On the assured results of historical criticism: "The progress of critical historical investigation of the New Testament cannot be compared to a gradual mounting the steps of a ladder. One generation does not achieve a number of results which pass into the text-books, so that the next generation is enabled to mount a few steps higher. Rather, as each advance is made, the problem as a whole begins to look different; and the 'assured results' of the previous generation require constant reconsideration when seen in a new perspective. This does not, of course, mean that the modern critic stands aloof from the older criticism. He is completely dependent upon the work of his predecessors. But, where they supposed that they had reached definite and final conclusions, he sees new problems; and the older conclusions appear in their new context almost irrelevant, and, at times, trivial" (11-12).
History and Christian theology: "The historian of primitive Christianity is a mere hewer of wood and drawer of water; it is his function to act as the slave of the theologian or of the philosopher, as the slave also of the simple believer or of the equally simple unbeliever...The historian has therefore to make clear and accessible the material which has shown such remarkable ability to galvanize thought and faith and unbelief. The historian, then, is neither an apologist for the Christian religion nor an apostle of irreligion; still less is he an interpreter of the New Testament in terms of modern thought" (171).
History and faith: "The whole spiritual and moral power of the primitive church rested ultimately, not upon a mystical experience, but upon its belief that what Jesus had asserted to have been the purpose of his life and death was in very truth the purpose of God. Further than this the historian dare not and cannot go. On the basis of a purely critical examination of the New Testament documents he can reconstruct a clear historical figure, which is an intelligible figure; and he can, as a result of this reconstruction, show that the emergence of the primitive church is also intelligible" (177).