Ground Of Authority In Religion -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 065:260 (Oct 1908)
Article: Ground Of Authority In Religion
Author: Anonymous

Ground Of Authority In Religion

Among the most prominent representatives of the New England theology is Dr. George Nye Boardman, late Professor in

Chicago Theological Seminary. While he has no formal statement of his system of theology, he has issued a pamphlet, privately printed for his friends, in which a pretty fair summary of his system is given. We are permitted to publish the following sections from it relating to the authority of the Scriptures. They are certainly very timely:—

“The ultimate authority in religious doctrine is a question of the highest importance. The preacher must have something to rest upon with perfect assurance as he proclaims a scheme of salvation. Much of his power will depend on his impressing his hearers with the fact that he himself believes what he says. He must be ‘able to argue the positions which he assumes with such cogency that his hearers will be compelled to admit their truthfulness, at least their strong probability. It would be worse than useless to appeal to myths or bare traditions. That which is merely possible, that which requires apology or modification, does not compel assent, does not enforce conviction. Religious teaching must have a more special adaptation than mere congeniality to the inquiring spirit, it must carry conviction to the cold, severe intellect, for our gospel has the mission of calling not the righteous but sinners to repentance.

“The clearest and most direct argument for Christianity, as it seems to me, is the ordinary argument adopted by our Congregational Churches and by Protestants generally, the argument stated with inimitable clearness and cogency by Dr. Paley. Christ stands before the world a teacher sent from God. His mission is attested by miracles, works that must be attributed to the First Great Creative Cause. The messenger from heaven sanctioned as the divinely appointed teacher must be accepted as speaking with a divine commission; and his followers, so far as they repeat his words, can base their faith, and call upon their hearers to base their faith, upon a Thus saith the Lord. This has been adopted by traditional orthodoxy among the Reformed Churches as the unquestioned ground of confidence in the gospel, and since the sacred Scriptures are received as the word of God, it has been considered proper to require of those professing the Christian faith to aver that they receive the Old and New Testaments as the only and sufficient rule of faith and practice. These views I accepted and taught. They seemed to me to embrace the facts known to us concerning the rise of Christianity, God’s revelations, and man’s response to them.

“But I allowed myself some latitude of opinion and of Scripture in...

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