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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dissembling Evangelicalism in Sydney (Part 3 of 5)

This is the third instalment of an address given by Maurice Roberts on the topic of "The Guilt of Higher Criticism" given at the centenary of the Bible League in England in 1992. As you read, bring to mind the thinking you encounter when dealing with Sydney Episcopalians (Anglicans) on Genesis 1:

"There were these two main elements of major difference and emphasis in the new view of revelation. First, the history and religion of Israel were now regarded as a thing which had progressed by natural evolution and was shaped specifically by the eighth-century prophets. Secondly, revelation was redefined as a subjective phenomenon. The Bible, they said, is a record of God's revelation but is not identical with the revelation. The lines were now drawn, and as time went on this new view became progressively entrenched in the academic circles of our country.

In 1889 another Liberal book entitled 'Lux Mundi' came out. This was a collection of essays by several Oxford men and confessed to be an 'attempt to put the Catholic faith into its right relation to modern intellectual and moral problems'. It was to have a far-reaching influence in this country. Its new emphasis was on the implications, as they supposed, of the Incarnation upon the Person of Christ.

The theory went like this: When Christ endorses the Old Testament Scriptures, he is speaking from the standpoint of a Jew, and as a man. The Incarnation, they said, involved Christ in self-emptying (in Greek, kenosis) and therefore his knowledge while on earth was natural and fallible. So what was emerging was not simply a different view now of the history of Israel but a new attitude to the very person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The view then could be summarised like this: The Jews had a mistaken idea that the Old Testament was verbally inspired and inerrant. Christ endorsed this mistaken idea because through his Incarnation he took on human infirmity and ignorance. The Christian church in previous centuries had also ignorantly taken over this same view of an inspired and infallible Bible from the Jews and from Christ. But now mature nineteenth-century man with his scientific knowledge knew better than Christ or the Jews, and was therefore in a position to reject the old theory of verbal inspiration. Man was now in a condition in which he could seek to find the abiding 'principles' of truth by a rigorous application of the 'critical method'. Incidentally, S. T. Coleridge, the poet, had had a similar view earlier in the century, but now this theory was to become very widely held.

In a sense, 'Lux Mundi' only said what many had been saying a little before this date but its massive influence lay in its being a statement made by men of learning and prestige, and because of the clarity with which the book was written. It was to set the stage for later attacks upon the Person of our blessed Lord himself, such as Adolph Harnack's 'What is Christianity?'.

Jesus' life was now stripped of the miraculous and the supernatural. 'Jesus,' they said, 'never spoke of any kind of creed'! The next step was that of the dismal era in which men went out on a 'Quest' for the 'historical Jesus'.

I have spent some time speaking about the details of what happened a century ago because that era was the turning point which led to the chaotic ignorance of Christian doctrine and Christian religion in this country.

We need not hesitate to say, surely, that the Higher Critical movement was guilty in the way it acted. It was not above making claims which were unreliable and irresponsible. Let me give one or two examples of this.

First, the leading scholars of this new school were fond of talking about 'the assured results' of the new criticism. But that was a complete myth. The fact is that the so called 'experts' could hardly agree on anything among themselves. That is what made it so hard for orthodox scholars in Princeton in America, and in this country, to write what might be called a definitive and final answer to their novel assertions. The critics were for ever altering their positions and shifting their ground. This is not my view only. It is the confession of men who were basically sympathetic to the critics themselves

More around the middle of the week.

Sam Drucker


Mr. Mcgranor said...

The Church is Israel. The Papist is Satanic. That is enough to regain.

sam drucker said...

Mr McGranor said:

"The Church is Israel."

Yes, but not to the exclusion of the promise of Romans 11:26 which, in its context, clearly speaks of the genetic descendants of Abraham at some point once again becoming of the Seed, the body of Christ Jesus on earth - the Church.

"The Papist is Satanic"

I am mindful of many theologians who I regard well who also resolved likewise. I just tender that we all, when sinning against God either by commission or omission are bearing the fruit of Satan.

"That is enough to regain."

The first four recorded words of Satan on earth were "Did God really say" and from such undermining of the Word of God have flowed all manner of rebellions against the will and purposes of God.

As to the regard for the Word of God on Origins, the preparedness of the Church today to equivocate sets the course to deny the glory of Jesus Christ in His office as Creator.

Sam Drucker

Mr. Mcgranor said...

We regain when we pick-up our cross; that many put down because they didn't want to hold it anymore. We are either spiritually Protestant; or we are in bondage to the Papist and the Jew. I am not going to sight scripture; because that is a given.

sam drucker said...

Well, I can confirm that I am not in bondage to either.

I am, though, bound by love to seek their salvation in Jesus Christ.

Sam Drucker