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Curtis The Christian Faith

The Christian Faith
By Olin Alfred Curtis
Professor of Systematic Theology
Drew Theological Seminary

In this 46 chapter Systematic Theology, Curtis (Methodist) was a pastor and then a professor at Drew University. His three divisions are Man, Christian Religion, and the System of Doctrine (Jesus Christ).

New York: Eaton & Mains. Cincinnati: Jennings & Graham
Printed Book Copyright 1905

Contents of Curtis The Christian Faith

PART FIRST — MAN 4

1. THE MAN AND THE ANIMAL 5

2. PERSONALITY 9

3. The MORAL PERSON 13

4. FREEDOM, PERSONAL AND MORAL 18

5. PERSONAL MORALITY 28

6. RELIGION 37

7. THE THEISTIC ARGUMENT 45

8. REVELATION 49

PART SECOND — THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION 53

kai iris kyklothen tou thronou 53

9. THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION AND THE MORAL PERSON 53

10. THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION AND THE HUMAN RACE 59

11. CHRISTIAN CERTAINTY 65

12. THE CHRISTIAN BOOK 73

PART THIRD — THE SYSTEM OF DOCTRINE 83

13. SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY 84

14. THE CREATION AND FALL OF MAN 86

15. THE DOCTRINE OF SIN 90

The Second Doctrinal Division 95

Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Redeemer 95

16. THE DEITY OF OUR LORD 95

17. THE INCARNATION OF THE SON OF GOD 106

18. THE HOLINESS OF GOD 116

19. THE MORAL GOVERNMENT 122

20. THE CHRISTIAN MEANING OF DEATH 128

21. THE TEACHING OF SAINT PAUL 138

22. OUR LORD’S STRANGE HESITATION IN APPROACHING DEATH 143

23. THE RACIAL THEORY OF OUR LORD’S REDEMPTIVE WORK 145

22. OUR LORD’S STRANGE HESITATION IN APPROACHING DEATH 160

24. THE PERSONAL DISPENSATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT 162

25. THE PREPARATION FOR CONVERSION 166

26. CONVERSION 170

27. PERSONAL HOLINESS 179

28. THE INTERMEDIATE STATE 190

29. THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY 196

30. THE CHURCH OF OUR LORD 200

31. THE CHRISTIAN SACRAMENTS 205

32. THE CHURCH MILITANT 209

33. THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT 215

34. MEN OUTSIDE THE NEW RACE 221

35. THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD 228

36. THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY 233

PREFACE

Neither in claim nor in spirit is this book dogmatic. As indicated in several ways by the book itself, there is no attempt to speak the final word, no aim to be, or to become, “the recognized authority” of any church, or of any school, or of any man. After years of preparatory waiting, I have, I believe, caught an important vision of the Christian Faith as an organic whole of doctrine, and I am eager to help other men to catch the same vision.

In reading the book, many peculiarities of view and method will be discovered; but the main clue to all can be found in one thing, namely, in the junction of the two ideas, personal responsibility and racial solidarity. Every man is a responsible moral person; but no man is complete in himself — he is made to be a fragment of an entire race. Instead of being content with one of these ideas, I use them both in junction, and with equally serious emphasis. In this peculiar junction there may be, I sometimes hope, a fair mediation between Arminianism and Calvinism.

From many teachers and authors I have received suggestions; but there are four names that should be amply noted in this preface; for without the influence of these four men the book, in all probability, would never have been conceived. First, Dr. Daniel Whedon. He it was, and he alone, who convinced me beyond possible doubt that the necessitarian has no case in Ethics, and almost no case in Psychology. Second, Thomas Carlyle. For as much as ten years, in my early ministry, my mind was dominated by Carlyle. And at last he compelled me to appreciate the ethical appeal of the prophets of the Old Testament; and from this appreciation the entire moral fiber of my message has surely come. Third, Professor Borden P. Bowne. As Whedon and Carlyle, together, led me to see the moral significance of personality, Bowne led me to see its cosmic significance.

And this cosmic significance of personality is now basal in all my thinking. This statement, though, is not to be taken to mean that I pretend to represent Professor Bowne in definite opinion or tendency. I wish simply to pay an unstinted tribute to his influence without allying him to my theology. Fourth, Bishop Martensen. Not only did he create my confidence in Systematic Theology, also he started my present conception of the organism of Christian doctrine. Yet more ought to be said — the courage to wait for a vision of the total faith was kept alive in me by reading Martensen’s Christian Dogmatics.

As to my discussions, there are, I am aware, places where the items are not fully in harmony. Sometimes this want of harmony results from my determination to preserve every mood in which the book was written. I would not cut out a passage to secure consistency, for I cared more for a full testimony than I did for a flawless argument. At other times the inconsistency is more deeply rooted, and means that I have not yet worked out all the implications of my Psychology. In a few most subtle situations I am not quite sure as to the real data, and so I waver in my estimate.

Another matter — the scheme of quotation — requires a word of explanation. The primary purpose of this scheme is to provide an atmosphere for my discussion. But under this primary purpose a quotation is, at times, used to illustrate or confirm or enlarge a conclusion; or in justice to state an important view which is different from my own. In every instance where a quotation from a foreign language makes such a contribution as may be of large value to the reader, it has been carefully translated. In other instances, I have yielded to my own taste.

Olin A. Curtis

The Drew Theological Seminary,

Madison, New Jersey,

August, 1905

INTRODUCTION TO THE SYSTEM OF DOCTRINE

Fragment of a conversation between a professor of moral science in an American college and a student just about to gradutate from a certain theological seminary:

Professor. “Are you entirely Satisfied with your course in theology?”

Student. “No; the Course has been of value to me, but it has one lack.”

Professor. “What? I am interested.”

Student. “In studying the Bible and Christian doctrine no connection was anywhere made with moral science.”

Professor. “I am not surprised. The theologian is quite wont to forget that a sinner is a man.”

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