Series - The Fundamentals

The History of the Higher Criticism

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CHAPTER VI. THE HISTORY OF THE HIGHER CRITICISM.

BY CANON DYSON HAGUE, M. A., RECTOR OF THE MEMORIAL CHURCH, LONDON, ONTARIO. LECTURER IN LITURGICS AND ECCLESIOLOGY, WYCLIFFE COLLEGE, TORONTO, CANADA. EXAMINING CHAPLAIN TO THE BISHOP OF HURON.

What is the meaning of the Higher Criticism? Why is it called higher? Higher than what?

At the outset it must be explained that the word “Higher” is an academic term, used in this connection in a purely special or technical sense. It is not used in the popular sense of the word at all, and may convey a wrong impression to the ordinary man. Nor is it meant to convey the idea of superiority. It is simply a term of contrast. It is used in contrast to the phrase, “Lower Criticism.”

One of the most important branches of theology is called the science of Biblical criticism, which has for its object the study of the history and contents, and origins and purposes, of the various books of the Bible. In the early stages of the science Biblical criticism was devoted to two great branches, the Lower, and the Higher. The Lower Criticism was employed to designate the study of the text of the Scripture, and included the investigation of the manuscripts, and the different readings in the various versions and codices and manuscripts in order that we may be sure we have the original words as they were written by the Divinely inspired writers. (See Briggs, Hex., page 1.) The term generally used now-a-days is Textual Criticism. If the phrase were used in the twentieth century sense, Beza, Erasmus, Bengel, Griesbach, Lachmann, Tregelles, Tischendorff, Scrivener, Westcott, and

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The Proof of the Living God, as Found in the Prayer Life of George Muller of Bristol

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CHAPTER V. THE PROOF OF THE LIVING GOD, AS FOUND IN THE PRAYER LIFE OF GEORGE MULLER, OF BRISTOL.

BY REV. ARTHUR T. PIERSON, D. D.

In Psalm 68:4, we are bidden to “extol Him who rideth upon the heavens by His name, JAH, and to rejoice before Him;” and in the next verse, He is declared to be “a father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, in His holy habitation.”

The name, “Jah,” here only found, is not simply an abbreviation of “Jehovah;” but the present tense of the Hebrew verb to be; and expresses the idea that this Jehovah is the Living, Present God; and, as the heavens are always over our heads, He is always a present Helper, especially to those who, like the widow and the orphan, lack other providers and protectors.

George Miiller, of Bristol, undertook to demonstrate to the unbelieving world that God is such a living, present God, and that He proves it by answering prayer; and that the test of this fact might be definite and conclusive, he undertook to gather, feed, house, clothe, and also to teach and train, all available orphans, who were legitimate children, but deprived of both parents by death and destitute.

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The Personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit

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CHAPTER IV. THE PERSONALITY AND DEITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

BY REV. R. A. TORREY, D. D.

IMPORTANCE OF THE DOCTRINE.

One of the most characteristic and distinctive doctrines of the Christian faith is that of the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the personality of the Holy Spirit is of the highest importance from the standpoint of worship. If the Holy Spirit is a divine person, worthy to receive our adoration, our faith and our love, and we do not know and recognize Him as such, then we are robbing a divine Being of the adoration and love and confidence which are His due.

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The Purposes of the Incarnation

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CHAPTER 3: THE PURPOSES OF THE INCARNATION.

BY REV. G. CAMPBELL MORGAN, D. D., PASTOR OF WESTMINSTER CHAPEL, LONDON, ENGLAND.

FOREWORD.

The title of this meditation marks its limitation, and indicates its scope.

Here is no attempt at defense of the statement of the New Testament that “the Word was made flesh.” That is taken for granted as true.

Moreover, here is no attempt to explain the method of the Holy Mystery. That is recognized as Mystery: a fact revealed which is yet beyond human comprehension or explanation.

The scope is that of considering in broad outline the plain teaching of the New Testament as to the purposes of the Incarnation.

Its final limitation is that of its brevity. If, however, it serve to arouse a deeper sense of the wonder of the great central fact of our common Faith, and thus to inspire further meditation, its object will be gained.

THE INCARNATION.

The whole teaching of Holy Scripture places the Incarnation at the center of the methods of God with a sinning race.

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The Deity of Christ

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CHAPTER 2: THE DEITY OF CHRIST

BY PROF. BENJAMIN B. WARFIELD, D. D., LL. D., PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY.

A recent writer has remarked that our assured conviction of the deity of Christ rests, not upon “proof-texts or passages, nor upon old arguments drawn from these, but upon the general fact of the whole manifestation of Jesus Christ, and of the whole impression left by Him upon the world.” The antithesis is too absolute, and possibly betrays an unwarranted distrust of the evidence of Scripture. To make it just, we should read the statement rather thus: Our conviction of the deity of Christ rests not alone on the scriptural passages which assert it, but also on His entire impression on the world; or perhaps thus: Our conviction rests not more on the scriptural assertions than upon His entire manifestation. Both lines of evidence are valid; and when twisted together form an unbreakable cord. The proof-texts and passages do prove that Jesus was esteemed divine by those who companied with Him; that He esteemed Himself divine; that He was recognized as divine by those who were taught by the Spirit; that, in fine, He was divine. But over and above this Biblical evidence the impression Jesus has left upon the world bears independent testimony to His deity, and it may well be that to many minds this will seem the most conclusive of all its evidences. It certainly is very cogent and impressive.

EXPERIENCE AS PROOF.

The justification which the author we have just quoted gives of his neglecting the scriptural evidence in favor of that borne by Jesus’ impression on the world is also open to criticism. “Jesus Christ,” he tells us, “is one of those essential

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truths which are too great to be proved, like God, or freedom, or immortality.” Such things rest, it seems, not on proofs but on experience. We need not stop to point out that this experience is itself a proof. We wish rather to point out that some confusion seems to have been fallen into here between our ability to marshal the proof by which we are convinced and our accessibility to its force. It is quite true that “the most essential conclusions of the human mind are much wider and stronger than the arguments by which they are supported;” that the proofs “are always changing but the beliefs persist.” But this is not because the conclusions in question rest on no sound proofs; but because we have not had the skill to adduce, in our argumentative presentations of them, the really fundamental proofs on which they rest.

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The Virgin Birth of Christ

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CHAPTER 1: THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF CHRIST

BY THE REV. PROF. JAMES ORR, D. D., UNITED FREE CHURCH COLLEGE, GLASGOW, SCOTLAND.

It is well known that the last ten or twenty years have been marked by a determined assault upon the truth of the Virgin birth of Christ. In the year 1892 a great controversy broke out in Germany, owing to the refusal of a pastor named Schrempf to use the Apostles’ Creed in baptism because of disbelief in this and other articles. Schrempf was deposed, and an agitation commenced against the doctrine of the Virgin birth which has grown in volume ever since. Other tendencies, especially the rise of an extremely radical school of historical criticism, added force to the negative movement. The attack is not confined, indeed, to the article of the Virgin birth. It affects the whole supernatural estimate of Christ — His life, His claims, His sinlessness, His miracles, His resurrection from the dead. But the Virgin birth is assailed with special vehemence, because it is supposed that the evidence for this miracle is more easily got rid of than the evidence for public facts, such as the resurrection. The result is that in very many quarters the Virgin birth of Christ is openly treated as a fable. Belief in it is scouted as unworthy of the twentieth century intelligence. The methods of the oldest opponents of Christianity are revived, and it is likened to the Greek and Roman stories, coarse and vile, of heroes who hid gods for their fathers. A

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special point is made of the silence of Paul, and of the other writings of the New Testament, on this alleged wonder.

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The Fundamentals: Volume I Foreword

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FOREWORD

This book is the first of a series which will be published and sent to every pastor, evangelist, missionary, theological professor, theological student, Sunday school superintendent, Y. M. C. A. and Y. W. G. A. secretary in the English speaking world, so far as the addresses of all these can be obtained.

Two intelligent, consecrated Christian laymen bear the expense, because they believe that the time has come when a new statement of the fundamentals of Christianity should be made.

Their earnest desire is that you will carefully read it and pass its truth on to others.

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Coming Soon: "The Fundamentals" at SharperIron?

The Fundamentals was a series of articles first published between 1910 and 1915 as the fulfillment of an oil millionaire’s (Marsden, 118) dream. He didn’t dream of becoming a Christian publishing magnate. Rather, Lyman Stewart aimed to fortify Christian leaders in the fundamentals of the faith against the tide of unbelief—specifically the unbelief of higher criticism.*

Accordingly, Stewart and his brother Milton distributed the series, one volume at a time, free of charge “to every pastor, evangelist, missionary, theological professor, theological student, Sunday school superintendent, Y. M. C. A. and Y. W. G. A. secretary in the English speaking world, so far as the addresses of all these [could] be obtained” (Vol. I, Foreword). By the time Volume V rolled off the presses, the Stewart brothers were able to claim they had sent series volumes to “more than 275,000” of these Christian leaders (Vol. V, Foreword).

The full title was The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth.

Over the coming months, it’s our intention to republish The Fundamentals one chapter at a time here at SharperIron. And, though we lack Stewart’s millions, we’ll follow his tradition and make them available for free.

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