Modernism versus the Bible

Chapter 1: Modernism: Its Origin

The value of any evidence depends largely on the character of the witnesses. A witness of well-known uprightness, by his bearing and whole deportment, will give weight to the evidence, but put a man of disreputable character into the witness box, and who will attach weight to his testimony?

We propose to put Modernism to the test. One thing is certain, Modernism, despite its name, is not modern. It is as ancient as most errors. How true are the words of Holy Writ: “Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It has been already of old time, which was before us” (Ecc. 1:10).

For instance, the disbelief in miracles was put forth be Celsus as far back as the second century, followed by Porphyry in the third, whilst the ancient Ebionites believed in a purely human Christ. Even in the time of Christ, many believed He was no more than a mere prophet, as the millions of Mohammedans do to this day.

For what is meant by Modernism? It is simply the theology of those who have been influenced by the teaching of the Higher Critics. Of course, they vary in detail, but there is an unanimous agreement among Higher Critics and Modernists in refusing the plenary inspiration of Holy Scripture. For the “God-breathed” character of the Bible are substituted theories, and methods are used which are not applied to any other book in the world, and if they were they would be laughed at as childish and puerile, save that they are as complicated and confusing as the maze at Hampton Court. There is, however, a way out of the maze at Hampton Court, but there is none in connection with Modernism. It is a hopeless blind alley.

It is much harder to believe in the Modernist’s Bible than in the “God-breathed” Scriptures of Truth. Said an aged preacher to the consternation of his hearers, “The Bible is a wonderful book, if it be true, but” he quickly added, “it would be ten times more wonderful if it were not true.” He might have said a thousand times more wonderful and not have been guilty of exaggeration. Lord Tennyson was fond of saying, “It is difficult to believe, but it is more difficult not to believe.”

If God chose to make a revelation to man, surely He would take care that it should be preserved free from human mistakes. It is an utterly ignoble view of God that He should make a revelation of Himself, and then leave it in the hands of fallible men to freely mix it up with their own thoughts, and that every reader should have to decide for himself what are God’s thoughts and what are men’s, what is divine and what is human, what is truth and what is error. No human author would allow this, yet men dare to think that God would allow the precious message, through which alone men can know the truth and be blessed, to be thus made into a veritable hotchpotch, robbed of its purity and authority.

Well might Bishop Wordsworth write:
  “We affirm that the Bible is the WORD of God, and that it is not marred by human infirmities. We do not imagine, with some, that the Bible is like a threshing floor on which wheat and chaff lie mingled together, and that it is left to the reader to winnow and sift the wheat from the chaff by the fan and sieve of his own mind.”

We may well enquire as to the origin of Modernism. Is the fountain of its origin clean or unclean? Does it come from Bible lovers or Bible haters? Was there a predilection in favour of the Scriptures, or a bias against them, on the part of the men who set the ball of Modernism rolling?

In a small pamphlet we can only give a few details, and pick out the most prominent of the originators of Modernism.

In 1670, Spinoza, a Dutch author, wrote a book ascribing the authorship of the Pentateuch to Ezra, or to some other late compiler, and denying the Mosaic authorship. It may well be noted that Spinoza was an infidel Jew and not a Christian. We cannot expect a fair handling of the Scriptures from such a man.

In 1753, a French doctor, Jean Astruc, propounded the theory that because Genesis 1 used the word—“Elohim”—for God, and Genesis 2 used the words—“Jehovah Elohim”—for God, there must have been two original documents, which had been incorporated into one book. And who was Astruc? A free-thinker and a man of profligate life.

A German professor, Eichhorn of the University of Gottingen, took up Astruc’s ideas, and in 1780 published a book embodying them. He it was who coined the term Higher Criticism, which has been defined as:
  “The discovery and verification of the facts regarding the origin, form, and value of literary productions upon the basis of their internal characters.”

A few years later (1806) De Wette, a German professor of philosophy and theology at Heidelberg, continued on Eichhorn’s lines. Others kept up the task of criticism on these lines till Julius Wellhausen began to publish still more advanced views in 1878. He believed that he had discovered twenty-two different authors for the books of Moses—all unknown.

Dr. L.W.Munhall of Philadelphia quotes the following testimony:
  “You cannot have Christ and the critics both; you must choose whom you will follow. I have known personally almost all the great scholars in the past thirty years in Germany, who are Higher Critics, and not one of them believed in the Deity of our Lord” (The Drift of the Times, p. 7).

We have only noticed very briefly four or five of the most prominent originators of Modernism, and most certainly the source of the stream of Biblical criticism is tainted. A rationalistic Jew, a profligate Frenchman, a set of critics to a man disbelieving in the deity of our Lord, are certainly not calculated to inspire us with confidence as to their teaching.

That some Modernists recognize what is the end of the road they travel is exemplified by the following. The late Professor W.H.Griffith Thomas, D.D., wrote:
  “More than twenty years ago the present writer, walking with Julius Wellhausen in the quaint streets of Greifswald, ventured to ask him whether, if his views were accepted, the Bible could retain its place in the estimation of the common people; ‘I cannot see how that is possible,’ was the sad reply” (Back to the Bible).

It is reported that when Wellhausen was informed that his British followers believed in the inspiration of the Pentateuch, he replied in amazement:
  “I knew the Old Testament was a fraud; but I never dreamt of making God a party to the fraud, as these Scotch fellows do.”

Whether the story is true or not, the remark is simply logical.

Chapter 2: Modernism: Its Methods

Jean Astruc (1753) practically started the popular method of Modernism when he ascribed the authorship of Genesis to two authors because Genesis 1 used the word—“Elohim”—for God; whereas Genesis 2 used the words—“Jehovah Elohim”. We ask in astonishment, Was this a sufficient reason for the assertion that the book of Genesis had two authors?

For instance, what would be thought of a critic, who, reading a life of Napoleon Bonaparte, and finding in one part the little Corsican described as Napoleon, and in another part as Napoleon Bonaparte, came to the conclusion that the book was compiled from two documents by an unknown editor, or redactor, as the Modernists are fond of describing such an individual? Would we not think that he had taken leave of his senses?

And when we remember this idea originated with a profligate Frenchman, we should wonder how the idea caught on, if we did not know how well it suits unconverted men to accept anything which appears to undermine the authority of the Book which witnesses against them.

But Wellhausen, as we have seen, completely threw Astruc into the shade with his imaginary discovery of no less than twenty-two different authors for the Books of Moses—all unknown.

We may well ask, Was there any occasion in all the literature of the world, when an editor produced a volume made up of the writings of twenty-two different authors, more or less, and succeeded in foisting them upon a whole nation as the writing of one of their greatest men, and received as such without question for many centuries? And yet, this is what we are asked to believe in the case of Moses and the Jewish nation.

We should suppose that men nearer the time would know more about it than German professors at this late date. Men—able men too—much nearer the time received the five books as of Mosaic authorship without question. We say well ask, Why is the Bible of all the books in the world singled out for such treatment?

The fact that Wellhausen’s twenty-two authors are all anonymous deepens suspicion. If such existed, they were wonderfully brilliant men to have produced among them the five books of Moses. There is absolutely nothing approaching them in ancient literature. But to believe that some editor, or redactor, pieced together the writings of twenty-two different authors, and made a coherent whole of them, so much so, that for centuries able men never suspected how the book was put together, would require infinitely more credulity to believe than it does to believe that God inspired Moses to write the five books, which bear his name.

It reminds me of an American story. In the States, insects in the fields are commonly called “bugs.” At one of the colleges there was an eminent professor of “bugology,” and one day his students determined to play a practical joke upon him.

They procured specimens of several varieties of bugs, and securing the head of one, the wings of another, the legs of a third, the body of a fourth and so on, they then carefully pieced the different members together and approached the professor. They invited him to examine this new specimen. They were sure the learned professor would know the variety and be able to tell them its name.

He carefully examined the object placed before him, and then gravely announced: “Gentlemen, this bug is a humbug.”

So the Modernists’ “Bible” is a humbug, and a patent humbug at that. How reasonable men can believe that such literary frauds could be imposed upon a nation passes our comprehension.

How then could these twenty-two different authors have provided material to have produced such a result, even in the hands of a skilful redactor? And if the twenty-two authors were brilliant men of letters, who must this super-genius be who could piece the different pamphlets into one and make a coherent whole? The author of such a surpassingly brilliant feat could no more expect to be hid than the sun at midday in a cloudless sky. And yet he is anonymous.

Rousseau, an immoral infidel by his own confession, said:
  “It is more inconceivable that a number of persons should agree to write a history, than that one should furnish the subject of it. The Jewish authors were incapable of the diction, and strangers to the morality contained in the Gospel. The marks of its truth are so striking and inimitable, that the inventor would be a more astonishing character than the hero.”

If only these Modernists would submit themselves to a test where their “assured results” could be proved one way or the other, the conceit would certainly be taken out of them.

It would have the same result, we are assured, as that which an orthodox minister imposed upon a Modernist minister. They were both attending a summer conference in America, and one day they began discussing in a friendly way the merits of Higher Criticism.

The orthodox minister asked his Higher Critic friend whether he knew two speakers at the Conference, whom we will call Mr. A. and Mr. B.

He replied that he knew them both quite well, had read their writings, had heard them preach often, and had frequently met them in private.

The orthodox minister then went to Mr. A. and asked him to write an account of one day’s proceedings at the Conference. He then made the same request to Mr. B.

The accounts were written and the orthodox pastor became a sort of redactor, mixing up the two writers so as to form an intelligible whole.

He then handed the result to his Higher Critic friend asking him to separate Mr. A.’s account from Mr. B.’s, and restore the original documents.

The result was a ludicrous failure.

Now if a man, with the information that the paper put into the hands was actually written by two authors, whom he knew personally, and whose styles he was familiar with, could not unravel the work of each, what chance has a Western professor in the nineteenth century after Christ to unravel writings of twenty-two Eastern authors, dating long centuries before Christ?

Both the source of Modernism and its methods leave us utterly sceptical as to its “assured results.”

Canon Cheyne is the name of a well-known English Higher Critic, who followed in the steps of Wellhausen, and even surpassed him in his wild guesses.

Bishop Weildon writes of him:
  “At the hands of such a critic as the late Dr. Cheyne it [higher criticism] aspires to fix the dates not only of particular books, but even of particular chapters and even verses in the same book. Dr. Cheyne’s method of treating the Psalter and the Prophetical books falls LITTLE SHORT OF INSANITY”* (Modernism, p. 4).
{*Capitals ours}

Rev. Dr. Hanson giving his presidential address to the Metropolitan Free Church Federation at Marylebone (November 27th, 1906), explaining Dr. Driver’s treatment of Genesis 7:9 says:
  “Dr. Driver cuts this single verse into five separate scraps, then alters a word to suit the theory that he has adopted, and finally adopts a clause from another verse lower down, simply because he was unable to find a place for it elsewhere according to the hypothesis which governs his analysis, and he did not wish to leave it hanging in mid-air. Imagine analysis conducted in that fashion through a whole book. Yet this, if you please, is criticism. At the risk of outraging the proprietries, I venture to call it nonsense. Let a man believe in such analysis if he can; but, for my part, I do not hesitate to call it laborious trifling, which can only commend itself to those who have a theory to support, and impudence enough to offer it for the acceptance of thoughtful men. Such reconstruction is surely the most elaborate jest of modern times. I marvel at the critics’ want of humour” (Invulnerable Certainties, p. 10).

The writer was in correspondence recently with a very leading Modernist and ventured to remark that his writings gave evidence that his modern views were most evidently moderated and held in check by his early training. He ventured to quote the words of Dr. W.H.Green of Princeton University:
  “They who have themselves been grounded in the Christian faith may by A HAPPY INCONSISTENCY hold fast their old convictions, while admitting principles, methods, and conclusions that are logically at war with them. But who can be surprised if others shall with stricter logic carry what has thus been commended to them to its legitimate conclusions?”

He found that his surmises were correct, for this leading modernist replied:
  “I was brought up in the strictest school of verbal inspiration, and was compelled to move away from it under the sheer pressure of my study of the actual phenomena of Scripture.”

The writer replied that what concerned him was that the coming generation will largely begin where the Modernist of the present generation leaves off, and that they will carry Modernism to its legitimate and logical conclusion, viz.: to blank infidelity. The apostasy of Christendom is foretold in the Scriptures, and Modernism is hastening the fulfilment of this prophecy. When the Church of God is caught up at the second coming of Christ, nothing but the empty shell of a Christ-less profession will be left, and it will then only need a step or two more to complete the process, and Christendom will be fully and unabashedly apostate. To this end Modernism is helping.

It is deeply instructive that what moved this Modernist leader from his early belief in verbal inspiration worked exactly the other way in the case of the distinguished Hebrew scholar and author of that monumental book, “The True Value of the Old Testament,” the late Rev. A.H.Finn. He wrote:
  “For myself (if I may be pardoned a personal reference) it was the utterly unscientific methods employed in the so-called ‘scientific criticism’ as they are set forth in higher critical works that repelled me before ever I had studied the works on the other side” (p. 12).

The late Professor Orr, the holder of a Theological chair, was just as severe. He wrote:
  “The radical vice of the newer critical method is its continual substitution of arbitrary conjecture for the facts of history” (Problem of the Old Testament, p. 119).

With Bishop Welldon, a classical scholar, describing Cheyne’s method of criticism as “little short of insanity,” and the Rev. A.H.Finn’s charging “scientific criticism” with employing “utterly unscientific methods,” and Professor Orr’s damaging stricture, we are certainly entitled to submit Modernistic teaching to the severest test, since its origin and methods are so questionable.

Chapter 3: Modernism: Its Teachings

In a small pamphlet it is necessary to be concise, and therefore under this heading we propose to quote Modernistic views from one book only, viz: “Peake’s Commentary on the Bible.” It has been published since the first Great War, so that it is fairly up-to-date.* The late Professor A.S.Peake, M.A., D.D., was its compiler, and its contributors number sixty-one men of scholarship, most of them principals or professors of theological colleges. Rev. W. Graham Scroggie described this Commentary as “Sodden with infidelity.” A few extracts will abundantly prove this description to be true.
{*A.J. Pollock’s booklet was written between the World Wars.}

Peake’s Commentary* is designed, so it is stated, to present the generally accepted results of Biblical Criticism, Interpretation, History, and Theology. It is put forth in the hope that it may be specially helpful to lay and Sunday school teachers, lay preachers, leaders of Bible classes, and theological students. May God have mercy on leaders taught in this connection.
{*In quoting from this commentary, we shall designate it by the letter P, so as to save space.}

That verbal inspiration of the original Scripture is denied by Modernists is fully proved by the following extracts.

Writing of Genesis Professor Peake says:
  “Apart from internal inconsistencies there are intrinsic incredibilities . . . much in Gen. 1:11 is of mythical origin; but it has been purified in various degrees by the religious genius of Israel and the spirit of revelation” (P., p. 133).

Evidently according to the Professor he thinks Genesis 1:11 is largely mythical and therefore, to that extent, uninspired, but purified by the religious genius of Israel and the spirit of revelation; that is, inspired in some vague and partial way.

We ask, Was it the religious genius of Israel that brought a measure of purity into the Scriptures, or the Scriptures that originated the religious genius of Israel? Has Professor Peake not observed how the tendency of the children of Israel was ever to relapse into the idolatry of the surrounding nations? Where then was the indigenous religious genius of Israel?

Was not Abraham a poor idolator, when the God of glory appeared unto him? Was it the religious genius of Abraham that purified him of idolatry, or was it the revelation of God that effected this wonderful result?

Ishmael and Isaac were both sons of Abraham. Why did Isaac alone exhibit “natural genius for religion”? Esau and Jacob were both sons of Isaac. Why did Jacob alone develop a “natural genius for religion”?

Moses was brought up in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was accustomed to court life. Was it his “natural genius for religion,” or the sight of the burning bush and Jehovah’s commissioning him for his great work, that sent him to his great task?

Take the conversion of the apostle Paul. Was it “natural genius for religion” that led him into the path of Christianity, or that wonderful experience on the Damascus road, when the light above the brightness of the sun unhorsed him, and the voice from heaven converted him?

In every case the truth is exactly the opposite of Professor Peake’s idea.

Then further, he thinks that Genesis 1:11 has been purified by the spirit of revelation. Surely if there were the spirit of revelation it was capable not merely of purifying that which was corrupt, but of giving us a pure revelation first hand. Fancy “the spirit of revelation” in Genesis leaving “internal inconsistencies” and “intrinsic incredibilities.” The purifying did not go very far. It is an insult to God to put such views upon record.

We may well ask, Why was Israel the only nation to have this “natural genius for religion”? Why was Israel alone monotheistic amid nations steeped in the idolatry of gods many? Why did Israel worship the true and living God, and not created things as did the surrounding nations.

It was in truth something outside and above themselves that originated these ideas, something that held them to them in spite of their constant tendency to relapse. Those forces were revelation and the Spirit of God. Surely if God revealed His mind at all, He would reveal it adequately, and not be compelled to take up man’s corrupt ideas, purifying them somewhat, yet leaving myth and legend, “internal inconsistencies” and “intrinsic incredibilities” to puzzle and perplex the readers of the Scriptures.

What is the ploughman, and the fisherman, the artisan and the shopman, nay, the learned and the scholar to make of a Bible such as Professor Peake wishes to give us? Where is the assurance as to God’s Word? Completely gone.

And if the reliability of God’s Word is taken from us, everything is gone. It is the central stone of the arch, the keystone of the building. Without it there can be no arch, no building.

Principal E.Griffith-Jones says:
  “There is an instinctive craving in the human soul for a standard of belief and conduct which shall be accepted as infallible. To stigmatise this as a superstition or an infirmity is to pass an undiscriminating judgment on a universal tendency. What marks man everywhere, in all his strivings after spiritual peace and assurance, must be a valid instinct in itself, however many the abuses associated with its workings” (P., p. 7).

This is well said indeed. But he says too much to be consistent with his Modernistic view. It seems to us that the Professor is hoisted with his own petard. He unites with Professor Peake in destroying our faith in the verbal inspiration of the Bible, yet he tells us that there is an instinctive craving in the human soul for a standard of belief which shall be accepted as infallible. We ask, Who gave to man that craving? The answer must be God. And if God gave the craving, shall He mock us by allowing us to have a book with much of it of mythical origin, with “internal inconsistencies” and “intrinsic incredibilities”?

If God gives man hunger He must of necessity give food, and provide the food, too, before He gives the hunger, and if He gives food He does not mix it with poison and rubbish. And if God meets the physical hunger of man with food of His own providing, will He not meet man’s spiritual hunger by giving him that which satisfies his craving for infallibility, and this we find in Christ, and in God’s holy Word?

Professor Peake says:
  “The story [of creation in Genesis 1] rests upon a much older tradition, mainly it would seem, Babylonian in its origin . . . At what time this myth reached Israel is much disputed” (P., p. 135).

It is strange how contradictory conclusions may be. Professor Pinches writes:
  “The important point is, that there is very little in all this that implies borrowing, as has been stated, on the part of the writer of the book of Genesis. In the opinion of the Babylonians, the heavens and the earth came into existence and were not created . . . there is no appearance of the Deity as the first and only cause of the existence of things . . . the simple theology which appears in this book of Genesis did not, therefore, exist with the Babylonians and Assyrians, but gave place to a clever and attractive cosmological theory” (The Witness of Archaeology to the Bible, pp. 7-8).

Another authority on Babylonia—Maunder—said that the whole Bible is as clean as driven snow of any trace of Babylonian ideas.

That mankind generally should have ideas of creation is to be expected, and that these ideas, filtering down from the earliest stage in the history of man through succeeding ages, should become mixed up with degrading and fantastic ideas is not surprising. Indeed, Romans 1 tells us how man, knowing God at first, did not like to retain God in his knowledge, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into images of corruptible man, of bird and beast and creeping thing.

Unless God revealed to us how creation took place we should never have known how it took place, for no human person was there to see. Everything but revelation is guess, and worth nothing.

Contrast the following account of creation with Genesis 1, and then decide how much Moses copied from any other source.

Berosus tells us that the Babylonians held that:
  “In the beginning all was darkness and water, and therein were generated animals of strange forms—men with two wings and two faces, men with heads and horns of goats, there were bulls with human heads, dogs with boars’ bodies and fishes’ tails. A woman ruled them. Then Belus appeared, and split the woman in twain; of the one half of her he made heaven, and of the other half he made the earth. Belus commanded one of the gods to cut off his head and to mix the blood which flowed from the earth and form man therewith, and beasts that could bear the light.”

If Moses was inspired to produce the simple, profound and majestic description as found in Genesis 1, it is unbelievable that he could be indebted in any degree to such a grotesque account of creation as we have just quoted.

The Chaldean “Genesis” is again described as:
  “A struggle between Tiamat, the female personification (presumably) of primeval waters and the rest of the gods. Anu claims the right to decide the dispute, but Tiamat declares war. Marduk fights against her, takes captive the gods who are her allies, cleaves her in twain, and out of the one half of her skin fashions the firmament of heaven, out of the other the earth. The eleven monsters he places in the sky to be signs of the Zodiac.”

Or take the Hindu theory of the universe:
  “The earth was a flat, triangular expanse, in three storeys, built upon the backs of elephants, and that the elephants in turn stood firm upon a tortoise, and the tortoise upon a serpent’s coil, and the serpent on no one knows what.”

It may be that Professor Peake sincerely believed that he was doing God’s service by promulgating such ideas as we have just quoted from his Commentary, but that makes such propaganda all the more dangerous. Saul of Tarsus sincerely thought that he was doing God’s service when he was haling men and women to prison, and even consenting to the murder of Stephen because he was a Christian.

A child of eighteen months recently was left in a motor car, touched a lever, setting it in motion. It knocked down an electric standard, thereby cutting off the electric current for a large town for a considerable period of time. The fact that the innocent babe did not realize the seriousness of its act did not lessen the consequences of it.

For gratuitous speculation, unsupported by a line of Scripture, the following from the pen of Professor Peake would be hard to beat:
  “Among the animals formed by Yahweh in His first attempt to provide man with a companion, was the serpent; at that time, either a quadruped or holding itself erect” (P., p. 140).

We could not have believed such arrant nonsense could have been written did it not appear word for word in his Commentary. The Bible may be questioned, Christ may be blasphemed, but here God Himself is stated to have made an attempt to mate Adam with the serpent, and to have failed, and this without one line of proof. It is pure speculation and assumption. What sort of God is this? It is horrible stuff, and puerile and contemptible at that.

To criticise every statement in Peake’s Commentary would mean several volumes, but if the rest of Professor Peake’s statements are no more satisfactory than those we have just criticised, we may well avoid placing the slightest confidence in him as a religious guide.

Let us now take a statement of Principal E. Griffith-Jones.

  “Out of 275 quotations it has been found that there are only 53 in which the Hebrew, the Septuagint (or Greek version of the Old Testament) and the New Testament writers verbally agree; there are 99 in which the New Testament quotation differs from both (which also differ from one another), and 76 in which the correct Septuagint rendering has been wrongly altered. This is quite incompatible with the position that all the words of Scripture are equally inspired; for can we believe that the Holy Spirit would misquote Himself?” (P., p. 4).

On the surface, the above statement seems to score a point against the Scriptures, but, in reality, it does not show up the Bible, but the ignorance and simplicity of the reverend gentleman who makes it. If he cannot look beneath the surface a little better than this, we shall not be inclined to take him any more seriously than we do Professor Peake.

If the Bible claims to be inspired it surely would not be so careless as to throw away its chances of being thus received by exhibiting such obvious carelessness. A mere copyist could have ensured the making of the quotations correctly. We could have set the office boy to a task like this.

Out of 275 quotations Mr. Griffith-Jones tells us that 222 are incorrect. It looks at first sight as if the Bible writers had purposely set out to be utterly careless in that particular. It is not a question of half-a-dozen quotations being garbled among so many, and even those would have been seized upon with delight by the enemies of the Bible, but the number is so preponderating as to set aside the charge of carelessness,
  The answer to Principal Griffith-Jones’ statement is this. When an inspired writer quotes from the Old Testament he uses just as much of the passage quoted as suits the purpose of the Divine Mind, though never contradicting it, altering it often in order to convey, not the exact meaning of the Old Testament passage, but the fuller meaning intended to be conveyed by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.

Now no one but God could so treat Scripture. The fact that it is done, and done largely, is another claim to inspiration. God is the Author of the Bible, and He can quote His OWN words, altering and adding to them to suit His purpose. But if any of us quote Scripture, we must do it with careful exactitude. We have no right to alter a jot or tittle. But the Author of the Book can do this. It matters little what pen He uses, whether it be Moses or Isaiah, Peter or Paul, or Matthew or John, it is all His writing.

Let us give an illustration. In the Old Testament we have a Scripture, and in the New Testament we have the quotation.

  “Though IT tarry, wait for IT; because IT will surely come, IT will not tarry” (Hab. 2:3).
  “For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Heb. 10:37).

Why is the “IT” of the Old Testament altered to “HE” in the New Testament? Principal Griffith-Jones sees no more in it than the mistaken bungle of the writer of the New Testament quotation. Surely he is looking at the matter from the point of view of a mere mechanical copyist. The fact is both passages are equally and verbally inspired. They both fit in with the scheme of the dispensation in which they occur.

In the Old Testament we get the hope of the Jew: in the New Testament the hope of the Christian. The former is for Christ to come back to earth, subdue His enemies, take out of His kingdom all things that offend, and set up His glorious reign, making Israel the head of the nations because He will be at the head of the Jewish nation. Such a prospect is rightly described as a vision in Habakkuk 2:3, and a glowing, glorious vision it surely is. Reference to the vision is marked by the word “IT.”

But when we come to the hope of the Christian another point of view is taken up. Before the Christian is called to take his part to reign WITH Christ, Christ will come FOR him and take him out of this world, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:52), to be with Himself. The Christian thus waits for a Person, and the quotation is altered designedly and of set purpose from the “IT” of Habakkuk to the “HE” of Hebrews. Both the Old Testament passage and the altered quotation in the New Testament are alike verbally inspired and equally Scripture.

But Principal Griffith-Jones is blind to all this—“a blind leader of the blind,” we fear.

Take another instance, and this must suffice, though we could extend the list to a very long one. We set the Old Testament Scripture and the New Testament quotation side by side:
  “For Thou hast made Him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned Him with glory and honour” (Ps. 8:5).

  “But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:9).

Evidently the New Testament quotation throws light upon the Old Testament passage, enlarging and amplifying it in view of the fuller light that Christ had put upon everything. In Psalm 8 we are not given the name of the Son of Man. Christ had not come then. But a thousand years before His advent into the world the Son of Man is prophesied of as coming, so surely, that what was dimly future then, was spoken of as having been already accomplished. No uninspired pen would ever have dreamed of putting things in that way.

Not only so, but the New Testament tells us the Son of Man of Psalm 8 is none other than our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, and the object for which He was made a little lower than the angels is given, viz: “for the suffering of death” and that “He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

Yet Principal Griffith-Jones would have the New Testament writer to refuse the fuller light which the coming of Christ gave, and to quote with the dull accuracy of a mere mechanical copyist, or of a compiler of dry statistics, but the living Word of God cannot be so bound. We should have been infinite losers if it had been.

Then Principal Griffith-Jones comments on the fact that the original Scriptures have long since disappeared, and that in the hundreds of MSS. existing there is much variation; that while we can be practically certain of the sense of most passages, we cannot often be sure which rendering is nearest the exact wording of the original text. He then says:
  “In view of these unquestionable facts, it is futile to affirm any longer the verbally inspired character of the Bible, and those who would ‘save their faces’ by suggesting this of the lost original text are doing small honour to the Holy Spirit, for if it was worth while working a miracle to produce such a text, why was not a miracle wrought to preserve it from corruption?” (P., p. 4).

The answer as to why the original Scriptures have not been preserved we think is twofold. First, if they had been, probably religious sceptics would have denied the fact of their being the originals. What would there have been to have hindered their doing so?

On the one hand, if rationalism might have flouted their claim to be the originals, the ritualists would have gone to the other extreme, and have surrounded them with idolatrous superstition.

We remember how the children of Israel burned incense before the brazen serpent that Moses made, and that the godly King Hezekiah broke it in pieces, and called it in derision, “Nehushtan,” literally a trifle of brass. We believe God allowed the original Scriptures to disappear for the same reason that Hezekiah destroyed the serpent of brass.

Principal Griffith-Jones asks, if it was worth while producing a verbally inspired text, “why was not a miracle wrought to save it from corruption?”

We may well ask the reverend gentleman a question. If he allows, and he does allow a measure of divine inspiration in the Scriptures, does he not do the Holy Spirit small honour when he affirms that the writers of the Scriptures put down a mixture of truth and error?

As he says:
  “It is quite in analogy with other facts to believe that a real vision of God may be compatible with imperfect knowledge of facts and events, and that a true point of view may co-exist with much intellectual error and confusion . . . The truth may have taken on the colour of the speaker’s temperament and individuality, and so more or less distorted in expression, without losing its Divine quality” (P., p. 4).

Surely if the Holy Spirit had gone thus far He would have gone further, and have given poor mortals the pure Word of God, unadulterated and infallible.

We would now seek to answer the Principal’s question, Why was not a miracle wrought to preserve the copies and translations of the Scriptures from corruption? If that had been the case we should have been in the same danger as if the original Scriptures had been preserved. Revelation and inspiration were necessary for the original Scriptures, but to have preserved every copyist from mistakes would simply be claiming inspiration for any person, who chose to copy the Scriptures, whatever their reason for doing so might be.

Nay further, and let Principal Griffith-Jones take note of this, why is it that we have many hundreds of manuscript copies of the Holy Scriptures, either in part or the whole, and no other book in the world has received such attention? Why was it the life-long work of men of former centuries to copy the Scriptures with such reverence and extreme care? Why is it that the writings of the early fathers abound in Scripture quotations, so numerous that practically the whole of the Bible was quoted by them? Why was it that Scripture was thus regarded as infallible and authoritative? Simply because it was firmly believed by the apostles, and those who came after them, to be the veritable, inspired Word of God.

Even Peake’s Commentary admits that:
  “For more than a thousand years after our era [the Christian era] the tradition of Mosaic authorship was not seriously questioned” (P., p. 121).

We think that Paul and Peter and John and Augustine and Chrysostom and Jerome were as good judges as Professor Peake and his collaborators, and they came to a very different conclusion from that of the Modernists.

And further, that God used the reverent and painstaking labours of the men, who copied the Scriptures, to preserve to us His own word is very remarkable. Look at the fanatical jealousy with which the Jews guarded the integrity of the Old Testament Scriptures. Even to this present day, men who deny the Virgin Birth preach from a Bible which affirms it. Men who deny the existence of hell hold in their hands the Book which states its existence again and again. The Bible in whole or in part is being printed by the million in over 1,000 languages without one word being altered.

Lastly, if you take all the disputed passages as the result of various renderings of the ancient manuscripts, it is as but a mere handful of chaff to a whole field of wheat. Not one Bible doctrine is weakened. There is absolutely no serious disagreement. The deity of Christ, His true manhood, His atoning death, His glorious resurrection, the glorious gospel, His coming again, all shine out in clear light, and are absolutely unaffected.

It is as if you had a looking-glass, with a mere speck or two of the quick-silver defective. If you looked into the glass and saw your reflection, you would have no doubt, as to what you saw, though the glass had sustained this trifling defect. So with the translations of the Word of God.

We would rather that the original Scriptures were lost. The very multiplicity of the copies of part and the whole only proves indubitably that the original Scriptures existed; and the exceedingly insignificant variation of the text only brings into brilliant relief the marvellous reliability of the translation of the Scriptures we hold in our hands.

The very fact that the copyists were uninspired and that God worked no miracle in their case, only proves more than ever the integrity of the Holy Scriptures, for if so very much in the Word of God in these circumstances is undisputed, and the little that is, does not affect anything fundamental or vital in the very least, it only confirms in overwhelming fashion our faith that we hold the very Scriptures of God in our hand.

We sometimes use an illustration to show how God can employ a man as an inspired penman without reducing him to a mere automaton, extinguishing his personality. For instance, one can get an idea of the different writers from their writings. Paul, that rare combination of great intellect, argumentative power, indomitable will, and tender affection. Peter, lacking the breadth of mind that education gave to Paul, impulsive and energetic. Isaiah, poetical. Solomon, sententious and wise, etc., etc.

Suppose you are at a banquet. You notice a number of jelly shapes on the table. Some are large and some small some square, some oblong, some round, some ornamented and some plain.

We ask the question, How much of the mould is in the jelly? The mould gives shape to the jelly, just as one can often tell by a passage of Scripture which writer penned it. You hear a verse and you say, That sounds like Paul, or like John, or like David.

You can tell what kind of mould the jelly has been in, but how much of the mould is in the jelly? The answer is, Not a single atom of the mould is in the jelly. So God, we believe, gives us in language, moulded by the personality of the writer, thoughts which are God’s alone, without any admixture of error. We recognize the mould, but what is conveyed is God’s truth. “The words of the Lord are pure words.”

Sometimes we are asked how can we tell that the Apocrypha is not inspired. A brief answer can be given under three heads. (1) It is never once quoted in the New Testament, whilst the Old Testament Scriptures are constantly quoted. (2) It apologizes for itself, which the inspired Scriptures never do. (3) The perusal of it makes the reader very conscious that it is far below the lofty standard of the inspired writings.

Professor E. Griffith-Jones shows his ignorance of the spiritual meaning of Scripture when he asks the question:
  “What value for spiritual life can we find in the minute liturgical and ceremonial details of the Tabernacle and its services?” (P., p. 5).

It is true that he refers to the Epistle to the Hebrews as dealing with Judaism as the shadow of Christianity, but it is evident that he could not have penned the above question if he had rightly understood and appreciated the Hebrew epistle. That epistle is filled with the choicest teaching for the Christian, based on the Tabernacle details, either used as the shadow is to the substance, or by way of contrast. We find the teaching, based on the Tabernacle shadows in the light of the New Testament substance, most valuable for spiritual life.

The late Sir Robert Anderson, L.L.D., put upon record how the opening up of the spiritual meaning of the Jewish ceremonial law convinced him of the wonderful inspiration of Scripture, and was of untold blessing to him.

When Principal Griffith-Jones can dismiss with a wave of his hand such a portion of God’s Word as valueless for spiritual life, when it forms one of the greatest helps to be found in the Word of God, we can only express our conviction that in criticising the Bible he is only showing up his own ignorance of it.

Writing of deliverance from old-fashioned views on the Bible, the same Professor writes:
  “The first blow came from the Copernican astronomy, which dethroned the earth from her central place among the heavenly bodies; the second from geology, which superseded the Mosaic programme of the creation of the world in six days, and substituted eras of unimaginable length in the formation of the earth’s crust for the legendary week of Genesis 1; the third from the theory of evolution, which filled the vast ranges of space and time thus suddenly thrown open with a perspective of developing life, whose evolution is still far from its goal. The emancipation is now fairly complete but unfortunately, the triumph of science has for the time impaired the authority of Scripture not only as a text-book of astronomy or physics, but in its own proper domain as a fountain of religious knowledge and of spiritual inspiration” (P., p. 5).

Certainly here we have an extract “sodden with infidelity.” Here is a Christian minister who refuses to believe in Genesis 1 as to the creation of the world and of man, because he thinks it is in conflict with the speculations of geology and the theories of evolution. Let us take the three points at issue.

Where does the Bible contradict the truth that the sun and not the earth is the centre of our system? Naturally, as this earth is the habitation of man, we should get in detail the steps in the creation and arrangement of the earth as planned for his comfort, whilst little is said about the sun and moon and stars.

Take the case of a young child with opening intelligence. Naturally this earth would occupy his mind; by-and-bye, as he grew up, he would grasp the meaning of the sun as a beneficent light-giver and fructifier of earth’s harvest, and without which this earth would cease to be able to maintain life, whether animal or vegetable.

If the Bible taught that the earth was the centre of the universe [solar system? ed.], how is it that centuries before Copernicus lived, we should have the coming of the Son of Man prophesied as to occur simultaneously in broad daylight, at early morn, and in the darkness of night, as seen in two men in the field, two women grinding together, and two men in one bed, at the same moment of time (see Luke 17:34-36)? This could only happen by the earth revolving on its axis, when the part of the earth towards the sun is bathed in light, and the part away from it is wrapped in darkness. How does Principal Griffith-Jones explain this?

The German Strauss was confident that the Copernican system had given the death-blow to Christianity. Well, Christianity has survived the blow, if blow it be. No, the Copernican theory did not strike a blow at Christianity, for the Bible and the Copernican theory do not contradict each other. True science and the Bible cannot be at variance, for God is the author of them both.

Further, Principal Griffith-Jones says that geology has superseded the Mosaic programme of the creation of the world in six days. But the Bible never says it took six days to create the world. The creation of the world is stated in Genesis 1:1. There may have been millions of years between Genesis 1:1 and the rest of the chapter, and geologists are welcome to all the time they demand for the formation of the rocks in their present order. The six days, whether literal days or long periods of time, were periods of re-construction.

Isaiah 45:18 tells us that God did not create the earth “in vain,” yet Genesis 1:2 tells us the earth was “without form,” using the very same word in the Hebrew in both cases. This is no new teaching. We believe that it was taught before Principal Griffith-Jones or the writer was born. The word—create—is not used in Genesis 1:16 for the sun and moon but the word made—as fashioning something out of material already existing, as a joiner makes a chair. He uses the wood, but the wood cannot be called a chair till it is fashioned in a certain way.

Evidently the creation of the sun is included in the brief record of Genesis 1:1, and it received its place as the centre of our system as recorded in verse 16.

There are mysterious things to account for, such as the disappearance of the mammoth, and of other pre-historic animals, who have left no descendants on the earth. Did they disappear between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2? We think this is so. Also, how comes it that in the arctic regions of Hudson’s Bay Territory there are fossils of gigantic ferns and palms, which show that in these arctic regions there was once a climate more tropical than anything we know now? These things should make men propound their theories, as to how creation took place in ages before man existed, with at least some measure of reserve and diffidence.

It has been said that it is much easier to reconcile Genesis 1 with geology, than it is to reconcile the last edition of Sir Charles Lyell’s “Geology” with its first edition.

The third blow that Christianity has sustained, according to Principal Griffith-Jones, is from evolution as contradicting the account given of the creation of Adam in Genesis 1. Principal Griffith-Jones is right in calling evolution a theory, for it is a theory unscientific and unproved. It is not one missing link that is necessary to complete the proof of the theory, but millions, and they are ALL missing. There is no trace in nature of transmutation of species whatever, and the theory rests on that, an idea without a shadow of proof. Natural selection, another necessary part of the theory, utterly fails to furnish an iota of proof. Let man by his skill and arrangement produce superior varieties of pigeons, such as fantail, pouter, etc., then let the birds loose into the woods and in a few generations natural selection will have wiped out all the differences, and the descendants of these fantails and pouters will have got back to the common rock pigeon, the basic type.

Principal Griffith-Jones speaks of the Bible as a text-book of astronomy and physics. It is no such thing. It teaches what is necessary for man. It never contradicts true science, but it does challenge what Paul called with withering scorn, “science falsely so called” (1 Tim 6:20).

We regret that we can only answer these extracts so cursorily, for the answer that can be given is annihilating.* But space forbids anything fuller.
{*For fuller answer see our pamphlet “Evolution, unscientific and unscriptural,” to be obtained from our Publishers.}

Sir Wm. Ramsey, an authority, whose competence to speak is without question, wrote:
  “The Modernist theologian knows all that I do not know. He has no hesitation; he fixes the limits of the possible, and knows exactly what is impossible . . . He knows all things, and he is content and happy in his utter ignorance. . . He believes in the so-called laws of Nature and thinks that he knows.

  “I am only too ready to believe in the laws of Nature, but I do not know them. What are those laws of Nature? Of all the truths that I was taught at college fifty-five years ago, expressing the nature of light, of electricity, and heat, and sound, there is nothing left which a scientific man could now recite to his admiring and credulous pupils without exposing himself to ridicule as an ignorant pretender to knowledge, as repeating the outworn patter of an antiquated teaching. The Modernist is no more than a survival from the remote past.”

These are scornful words, but the sting lies in their TRUTH.

It may well be that in another fifty-five years the present Evolutionary and Modernist theories will he described as “the worn-out patter of an antiquated teaching.”

One proof of inspiration is, that whilst the theories of science are almost as changing as Paris fashions in ladies’ dresses, the Bible remains the same, corroborated and not contradicted by any genuine fact as distinguished from hypotheses or theories which a pseudo-science has to offer us.

The Bible is the only Book that has stood the test of long centuries. What book of its age has anything more than an academic interest? They don’t print Homer’s Iliad or Caesar’s History of the Gallic Wars by the million, nor do you hear of any one saying that the Iliad saved him from sin and made a new man of him. Shakespeare’s poetry does not gild the bed of death with light, as the Bible does for the dying saint. It was the Bible that Queen Victoria put into the hands of a dusky chieftain as the secret of Britain’s greatness.

We now turn to another extract. Professor Addis writes:
  “We set out to prove that there are no Psalms certainly or even probably Davidic. We have in reality advanced further. The Psalter, as a whole, presumably belongs to the second Temple, and even to the later history of that temple” (P., p. 368).

This bias in this astounding extract is plain. He can use the adverbs “certainty and “probably” when denying what the Word of God affirms, and then use the adverb “presumably” when affirming what is sheer conjecture.

The reverend gentleman ought surely to have known what a serious statement he was making.

The apostle Peter attributes Psalm 16 to David’s authorship, and shows that the royal author as a prophet foretells the resurrection of Christ Himself. But the Professor makes nothing of this, and in his comments on Psalm 16, confines the experience described to some unknown writer in the days of Ezra or later. He presumed to know better than the Apostle Peter.

The apostle Paul attributes Psalm 32 to the authorship of David (Rom. 4:6-8). But Professor Addis thought he knew better than this.

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews attributes Psalm 95 to the authorship of David (Heb. 3:7). So Professor Addis would have us believe that he knew better than the Apostles Peter and Paul, and the whole Jewish nation, its high priests and leaders.

And lastly, the Lord Himself attributed Psalm 110 to the authorship of David, claiming inspiration for it when He said, “David himself said by THE HOLY GHOST” (Mark 12: 36). In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and in the Acts of the Apostles, we get the affirmation that David wrote this Psalm. God forgive the flippant blasphemy of Peake’s Commentary in daring to give the lie direct to the Son of God in the process of throwing doubt on the inspired Word of God.

Professor Peake, writing on the verse: “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14), says:
  “It has . . . no reference to the birth of Jesus more than seven hundred years later. Isaiah has no particular woman in view. Any young woman who shortly gives birth to a son may call his name Immanuel and by this expression of faith that God is with His people will rebuke the king’s unbelief . . . The name Immanuel means ‘God is with us,’ not ‘God with us’; there is no reference in it to an Incarnation of God” (P., p. 442).

The audacity of the above extract is shocking. Does not Matthew tell us concerning the manner of Christ’s birth:
  “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken OF THE LORD by the prophet, saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matt. 1:22-23)?

Professor Peake must have known of this passage and yet he has no scruple in ignoring it, or of making out that Matthew was mistaken. Matthew tells us distinctly that Isaiah 7:14 refers to the Lord. Professor Peake says it does not. The issue is plain.

Moreover, Professor Peake denies that “virgin” means virgin, but affirms that it means a young woman of marriageable age, without any suggestion that she is not married.

And yet the narrative in Matthew makes it clear that Mary was a virgin; stating the fact most modestly yet most explicitly.

The coincidences of Scripture form a great argument for its inspiration. Why did Moses prophesy that the seed of the WOMAN should bruise the serpent’s head? Why not the seed of the man? In God’s ordering, procreation is produced by the seed of the man, and without it there is no procreation. Why does Moses speak then of the seed of the woman, if he were not inspired to record the very words of God, which were a first intimation of the Virgin Birth. Moses, Isaiah, and Matthew, link hands in this, as an old divine quaintly put it, “without collusion or collision.”

Many Modernists either belittle the necessity of the Virgin Birth, or deny it altogether. The tendency is to lower the unique manhood of Jesus to the level of mankind generally, hence the desire to weaken or deny the truth of the Virgin Birth.

There are four ways in which human beings have come into this world.
  (1) Adam, without the agency of man or woman.
  (2) Eve, through man, without woman.
  (3) The Lord Jesus, by woman without man.
  (4) Mankind generally, by man and woman.

Those who [baulk] at the Virgin Birth are found generally to be Evolutionists, and refuse the Bible account of the creation of Adam and Eve. Modernism and Evolution go hand-in-hand; both are founded on conjectures and guesses. Disbelieve a part of God’s Word and confidence in the whole is shattered.

An infidel doctor was discussing the Virgin Birth with a Christian doctor, known to the writer. The former said, “I don’t understand the Virgin Birth.” The quick retort was, “Do you understand your own birth?” and the infidel was obliged to own that one was as mysterious as the other.

Bring God in, and everything is simple and understandable. By choosing that Christ should be born of a virgin, God would draw attention to Him as unique. He never was and never could be fallen humanity, as all of Adam’s race are. If the birth of Jesus was brought about by “the power of the Highest” overshadowing the one who was His mother according to the flesh, little wonder that the divine conclusion is given in the words of Scripture: — “THEREFORE that HOLY thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

We turn now to another quotation. In one sentence, Canon Streeter not only denies verbal inspiration, but reduces inspiration to almost a negligible quantity. For sheer audacity read the following:
  “Students of the Old Testament will at once recall the evidence which points to the view that all the historical books of the Old Testament were put together on this ‘scissors add paste’ method by compilers working on earlier documents” (P., p. 673).

Was ever any ancient book in the world put together like that? The following from the pen of the Rev. Dr. F. R. Montgomery Hitchcock shows to what mad lengths these critics have got. He says:
  “One rule of logic, known as ‘the law of parsimony,’ forbids the capricious multiplication of principles or things to suit one’s purpose. When we first studied the Higher Criticism of the Pentateuch we had only J and E and P and D [letters indicating four documents from which the critics said the Pentateuch was compiled], we now have J1 J2 J3, E1 E2 E3, P1 P2 P3, D1 D2 D3, R1 R2 R3, etc.,* in fact, they can be raised to any power required, for the constant resource of the critic is a fresh source. . . This nebulous series has now become the stock-in-trade of the critical school, and it is questionable if it does not involve a greater miracle than the ordinary Mosaic theory” (When Critic Meets Critic, p. 15).
{*To which can be added Q1 Q2 Q3, in regard to the New Testament.}

At first sight the above extract looks like some algebraic formula, but it is thus that the Modernists, undermining confidence in the Word of God, label their imaginary authors and editors. Is it not on the face of it a mass of wild guesses leading to the absolute undermining of all confidence in the Scriptures?

Alas! there was some ground for the Roman Catholic bishop, who held up the Bible and said, “This is the Word of God spite of what the Protestants say.” The Jesuit scholar, the Rev. Jones, I. J. Corrigan, lecturing before 1,000, Catholic and non-Catholic, said recently:
  “Modernism is Bolshevism in religious life, just as Communism is Bolshevism in private life . . . The Modernist movement is doomed to fail because it has assailed the rational basis of Christianity—which is impregnable. Modernism is too dishonest to win candid minds. Its scholarship is shallow, its philosophy false, historically it is inaccurate, and scientifically it is unsound. In religion, it is anti-Christ” (Extracted from Our Hope, Vol. 30, No. 11).

Let us turn now to what Peake’s Commentary tells us concerning the New Testament. Principal Griffith-Jones writes:
  “It is no longer possible to insist on the literal accuracy of the gospel narratives; but concerning the Fact behind the narratives—the authentic personality of Jesus Christ—there is concordant and emphatic testimony” (P., p. 15).

Mr. H. G. Wood, writes:
  “We may suspect the stater in the fish’s mouth (Matt. 17:27), because it comes to us only on the testimony of the first gospel, because the occasion of the miracle is trivial, and because the basis of the story is a folklore motive. The strange silence of the Synoptists may make us hesitate to accept the raising of Lazarus (John 11) as history” (P., p. 663).

It really excites indignation to have to quote such folly. To think that one reason why Mr. Wood may suspect the story of the fish and the tribute money is because only Matthew records it, and a similar reason makes him hesitate to accept the story of the raising of Lazarus. What would Mr. Wood’s wife, if he has one, think, if she told her husband a bit of news, and he responded, “ My dear, I have heard this from your lips alone, and therefore I suspect that it is not true.” Would this not be tantamount to saying that she was such a liar that anything she said, unsupported by another, was likely to be untrue.

Nor was the occasion of the miracle of the tribute money trivial. It was just one of these extraordinary incidents that would confirm the belief that Jesus was indeed the very Christ. Did not Psalm 8 prophesy that the Son of Man would have dominion over “the fish of the sea,” and was this not a proof that He was indeed the Son of Man?

As to the raising of Lazarus, it is certain that John, familiar with the contents of the synoptic gospels, seeing he wrote his gospel long after the Christian church was familiar with them, would not have dared to describe such a story as the raising of Lazarus, if it had never happened. He certainly knew that he alone of the evangelists narrated the story. Is it possible that John who wrote the profound truths as to the Lord’s Person, His sayings, His acts, and His death and resurrection, would have descended to such a colossal lie, nay, such a stupid lie, for if the story were not true John would have been branded not only as a liar, but as an exceedingly stupid liar? Would he have imperilled his character as a teacher and apostle by such a foolish misadventure? The whole circumstances of the case are evidence against it.

What Mr. Wood calls “the strange silence of the Synoptists” in connection with the incident of the raising of Lazarus is to our mind a strong proof of inspiration—a bit of “circumstantial evidence,” so convincing to the legal mind. If the Synoptists had not been inspired, they certainly would have seized upon the miracle as “good copy.” Such a dramatic incident in the life of our Lord they would not have missed. But the restraint of inspiration is as wonderful as its constraint, and is seen in no other book in all the world’s literature.

Moreover, the raising of Lazarus is a sort of pledge of the resurrection of the saints. If the Lord will empty the tombs of all His people at His second coming, is it any wonder that He should give us this sample of His power in His lifetime? Is it not very convincing? Was not the raising of Lazarus intended as a sample of what will take place on a large scale at the coming of Christ? Was it not indeed an augury of His own resurrection? If He were “the Resurrection and the life,” was it likely that He would remain in the grave? Nay, He prophesied His own resurrection and gave the sign of it. Is it not intended to strengthen our faith? His own resurrection alone exceeds this miracle in significance, but then all that refers to Christ Himself is unique and stands by itself.

Nor is the rude hand of the critic slow to lay hands on the character of the Lord Jesus Himself.

Principal E. Griffith-Jones says of the Lord Jesus:
  “He was one who knew little, if anything, of Greek philosophy, of Roman law, and nothing of the vast accumulation of knowledge which has been garnered and systematized since His day” (P., p. 8).

Seeing that “all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3), it follows that the Lord certainly knew all the laws and phenomena of nature, including those of thought and mind, seeing His wisdom and power brought them into existence. Man has been slowly and laboriously finding out what existed as the work of His hand from all time. “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing” (Prov. 25:2).

Again Professor Griffith-Jones says:
  “We cannot claim infallibility for Him in questions of history, such as the authorship of Old Testament books, or on the problems of science. In these directions He must be quite frankly considered to have accepted the current notions of His time” (P., p. 8).

Thus writes this reverend gentleman, and this is the kind of teaching he gives his theological students, thus helping on the apostasy foretold in Scripture.

On similar lines Mr. H. G. Wood says:
  “Isaiah 53 probably sustained His [the Lord’s] conviction that His death would be a ransom for many” (P., p. 661).

If this means anything, it means that the Son of God did not know what He came into the world to do. We have got no Christ if the above statement be true.

Again Mr. Wood says:
  “In the [Christ’s] baptism it was revealed to Him that He was the Coming One of whom John spoke, He was destined to be the Christ” (P., p. 662).

Can anything be worse than this, that the blessed Lord should not know who He Himself was, and what was His destiny? Can insult go further?

It is with great shrinking that we pen these extracts which cast such grave dishonour upon our blessed Lord. We can only describe them as horrible and blasphemous, and “sodden with infidelity.”

If the Lord were as ignorant as Principal Griffiths-Jones states, how is it that Christ should prophesy the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews, and their place of universal subjection to the Gentiles, forty years before it happened, and this latter item of prophecy has been slowly fulfilled all down the ages, and is even now being fulfilled before our very eyes? For the problem of the survival of the Jews, neither destroyed by persecution, nor absorbed among the nations where they sojourn, is insoluble save by referring it to a divine power.

If Christ were ignorant how can we account for such things? Of course it was not His mission to teach science and the arts and history, but He taught just what was designed by God as revealing Himself in Christ for the blessing of man.

If a doctor writes on surgery and mentions nothing about astronomy, are we to suppose, according to the methods of the Modernist, that he knows nothing about astronomy? Or, if he mentions a single astronomical fact, is it not a proper assumption that he knows a good deal more than that one fact? Is he likely to know only one fact, and in stating it exhaust his knowledge on the subject? Yet Christ’s critics will not treat Him with the same fairness that they would give to an ordinary man.

How was it that the Lord knew that the Samaritan woman had had five husbands, and was even then living in sin, seeing He had never seen her previously? No wonder that she said, “Sir, I perceive that Thou art a Prophet” (John 4:19), and when she spoke about the coming Messiah, who should tell all things, and He told her to her amazement that He was indeed the Messiah, though present in humiliation and not in glory, she believed Him, saying to her fellow-townsmen:
  “Come see a man that told me all things that ever I did, is not this the Christ [Messiah]?” (John 4:29).

No, as we read the four gospels, as marvellous in their brevity as in their fullness by what they do not say as in what they do, by their remarkable restraint and reticence, as much as by their fullness of expression and lively portrayal of the life of lives, we can only say, in fellowship with the apostles,
  “Now we are sure that Thou knowest all things and needest not that any man should ask Thee; by this we believe that Thou earnest forth from God” (John 16:30).

Mr. H. G. Wood says:
  “From the historian’s point of view, the prominence thus given to the driving out of demons is to be expected in a genuine popular tradition, and in a religious movement which embraced not many rich, not many wise, not many noble. But for faith it raises the question of the limitations of the knowledge of Jesus. If the belief in demons be entirely illusory—a modern assumption which is seldom questioned, though it is certainly questionable—then Jesus was involved in a popular error. If the belief were only in part erroneous—and that it was and is in part superstitious can scarcely be doubted—then our records do not lead us to suppose that Jesus Himself ever said anything to correct the element of mistake in a belief which He shared with the common people. The same issue in principle is raised by our Lord’s unquestionable acceptance of the current Jewish traditions as to the character and authorship of Old Testament Writings” (P., p. 663).

Mr. H. G. Wood does not shrink from stating that the blessed Lord was in error as to belief in demonology, that He was deceived by popular belief into accepting a theory that was false. So much is said in the four gospels about evil spirits, and so often is the Lord described as casting them out, that if Mr. H. G. Wood is correct, he is wiser than the Lord was, as also wiser than the four evangelists. At any rate, the four evangelists had the advantage of being on the spot, or of knowing those who had been, so that we imagine they were in a better position to know than Mr. H. G. Wood.

Some think that demonology was just another way of describing lunacy, but Matthew 4:24 differentiates between diseases, torments, demon-possession, lunacy, and palsy. We should have thought that Modern Spiritism would have been evidence of the truth of demon-possession. The money-making medium, thrown into a trance, is very evidently possessed and controlled by a spirit not her own, and, judging from results, by an evil spirit.

If it were true, as Peake’s Commentary suggests, that the Lord was subject to limitations, that He could be in error of a serious kind, or could condescend to deceive people by countenancing them in error when He knew better all the time, we have lost our Lord and Master, and we can sympathize with Mary Magdalene and re-echo her words of poignant grief:
  “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him” (John 20: 13).

Christianity, to be true, demands an infallible Person and an infallible Book, and we have both in Christ and the Scriptures, blessed be God.

Then there is the celebrated Kenosis theory among Modernists, founded on a perversion of Philippians 2:7. The passage reads:
  “Christ Jesus who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant.” (Authorised Version)
  “Christ Jesus who subsisting in the form of God, did not esteem it an object of rapine to be on an equality with God: but emptied Himself, taking a bondman’s place.” (J.N. Darby’s New Translation).

The Greek verb for emptied is Kenoō in the original, hence the term, Kenosis theory.

Modernists do not hesitate to say that Christ, in becoming Man, limited Himself to such an extent that He shed His omniscience and omnipotence, qualities of His Godhead, so that He could be in error, not have sufficient knowledge of things, be in perplexity and doubt, etc.

Dr. F. W. Adeney says of the Kenosis theory:
  “This seems to mean that certain Divine qualities were abandoned and certain human limitations accepted when Christ was seen in the likeness of a man” (P., p. 873).

This is rather vague. But how the Lord Jesus as God the Son, equal with the Father, could shed divine qualities, and yet be God the Son, is impossible to understand. As a divine Person, “who is over all, God blessed for ever,” He ever was, and ever will be God. He emptied Himself, taking upon Himself “the form of a servant.” Such is the statement of Philippians 2:6-7. In taking upon Himself “the form of a servant” He never ceased to be what He ever was—God. To twist the passage into meaning that He emptied Himself of Deity and its attributes is simply a perversion of Scripture to support a “critical” lie. By His emptying Himself we understand the veiling of the visible glory of God, who dwells in unapproachable light, and the voluntarily taking upon Himself manhood, and becoming subject to the Father’s will, and living that life of perfect devotion to Him in this world. Yet constantly there was that shining out which revealed His Godhead glory, and that communion with His Father, so that the apostles could say:
  “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

And later on Thomas, the apostle, exclaimed when he saw Him after His resurrection:
  “My Lord and my GOD” (John 20:28).

The Kenosis theory would annihilate the truth as to the Lord’s Person. The mystery of His Person can never be understood by man. “No man knows the Son, but the Father” (Matt. 11:27), puts an impassable barrier, which we can never cross; yet how satisfying to faith are the assertions of Scripture that Jesus is very God and very man, yet one Person. How could a creature be that?

Lord Byron, dissolute and wretched as he was, had sense enough to say:
  “If ever man was God, or God was man, Jesus Christ was both.”

One more extract will suffice for our purpose. Modernists have a fling at the Book of Revelation, the one book in the Bible to which a blessing is attached in the reading of it, hearing its words, and keeping the things written therein.

Yet we find Professor H. T. Andrews writing:
  “The book of Revelation is right in assuming that God must come to the rescue of His people; it is wrong only when it attempts to describe the mode in which the deliverance must arrive. Its lurid pictures of the outpouring of God’s wrath were not realized, but its promise of Divine succour and help for the stricken Church was abundantly fulfilled” (P., p. 926).

  “Right in assuming” is strange language applied to the Word of God. Assumption implies lack of full knowledge. It assumes, according to Professor Andrews, a well-known Bible doctrine, which is so constantly affirmed in the Scriptures that there is no need to assume it, and then sets aside the whole Book as containing pictures that were never to be realized. The above extract is a contemptuous disposing of the whole of Revelation, as containing an assumption, and that assumption being carried out wrongly.

Our quotations have not been many in number, but they are sufficient to show forth the deadly infidelity of Modernism, even in such a moderate form as it is found in Peake’s Commentary. Other Modernists go so far as to disown the deity of Christ, refuse the Virgin Birth, deny the atoning character of His death, and even the reality of His resurrection.

And when we turn to the testimony of archaeological investigation, every bit of it only strengthens the confidence of the Christian in the veracity and faithfulness of Scripture. It is surprising to read a statement like this from the pen of Professor Peake:
  “It is not inopportune to point out that archaeological investigation has so far done nothing to rehabilitate any stories which a sober criticism has doubted, or to give the patriarchs any definite position in the history of their time. The crucial case here is that of Chedorlaomer’s expedition (Gen. 15)” (P., p. 134).

It is true that later on he goes into details, seeking to prove that archaeological discoveries throwing light on the times of Chedorlaomer do not alter the findings of the critics. But these discoveries have at least identified Hammurabi as the Amraphel, King of Shinar, mentioned in the expedition, besides giving the name of other kings in that chapter. The extraordinary thing is, that those ancient records, unearthed after all these centuries, are received without a question at their face value, whilst the Bible is questioned and doubted at every point.

But the above extract, which is hopelessly incorrect, makes a statement that “archaeological investigation has so far done nothing to rehabilitate any stories which a sober criticism has doubted.”

But it is only a few years ago that “sober criticism” held that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch, because writing, the critics affirmed, was unknown in his day. And probably that opinion would have been held to this day had not archaeological discoveries proved otherwise.

But archaeological discoveries proved that writing was commonly practised four centuries before the time of Moses. The late Professor Orr wrote:
  “It would be difficult to exaggerate the brilliance and importance of the marvellous discoveries in Babylonia. The point which concerns us chiefly is the extraordinary light thrown on the high culture of early Babylonia. Here, long before the time of Abraham, we find ourselves in the midst of cities, arts, letters, books, libraries: and Abraham’s own age—that of Hammurabi—was the bloom tide of this civilization. Instead of Israel being a people emerging from the dim dawn of barbarism, we find in the light of these discoveries, that it was a people on whom, from its own standpoint, the ends of the world, had come . . . I read sometimes with astonishment of the statement that Babylonian discovery has done little or nothing for the confirmation of these old parts of Genesis” (The Fundamentals, vol. 6, p. 90).

Professor Sayce, who had to abandon the critical view in the light of archaeological testimony, wrote:
  “The Babylonia of the age of Abraham was a more highly educated country than the England of George III . . . From one end of the civilized ancient world to the other, men and women were reading and writing and corresponding with one another; schools abounded, and great libraries were formed, in an age which the ‘critic’ only a few years ago dogmatically declared was almost wholly illiterate” (Monument Facts and Higher Critical Fancies, pp. 35, 42).

And yet “sober criticism” averred that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch. Surely the spade of the archaeologist turned up more than the soil.

Then again “sober criticism” stated that a code of laws was not possible before the period of the kings of Judah, whereas, just as the Tel-el-Amarna tablets proved the existence of writing at a period when “sober criticism,” with imperfect knowledge, jumping to hasty conclusion, averred that it did not exist so the discovery of the stele of Hammurabi disclosed the existence of a code of laws long before the Kings of Judah. Tel-el-Amarna tables date about a century before the Exodus, according to Urquhart. The stele of Hammurabi was found at Susa in Persia.

Again, “sober criticism” denied the existence of a Hittite nation, and derided the idea of its power being on an equality with the great Egyptian nation, as the Bible states.

There was for long no account of the Hittite Empire in history save in the Bible. It was safe to contradict the Bible.

But investigation has reversed all this, and ignorance has been proved to be on the part of “sober criticism” and not with the Bible. The hieroglyphics of Egypt, and cuneiform inscriptions have brought this lost empire to light. Its territory extended from the Aegean in the West, to Lake Van in the East. Carchemish was its capital, and it proved a relentless and redoubtable foe to Egypt.

Much more evidence can be adduced to prove Professor Peake’s statement to be incorrect. Moreover, whenever archaeology has thrown light on a disputed point in the Bible, it has always, WITHOUT ONE EXCEPTION, proved that the Bible has been right and the critic wrong. And yet Professor Peake talks of “ sober criticism.” We should apply to it a very different adjective.

Professor Sayce says:
  “In dealing with the history of the past we are confronted with two utterly opposed methods, one objective, the other subjective, one resting on a basis of veritable facts, the other on the unsupported and unsupportable assumptions of the modern scholar. The one is the method of archaeology, the other of the so-called ‘higher criticism.’ Between the two the scientifically trained mind can have no hesitation in choosing” (Monument Facts and Higher Critical Fancies, pp. 17-18).

Miss A. M. Hodgkin says:
  “The Rev. James Neil, who was chaplain to Bishop Gobat, the first bishop of Jerusalem, was in that city in the early days of the Palestine Exploration Society, when a band of young men, under Lieutenant Condor, began operations. Charles Terry Drake, a descendent of Admiral Drake, was acting as dragoman. He was at the time sceptical in his views of Christianity, but would exclaim to Mr. Neil, It is wonderful: here we are, testing the Bible as it has never been tested before. Often we think we find it wrong; but as sure as we stop about three weeks in a place, in every case we find the Bible minutely accurate.”

This continued for about three years, and then Drake died at his post; but leaving a clear testimony to his faith in Christ and his confidence in the Word of God.

We close with one last example. Sir William Ramsay was weaned from Higher Criticism by the facts discovered by archaeological research. Writing of the census described in Luke 2:1-3, he said:
  “There are four statements about the action of the Roman Imperial Government which the critics of the New Testament pronounced to be incredible and false” (The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, p. 97).

The four counter-statements of the critics were:
  (1) That such a census never took place;
  (2) That if it did, it would not have extended to Palestine;
  (3) That it would not have been necessary for Joseph, and much less Mary, to go to their own city of Bethlehem;
  (4) That Cyrenius was not governor of Syria during the reign of Herod.

Sir William Ramsey says:
  “Discovery confirms the correctness of all the facts that Luke mentions regarding the census and its manner and its dates . . . He gives us a very striking picture of a splendid piece of governmental work. The man who cannot see the splendour of this passage must be blind to the spirit of history. Augustus, the mighty emperor, and Mary with her infant child, are set over against each other” (IBID, pp. 235, 248, and 306).

Surely the Modernist has abounding cause to abate his confidence and to abandon his speculations.

Chapter 4: Modernism: Its Results

Modernism is just infidelity in a new dress, advancing with a friendly air, as if to help a worn-out Christendom to regain its prestige, but its proffered friendship is as wicked,—we say it advisedly and with premeditation—as the kiss with which Judas saluted Christ. A dark, foul, hypocritical kiss was that of Judas, the darkest bit of treachery this world has ever seen.

Judas betrayed the living Word, the Christ of God; Modernism has betrayed the written Word, the Holy Scriptures, without which we cannot know the living Word.

It has sapped the spiritual life of the church of God; it has destroyed evangelistic effort; it has emasculated Christian living; it has increased the flood of worldliness which is swamping the Christian profession on every hand.

No wonder the complaint is that fewer and fewer attend churches and chapels, and that worldly methods are adopted, whereby to attract the masses, that rival the theatre, the cinema, and the variety show. The notices on church-boards today would shock our grandfathers beyond measure. Whist Drives, Dramatic Entertainments, Dances, etc., etc., are being used liberally in the vain attempt to hold the masses, but they are not being held, at least for Christ and His cause. They are being held to swell the apostasy, long foretold by Scripture, and now arriving with gigantic strides.

Meanwhile, wherever faithful men, gifted of God and called by Him to the ministry, preach, they can get hearers who listen eagerly to their evangel of hope and certitude.

A young man, speaking of the Modernists, said to his mother:
  “If the professors can persuade me that what they say about the Bible is true, then overboard goes the whole thing for me. I can’t believe it in bits.”

Alas! they did persuade him, and he became a leading lawyer without a vestige of religion about him.

A newspaper man took one year in a theological college with an idea of becoming a minister. He got influenced by Modernism, lost all faith in the Bible, and finally drifted out into an utterly godless life and so died.

A young lady, led away by a friend, was overwhelmed by a great sorrow; when her sister tried to comfort her, her despairing cry was,
    “I would give much to believe God’s Word as you do. But take that text you have just quoted, how do I know God ever said it? It may be only an interpolation, as so many are said to be.”

Professor Huxley, who certainly was not biased in favour of the Bible, in his life written by his son, is said to have spoken thus of Higher Criticism:
  “If Satan had wished to devise the best means of discrediting ‘Revelation’ he could not have done better” (Life, vol. a, p. 118).

As to the leaders in Modernism, did they gain in faith and peace of soul by their criticisms?

Wellhausen, as we have seen, could not believe in the Old Testament inspiration, or else, he said, it would make God a party to the fraud.

Dr. Marcus Dods, a thorough-going Higher Critic, confessed plainly at the end of his life:
  “I am a backslider.”
  “I take no interest in prayer.”

He confessed that he had not prayed for years, and he died under a spiritual cloud. Poor, unhappy man!

Dr. A. B. Bruce, a compeer of Dr. Marcus Dods, and described by him as “the greatest pioneer of our time in theological thought,” died we are told, without a single Christian conviction.

Dr. Cheyne, a leading Higher Critic, died a Bahaist, that is a sort of Mohammedan.

When we come to general statements how damning is the indictment.

The missionary principal of a leading Theological College in India writes as follows:
  “We make no secret of our desire to send out men trained in modern scientific method of Bible study.”

This means in all the unfounded and unholy speculations of Modernism. Replying to the charge that their students lost their zeal and evangelistic fervour under the teaching of this college the reply was made:
  “We confess that we are well content that our young men should lose that frothy enthusiasm which lacks any solid basis, and which cannot stand the strain of new and strange conditions.”

The above extracts are taken from “The Ravages of Higher Criticism in the Indian Mission Field.”

The English churchman (July 20th, 1922, pages 348), reports that one of the leading Home Secretaries of a well-known Missionary Society said that ninety percent of their Educational Missionaries in India held the advanced views of the Higher Critics. The high percentage is appalling.

Kanzo Uchimura, editor of a Tokyo magazine entitled “Bible Study,” writes:
  “Time was when we sent our sons and daughters to America and Europe, that they might grow in faith and be established in it. Time is when we are afraid of sending our children abroad, for many went away as good Christians and returned home as reprobates and apostates. It must needs be that offence come, but woe to that man by whom the offence comes.”

When such a rebuke comes from a heathen land, it is high time for every true Christian to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

That Modernism is rife is not surprising, for it is all foretold in Scripture and is only another proof if its inspiration. We read:
  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

How true this is to the letter. And yet while we know that the rising tide of apostasy will continue to flow stronger and stronger till Antichrist, the man of sin, will appear, we know that it means for the true believer the imminent return of the Lord to catch away His Church “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.”

Of course, Satan would never make the headway he is doing did he not work subtly. How subtly he works is seen in the fact that many Modernists are honestly believing they are serving God and His truth, though they must be terribly blinded to think so.

Again Scripture points this out. We read:
  “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13).

Modernists are evil men because they are doing terribly evil work, and seducers because they seduce from the right understanding of Scripture. They wax worse and worse as we have seen. The next generation will surely begin where the last generation leaves off.

Deceiving they certainly are, but they themselves are deceived. This explains how they may honestly be doing the devil’s work, but this only makes them the more dangerous. What an awakening lies before them!

For instance, in reading Peake’s Commentary there are many eloquent and beautiful passages extolling the Lord Jesus and His work, but mixed up with these passages are others which entirely nullify them.

It is as if a band of workmen should arrange that half their number should undermine the foundation of a building, whilst the other half should distract attention by beautifying the upper part of the building, till the awful crash should take place, and the building collapse.

Or to change the simile. Here is a glass of pure water. Into it is put by malicious hands a few drops of deadly poison. If the mixture is drunk, certain death must ensue.

Of what use is it to expatiate on the amount of water as compared with the few drops of poison, and to assure the individual who holds the glass in his hand, that he will be all the better for drinking it? This is exactly what Modernism is doing. No words are too strong for indignantly condemning this fiendish work.

We extract the following from “The Ravages of Higher Criticism in the Indian Mission Field.” A missionary living south of Madras writes:
  “I attended a lecture given to non-Christian Indian students by one of the foremost leaders among missionaries in India. In this lecture he pictured the so-called development of religious thought from early times; and he taught and advocated the modern theory of religious Evolution. He warned his hearers that as their religion was merely a narrow and racial religion it would not survive. He told them that ere long, there would be a World Federation of Religions, and that only such universal religions as Buddhism, Mahommedanism, and Christianity would survive. He impressed upon his audience that he was in full sympathy with all religions, and that he had been privileged to worship with Jews, Mahommedans, Unitarians, Theosophists, Brahmo-Samajists, and others; and that he would also worship with Hindus if their ceremonial custom would only allow him to do so. He laid special emphasis upon the point that the missionaries are not in India to convert them to Christianity, but to make of them better Hindus, better Mahommedans, and better Buddhists.”

Could anything lay bare in its utter repulsiveness the length to which Modernism can take a man? To worship with Jews, who spit in the face of Christ to this very hour; with Unitarians, who deny His Godhead and atoning death; with heathen religions with their idol worship and unspeakable immoralities connected with their temple services, is indeed utter apostasy. Such a missionary may for purposes of his own, retain the name of Christian, but not a shred of real Christianity has he got.

Chapter 5: The Bible: Its Inspiration and Testimony to the Son of God

The Bible claims inspiration, not in one part alone, but throughout its length and breadth, not once, but many times, not by one method but by several. If it be not inspired, then it is built upon a foundation of blasphemous falsehood, and is an utterly infamous book. On the other hand, if it is inspired, then the teachings of the Modernists are wicked and blasphemous. The only softening of this indictment can be made as to the Modernists, but none as to their teaching. In many cases, we trust, Modernists, when they get their eyes open to the tremendous mistake they have made, will be able to say with the apostle Paul, who had persecuted the church of God, “Nevertheless, I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Tim. 1:13).

There is a cry being made today, Back from the Bible to Christ. It is utterly illogical to think that we can have Christ apart from the Bible. Where should we have any knowledge of Christ save through the Bible by His Spirit? We can only know His Name through His Word.

Now wonder that David could exclaim:
  “Oh! how I love Thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97).

In that long psalm of 176 verses, there are only two verses that do not refer to God’s Word under the names of “law,” “commandments,” “precepts” “testimonies,” “word,” “judgments.” Does this not show how precious and important is God’s Word?

The apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, says:
  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16).

This shows what Paul thought of the Old Testament at any rate, and it covers, we believe, equally the New Testament as we have it today.

The Pentateuch informs us some 630 times that the subject matter was spoken by Moses, very many times with the formula “Thus says the Lord.” The New Testament states over and over again the truth as to Moses’ authorship of the Pentateuch. Did not our Lord refer to the Old Testament Scriptures as inspired when He spoke to the two disciples going to Emmaus: “And beginning at Moses, and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27)? And again, He said “All things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning Me” (v. 44). Moreover, did He not quote Scripture as authoritative and final, when He repelled Satan in the temptation in the wilderness? Thrice quoting from Deuteronomy, He struck Satan a blow from which he recoiled a defeated foe when He said. “It is written” (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10). Did He not put the question, “Have ye not read?” (Matt. 19:4), when He quoted Scripture as authoritative, upholding, too, the story of Eve’s creation and her presentation to Adam as a helpmeet?

Again, He put the question, Have ye not read? (Matt. 22:31) this time to assert His belief in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as real personages, and as upholding the truth of the survival of man’s spirit after death. Again, Have ye never read? (Matt 21:16), He asked, quoting Psalm 8 as a final court of appeal. Again He asked, “Did ye never read in the Scriptures?” quoting Psalm 118:22. Once more in one speech He twice asked the Pharisees, Have ye not read? firstly quoting from 1 Samuel 21:6, and secondly, from the law of Moses, as authoritative. Again, how crushing are the words of Christ: “Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me; for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?” (John 5:46-47). He thus put the writings of Moses on a level with His own words, which could only be true of them if Moses was inspired. The Modernist says Moses did not write the Pentateuch, and that either Christ was ignorant as to who wrote it, or stooped to conform to a false tradition. How terrible!

How fully one part of Scripture lays claim to the verbal inspiration of another part is seen in the following.
  Hebrews 12: 27, bases its statement on a phrase, “Yet once more.”
  John 10:35, bases its on a word—“gods.” This is verbal inspiration surely.
  Galatians 3:16, bases its argument on the number of a noun—“seed,” not seeds; in our English Bible it hangs on a single letter.
  Galatians 4:9, alters the form of the voice of the verb so as to draw attention to the exact shade of meaning the Holy Spirit desires to express.
  John 8:58, contrasts the difference of a tense—“was” and “am.”

Last, but not least, the Lord said, “Till heaven and earth shall pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.” The “jot” or “yod” is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, whilst the tittle is the little horn or point which distinguishes one letter from another very alike, so that inspiration is here claimed for even a single letter and even a part of a letter.

Thus we find the Lord claiming full and plenary inspiration for the Scriptures. If He was mistaken, then we have a fallible Christ, and if He was fallible, Christianity is utterly worthless, nay, the greatest deception practised on the credulity of mankind.

To have known better, and yet to have affirmed inspiration when it was not a true claim, would have branded Him as the worst of men, for the claim is of such a lofty nature, that if it is true, we can build on an infallible foundation, if it is not true, the claim would be blasphemous in the extreme.

Could any book in the world answer to such a test of design as the following?
  The Pentateuch gives us the FIGURES of Christ.
  The Psalms give us the FEELINGS of Christ.
  The Prophets give us the FORETELLINGS of Christ.
  The Gospels give us the FACTS of Christ.
  The Epistles give us the FRUITS of Christ.

Remember, too, the Bible is a collection of no less than sixty-six books, and yet it presents a connected whole, as witness the above statement. This proves the Bible to be the product of one mind.

Daniel’s prophecy of the great four world-empires that should arise could only be given by inspiration. No man could possibly have foreseen the happening of centuries, only God could have done that, so that Daniel must have been inspired.

The greatest prophecies in the Scripture are those relating to Christ. The late Canon Liddon used to say that there were over three hundred prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the birth and life and death of Christ, and all had been fulfilled. This stands absolutely unique in the literature of the world. When different authors in different centuries can thus prophesy, and the prophecies all pieced together unite in making a prophetic history of Christ, which came true in its entirety without exception, we can have no doubt as to its inspiration.

When the Book of Revelation threatens judgment on any who add to or take away from the words of the prophecy of that book, we confess that it puts the Higher Critic and Modernist in a very unenviable position. The Book of Revelation claims verbal inspiration when it lays such stress on the words of the prophecy of this book.

What a test the Bible gives us, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” The untold blessing of the Bible in countless lives, its influence in lifting man out of the degradation of heathendom, emancipating him from superstition, and preserving him from the corruption of his own heart, is what the Bible and the Bible alone in all the literature of the world has done. The Bible is indeed a tree of life whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. Is this not a supreme test of its inspiration by God?

Professor Huxley, a thorough-going agnostic wrote:
  “I have always been in favour of secular education without theology; but I must confess that I have been seriously perplexed to know by what practical measures the religious feeling, which is the essential basis of moral conduct, is to be kept up in the present chaotic state of opinion on these matters without the use of the Bible.”

What a testimony!

The well-known author, the late H.G.Wells, some time ago wrote an article entitled, “The Salvaging of Civilization.” In it he pointed out that civilization is in a very critical state. He saw that there are strong forces and tendencies at work, which, if not checked and controlled, will bring about the utter destruction of human society. Russia and Germany are lurid examples of what is feared. And what is Mr. Wells’ remedy for this appalling state of things? He wrote:
  “We want a Bible, and want it badly.”

When an outspoken disbeliever in the only Bible there is, or ever will be, makes a confession like this, it is very significant.

What a tremendous testimony to the power of the Bible! When an enemy praises it, it is praise indeed. Job of old cried out, “Oh! . . . that mine adversary had written a book. Surely I would take it upon my shoulder and bind it as a crown upon me” (ch. 31: 35, 36), so sure was he, that, if it spoke the truth, it would prove to be his greatest vindication.

So with Mr. H. G. Wells and the Bible. He admits:
  “The wonder of its influence over the lives and minds of men.”
  “It is the Book that has held together the fabric of Western Civilization.”
  “The civilization we possess could not have come into existence, and could not have been sustained, without it.”
  “It has been the handbook of life to countless millions of men and women. It has explained the world to the mass of our people, has given them moral standards and a form into which their conscience could work.”

Can a tithe of this, a millionth part of this, be said about any other book? The handbook of life to countless millions! The origin of our Western Civilization and its sustainment! If this be so, why did Mr. Wells sigh for a new Bible? Surely he should have enough discernment to see that what is needed today is not a new Bible, but a revival of the authority of the old Bible in the minds of men.

Alas! it is just the efforts of the Higher Critics and of such as Mr. Wells, that are responsible for the present state of affairs. They are like house-breakers, who are foolish enough to break down the foundations and who are alarmed at the prospect of being killed beneath the collapse of the superstructure.

Alas! all this destructive criticism beginning in Germany has spread into Great Britain and America, and has worked its way insidiously, till nearly all the professors of theology are saturated with it, and engaged in filling the minds of their ordinands with its destructive speculations. They in their turn, when appointed clergy and ministers, pass it on to their congregations, and thus the apostasy is helped on.

We were recently much struck by a wise remark. The writer, a firm believer in verbal inspiration, a scholar, too, the Rev. Adolph Saphir, urged his readers to judge the Bible as a whole. Infidels take up small points, and believe they get a discrepancy here and a contradiction there, and because of a fancied flaw in a gem of priceless worth they fling the whole away.

Little do they care about the majesty, the elevation, the power, the proofs of inspiration glittering on every page, but they dwell upon some little objection, often with the fierceness of a little mind that hates God and the truth. We plead for a sane, reverent outlook in connection with the Word of God, though we believe it to be inerrant in every small detail.

Finally, the Scripture puts its finger on the spot where the difficulty lies, when it says that:
  “The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).

How often have we been painfully struck in studying “Peake’s Commentary on the Bible” by the patent fact that the writers had no conception whatever of the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures they were criticising, and that their statements did not show up the Bible’s “internal inconsistencies” and “intrinsic incredibilities,” but the crass ignorance of the writers. They looked with the eyes of “the natural man” and misread the beautiful Bible teaching to their own confusion, did they but know it.

We believe the true attitude towards the Scriptures was expressed by one who, in intellect and scholarship, was not one whit behind any we have named, and in spiritual insight and gift far beyond them—the late John Nelson Darby. He wrote with the humility that ever betokens a really great mind:
  “I beg to avow, in the fullest, clearest, and distinctest manner here, my deep, divinely-taught conviction of the inspiration of the Scriptures. That is, while of course, allowing, if need be, for defect in the translation and the like, when I read the Bible, I read it as of absolute authority for my soul as God’s Word. There is no higher privilege than to have communications direct from God Himself. . . My joy, my comfort, my food, my strength, for near thirty years, have been the Scriptures received implicitly as the Word of God. In the beginning of that period, I was put through the deepest exercise of soul on that point. Did heaven and earth, the visible church, and man himself, crumble into nonentity, I should, through grace, since that epoch, hold to the Word as an unbreakable link between my soul and God. I am satisfied that God has given it me as such. I do not doubt that the grace of the Holy Spirit is needed to make it profitable, and to give it real authority to our souls, because of what we are; but that does not change what it is in itself. To be true when it is received, it must have been true before it was so.”

We believe the above extracts present the right attitude towards the Holy Scriptures. They exhibit a mind renewed by God’s Holy Spirit, and capable of receiving spiritual enlightenment. What a contrast to the writers of Modernism!

The Bible has likewise extracted homage from the very enemies of the cross.

John Stuart Mill, an avowed atheist, wrote:
  “Who among His disciples, or among their proselytes, was capable of inventing the sayings of Jesus, or imagining the life and character ascribed to Him? . . Nor even now would it be easy, even for an unbeliever, to find a better translation of the rule of virtue from the abstract into the concrete, then to endeavour so to live that Christ would approve his life.”

Spinoza, described by Bayle as a “systematic atheist,” and who probably did more to unsettle the faith of Germany than any other man, and who was one who started the ball of Modernism rolling, said:
  “Christ was the temple of God, because in Him He has most fully revealed Himself.”

Benjamin Franklin, who certainly did not take the place of a believer, said:
  “I think Christ’s system of morals and religion, as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.”

Jean Paul Richter said of Christ:
  “The holiest among the mighty, and the mightiest among the holy, lifted with His pierced hand empires off their hinges, turned the stream of civilization out of its channel, and still governs the ages.”

Lecky, the infidel historian, tells us:
  “Christ has exerted so deep an influence that it may be truly said that the simple record of three years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers, and all the exhortation of moralists.”

Disraeli, a Jew by birth, said:
  “The wildest dreams of their rabbis have been far exceeded. Has not Jesus conquered Europe and changed its name to Christendom? All countries that refuse the cross wither, and the time will come, when the vast communities and countless myriads of America and Australia, looking upon Europe as Europe now looks upon Greece, and wondering how so small a space could have achieved such great deeds, will find music in the songs of Zion and solace in the parables of Galilee.”

Napoleon, who certainly was not a professed Christian, said to his companions in exile at St. Helena:
  “I know men; I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man . . . Everything in Him astonishes me. Between Him and whoever else in the world there is no possible term of comparison. He is truly a being by Himself. His ideas and His sentiments, the truths which He announces, His manner of convincing, are not explained either by human organization or by the nature of things. His birth and the history of His life; the profundity of His doctrine, which grapples the mightiest difficulties and which is of these difficulties the most admirable solution; His Gospel, His apparition, His empire, His march across the ages and the realms; everything is for me a prodigy, a mystery insoluble, which plunges me in reveries I cannot escape; a mystery which is there before my eyes, a mystery which I can neither deny nor explain. Here I see nothing human.”

Theodore Parker, a well-known infidel in America, wrote:
  “Measure Jesus by the shadow He has cast into the world; no, by the light He has shed upon it. Shall we be told such a man never lived? the whole story is a lie? Suppose that Plato and Newton never lived. But who did their works and thought their thoughts? It takes a Newton to forge a Newton. What man could have fabricated a Jesus? None but a Jesus.”

These are just a few remarkable utterances by remarkable men. If the account of Christ from the pens of the four evangelists can produce such thoughts there is every proof that the Book is inspired, and if inspired, all that is said of Christ is true.

These great men said much, but to be logical they should have said more, for if what they say is true, Christ was a good man, the best the world has ever seen, therefore, all the claims for Himself must he true, for a good man could not lend himself to the basest and cruellest deception this world has ever seen, viz., to claim to be God, if He were not. He said:
  “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).

We remember the fervent joy with which a man came to thank us for his deliverance from a system of error which denied the Godhead of the Son of God, and the ecstasy with which he said:
  “It was that verse which delivered me. ‘And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with thee BEFORE the world was’” (John 17:5).

How true it is that Christ proves the Bible and the Bible proves Christ—an infallible Person and an inspired Book. May we never doubt the One nor the other.

Chapter 6: Concluding Remarks

The apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, indicates the characteristics of “the last days.” To the list which he enumerates as developing in the world in those perilous times, such as “ lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers,” etc., there is added a significant and sinister qualification in the words:
  “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: FROM SUCH TURN AWAY” (2 Tim. 3:5).

  “A form of godliness”, is not godliness. It is terrible to think that Satan, who energized the attack years ago against the truth by open infidels such as Tom Payne, Charles Bradlaugh, and Col. Ingersoll, should now be able to undermine the citadel from within. We find Principals and Professors of Theological Colleges, Bishops, Deans, Clergymen, Ministers, now preaching Tom Payne’s views from the theological chairs and pulpits on every hand. There is no honesty in receiving emolument for professing to uphold and preach the gospel, when all the time they are destroying the faith of God’s elect, and instead of building up, they are pulling down.

What an awful condemnation will be theirs! God have mercy on such and open their eyes before it is too late. Alas! such will never be able to undo the evil wrought in the minds of those who have come under their influence, but they may obtain mercy for themselves by repentance, and prove their repentance by strenuously seeking to undo their evil work as far as they can.

There is no doubt that a great conflict is impending. There are signs of it on every hand. For instance, the Soldiers’ Christian Association has severed its connection with the Y.M.C.A., because of the flagrant unsoundness and worldliness of the latter. There has been a secession from the Y.W.C.A. for similar reasons, forming itself into “The Christian Alliance of Women and Girls.” There has also been a secession from the Church Missionary Society on the part of missionaries and Christian subscribers, who have formed a Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society. Again, a similar secession has occurred from the Baptist Missionary Society, the secessionists forming themselves into “The Baptist Auxiliary of the Bible Missionary Trust.”

Recently an old word has sprung up into vigour and prominence, and is used to describe the Christians, who believe in an inspired Bible and an infallible Christ, who believe in the deity of the Son of God and His true humanity, His virgin birth, His atoning death, His glorious resurrection, and His coming again. Such are called Fundamentalists.

The cleavage between Modernists and Fundamentalists is becoming more marked, and there are movements on foot which will eventuate, we believe, in the Modernists forming one camp and the Fundamentalists another. The Fundamentalists have no choice but to separate from the Modernists, if they are to be loyal to their Lord and bow to Scripture. How can a true Christian sit under the blasphemy of Modernist teaching?

Scripture, we have already quoted, is very plain.

  “FROM SUCH TURN AWAY” (2 Tim. 3:5).

Again we read:
  “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour and some to dishonour. IF A MAN THEREFORE PURGE HIMSELF FROM THESE, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use and prepared unto every good work” (2 Tim 2:20-21).

  “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? and what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part has he that believes with an infidel? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God WHEREFORE COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you” (2 Cor. 6:14-17).

  “If thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as My mouth, let them return unto thee; BUT RETURN NOT THOU UNTO THEM” (Jer. 15:19).

Surely Scripture is explicit enough. Let every Christian act upon it. By so doing, they will deliver themselves and help others. How many stay in more than questionable ecclesiastical connections with the false plea that they can do more good by staying in the corrupt thing than by coming away. Let Scripture, and not our own thoughts, govern us. Scripture is wiser than we are.

It seems to us that things are developing according to Revelation 3:7-22. There you can see the Philadelphian church, with little strength and keeping Christ’s Word and not denying His name, with the promise of being caught up at the second coming of Christ; whilst the threat to the Laodicean church, boasting of riches and absence of need, is that, being neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, it will be spued out of Christ’s mouth.

Surely when Christ comes all the true Fundamentalists, that is, all true Christians resting on the fundamentals of the Christian faith, will be caught up, because they belong to Christ and rest their souls upon His finished work and precious word.

But as surely the Modernists, who go so far as to refuse the deity of Jesus, His atoning work, who teach that He was ignorant and fallible, and throw doubt on His precious word, will not be caught up, but by the very fact of being left behind, will be spued out of Christ’s mouth. Solemn and awful thought!

It is our hope and belief that many entangled in Modernism will yet have their eyes opened, when they realize the terrible lengths to which it will go, even to open and unabashed apostasy, and may yet find themselves among the ranks of the Fundamentalists.

It is astonishing how most Modernists assume that scholarship is all on their side. This is quietly assumed again and again, till at length, the scholar who disagrees with them, does so at the peril of losing his reputation for scholarship. But scholarship is by no means all on one side. We could give many names of Fundamentalists who are as scholarly as the men who deride their views. Let no one be affected by this assumption, that scholarship is all on one side, or by the scorn the Modernist pours on the word Fundamentalists, as applying to those who refuse the teaching of Modernists.

We are prepared that Modernists should accuse us of strong and unchristian language because we denounce their blasphemous teachings. It is often the way with propagators of error, that, instead of attempting to combat what has been said or written against them, they take refuge in finding fault with the language of their opponents. Such conduct is evasion pure and simple.

This, however, does not move us. When the foundations of the Christian faith are at stake, it is not the time to be putting on velvet gloves. The matter cannot be more serious. It is not a matter of opinion, but of life and death. When soldiers go into battle they do not put on white gloves and wear button-holes. Their work is stern and serious.

We are exhorted in Scripture earnestly to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3), and we seek to follow out this injunction. No language can be too severe in condemning this deadly thing. There can be no quarter. We expect none and will give none.

May God keep and preserve His beloved people from this awful delusion, and give them grace and power to stand for the truth and defend it at all costs.