Theological Morphology -- By: Lester Reddin

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 090:360 (Oct 1933)
Article: Theological Morphology
Author: Lester Reddin


Theological Morphology

Lester Reddin

I once heard one of our prominent American theological educators introduced to an audience as one who for more than thirty years had “helped to reshape theological thought.” Re-shape, eh? The dictionary says it means, To shape again. Certainly we all should be interested in the process of reshaping theological thought, in so far as theological thought may be found to be out of shape. And it must be admitted that much of the theological thinking of our day is Thohu wa-bhohu. But, strange to say, their “name is Legion” who seem perfectly satisfied with this theological pot pourri. Indeed, they rather seem to enjoy these “Babel sounds”. They think that where the spirit of confusion is, there is liberty. “Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy, Whene’er we hear that glorious word,” LIBERTY. So has it too often been with Protestants. But Protestants, as well as other people, should constantly be on their guard, lest—woe worth the day! — they should “pay too much for the whistle.”

My revered teacher in Theology, the lamented Elias Henry Johnson, who knew how to say wise things, and said them, has said in a certain place.1

Protestants have often been mistaken in so jealously guarding “the right of private judgment” as to overlook the importance of right judgment.

We still find, in certain quarters, outcroppings of that ethical rationalism which is vulgarly embodied in the saying that, if a man does right, it matters not what he believes. Why not say that, so long as a man has a healthy body, it matters not what disease he may have? Years ago I knew a very unlettered woman who lived in a remote rural community. Whenever her neighbors and ac-

quaintances would meet her, and courteously inquire concerning the state of her health, her uniform answer was,

I am well, all but my hurtin’s.

One having chronic “hurtin’s” is certainly not a well person. Nor may we reasonably expect to find a high grade of living on the part of a man whose thinking is awry. Surely the wise man of long ago was right when he said,

As he thinketh in his heart so is he.

A wise man of our own day, Dean William Ralph Inge of London, has expressed the same idea in these words:

Character is consolidated thought.

And another wise man of these latter days has most felicitously said.2

We cannot continue Christians without holding t...

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