A History of Christian Thought

A History of Christian Thought by: Justo L. Gonzalez
I know some of this stuff is common sense, but it is always good to be reminded. Plus, I like the way he puts things – to me he is very clear and concise.
“The task of the historian does not consist in mere repetition of what has happened – or, in this case, of what has been thought. On the contrary, the historian must begin by selecting the material to be used, and the rules guiding this selection depend upon a decision that is to a considerable degree subjective… This selection depends in good part upon the author, which means that every history of Christian thought is of necessity also a reflection of the theological presuppositions of the writer, and the historian of Christian thought who suggests that such work is free of theological presuppositions is clearly deluded.” (23)
“The presuppositions and value judgements of the historian determine the selection of the material, the bridging of gaps in the sources, and the very manner of presentation, which may appear so objective as to beguile the reader.” (25)
“Faced by these two positions,” (Docetism & Ebionism), “Christianity affirms that the truth is given in the concrete, the historical, and the particular, contained and hidden within it, but in such a way as never to lose its veracity for all historical moments.” (26-27)
“THE truth of doctrine will never be such that we can say: here is the eternal and incommutable truth, free of any shadow or conjecture of historical relativism. The truth of doctrine is only present to that degree in which , through the various doctrines, the Word of God (which is the Truth) is able to confront the church with a demand for absolute obedience. When this happens that doctrine indeed becomes the standard of judgment of the church’s life and proclamation.” (27)
“Are all doctrines then equally valid? Certainly not. Moreover, no doctrine is valid in the sense of being able to identify itself with the Word of God.” (27)

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