The Pugilist: If you Discredit the Apostles You Discredit Jesus

This may be made plain at once by the very obvious remark that we have no Christ except the one whom the apostles have given to us. Jesus Himself left no treatises on doctrine. He left no written dialogues. We are dependent on the apostles for our whole knowledge of Him, and of what He taught. The portraiture of Jesus which has glorified the world’s literature as well as blessed all ages and races with the revelation of a God-man come down from heaven to save the world, is limned by his followers’ pencils alone. The record of that teaching which fell from His lips as living water, which if a man drink of he shall never thirst again, is a record by his followers’ pens alone. They have painted for us, of course, the Jesus that they knew, and as they knew Him. They have recorded for us the teachings that they heard, and as they heard them. Whatever untrustworthiness attaches to them as deliverers of doctrine, must in some measure shake also our confidence in their report of what their Master was and taught.

But the logic cuts even deeper. For not only have we no Christ but Him whom we receive at the apostles’ hands, but this Christ is committed to the trustworthiness of the apostles as teachers. His credit is involved in their credit. He represents His words on earth as but the foundation of one great temple of doctrine, the edifice of which was to be built up by Him through their mouths, as they spoke moved by His Spirit; and thus He makes Himself an accomplice before the fact in all they taught. In proportion as they are discredited as doctrinal guides, in that proportion He is discredited with them. -B.B. Warfield, The Real Problem of Inspiration

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