صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

thesis respecting the radical antagonism between Petrinism and Paulinism. We have in the first place the fact that a party is mentioned which was opposed to Paul, and inclined to uphold the superior claims of Peter (1 Cor. i. 12; iii. 22). It is possible that this was a Judaizing party. Paul, indeed, does not say that it was such; but he does mention Peter as the leading representative of the apostleship of the circumcision, while to him was committed the gospel of the uncircumcision (Gal. ii. 7–8), and it is more than likely, in view of this acknowledged contrast of office, that the party which favored Peter was of a Judaizing cast. But is there any evidence that this party spirit extended to the apostles, that they shared in it, or that it was based upon any essential antagonism between them? The language of Paul gives not the slightest warrant for any such inference. His communication to the Corinthians indicates no jealousy toward Peter. On the contrary, he rebukes even more explicitly the childishness of appealing to Paul (1 Cor. i. 13-16), than that of appealing to Peter. He intimates the fullest confidence that Peter, equally with himself, is included in the unity of Christ (1 Cor. i. 12–13 ; iii. 21-23). He was evidently himself raised above the low plane of this partisanship, and he gives no indication but that the names of the other leaders were used entirely without their consent. There is nothing

There is nothing in the way of the belief that Apollos and Peter were entirely free from responsibility for the partisan adherence of those who made their boast in them. It would be, moreover, nothing strange if there was no ground for the three parties in the three men other than the differences which always exist between men of marked individuality. They may all have taught substantially the same system of doctrine, being distinguished only as respects manner, spirit, and relative emphasis upon different classes of truths. History is full of illustrations of how slight are the occasions which may give rise to parties. Among men of limited compass and different prejudices, some of Gentile and others of Jewish antecedents, the mere fact that Paul was the apostle of the uncircumcision and Peter of the circumcision could easily serve as an occasion of a Pauline and a Petrine party. That the extreme wings of these parties would misrepresent the two apostles, and magnify beyond measure the differences between them, would follow almost as a matter of course. Many historical parallels teach us that the principals are not to be judged by the extremists of parties. To judge Peter by a rigid and narrow-minded Ebionism, and Paul by the wild speculations of Gnosticism, is simply absurd. Streams may be

1 What Paul says in Rom. xv. 25-28 is something more than a testimony to his own kindly feeling. If he were conscious of a combination against him, patronized by leading apostles, bow could he write in such a strain respecting those dwelling in the very citadel of Petrinism?

very near together, or even one, at their source, which are far distant from each other at their mouths. In fine, the rise of Petrine and Pauline parties is no proof of any radical differences between Peter and Paul. That they represented somewhat diverse types of thought, is of course to be conceded. But diversity is not contradiction. Diversities supplementing each other are a large element in the charm and completeness of the New Testament.

In the second place, we have an account in the Epistle to the Galatians of a disagreement between Paul and Peter. In the eyes of the Tübingen school this is of vast importance. But the significance of a disagreement depends entirely upon its nature. Because two bishops differ on a point of administration, it is not to be concluded that they represent antagonistic systems of theology or polity. No more does it follow, because Paul and Peter differed on the propriety of eating, or refraining from eating, with the Gentiles of Antioch, under a special set of circumstances, that there was any radical antagonism between them as respects principles. On the contrary, the context shows that the question was not so much about the acknowledgment of a principle, as about fidelity to a principle acknowledged in common by both Paul and Peter. Paul says of Peter, "Before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles; but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision” (Gal. ii. 12). This language plainly indicates, that, in the opinion of Paul, the real views of Peter were indentical with his own; that he not only considered the door of the Church open to the Gentiles, but that within the Church the Gentiles were to stand on an equality with the Jews. Peter was right in theory. But those who came from James had never been accustomed to association with the Gentiles; Peter was afraid that their Jewish prejudices would be shocked overmuch by his free intercourse with the Gentiles, and so withdrew from their table. This seemed to Paul to be pushing accommodation to the sacrifice of principle, and drew forth his rebuke. That Paul

[ocr errors]

introduces this scene is no indication of a permanent rupture between him and Peter. He introduces it as one factor in the proof that in communication with the chief apostles he had maintained his equality with them, had asserted his apostleship, and asserted it consistently with his belief in the freedom of the Gentiles from the law of Moses. There is nothing here, or elsewhere, to indicate that any thing more than this single disagreement on a point of conduct ever came between him and Peter. He gives no hint that he is at war with the apostle of the circumcision. On the contrary, he acknowledges his apostleship, the effectiveness of his apostleship, and is careful to specify that he, as well as James and John, gave to himself the right hand of fellowship (Gal. ii. 7-10).1

The single passage in Galatians ought to be regarded as refuting the charge of Baur, that the Acts of the Apostles give a false account of Peter, and represent him as being much more free and generous toward the Gentiles than he really was. There is nothing in the Acts which goes beyond the implications of Paul's statement that Peter, so far as his private convictions were concerned, was free to eat with the Gentiles. In like manner, a candid comparison of the Acts with the Epistles will vindicate the truthfulness of the former with respect to Paul. Baur, indeed, affirms that the Epistles forbid the conclusion that Paul could have made so great concessions to Jewish prejudices as appears

i The suggestion that Paul, in his mention of false apostles (2 Cor. xi. 13), refers to Peter and others of the Twelve is too absurd for even the most captious critic, being in flagrant contradiction of what Paul himself says in his Epistles. There were then in the Church thos who might be characterized as false apostles. Paul is allowed to speak of such without being suspected of insinuations against the Twelve. Why not grant the same privilege to the latter ? Surely criticism is making an unseemly exhibition of its bias, and running into gratuitous libel, when it assumes that John in the Apocalypse, in the face of his former commendation of Paul, proceeds to number him with false apostles.

in the narrative of the Acts. But this springs from an obstinate bent, characteristic of the whole Tübingen exposition, to construct a strait-jacket for Paul, to bind him to act always according to the letter of his most spirited protests against Jewish ceremonialism. It ignores the glimpses of an irenic spirit which are given in the Epistles. We have here unmistakable intimations that Paul was ready to indulge no small measure of accommodation: “Unto the Jews,” he says, “I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law” (1 Cor. ix. 20). It was in pursuance of this maxim that he caused Timothy, who had a Jewish mother, to be circumcised. Circumcision insisted upon as a necessity, he was ready to oppose with his utmost vigor, as the Epistle to the Galatians shows; but circumcision regarded as mere matter of expediency, and where the subject was of Jewish lineage, he had no scruple about practising himself. The author of the Acts really makes Paul no more Jewish than do his own Epistles. Moreover, that he did not design a perversion of the truth in order to commend the apostleship of Paul to his adversaries is indicated by the fact that he records the election of Matthias to the single vacancy in the apostolic college, a record that evidently might be just so much capital in

« السابقةمتابعة »