History and Theology

Continuing with the ‘eyes of faith’ theme I’ve got going, let’s take a look at Bonhoeffers thought on seeing Christ in history:

‘The historical approach to the Jesus of history is not binding for the believer. Historical certainty is not a union with Jesus; that is no more than encounter with any other person from the past. We can have ‘Moments with Christ’ as we can with Goethe. It is not a mystical union either with some person in history, but rather a person who bears witness to himself…But it is the risen one who himself creates faith and thus knows the way to himself ‘in hitory’. When we have Christ witnessing to himself in the present, any historical confirmation is irrelevant. In faith, history is known, not from within nor from itself, but in the light of eternity. This is the direct approach of faith to history.’ (Bonhoeffer, ‘Christ the Center’, p. 72-73)

Lots going on here. My thought is that we can’t come to a true knowledge and union with Christ through the methods of historical inquiry alone – we must approach the living Word with an in faith, which is given to us by the word. Our faith is not in historical method – we don’t come to a true knowledge of Christ through really close study of history textbooks. Our faith is given to us *by* Christ – it is only through this faith that we can know Christ through history. Again, we won’t come to a knowledge of the Living God through good historical methodology but rather by faith.