Full Text for Verbal Inspiration - a Stumbling Block for the Jews and Foolishness to the Greeks, part 3 (Text)

Qtnurnr~tu m4tnlngital iln111lJlg Continuing LEHRE UND WEHRE MAGAZIN FUER Ev.-LuTH. HOMILETIK THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLy-THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY Vol. xn June, 1941 No.6 CONTENTS Page Verbal Inspiration - a Stumbling-Block to the Jews and Foolish- ness to the Greeks. Th. Engelder ____________ ____ __ ____ ______ _. ____ _ 401 Some Notes on the Life and Works of Catherine Winkworth Cad S . Meyer ___ __________ _ _ __ _____ _ 427 Studying Case Histories. Elmer A. Kettner ____ _______ 444 Outlines on the Wuerttemberg Gospel Selections _ ____ _______ 448 Theological Observer. - Kirchlich-Zeitgeschichtliches _ ___ _______ 461 Book Review. - Literatur ________________________ _ ____________ .________ ___ ._ 473 Ein Prediger muss nlcbt allein wei- den, also dass er die Schafe unter- weise. me sie rechte Christen sollen sein, sondem auch daneben den Woel- fen weh'TEm, dass sle die Scbafe nlcht angreifen und mit falscher Lehre ver- fuehren und Irrtum elnfuehren. Luther Es 1St kein Ding. das die Leute m ehr bel der K1rche behaelt denn die gute Predigt. - Apotogle, Art. 24 If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? - 1 COT. 14:8 Published for the Ev. Luth. Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States CONCORDIA PUBLISHING BOUSE, St. Louis, Mo. Concordia Theological Monthly Vol. XII JUNE, 1941 No.6 Verbal Inspiration - a Stumbling-Block to the Jews and Foolishness to the Greeks (Continued) It is unworthy of a Christian to charge Holy Scripture with errors. - It might be well to emphasize and elaborate some of the points touched upon in the preceding articles. First, it is unworthy of a Christian to let fallible men exercise authority over Scripture. It is a shameful thing for a Christian theologian to revise and correct Scripture on the authority of some historian or some professor of natural history. Theologians are doing just that. What about the statement of Mark that Herodias, the wife of Herod Antipas, had been the wife of Philip, the brother of Herod, Mark 6: 17? Dr. Haussleiter of Greifswald (Lutheran) said: "Here, it seems, a historical error has crept in. Josephus, who was ~ully informed regarding the complicated relationships of the family of the Herodians, names Herod [a half-brother of Herod Antipas] as the first husband of Herodias. According to Josephus, Philip was the son-in-law [the husband of Salome] of Herodias and not her first husband." (See Lehre und Wehre, 53, p. 426.) So Josephus is a better authority than Mark, and Mark stands cor- rected. The Expositor's Greek Testament indicates the solution of this difficulty: "He, Herod [a half- brother of Herod Antipas], may of course have borne another name, such as Philip," but makes the fatal concession: "Even if there be a slip, it is a matter of small moment," etc. Wohlenburg, in Zahn's Commentary, oper- ates in precisely the same way: "Entweder liegt hier bei Markus ein verzeihlicher Irrtum vor, oder jener erste Gemahl der Herodias hiess Herodes Philippus." According to these theologians the historical statement of Mark is either false or subject to doubt because of the greater or equal authority of a second-rate secular historian. - A similar case is discussed by Dr. J. C. Mattes in 26 402 Verbal Inspiration - a Stumbling-Block to Jews, Etc. KirchHche Zeitschrijt, 64, p. 553. He quotes from F. C. Grant's The Gospel of the Kingdom: "Mark's story of John's martyrdom (6:17-29), following his rebuke of Herod's unlawful marriage, does not contradict the statement of Josephus and may be accepted as an added detail explaining Herod's antagonism - though the tale has the features of a later legend, and a motif completely different from that of the account in Josephus," 27) and comments: "Appar- ently the gospels on occasion cannot be as reliable as the accounts of a secular historian, even those of one who handles his materials as apologetically as Josephus." Josephus is a historian; Mark tells a tale, a legend. - What was back of all the trouble about King Belshazzar? The old secular writers Berosus and Herodotus have a different name for the last ruler of the Babylonian king- dOll'l. And Berosus and Herodotus are trustworthier than DanieL - "Because Herodotus had written: 'There are no vineyards in Egypt,' and Plutarch had declared: 'Kings began to drink wine from the time of King Psammetichus,' the writer of Genesis 40 must be mistaken when he afHrmed that the Pharaoh of Joseph's time drank wine." (Bibliotheca Sacra, Jan., 1941, p.117. Other similar cases are recounted there.) Is the arboriculturist a better authority in his field than Paul? Of course he is, says Dr. R. F. Stamm. The arboriculturist has the right to show that Paul slipped in Rom. 11: 17 ff. Paul did not know much about the art of grafting. Having quoted a statement dealing with this matter, the Gettysburg professor comments: "This is an interesting suggestion and a possible explanation; but one has the feeling that Paul, the man of the city, is here involved in his usual difficulty when he attempts an illustration from nature or from agriculture." (The Luth. Church Quart., 1935, p. 320.) On matters biological the word of the professor of biology counts for more than that of Moses or Paul. For, says Dr. A. Traver, "the Bible is not a text for biology or for chemistry." "Bible-writers wrote with the background of their age and scientific belief." (The Lutheran, 1939, May 10, Feb. 22.) What about natural history? Professor Baumgaertel says: "If you want information on natural- history matters, go to the natural-history authorities." (See W. Moeller Um die Inspiration der Bibel, p.31.) And so all along the line. The Liberals declare: "Modern historical and literary criticism, not to mention 'science' generally, has rendered it [the doctrine of "the plenary verbal inspiration of Holy Scripture"] increasingly untenable." (Ch1'istendom, I, p. 243.) 27) Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 5: Herod feared that John's activities might stir up a revolt and for that reason executed him. Footnote in Demme's translation: "Del' Evangelist gibt uns wohl die Ursache richtiger an, warum des edeln Taeufers Haupt fie!." (P.508.) Verbal Inspiration·- a Stumbling-Block to Jews, Etc. 403 And when the conservative commissioners of the U. L. C. declared that they were "unable to accept the statement that the Scriptures are the infallible truth 'also in those parts which treat of historical, geographical, and other secular matters'" (Minutes of the 1938 Convention of the U. L. C. A., p. 468), they declared that secular scholars are on some points more reliable than the sacred writers. Must we, then, call in secular scholars, to correct a given text before we preach from that text in our pulpits? The Liberals of the extreme left are ready to do that. And we can understand why they can do that. They look upon the Bible as the product of men, subject to the criticism of men. Speaking for the Liberals of the extreme left, R. Ingersoll declares: "We should read the Bible as we do every other book; and everything good in it, keep it; and everything that shocks the brain and shocks the hea,t, throw it away." (Lectt~res of Col. R. J. Inge1'soll, p. 357.) Dr. Willett agrees with Ingersoll on this point. "These writings were not supernaturally produced" (The Bible through the Centu1'ies, p. 254). These Liberals feel justified in subjecting the Bible to the criticism and correction of the historian and the scientist. But how can he do it who believes that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God"? We certainly are not going to tell our Bible class that, when Mark wrote that Herodias had been the wife of Philip, God permitted him to forget his history and to contradict the great historian Josephus. Weare certainly not going to read the Christ- mas Gospel from our pulpit and tell our people that we shall have to omit verse 2 of Luke 2 because Luke blundered concerning Cyrenius, the Governor of Syria, and then tell them that the rest is Gospel-truth. Luther would not do it. Believing that "Scripture has never erred" and "cannot err," "that God does not lie nor does His Word lie" (XIX: 1309; XV: 1481; XX: 798), he would not listen to any historian or any scientist whose story differed from that of the Bible. He studied the historians very closely; but: "I set Scripture above them. I make use of them in such a way that I am not compelled to contradict Scripture. For I believe that in Scripture the God of truth is speaking, but in the histories good people have done the best they could; they strove to be exact, but they were men! Or perhaps the copyists erred." (XIV: 491.) It is inconceivable how one vvho believes in Inspiration would want to charge Scripture with euo:cs because certain learned men disagree with Scripture. It is the word of fallible men against the word of the infallible God.28 ) 28) The conservative moderns protest that they are not . ;lTing the words of fallible men to God's words, for the portions of Scripture under consideration are not God's words, but the words of fallible men. Then they will have to say that every once in a while the inspiring 404 Verbal Inspiration-a Stumbling-Block to Jews, Etc. Put it another way: the moderns are actually advising us to tell our people that certain portions of Scripture are not inspired, because otherwise the attacks of the infidels will prove successful. In other words: we cannot uphold the trustworthiness of the Bible unless we admit errors in it. They are actually giving this advice. Professor Evans, quoted with approval by De Witt (op. cit., p.43), says: "You may be sure that, so long as you hang the infallible authority of Scripture as the rule of faith on the infallible accuracy of every particular word and clause in the Book, ... the irrepres- sible conflict between faith and science will go on. . .." If the Church would only admit at once and unreservedly that the Bible contains the mistakes charged up against it by the historian and the scientist, "the iridescent declaration of Robert Ingersoll in his 1V1istakes of 1V1oses would collapse like a pricked balloon." One cannot trust one's eyes. Surrender parts of the Bible in order to save the rest! By way of appeasement the Church must maintain herself! What do you think of a theology which is at the beck and call of science and is glad to act as her train-bearer, "Schleppen- traegerdienste zu tun"? 29) The Christian disgraces himself when he asks fallible men to tell him how much of his Holy Bible he may accept. Take the lowest view of the case. We demand that the holy writers, say the Biblical historians, be treated as respectably as secular his- torians. Why should we take it for granted that in a case of conflict the heathen or the Jew should be right, but Daniel and Mark wrong? Daniel is entitled to at least as much consideration as Herodotus. Why not operate with the hypothesis that Josephus might have blundered? Why say a priori that Mark and Luke blundered? Read Dr. Lenski on Luke 2:2: "Luke was charged activity of the Holy Ghost ceased; that every so often - and that was very often-the Holy Ghost left the holy writers to their own devices; that He permitted the Bible, the book of life, to become a con- glomerate of truth and error; and that He put it up to the anxious sinner to search the Scriptures in order to separate the truth from the error. Is such a monstrous conception of the work of the Holy Ghost worthy of a Christian? And is it worthy of a Christian to say that the inspired words "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" do not express the full truth? 29) Moeller's phrase. Read the entire paragraph. "Es fragt sich, ob es gut ist, sofort beim ersten Kanonenschuss del' Feinde die Aussen- werke zu raeumen, urn die Festung selbst halten zu wollen, urn so mehr, wenn es sich urn einen blinden Schuss und um schwache Feinde handelt. Die heutige Theologie verbeugt sich VOl" jeder Wissenschaft odeI' auch oft Pseudowissenschaft und Naturphilosophie, die den Mund etwas vall nimmt, und erklaert sich bereit, Schleppentraegerdienste zu tun. Das ist ein erbarmungs- und unwuerdiger Zustand, der ein Ende nehmen muss!" (Op. cit., p. 36.) Verbal InspiraUon--a Stumbling-Block to JevlS, Etc. 405 with misdating this enrolment. What helped the matter along were the mistaken statements of Josephus (on which see Zahn in his commentary oil Luke). The word of the renegade Jewish priest Josephus, born as late as 37 or 38 A. D., was taken against the word of Paul's faithful assistant, the inspired writer Luke, who was an active member in the church at Antioch as early as the year 40. Recently disc~vered inscriptions vindicate Luke." 30) Omit the "'inspired" and the concluding sentence and get the point we are at present stressing. Dr. Stoeckhardt thus stresses the point: "Who will forbid us, where the testimony of one witness counts for as much as that of the other, to accept the testimony of the Bible?" (Lehre und Wehre, 32, p. 316.) Those who say that the testimony of the secular writer has the preference, are swayed by bias. That is unworthy of a "historical critic." And it is unworthy of a Christian. The matter gets worse when we realize that these fallible men who are set above Scripture are indeed fallible men who have been convicted time and again of making false statements. Josephus is not an absolutely reliable historian. "It should no longer be denied that Josephus contradicts himself in his account of the census under Quirinius as in other accounts, constructs from dif- ferent accounts of the same facts different facts, and commits other blunders." (Zahn, Commentary on Luke, p. 130.) "The testimony of Professor Sayce to the inaccuracy of Herodotus and other ancient writers is as follows: 'Let us now turn to the classical writers who have left accounts of the ancient history of the East. Among them Herodotus and Ktesias of Knidos claim our first attention. Herodotus has been termed "the Father of History." . .. Ktesias had access to the state archives of Persia; on the strength of these he maintained that Herodotus had "lied," and he wrote a work with the object of contradicting most of the older historians' statements. But when confronted with contemporaneous monu- ments, Herodotus and Ktesias alike turn out to be false guides.''' (D. MacDill, The Mosaic Authorship of the Pentatettch, po 1630) These "good people," says Luther, did their best but could not help blundering. The man on the street knows that the historians of the present day spend much of their time in correcting the mistakes of the historians of yesterday. And still the moderns faulted our fathers for refusing to trust Josephus more than Mark 30) Zahn, page 129: "Es will doch nicht einleuchten, warum, wo es sich urn Ereignisse del' Zeit zwischen 7 v. Chr. und 7 n. ChI'. handelt, geschichtliche Angaben des griechischen Arztes und Christen Lukas, der schon VOl' clem Regierungsantritt des Kaisers Claudius ein erwachsenes Mitglied der Gemeinde zu Antiochien war, von vornherein misstrauischer angesehen werden so11en, als Angaben des ehemaligen Priesters Josephus, del' zu Ende 37 oder Anfang 38 geboren ist." 406 Verbal Inspiration-a Stumbling-Block to Jews, Etc. It is unbelievable. Dr. Stoeckhardt tells them: "Will you say that secular history gives the lie to Scripture? . .. Are we to correct the Biblical history on the authority of occasional scraps in the ancient tradition or the obscure language of the monuments, which are partly contradictory ... ? Das waere Wahnwitz," (Lehre und Wehre, 32, p. 315.) This applies to all branches of human knowledge. Are the geologists who would master Moses infallible? Then why do the geological theories change so often, so often that the layman cannot keep count? "Of the eighty (geological) theories which the French Institute counted in 1806 as hostile to the Bible, not one now stands." (A. T. Pierson in Fundamentals, 7, p. 63.) And has higher criti- cism, for our moderns the queen of sciences, established any assured results? Is there any finality there? 81) The science of one epoch is abandoned by the science of the next. (See Gladstone, The Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture, p. 49.) We would invite the critics to spend their time in searching out the discrepancies in the secular writings. They will then feel less inclined to produce them as witnesses against the Bible. - The judge would disgrace himself who consented to try a case where the plaintiff is unable to produce unimpeachable witnesses. And the Christian disgraces himself if he permits fallible men to testify against the infallible Bible.32) 31) In his latest book, A Philosophy of the Christian Revelation, Edwin Lewis mentions on page 34 "the reverberations of the bitter con- troversy of the so-called Documentary Hypothesis of the Pentateuch," the old "symbols J, E, D, and P," and says: "That chapter in the history of criticism may now be regarded as closed." Other theories now have their day-and it will be a short day. The tragic thing, however, is that in the very next paragraph Dr. Lewis assails Verbal Inspiration on the strength of ''facts'' furnished by higher criticism. He says: "The Church had unfortunately committed itself to a type of verbal- ism. . .." He rejoices over "the breaking of the stranglehold of this verbalism." "How mixed-up the message r of the Pentateuch 1 is with transient and purely human elements can hardly be denied except by a doctrinaire who persists in closing his eyes to facts." 32) A final word on the unscholarly habits of the discrepancy- hunters, as evidenced by Dr. Haussleiter. A later article, dealing with the "Biblical errors," will discuss other instances. What the Expositor's Greek Testament and Zahn's Commentary say in a half-hearted way we want to express in stronger terms. It is frivolous to charge Mark with a historical error "on the assumption that Herod the Great could have only one son named Philip" (Lenski's Commentary). Dr. Haussleiter and his ilk should take the trouble of studying the genealogical table of the Herodians. Herod had two sons named Philip; one (the husband of Herodias) by Mariamne, the other (the tetrarch) by Cleopatra. Even so two of his sons bore the name of Antipas. For two half-brothers to bear the same name in a family like that of Herod the Great is nothing unusual. Haussleiter constructed the "historical error" by ignoring a matter of common occurrence. For his benefit we shall also mention the other historical fact that Salome, the daughter of Herodias and Verbal. Inspiration--a Stumbling-Block to Jews, Etc. 407 And now let us take high ground. We shall take our stand on the i..mpregnable rock of Holy Scripture. We take this position: even if the historians and the scientists and the philosophers had never been convicted of a single error, misstatement, or inaccuracy, we would say that in every case where they contradict Scripture they are in error, and Scripture is right. To say less than that is unworthy of a Christian. If all the philosophers and scientists were united in declaring one statement of Scripture to be false, we would tell them that this little verse of Scripture will stand as true in all eternity. The Christian has no difficulty to say with Luther: "God's Word counts for more than all angels and saints and creatures" (XVIII: 1322) and historians and philosophers. He encounters insuperable difficulties in saying that in this instance the scientists are right and Scripture is wrong. We shall tell the philosophers that, where doctrine is con- cerned, they know nothing of these things and that the declaration of Scripture is conclusive and decisive. And we shall tell them another thing: on these matters we know more than you. You may know a lot more about science than we do. But do not talk to us on matters of faith. "To be able to judge the Bible, a man needs spiritual sense. I would as soon expect a man to appreciate the Sistine Madonna because he was not color-blind as to expect an unspiritual man to understand and appreciate the Bible simply because he understands the laws of grammar and the vocabulary of the languages in which the Bible was written. I would as soon think of setting a man to teach Art merely because he understood the disinherited Philip (the first husband of Herodias) married the tetrarch Philip, her half-uncle. Furthermore, when Josephus named Herod as the first husband of Herodias, he was right; when Mark gave his name as Philip, he was right. The two historians are not con- tradicting each other. The trouble is not with Josephus (in this instance) and Mark; the trouble is with Haussleiter and the other critics. They misinterpret one of their historians. - Mark was not a shallow examiner; Haussleiter proved himself a superficial reader. There are other similar cases. Examining the case of the Gadarene swine, Gladstone remarks: "Both Bishop Wordsworth in his Com- mentary and Archbishop Trench refer to Josephus. I am, however, under the impression that both these excellent authors may have insufficiently examined the effect of the passages in Josephus which relate to the subject." (Op. cit., p. 326. These passages listed and examined there.) So we have this situation: to prove the errancy of Scripture, secular writers are quoted. That is inadmissible. Secondly, the secular writers relied upon as witnesses are in many cases shown to be in error. And in the third place, the charge of "errors in the Bible" rests in some case on a misinterpretation of the secular authority. We read this the other day: "As down payment on an automobile, a man in Tarry- town, N. Y., tendered three $50 bills. They were not only Confederate money but counterfeit." The statements of scientists and historians are in this matter not legal tender. Sometimes they are erroneous, counterfeit. And where there is misinterpretation of the secular authority, the counterfeit of the outlawed money is mutilated beyond recognition. 408 Verbal Inspiration-a Stumbling-Block to Jews, Etc. paints, as to set him to teach the Bible merely because he under- stood Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic." (R. A. Torrey, Is the Bible the Inerrant Word of God? P. 46.) See 1 Cor. 2: 14. The Christian would be degrading himself and belittling his spiritual faculties if he asked Kant and Fosdick to tell him how many of the Bible doctrines he may believe. And with regard to secular matters we shall tell them that what Scripture says about creation and the husband of Herodias and the grafting of olive-branches is absolutely true. If they agree, well; if not, they are wrong. "One passage of Scripture has more cmthority than all the books in the world." (Luther, XIX:1734.) We should hold this one passage even if all the philosophers from Plato down to Santayana and all scientists from Pythagoras to Einstein declared it erroneous. A Christian can say nothing less. "Wir muessen so keck werden, allen Menschenwitz und alles, was von Menschen kommt, mit Fuessen zu treten, sobald es die Worte Christi betrifft. . .. Was kuemmert's mich was dieser oder jener begabte Suender ueber dieses oder jenes denkt, heisse er nun Schleiermacher oder Storr oder Kant oder Swedenborg, oder wie er will." (Hofacker. See Lehre und Wehre, 57, p. 137.) Let us be as bold as Walther: "Let science publicize ever so confidently the results of its research as absolutely certain truths, we do not regard science but only Scripture as infallible. When the results of scientific research contradict clear statements of Scripture, we are certain before all investigation that these teachings of science are absolutely not true, even if we are unable to prove this save by our appeal to Scripture. As often as we must choose between science and Scripture, we say with Christ, our Lord: 'The Scripture cannot be broken,' John 10:35, and with the holy apostle: 'We bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,' 2 Cor. 10, 5." (See Christliche Dogmatik, I, p.190.) The Christian, though he be a mere layman, must be bold enough to challenge not only the philosopher but also the erring theologian. Here is a fine Christian manifesto, issued by Del' Deutsche Ev.-Luth. Schulverein (150 members): "We maintain the miracle of Inspiration and believe that the Bible is, word for word, God's Word. . .. Over against the testimony of Christ and His apostles the wisdom of the most learned professors and D. D.'s is, for us, nothing but wind. You may look down upon us as unlearned laymen. We shall hold our position in spite of that." (Lehn: lmcl Wehre, 55, p. 234.) VThen the experts discuss scientific matters, we keep our mouths shut. And we are aware that some of these men, many of them, know more Greek and Aramaic than we do. And more than our high-school boy. But we tell this boy that, when his Verbal Inspiration-a Stumbling-Block to Jews, Etc. 409 teacher begins to charge the Bible with historical and scientific errors, he should open his mouth in protest. He need not be abashed and apologetic. He should say: In this matter "I have more understanding than all my teachers," Ps. 119: 99. It might happen, of course, and it will happen, that the pro- fessor gets the young man in a corner. The young man cannot solve the historical or chronological difficulty. And then perhaps the young man will worry and give up his case as lost. But that would be unworthy of him as a Christian. That is the next point that needs to be emphasized and elaborated: the Christian is not taking the right attitude if he permits the fact that he cannot solve all Biblical difficulties to perturb him overmuch. Dr. Stoeckhardt had some difficulty with Matthew 27: 9: "spoken by Jeremy the prophet." It seems that Zechariah should have been named (Zech.ll: 12). And Dr. Stoeckhardt freely says: I cannot solve the difficulty, nor could the others solve it. "Instead of exhausting oneself with such vague guesses, it would have been better to confess Non liquet and let it go at that. It would not, after all, be the only obscure passage in Scripture which we cannot decipher." (Lehre und Wehre, 31, p. 272.) We do not notice that Dr. Stoeckhardt's pen was quivering when he wrote these words. Luther was equally free to confess occasionally that he was baffied. "Here, in the case of Abraham, sixty years are lost." (I: 721.) They have not been located to this day. But that did not raise the suspicion with Luther that Scripture here made a mistake. On John 2: 13-16: "Here the question arises how the statements of Matthew and of John harmonize. . .. Abel' es sind Fragen und bleiben Fragen, die ich nicht will aufloesen. Nothing much depends on It. What do I care that there are many sharp and super clever people who raise all kinds of questions and demand an answer on every single point?" (VII: 1780 f.) Peter Martyr took the same attitude: "Although obscure passages occur as to chronology, we must beware of pretending to reconcile them by imputing blunders to the inspired books. Therefore it is that, should it sometimes happen that we know not how to account for the number of years, we ought simply to confess our ignorance and consider that the Scriptures express themselves with so much conciseness that it is not always possible for us to discover at what epoch we ought to make such or such a computation to commence." (See Gaussen, op. cit., p. 243.) 33) Here is one fact which is well established: the great theologians of the Church are not able to harmonize all "contradictions" in the Bible. Nor are they able to prove, by 33) "Conciseness" - that accounts for some of the difficulty. Other factors are mentioned in the same paragraph. 410 Verbal Inspiration-a Stumbling-Block to Jews, Etc. science, that all the scientific statements in the Bible are true; to demonstrate in all cases that the Biblical historian is right and the secular historian wrong; and to adduce corroborative testimony in all cases from outside sources. "W 0 do not claim that every historical statement contained in the Pentateuch can be proved to be true by external testimony." (D. MacDill, op. cit., p. 89.) But this fact should not disturb us. It is not worthy of a Christian to let that fact lead him to doubt in any way the trust- worthiness of Scripture. It may embarrass some to be forced to make Luther's and Peter Martyr's and Augustine's confession of ignorance, - and it should put those to shame whose ignorance is due to their neglect of serious study of the case. But we have no reason to be embarrassed and perturbed at our inability to solve all Biblical difficulties. We do not, and the most pronounced foes of Verbal Inspiration do not, feel that difficulties about a certain philosophical truth cast doubt upon that truth. When we and the Bible critics find a statement in some secular book which seems to contradict some other statement in the same book, we do not begin to hoot at the writer. "There may be difficulties with individual passages in the Bible that I in my very limited knowledge cannot explain. But a man is not a philosopher but a fool who gives up a thoroughly established theorem because there are diffi- culties that he cannot explain. No reputable scientist in any department of science does that!' (R. A. Torrey, Ope cit., p. 22.) Let us give our Bible the same respectful consideration as reputable human writings receive. And let us give it higher respect. The doubts as to the absolute and all-embracing reliability of the Bible which arise from our inability to solve every difficulty are not worthy of a Christian. God's guarantee means more than our human limita- tions. Read on in Torrey: "The proof that Jesus is a teacher sent from God who spoke the very words of God is absolutely con- clusive; indeed, it is overwhelming, and therefore I unquestionably accept His say-so, however difficult it may be to reconcile with some things I seem to know. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus says, as He continually does say, that this Book is the inerrant 'Word of God,' I heartily believe it; I would be an egregious fool if I did not." (Loc. cit.) We accept the doctrines of the Bible even though we do not understand them; and when to our finite mind two doctrines seem to be in contradiction, we do not doubt the truth of either of them. Is it worthy of a Christian to deny the universality of God's grace because certain facts of experience do not seem to agree with it? And are you taking the Christian attitude when you permit your Verbal Inspiration- a Stumbling-Block to Jews, Etc. 411 inability to solve minor difficulties in the Bible to raise doubts in your mind as to the reliability of the Bible? Who told you that the Bible, if it is really God's Word, cannot contain difficulties? The Bible does not tell you that. Your Bible tells you, for instance, that in the epistles of Paul there "are some things hard to be understood" (2 Pet. 3: 16). So when you meet with a difficulty in any part of the Bible, the Bible does not permit you to say that this part of the Bible must be deleted. You have no cause to worry. Our faith need not suffer in the least from the fact that our mind is not omnisapient. You cannot harmonize the accounts of Matthew and John on the purging of the Temple. Luther tells you: "Let it be as it will, es sei zuvor oder hernach, eins oder zwier geschehen, our faith does not suffer thereby." (VII: 1781.) The chronology in the case of Arphaxad seems confused (Gen. 11: 11); "one offers this solution, the other another. But, in the first place, it will not hurt us at all if we cannot find a perfectly satisfactory solution. . .. Denn das ist gewiss, dass die Schrift nicht luegt." (I: 714.) The unbeliever makes much of the seeming confusion in isolated passages of Scripture; the Christian reader does not let it bother his faith: "Christliche Leser werden sich leichtlich darein finden." (II: 1024.) 34) What we should worry about is that we are worried about our inability to solve all Bible difficulties. The latent distrust of the absolute infallibility of the Bible which lies at the bottom of it is a wicked thing. Another wicked thing is the pride of reason. We think that, if we cannot demonstrate that everything is in order, God's Word will suffer in the estimation of men or our own faith will suffer. Thinking these thoughts we are making our wisdom and learning the measure of the truth of God's Wordo That ill befits a Christian. And if you find fault with the occurrence of these difficulties in the Bible, you are faulting the Holy Ghost. 34) Study the valuable observations of Luther and Pieper on this point, in Christliche Dogmatik) I, p. 340 fl. Read also page 56 in Pro- ceedings) Western District, 1865: "Die Weltweisen berufen sich darauf, dass man in neuerer Zeit so viele Entdeckungen gemacht hat, die mit der Schrift nicht stimmen. Nach der Berechnung mancher Weltweisen muesste die Erde schon ueber 100,000 Jahre alt sein u. dgl. Solche Behauptungen moegen nun wohl manchen in Verlegen.1leit setzen, den Christen abernicht. Wenn der sie auch nicht erklaeren kann, so laesst er sich dadurch noch lange nicht stoeren in seinem Glauben. Dazu wissen wir ja, wie unsicher die Ergebnisse der neueren Forschung sind: was der eine heute setzt, das stoesst der andere morgen urn." (See above.) "Carl v. Raumer, del' selbst ein tuechtiger Geologe, aber zugleich ein Christ ist, sagt: 'Ein jeder huete sich vor den Geologen, denn sie geben gem mehr als sie haben.' Wir Christen haben bei allen Einwuerfen der Wissenschaft zunaechts nur eine Antwort: Wir glauben an einen allmaechtigen Gott." 412 Verbal Inspiration-a Stumbling-Block to Jews, Etc. He is the Author of the Bible, and just as it was written He wanted it written. He is responsible, for instance, for the variations in the four records of the institution of the Lord's Supper. "The Holy Ghost purposely ordered it so" (Luther, XIX: 1104.) Guard your tongue when wrestling with these difficulties.35) All is not well when a Christian takes offense at "insoluble" difficulties. "The fact that you cannot solve a difficulty does not prove that it cannot be solved, and the fact that you cannot answer an objection does not prove at all that it cannot be answered. There are many who, when they meet a difficulty in the Bible and give it a few moments' thought and can see no possible solution, at once jump to the conclusion that a solution is impossible by anyone, and so they throw up their faith in the inerrancy of the Bible and its divine origin. It would seem as if any really normal man would have a sufficient amount of that modesty that is becoming in beings so limited in knowledge as we all undeniably are to say: 'Though I see no possible solution of this difficulty, some one a little wiser than I might easily find one.''' (Torrey, op. cit., p. 61.) And all is well even if it is never solved for you. Pastor G. Schulze of Walsleben (Germany) has well said: "We wait for the time when the difficulty may be solved, and we die in good spirits even though this never occurs." (See Pieper, What Is Christianity? p. 251.) 36) 35) And when you have solved a difficulty, when you have, for instance, established the agreement of science with Scripture on some point, do not be overproud of it. Do not imagine that that alone makes for a stronger faith. "Hence Dr. Smith observes we should not be too much elated by the discovery of harmonies." (Gladstone, op. cit., p. 50.) Philippi utters the same caution. (See Christl. Dog., I, p. 269.) 36) This stubborn refusal to admit that there are errors in the Bible even though the truth of certain statements cannot be demonstrated is one of the reasons why the critics charge us with dishonesty and untruthfulness. They say that we close our eyes to the facts. Kahnis makes the strong statement: "Only he will deny that Scripture contains contradictions who lacks the sense of truth." (See page 261 above.) Kahnis again: "To retain the inspiration dogma of the old dogmatics means hardening oneself against the truth." (See Baier's CompendhLm, I, p .43.) V. Ferm uses the term "loss of intellectual integrity." E. Lewis means the same thing when he says: "Once error is known to be error, its perpetuation becomes a menace. If new facts are discovered in the field of history or in the field of science or anywhere else, no respect for tradition should hinder their being made known." (Op. cit., p.259.) In The Christian Fact and Modern Doubt G. A. Buttrick raises the same charge: "It is no use our evading or trying to hide Bible in- consistencies." And if our attitude is not due to intellectual dishonesty, it is, says Buttrick, due to intellectual weakness: "That avowal [literal infallibility of Scripture], held to its last logic, would risk a trip to the insane asylum." It is due to a rabbinical superstition, declares Hauss- leiter: "Zerstoeren Sie den rabbinischen Aberglauben von dey Buch- stabenbspiration!" (See Lehre und Wehre, 57, p. 479.) What should Verbal Illspiration- a Stumbling-Block to Jews, Etc. 413 Another point that should be emphasized and elaborated is this: those theologi~ns who operate with the alleged errors in the Bible find themselves in disreputable company. They are working shoulder to shoulder with infidels and Jews and continuing the work begun by the old rationalists and the ancient heathen ad- versaries of Christianity. The moderns are using the very same arguments which the pronounced foes of the Bible have been employing in the past centuries. Their weapons have been forged in the workshop of infidelity. Thomas Paine, the deist, and Voltaire, the scoffer, and D. F. Strauss, the skeptic and religious anarchist, and the old rationalists took up the work, and employed the arguments of Celsus. R. Inger- soll, the agnostic, with Bradlaugh in England, "the last of the Old Guard" (avowed enemies of Christianity) drew on Paine and Voltaire. And now spokesmen of the Christian Church are repeat- ing, in some instances word for word, what those enemies of Christianity have been saying against the Bible. Gaussen: "The Scriptures have in all ages had their adver- saries, their Celsuses and Porphyries .... Malchus Porphyry, whom Jerome calls rabidum adversus Christum canem, wrote fifteen books against Christianity. The first was entirely devoted to the bringing together of all the contradictions which, he maintained, he had found in the Scriptures. From Celsus and Porphyry down to the English unbelievers of the 18th century and from these down to Strauss, 'Who had hardly more to do than copy them, un- ceasing endeavors have been made to discover more. Strauss says himself that in the criticism of the gospels he had studied and collected from Celsus to Paulus, and even to the fragments of Wolfenbuettel." (Theopneustia, p.208.)37) MacDill: "In these two writings of Voltaire we have almost all the points and argu- ments that are set forth by higher criticism" (Op. cit, p.lS.) R. A. Torrey: "Most of our modern infidels from Tom Paine to Robert Ingersoll, and also the reputed 'scholars' of 'the modern be our attitude over against these charges? We shall certainly re- examine our position in the fear of God and carefully guard against any intrusion of carnal stubbornness, any intention of evading the issue. And when we, ever and again, always, come to the same conclusion and are compelled to declare: "Scripture cannot be broken," all evidence of. carnal reasoning to the contrary, we shall 'Nillingly bear the contumely heaped upon us. If we are charged with dishonesty or insanity because of our championship of the truth of Scripture, the charges leave us unaffected. They are false charges, and the words of Jesus, Matt. 5:11 and Luke 6: 22, apply. 37) By the way, Strauss said of his own book, Das Leben Jesu: "The book praises itself. It is an inspired book; that is to say, its author has laid hold of the most powerful of the driving forces of the theological science of the day and so produced the book." (See Meusel, Kirchl. Handlexi7wn, s. v. Strauss.) 414 Verbal Inspiration - a Stumbling-Block to Jews, Etc. critical school,' have for the most part simply echoed and em- bellished the arguments of that bitter enemy of Christ of the second century Celsus." (Is the Bible the Inerrant Word of God? p.24.) D. F. Burrell: "All the stock arguments against the in- errancy of Scripture were presented in the Age of Reason." (Why I Believe the Bible, p.183.) Can these grave charges be substan- tiated? We offer in evidence the following excerpts from three scoffers and sceptics and ask the reader to compare them with the state- ments of the moderns quoted in our first article. Voltaire states: " ... (7) that the accounts of prodigies and of God's strange and supernatural dealings with the Israelites in Egypt and in the desert, the ten plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea, the destruction of the Egyptian army, etc., are revolting to reason and cannot have been written by Moses." (Is not this the voice of Fosdick?) MacDill, who quotes this, says further: "The testimony of Cluist and the New Testament to the Mosaic authorship of the Penta- teuch was noticed by Voltaire as by the more modern analysts, and like them, he set it aside as untrustworthy." (P.19.) "In regard to other books of the Bible, the views of Voltaire are in accord with the analytics; we might better say, their views are in accord with his." (P.20.) "After stating these reasons, Vol- taire proceeds to decry the general contents of the Pentateuch and closes this third section of his article on Moses with these words: 'It is very pardonable in human reason to see in such history only the barbarous rudeness of a savage people of the primitive times. Man, whatever he may do, cannot reason other- wise; but if God indeed is the author of the Pentateuch, it is· necessary to submit without reasoning.''' (P. 18.)38) The following excerpts will show that the moderns (liberals, semiliberals and conservatives) are plowing with Paine's heifer. Paine exults: "I have now gone through the Bible as a man would go through a wood with an ax on his shoulder and fell trees. Here they lie; and the priests if they can, may replant them. They may perhaps stick them in the ground, but they will never make them grow. I pass on to the books or the New Testament. . .. And now, ye priests of every description, who have preached and written against the former part of the Age of Reason, what have ye to say? Will you, with all this mass of evidence against you, and staring you in the face, stiU have the assurance to march into your pulpits and continue to impose 38) We find ourselves in accord with this last statement. In the preceding article we told those who believe in a real inspiration of the Bible that they must accept its statements a priori, "without reasoning." Voltaire tells them that we were right. Verbal Inspiration - a Stumbling-Block to Jews, Etc. 415 these books on your congregations as the works of inspired pen- men and the Word of God?" 39) From the "mass of evidence" presented by Paine we select the following: "I begin, then, by saying that these two chapters [Gen. 1 and 2] contain two different and contradictory stories of a creation, made by two different persons and written in two different styles of expression. The evidence that shows this is so clear when attended to without prejudice that, did we meet with the same evidence in any Arabic or Chinese account of a creation, VIC should not hesitate in pronouncing it a forgery." (Dr. G. A. Buttrick, repeated this in 1935 and said: "The doctrine of literal infallibility is slain and pursuit is needless.") "This tale of the sun standing still upon Mount Gibeon and the moon in the valley of Ajalon is one of those fables that detects itself. Such a cir- cumstlli