A Remarkable Claim On Behalf Of The Radical Criticism -- By: William Marcellus McPheeters

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 065:260 (Oct 1908)
Article: A Remarkable Claim On Behalf Of The Radical Criticism
Author: William Marcellus McPheeters


A Remarkable Claim On Behalf Of The Radical Criticism

Professor William Marcellus McPheeters

The claim to which reference is here made is none the less remarkable for not being literally recent. As a matter of fact, it is so far from being literally recent that it is even a trifle stale from. age. And yet the frequency and emphasis with which it has been reiterated during the past eighteen months or two years invest it with a sort of recency. I shall not pause to cite instances or even to give references. A single typical specimen will suffice to call up many others to the reader’s mind. Just such a specimen is furnished to our hand in an editorial that appeared in the Biblical World for December, 1906. Under the caption “A Quarter Century of Old Testament Study,” this editorial undertakes to set forth “the changes” which “within a generation” have taken place in what it calls “Christian thought” regarding the Old Testament, and indeed, I may say, regarding the Bible as a whole. It begins by recalling the general suspicion and aversion with which the Radical Criticism was viewed by the Christian public generally as recently as twenty-five years ago. It next points to the fact that the changed view of the Bible for which the Radical Criticism stands is being widely accepted to-day. Thereupon, it proceeds to ask,—

“Has this change of view been marked by that decline of religion and that loss of influence of the Bible which twenty-five years ago were honestly feared by many who to-day hold these views?” and to answer its own question by saying,—

“On the contrary, the change has been in every way to the advantage of religion and the Bible.”1

As already intimated, the claim here set up is in no sense peculiar to the Biblical World. It may be found in the pages of such persuasive writers as Professor John Edgar McFadyen, Dr. Charles Foster Kent, and others, who during the past few years have be era making earnest efforts to popularize and to commend to the confidence and acceptance of the Christian public the conclusions of what may without offense be called the Radical Criticism.2 I cite the claim in the form in which it is put forward by the Biblical World simply because as there stated it presents us with a specially clear cut and tangible issue.

What, then, is the mature of this claim the validity of which

we are to seek to test? In a general way it relates to the bearing upon the interests of religion and the Bible ...

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