The Intuitional Apologetic. Faith’s Defense From Her Own Citadel -- By: George B. McCreary

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 079:316 (Oct 1922)
Article: The Intuitional Apologetic. Faith’s Defense From Her Own Citadel
Author: George B. McCreary


The Intuitional Apologetic. Faith’s Defense From Her Own Citadel

George B. McCreary

Man has always lived in an age of tyranny. No sooner has he broken one yoke, than another is fastened upon him. And the irony of history frequently brings it about that the apostle of liberty becomes in turn the oppressor. The race, the nation, the religion, the individual which brought the message of emancipation and led captives out of their prisonhouse and flung back forever to the rear of civilization’s march the shameless servitude of God—envisaged man to cloddish unrealities,—these heralds whose feet seem to have trod the mountains of eternal morning have in their turn put the heel of oppression upon the necks of the liberated.

Of this truth we all are witnesses. During the stagnancy of the middle ages man had no fit implement wherewith to assert effectively his intellectual sovereignty. But with the Protestant Reformation there came the discovery of his own resources and the consequent reinstatement of reason as opposed to blind faith. While thus instrumental in ushering in a new valuation of the individual as a thinker and as a man, the movement as expressed in science, philosophy, statescraft, and theology has also issued in a rationalism quite as intolerant and defiant as the old enemy against which it fought so bravely.

Before entering upon a criticism of this rationalism we should remind ourselves that the course pursued by rationalism has been a most natural, if not inexcusable one. As Hoffding points out (Phil. Relig. 319) after Protestantism was well established there was a reaction of the laity against the dogmatism of the theologians who insisted that they were the only ones who could decide what was true doctrine. This reaction was a movement “to overthrow the many little popes who had taken the place of the great one.”

It would be too tedious to follow this movement in its

historic variations. Characteristic developments may be found in Germany, France, England and even in America. Its creed is tersely summarized by T. H. Green (Prolegomena) , “All reality consists in intellectual relations.” While A. T. Ormond, who is not of that cult, says: “Rationalism affirms as its central dogma that there is only one form of realization, which is thinking.”

It appears that two lines of defense against—or shall I say attack upon?—Rationalism are available. In neither of these is appeal made to the historic documents of Christianity for proofs, for to some that would seem to beg the issue.

The first of these defensive instruments is a clearly conceived and adequately expressed criticism of Rat...

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