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Archive for the ‘Rationalism’ Category

Can A Christian Student Rationally Reject Evolution? (1935)

In Evolution, Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, Modernism, Rationalism on 06/06/2012 at 11:26

The following address by Floyd Hamilton, delivered at a convention of evangelical students meeting in 1934, provides good evidence that the questions before us today are not new, nor are we without answers in our defense of the Christian faith. Rev. Hamilton graduated from Princeton Seminary in 1919 (Th.B.) and 1926 (Th.M.), was ordained by the Presbytery of Wooster (PCUSA) and served as a missionary to Korea, first under the auspices of the PCUSA’s Board of Foreign Missions, and then as a missionary with the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. Hamilton was a founding member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, but transferred his credentials into the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (aka, Southern) in 1955 and served his last pastorate, 1964-1969, in a Reformed Presbyterian, General Synod church in Indianapolis. Rev. Hamilton’s son, David, is an honorably retired PCA pastor and foreign missionary, having served in Mexico and Ecuador.
Though perhaps dated in part, Rev. Hamilton’s address would at the very least stand in evidence of a thoughtful response for that era, still useful in many respects. Much, at least in principle, remains pertinent, particularly the opening two paragraphs.

[Photo source, The Independent Board Bulletin, III.4 (April 1937): 5.]


Floyd E. Hamilton, B.D., Th.M.

[An address (slightly abridged) delivered at the Ninth Annual Convention of the League of Evangelical Students in Boston, Massachusetts late in 1934, and subsequently published in The Evangelical Student, January 1935.]

The Christian student usually never makes any personal investigation of the evidence for evolution, but is simply over-awed by the sheer weight of scholarship on the side of evolution, and is paralyzed by the impressive array of materials in the museums of natural history, with their graphic groupings of the evolutionary sequence of different animals and men. The student reasons that since everybody believes in the fact of evolution, only an ignoramus can question it, and he doesn’t want to be classed among the ignoramuses.

A little thought about this matter however, would show him that questions of fact are not decided by majority vote, and that if a thing is false, all the professors in the world can’t make it true. Then, too, if he should study the history of science he would come across numberless theories formerly universally believed which are now universally discarded by scientists. When I studied physics and chemistry as recently as 1906 and 1907, all scientists believed that the atoms were indivisible and indestructible, but to-day that theory is as out-of-date as the idea that the earth is flat! Read the rest of this entry »

A Faithful Watchman Gave Warning (1895)

In Modernism, Rationalism on 25/05/2011 at 19:42

The modernism of the 20th century did not arise overnight. Lest someone think the current battles are anything new, here is evidence that truly there is nothing new under the sun. The battles we face today have deep roots in literally centuries of unbelief and the rejection of Scripture’s truth. 

A New Faith and an Old Folly
By the Rev. J.A. Waddell, D.D.
[The Central Presbyterian 30.35 (20 March 1895): 2.]

President Eliot, of Harvard, has written very hopefully and confidently concerning the prospects of the American Union. Among other encouraging signs, he refers to a new type of Christianity, which he represents as rapidly progressing amongst us. This revolution, as he calls it, has been effected since the beginning of the present century. The characteristic of the liberal Christianity seems to consist in a new conception of God, and new views of human life. God is no longer, as in ages past, regarded as a Judge who will call the impenitent to account; and life is not a season of preparation for a happier sphere. “By the multitude of the unchurched, also, it is generally understood that there is no angry God to propitiate, and that the only way to take securities for the morrow, whether in life or in death, is to do well the duties of to-day.” Without explicit statement of belief, and by the light of these shadowy hints, it is easy to see that the revolution in which he rejoices is a complete rejection of what the Bible teaches concerning condemnation and atonement.

President Eliot is high authority. His statement is questionable only as to the extent of the apostasy which he recognises and welcomes. Advocates are naturally apt to exaggerate the success of the cause they represent. But there is no doubt of the fact, that New England thought, if not that of the whole North, is largely infected with radical disloyalty to Christianity, as it is written in the sacred oracles. I do not propose to discuss this obvious trend of opinion on religious subjects, except in a single aspect. It is a part of a vast aggregate of popular error, that has thoroughly mastered the mind of many of the devotees of light literature in that region. The literati of New England, as a distinct class from the great thinkers of the land, are, with few exceptions, under the false impression that no equal area in the world can compare with their section in wisdom. The assumption of superiority to foreigners, by the Chinese literary class, is not more pronounced. This complacency is manifested, consciously and unconsciously on all subjects, and religion does not escape. With few exceptions, they concur in regarding the divine authority of the Scriptures as an untenable dogma, and erect self-consciousness into a final criterion. Read the rest of this entry »

“The Present Attack Upon Historic Christianity”

In Auburn Affirmation (1924), David S. Kennedy, Modernism, Rationalism, Samuel G. Craig, The Presbyterian on 23/04/2011 at 13:36

Continuing in our series on conservative Presbyterian responses to the Auburn Affirmation and events following, this editorial from The Presbyterian moves the discussion to the root of the matter, as seen by the editor.  There are references to other developments, such as the Committee of Fifteen, and these will have to be explored later.  Of particular note in this editorial is what might arguably be one of the first inklings of a general call for separation from unbelief.  The editor states in his concluding paragraph, “The necessity for all true evangelicals uniting in one solid body against these united and determined attacks is most apparent and vital…evangelicals will be most effective if each company or denomination proceed under their respective organization.”
I should also mention that in one of the next issues
[11 February], it is noted that the Rev. Samuel G. Craig took over the post of editor.  It is possible therefore that he, rather than David S. Kennedy, may have been the author of this unsigned editorial.   

The Present Attack Upon Historic Christianity [The Presbyterian 96-3  (21 January 1926): 2.]

No sincere, intelligent man, Christian or non-Christian, will deny that an open and avowedly destructive attack is being directed with violence against evangelical, historic Christianity. It is of the first importance that all true Christians be aroused and informed as to the nature and extent of this conflict and the consideration of the best means of resisting it.

This present conflict against evangelical Christianity is the first geographically universal conflict in the history of the Church. It appears in every continent, in every mission field, home and foreign, in the long-established churches, and in every denomination.

The purpose of this conflict is to destroy the very foundation of evangelical Christianity, including both doctrine and morals. Read the rest of this entry »