. Their purpose was to record all of God’s instructions for the church not re-hash what has already been taught.
This thinking n those points is one reason why the church has so many problems today. They prefer to stay at square one and keep their people there instead of growing in God and doing the faith correctly. All problems are not solved by giving the gospel message over and over every time someone has a problem that they bring to their pastor or other christian in the church.
This is why we have other instructions, like obtaining wisdom and understanding or gaining knowledge and so on. We need to mature in order to handle the business of God’s church. The enemy is smart, tricky, conniving and well prepared to destroy God’s followers so it would do God no good by keeping his followers at square one, though I am sure there are lots of people in the church today who would prefer that God do all the battles and let them remain as little children in the faith.
But that is not what the Christian faith is all about. Nor is the church all about fire insurance though, again, I am sure many people wish it were so that they would not have to endure persecution for following Jesus.
We should not mistake the lack of quoting Jesus or the gospels as some sort of ‘step down’ by God. We should see that the information in the Books of Acts and the rest of the NT, beyond the gospels, are the information taking us to and through the next steps in order for us to hear those words ‘well done though good and faithful servant’ (Mt. 25:21)
This is where so many scholars get it wrong. They are too academically minded and following too many secular rules for academics that they miss these basic truths about the very books they study and investigate.
The individual churches need to have trust and faith in God in order for them to direct their members from initial conversion to and through the subsequent steps God wants his followers to take. They have got to have confidence in God and his words that he will take care of his people as they follow those next steps to Christian maturity. But they need to practice what God teaches first and that means being honest about problems in the congregation (even those by very respected members) then handling them correctly by looking at how God wants them to apply justice, mercy and so on.
We do not do things to ‘look like we are doing something’ or ‘look like we are being spiritual’ but do them as God’s stewards looking to obey God’s instructions correctly.
If we are going to make an impact for Jesus, then we need to get past square one and grow and mature in the faith as God wants.