Anyone who believes that in the life and teaching of Christ, God has given a unique revelation of his character and purpose is committed by this belief, whether he likes it or not, whether he admits it or not, to the quest of the historical Jesus. Without the Jesus of history the Christ of faith is merely a docetic figure, a figment of pious imagination. The Christian religion claims to be founded on historic fact, on events which happened sub Pontio Pilato; and having appealed to history, by history it must be justified.
As I perceive the theological scene today, we have far too many who want to agree that in Jesus Christ, that is, in history, God has acted definitively for the salvation of all people, far too many who think we do have a faith in history, but who for various reasons are unwilling to subject history to a careful examination because it might tip their boat of faith. I am contending that such people believe in faith, not in Jesus, not in what God did for salvation in Jesus, but in faith. Their creed then is: "I believe in faith, faith in the Christian interpretation of life.
He comes to us as One unknown without a name, as of old, by the lake-side, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: 'Follow thou me!' and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfil for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.