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Posts Tagged ‘Gordon H. Clark’

Gordon Clark’s Foreword to Charnock’s Attributes of God

In Gordon H. Clark on 08/09/2012 at 13:28

Recently I’ve been reading John Flavel’s short treatise on Isa. 26:20, titled The Righteous Man’s Refuge [highly recommended and found in Flavel’s Works, vol. 3]. Flavel’s main point in this work is that the attributes of God are a very real refuge for the believer in times of trial and testing. Finishing that work, it was only natural then to turn to Stephen Charnock’s masterpiece, The Existence and Attributes of God. As it turns out, my copy was a 1958 edition and I noticed that it includes a foreword by Gordon H. Clark. Since the PCA Historical Center houses the Papers of Dr. Clark and since I don’t see Clark’s foreword elsewhere on the web or in print, I thought I would post it here. I’ve placed in bold print one particularly relevant comment.
If I were to make one point, I think that had Dr. Clark read or kept Flavel’s treatise in mind, he would have had at hand even greater arguments for Christians to study the attributes of God.

Gordon H. Clark’s Foreword to the 1958 Sovereign Grace Book Club edition
of Stephen Charnock’s work, The Existence and Attributes of God.

FOREWORD

The life of Stephen Charnock (1628-1680), in contrast to the turbulence of England in the mid-seventeeth century, was almost uneventful. The occurrence of one event, however, secures his reputation for adherence to gospel principles, for, although he was not immprisoned as John Bunyan was, he was one of the ministers ejected under the inquitous Restoration of Charles II.

For the rest, he had an early charge in Southwark; became a Fellow and then a Senior Proctor at Oxford (1649-1656); went to Dublin as chaplain to the Governor; then in 1675, when restrictions on the reformed ministers were somewhat relaxed, he accepted a call to Crosby Square, where he remained until his death.

How he spent his time, in addition to preaching carefully prepared sermons, became evident upon the posthumous publication of his manuscripts, of which the Discourses upon the Existence and Attributes of God is the most famous. This edition includes every word of Charnock’s remarks on the attributes of God, and the existence of God. However, in most editions in the past, his discourses on Providence, Practical Atheism, and God as a Spirit have been included. These are omitted here with regret. However, 1100 pages would be too much for this one volume. Read the rest of this entry »

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Clark Gets the Last Word

In Apologetics, J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. on 29/07/2011 at 08:00

This is the third and last of Dr. Clark’s replies to Buswell’s review and critique of Clark’s work, A CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION. Buswell had begun with a review of that work, to which Clark replied, Buswell commented, and so on. As with the Buswell-Van Til exchange, in this exchange Buswell gives his opponent the last word (though in Van Til’s case, Buswell peppered CVT’s final reply with editorial comments. Clark at least faired better, in that regard.

System and Induction

By GORDON H. CLARK

This is the third in a series of short articles by Dr. Clark. The others, accompanied by argumentative editorial comments of my own, are found in the December 1947 and January 1948, issues of The Bible Today. The series was started off by my review of his recent book, A Christian Philosophy of Education, in The Bible Today for October, 1947.

I must confess that, as I see it, Dr. Clark fails in the present article to meet the issues. Rather than repeating, I suggest that the reader who wishes answers to what Dr. Clark says and to the questions he asks here, will find the answers in my editorials in the December and January issues. My arguments have not been answered.

(While searching, the reader might look for the alleged place where I have “admitted that the cosmological argument is a formal logical fallacy.” I haven’t found that place!) For the present then, I shall let Dr. Clark have the last word. I think you are making a great mistake, good brother. Ed.

A sound rule of Biblical exegesis is that the meaning of a crucial word should be determined by the context, the author’s usage, and his intent. For example, the meaning of the words faith, flesh, redeem, sin, life, death, are neither necessarily nor usually just the same in the New Testament as they are in pagan writers. To assume that the meanings are the same would reduce parts of the New Testament to absurdity. Similarly it is a sound rule for criticizing contemporary books to determine the meaning of the author. If one of his words interpreted in one way makes nonsense of some of his paragraphs, it would be wiser to seek another meaning than to jump to the conclusion that the author makes no sense. Furthermore, an author may use the same word in several senses. A critic cannot legitimately require a writer to confine himself to just one strict meaning.

It seems to me that Dr. Buswell in his book review of A Christian Philosophy of Education and in his two Editorial Comments violates this principle of interpretation. He seems to insist, even in his January Editorial Comment, that system can mean only “a more or less consistent or inconsistent complex of thoughts.”

I defended the legitimacy of my usage of the word system by two citations. The first was from Brand Blanshard: The Nature of Thought. Dr. Buswell, it seems to me, confuses the isuue by first objecting to elements of Professor Blanshard’s philosophy. I too am in fundamental disagreement with that philosophy; but the point at issue was not certain phases of rationalistic idealism, but whether the word system can be used in the sense of a perfectly consistent series of propositions. Having thus confused the issue, Dr. Buswell continues by arguing that Professor Blanshard did not so use the word system. His reason is that Professor Blanshard uses the word system in the other sense also. If by “fragmentary systems, whose parts are connected by the most diverse relations” Professor Blanshard indeed means “more or less inconsistent complex of thoughts,” still it does not follow that he has not also used the word in the sense of a perfectly consistent series of truths. An author cannot legitimately be required to use a word in only one sense.

Webster’s Dictionary also, to which Dr. Buswell appeals, allows of several meanings. There is nothing in Webster that requires Dr. Buswell’s preferred meaning. In fact neither Webster nor Funk and Wagnalls even mention Dr. Buswell’s inconsistent complex. Read the rest of this entry »

Buswell Sees Progress!

In Apologetics, J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. on 28/07/2011 at 12:54

Here are Buswell’s comments following Clark’s entry “Concerning System and Demonstration”. For the moment we’ve skipped over the article by Vernon Grounds that appeared in the midst of this series of exchanges between Buswell and Clark. That article will post later. And as is our habit, links to the entire series of articles can be found at the bottom of this post.

Editorial Comment

I DO feel that there is definite progress in Dr. Clark’s thought, or at least in his expression, from the book,[1] through his article in the December issue of The Bible Today, to his present article. The discussion of the word “system’’ grew out of material found on page 163 and following in his book quoted on page 71 in the December Bible Today. Dr. Clark’s statements there[2] “. . . there is no such thing as a common ground between Christianity and a non-Christian system,” led straight forward to his remarks on the way in which a “faithful Christian presents the Christian faith to an unbeliever.” Then followed his statement, “This is not an appeal to a common ground . . .” The word “this” refers directly to the presentation of the Christian faith “to an unbeliever.” It is the idea that we have no common ground when we present the Gospel to an unbeliever, which gave me such great concern.

Now, in this article on System and Demonstration, as well as in his article of last December, I feel that Dr. Clark has removed the “system” of unbelief so far into the abstract that it cannot interfere with evangelism. Thus my purpose is partly accomplished[3]

The readers who are not interested in logic will please doze off while I go on with the next few paragraphs. Those who are concerned about the basic logic of evangelism, the epistemology[4] of Christian evidences, may do well to read carefully, whether they wholly agree or not.

Our discussion of the word “system,” as I have said, starts from Dr. Clark’s words “a non-Christian system.” Naturalism, or anti-super-naturalism, which practically amounts to atheism, is the “system” which most conspicuously confronts us. In discussing such a system of thought, I should define the word “system” as I did in my editorial note in the December Bible Today, as “a more or less consistent or inconsistent complex of thought to which people adhere.” Thus Webster’s Dictionary gives the following to illustrate usage, “the theological system of Augustine; the American system of government; hence, a particular philosophy, religion, etc. ‘Our little systems have their day.’ “

In Robert Flint’s great worksAnti-Theistic Theories, and Agnosticism, he treats of such systems as materialism, pantheism, secularism, etc., showing inconsistencies in each. In a course in history of philosophy we take up such systems as idealism and realism; in history of Christian doctrine we take up scholasticism, Calvinism, Arminianism, etc. All of these “systems” are “more or less consistent or inconsistent complexes of thought.”

Of course my definition (and Webster’s) supported by usage as it is, does not exclude the perfect system of truth as God sees it; nor does it exclude the system of revealed truth. Dr. Clark’s error in citing Presbyterian usage is in his failing to mention that before the statement accepting the Westminster standards “as containing the system of doctrine taught inthe Holy Scriptures,” every Presbyterian minister was required to declare that he believed the Scriptures to be “the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.” A “system” may be “more or less consistent or inconsistent”; a “system” taught in an “infallible rule” must be perfectly consistent[5]

I am interested in Dr. Clark’s reference to Prof. Brand Blanshard’s views on “system.” I had said I doubted if any writers in this field ever use the word “system” as meaning “the definitive element as such in a complex of thought. ‘

But this is not Prof. Blanshard’s view at all. He would agree with Dr. Clark and me that the truth is a perfectly consistent system. In the passage to which Dr. Clark refers, he says:

If the end of thought is truth, what is truth? It lies, we shall hold, in system, and above all in that perfect type of system in which each component implies and is implied by every other.

Blanshard is a rationalistic idealist. Dr. Clark is not. I should accept the proposition that the truth is a perfect system, but I deny that the truth “lies [or consists] in system.” Rather, it may be checked by its integration as a criterion. It is true because it is there and because it is so. (Dasein und Sosein). Read the rest of this entry »

Clark Elaborates His Approach

In Apologetics, J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. on 26/07/2011 at 10:34

Clark now replies with some elaboration of his apologetic approach.

Concerning System and Demonstration

By GORDON H. CLARK

Dr. Clark very kindly gives us here a clarification of his use of the word “system”, and further comment on so called “isolated facts”, “neutral facts”, and geometrical “demonstration.” Editorial comment follows his article; see page 114 and following.Ed.

Since the philosophic problems of evidence are of such great importance for the effective presentation of the gospel, I greatly appreciate the generous invitation of Dr. Buswell’s Editorial Note (December 1947) to discuss briefly the notions of “system” and “demonstration.” As an introduction to this matter, I should like first to repeat something from my Comments and place it beside a part of Dr. Buswell’s Editorial Note.

In the Comments I pointed out that the book, A Christian Philosophy of Education, denied a common ground between Christian and non-Christian systems, but it did not deny a common ground between regenerate and unregenerate individuals. Dr. Buswell, quoting the paragraph in his Editorial Note, prefaces the quotation with the statement, “he has made important concessions to the point of my argument.” And he also speaks of “The distinction which Dr. Clark’s reply now makes between a non-Christian system and non-Christian people . . .”  This distinction, Dr. Buswell continues, “seems to me to involve and lead up to a complete surrender of his position.”

To this I wish to repeat that the distinction was not made just “now” in the Comments. It is not at all a “concession” to Dr. Buswell’s review, but on the contrary it is found explicitly in the book itself. Nor is the idea of a system confined to the one paragraph Dr. Buswell quotes. The first chapter of the book virtually defines educational endeavor as the striving toward a system; the argument of the second chapter, involving the criticism of the traditional proofs of God’s existence, depends on the notion of system (cf. pp. 48, 49 and passim); the several chapters against neutrality have the same basis; and in short the notion of system rather permeates the book. I am therefore forced to conclude that Dr. Buswell has viewed as a “concession” what in reality is his own better understanding of what I explicitly said.

In order further to elucidate, I must ask agreement to the proposition that all men are more or less inconsistent. The fact that you and I are born again Christians does not mean that everything we think is Christian truth. This should be obvious because we sometimes contradict each other. If you are right, I am wrong; and in this case what I believe is not a part of the Christian system. Hence clarity requires a sharp distinction between what a given person thinks and what the system really is.[*] If there were no such distinction, the beliefs of anyone who called himself a Christian could be taken for Christianity. Indeed, this is the point of view that Modernism with its anti-intellectualism actually adopts. To define Christianity the modernist does not determine the exact meaning of what the Bible says; he simply notes what ideas happen to be popular in his ecclesiastical fraternity. Accordingly the point must be emphasized that a Christian, even a true Christian, and Christianity are two different things. The Christian is inconsistent. Christianity is the whole consistent truth. Similarly an atheist and atheism are two different things. Atheism, a system, is as consistent as any false system can be. But an individual atheist not only may, but does believe propositions inconsistent with his professed atheism.

[*] Dr. Buswell doubts that the word is ever so used; but cf. Brand Blanshard, The Nature of Thought, Vol. I, p. 78.  Read the rest of this entry »

Buswell’s Surrejoinder

In J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., The Bible Today on 25/07/2011 at 18:51

Dr. Clark’s Comments

Editorial Note 

BY DR. BUSWELL


DR. CLARK has been invited to comment on my review of his book
A Christian Philosophy of Education,[1] and, if he wishes, to carry on a discussion with the editor on the questions involved through several of our monthly issues. I feel that this invitation is in order for several reasons:

(1) Dr. Clark is an earnest Christian and a competent scholar, and even though he may be mistaken (as I think) in some points, his opinions are well worth noting and his spirit will be edifying to all our readers.

(2) This discussion, or call it an argument if you will, is not in the slightest degree tinged with personal antagonism. I have the highest regard for him as a friend and former colleague, and he has expressed himself similarly toward me.

(3) The subject under discussion, the basis and use of Christian evidences in dealing with those who have not yet accepted the Gospel, is of the utmost importance for all Bible-believing Christians. The view which I uphold seems so obvious to some that I find it difficult to impress my students that there is any need of dwelling upon it. “Of course there is common ground for us within the thought complexes of unbelievers. Don’t they speak English! Don’t they study history, geography, science! Doesn’t the Bible say that the common objects of our sciences ‘declare the glory of God’ (Psalm 19) in such a way that ‘their sound went into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world’ (Romans 10:18). Why take time to prove the obvious?”

On the other hand the viewpoint of Dr. Clark is so deeply instilled into the minds of some of our younger scholars and professors that, as I observe the problems of evangelism in our day, the idea that Christian evidences are not transitive to the thought complexes of unbelievers is a serious handicap to the propagation of the Gospel.

I believe great good can be accomplished if the Lord’s people can be aroused to the fact that there is such an issue in the minds of many of our splendid young pastors and teachers.

I am delighted with Dr. Clark’s reply, printed in full in the above pages (pp. 67ff.) for one reason, because he has made important concessions to the point of my argument. The distinction which Dr. Clark’s reply now makes between “a non-Christian system” and non-Christian people, (a distinction not clearly made, I feel, in his book) seems to me to involve and lead up to a complete surrender of his position.

The entire paragraph on this subject in his book (p. 163f) to which I objected is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Clark’s Reply

In J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. on 24/07/2011 at 18:35

Continuing our series on the 1947-1948 exchange between J. Oliver Buswell and Gordon H. Clark, the following is Clark’s initial reply to Buswell’s review of Clark’s book, A CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION. And as with the series of exchanges between Buswell and Van Til, this series too provides a lesson in the exercise of Christian polemics.

Dr. Clark Comments

By PROFESSOR GORDON H. CLARK, Ph.D.

DR. BUSWELL, whose zeal for the cause of Christ I admire and whose friendship I value, has generously offered me the opportunity to comment on his review[1] of my book, A Christian Philosophy of Education. The points raised in the review are so numerous that it would require more than a volume to deal with them all. I must therefore refrain from analyzing Dr. Buswell’s various arguments against my position, and direct attention to one point, a very important point, where Dr. Buswell has misapprehended my meaning.

On page four Dr. Buswell says, “He denies that we have any common ground, in facts and rationality, with unbelievers.” This does not happen to be the case.

It may be that some contemporary Calvinists, in their efforts to state the Biblical position and to defend it against humanism, have denied “any common ground, in facts and rationality, with unbelievers.” To me, however, this denial seems unscriptural and therefore untrue. All men are made in the image of God, even though the image is marred by sin; and all men are inhabitants of one and the same universe. These are two “grounds” in common.

The quotation from A Christian Philosophy of Education, p. 164, which Dr. Buswell uses in this connection, does not deny such common ground. If it is read in its context, one will see that it says “There is no such thing as a common ground between Christianity and a non-Christian system. From a world naturalistically conceived, one cannot argue to the God of Christianity.”

In this philosophical discussion it has seemed important to me to distinguish between a system of thought and an actual person. Since everyone is fallible, since some people hold more erroneous views than others, it is clear that a given Christian does not have all the truth or all the system. Some of the system he must believe in order personally to be a Christian; some of the system he may not know at all; and some parts of the system he may consciously reject. For example, Calvinists and Arminians accuse each other of rejecting parts of Biblical teaching. Therefore what is true of an inconsistent person is not necessarily true of a consistent system. And I have maintained that there is a common ground among persons, but not among systems.

Dr. Buswell is not the only person who has failed to see this distinction. Probably the fault lies in my manner of expression. Doubtless the immediate interest in Christian schools led to a too concise and therefore obscure formulation of more basic and more general philosophic principles. But that the distinction is important may be shown by noting, in one or two cases, the effect of this misapprehension on other parts of Dr. Buswell’s review.

On page five Dr. Buswell quotes the argument that the resurrection viewed as an isolated historical event does not prove that Christ died for our sin. This should be obvious, for other people have been raised from the dead, and yet they had not died for our sin. Clearly therefore a resurrection does not prove an atonement. Then says Dr. Buswell, Read the rest of this entry »

Buswell Reviews Clark (1947)

In J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. on 23/07/2011 at 13:03

Prior to the series of articles on presuppositionalism that appeared in THE BIBLE TODAY, there was about a year earlier another series begun by Dr. Buswell when he reviewed A CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY, by Dr. Gordon H. Clark. This series of exchanges between Buswell and Clark will include the following:

Articles in the Buswell-Clark Series :
1. “A Christian Philosophy of History: A Book Review,” by J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., The Bible Today 41.1 (October 1947): 3-15.
2. “Dr. Clark Comments,” by Gordon H. Clark, The Bible Today 41.3 (December 1947): 67-70.
3.  ”Dr. Clark’s Comments—Editorial Note,” by J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., The Bible Today 41.3 (December 1947): 70-74.
4. “Does the Bible Sanction Apologetic?,” by Vernon Grounds, The Bible Today 41.3 (December 1947): 84-89.
4. “Concerning System and Demonstration,” by Gordon H. Clark, The Bible Today 41.4 (January 1948): 109-114.
5.  ”Editorial Comment,” by J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., The Bible Today 41.4 (January 1948): 114-118.
6. “System and Induction,” by Gordon H. Clark, The Bible Today 41.6 (March 1948): 173-177.

On a related note, see also these articles by the Rev. David S. Clark, father of Gordon H. Clark :
1. The Philosophical Basis of Christianity, by Rev. David S. Clark, The Presbyterian 94.50 (11 December 1924): 6-7.
2. Modernism and the Higher Criticism, by Rev. David S. Clark, D.D., The Presbyterian 95.1 (1 January 1925): 8-9.

“A Christian Philosophy of History”[1]
A BOOK REVIEW BY DR. BUSWELL

Dr. Clark is a competent scholar of outstanding achievements, and a well informed, devout Bible-believing Christian. His B.A. and Ph.D. degrees were taken at the University of Pennsylvania. Of unquestioned loyalty to Christ and the Bible, his teaching and his writings have exemplified a high order of learning which does honor to his Phi Beta Kappa key.

It has been remarked by prominent teachers of philosophy, and Dr. Clark calls attention to the fact (p. 6), that whereas the Roman Catholics have presented their philosophy in a fairly well integrated form, based upon the teachings of Thomas Aquinas,[2] the Protestant philosophy has not been presented (at least not as a technical system of metaphysics) in any compact body of philosophical writings.

To meet this need in part Dr. Clark has undertaken to write not a Protestant philosophy in general, but a philosophy of education which, as he says, is one of the important branches of the field.

Dr. Clark has indeed made a noteworthy contribution. Whereas, so far as bulk is concerned, this review may seem critical, I should like to urge that the excellencies of his work so far outweigh the points which I criticize, that there is no comparison. It is hoped that the book will be widely read and circulated not only by school teachers but especially by parents who seriously care to fulfill their obligations in bringing up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” I have heard that someone in conversation once criticized Charles Hodge for the bulk of negative material in a certain portion of his writings. Thereupon Hodge produced a marine map and showed that by far the larger number of notations were to be found in the shallow waters near shore. The great open stretches of the ocean where the sailing is clear were generally characterized by absence of comment. So it is with my review of this product of the workmanship of my good friend and former colleague.

CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES

My most basic criticism has to do with Dr. Clark’s theory of evidences. He is one of a group of earnest Bible-believing younger professors who do not regard the traditional arguments for the existence of God as valid, and who give entirely inadequate logical place to the historical data of the Christian message. He denies that we have any common ground, in facts and rationality, with unbelievers. His constructive view is given in the following words:

Persuasion therefore is not an appeal to a common ground or [should read of (?)] non-Christian experience. Persuasion must be regarded as a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. The faithful Christian presents the Christian faith to an unbeliever, he explains it and shows it in all its fulness. Then the Christian prays that the Holy Spirit regenerate his auditor, renew his mind, open his eyes, and enable him to see the truth of what was said. This is not an appeal to a common ground ; it is an appeal to God. (p. 164)

I thoroughly agree with the affirmations in the above quotation. It is the denial of a common ground in factual and reasonable material to which I strongly object. Indeed in our proclamation of the Gospel we are utterly dependent upon the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. No word of ours would have the slightest effect were it not for the fact, promised by the Lord, that the Holy Spirit “will convict the world.” (John 16:8)  In this, however, we have a constant principle of all Christian activity. In explaining our dependence upon the Holy Spirit in evangelistic activities, Paul used the obvious illustration of agriculture. “I planted, Apollos waters ; but God gave the increase.” (I Cor. 3:6)  Is the farmer not on some common ground with his crops, because he trusts God for the increase? The Apostle Paul in his own ministry constantly assumed a direct transitive interaction between his proclamation of the Gospel and the mind of the unbeliever. “Knowing . . . the fear of the Lord, we persuade men.” (II Cor. 5:11)

Charles Hodge (Systematic Theology, Volume III, p. 79f.) points out that the denial of a common rational factual ground between believers and unbelievers is found in certain historical Lutheran writings, but is contrary to the Calvinistic position. Dr. Clark is a “High Calvinist.” It is strange that in our generation several prominent “High Calvinists” have take a distinctly non-Calvinistic position in denying common intellectual ground between believers and unbelievers. Read the rest of this entry »

Before Clark there was Clark

In The Presbyterian on 27/06/2011 at 10:39

Getting back to our exploration of some of the articles in THE PRESBYTERIAN, there is this by the Rev. David Scott Clark [1859-1939], father of Gordon Haddon Clark.  It would seem the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. There are several other articles by D.S. Clark that appeared in The PRESBYTERIAN, and I will try to post some others in the near future.

The Philosophical Basis of Christianity

By Rev. David S. Clark, D.D.
[The Presbyterian, 94.50 (11 December 1924): 6-7.]

MUCH has been said and written about the philosophical basis of Christianity. It is doubtful if such terms should be used in accurate speech. It is chiefly when Christianity is conceived as a purely subjective phenomenon, or where the subjective elements prevail, that the term finds largest use.

There is indeed a philosophical basis for many men’s conceptions or representations of Christianity. Christianity has often been tinged and warped by philosophical approach. From the Gnosticism and Neo-Platonism of the early centuries to the present-day evolutionary approach, Christianity has suffered from philosophical viewpoints. But the objective facts of Christianity are to be considered historically rather than philosophically. The factual basis of Christianity, to use Professor Machen’s terms, is not to be evaporated in the cauldron of philosophical ebullition. It is true that men often minimize or distort the facts by reason of philosophical preconceptions, and thus produce a mongrel Christianity; but the facts of Christianity constitute the true basis rather than the philosophical accretions or interpretations.

It may be said that, in looking at and evaluating the facts of Christianity, we only substitute one philosophy for another with which we disagree. It is perhaps inevitable that a man will be influenced by whatever philosophy he holds, even in so important a matter as his estimate of Christianity and his presentation of the same. Still it is true, aside from every philosophical bias, that the true basis lies in the facts, and we may say, the historical facts; because Christianity is a historical religion.

This philosophical bias is what is meant by the term “approach,” so glibly used to-day. We are told that the “approach” to the Scriptures and the “approach” to Christianity is entirely different in these modern days, giving us an entirely new view, and requiring a new statement of Christian doctrine, and a reconstruction of religion. These terms are familiar enough and are sure symptoms of an infectious modernism.

Many have been the attempts to re-state Christianity in the terms of philosophical postulates. Schleiermacher’s approach to the Scriptures and to Christianity was from the standpoint of Pantheism. Hence he left the doctrine of a personal God as an open question; repudiated the Old Testament, and dealt in a perfectly arbitrary way with the New Testament. Religious authority was entirely subjective; the effect of the atonement was a moral influence; Christ bore the sins of men only in his fellow feeling and sympathy for them in their struggles and suffering on account of sin. This sympathy draws us into fellowship with Christ to our greater good and blessedness—thus Christ becomes a Saviour and substitute. Christ was divine only in a purely pantheistic sense, being the man who most of all realized his oneness with the Eternal, or possessed, what was called a God-consciousness. Thus philosophy was the basis of Schleiermacher’s perversion of Christianity. Read the rest of this entry »