The Biblical Criticism Of The Present Day1 -- By: Abraham Kuyper

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 061:243 (Jul 1904)
Article: The Biblical Criticism Of The Present Day1
Author: Abraham Kuyper

The Biblical Criticism Of The Present Day1

Rev. Abraham Kuyper

In keeping with an ancient custom, it will be a rule at our University that the Exchange of the rectorate shall be accompanied by an oration; and it is preferred that each rector shall take a theme from his own department. I also desire to observe this rule, and therefore the Annale Academici and the inaugural of the new rector are preceded by this address on Present-day Biblical Criticism, viewed from the point of its dangerous tendency to the church of the living God. I am deeply sensible of the importance of the task imposed on me by this choice of subject; I feel what modesty is demanded of me when I undertake to differ from celebrated and talented colleagues, who are for the most part my superiors; I know my need of greater courage than my own heart prompts, when I raise my hand and voice boldly against current opinions; — but may I refrain when the dangers that threaten the church compel me to speak? And, I add, do you expect anything else, when for several months past a reply has been invited from our side about this cardinal point in the conflict of spirits? It is indeed our conviction which, with an appeal to your

considerate judgment but without the least uncertainty, we express,—that the biblical criticism of the present day is destructive of the best interests of the church of the living God, for the reason that it revokes her theology, robs her of the Bible, and destroys her liberty in Christ. Give me your attention as, in the development of these three propositions, I shall show that biblical criticism as it is prosecuted in our times at almost every Protestant university on the continent of Europe, must result in the utter destruction of theology; that it cannot continue without robbing the church of the Holy Scriptures; and that it must end in surrendering her, utterly defenseless, into the arms of the most unbearable, because intellectual, clericalism. And may He, before whose’ glory I reverently bow and for the welfare of whose church I plead, be in this the inspirer of my word and the judge of my thoughts; while in this sacred task, also, our help is in the name of the Lord Jehovah, the Rock of our strength, and the Strength of our life.


Biblical criticism of the present day tears the parts of theology out of their relation, violates its character, and substitutes for it something which is no theology. Such is the threefold complaint in which I treat the first part of the subject in hand, as I undertake to prove the proposition that present-day biblical criticism must end in the destruction of theology.

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