The Road To Modernism -- By: John Poorter

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 03:3 (Fall 1960)
Article: The Road To Modernism
Author: John Poorter


The Road To Modernism

John Poorter

South Africa

From the Biblical Witness

Some years ago I listened with interest to an address delivered by a brother minister on the subject of Modernism. He dealt most ably with the denials and repudiations now so familiar to us, namely, modernistic unbelief of the full inspiration of the Scriptures, the cardinal doctrines of Christ’s deity, His virgin birth, substitutionary death, the resurrection, and so on. One could not but reflect that while all that he said was entirely relevant to the facts which we possess concerning worldwide apostasy, yet he had not touched upon the subtleties of the subject at all. The address was confined to the extremes of modernistic thought.

The varieties or stages of modernism are endless. I think it is obvious that a very large number of men in the modernist camp today arrived there after a process of decline. They were led step by step, until a marginal point was reached within the heart where faith was overthrown by unbelief. We have reasons also for saying that in some cases at least their intentions were not in the direction of modernism, but that having once committed themselves as fellow-travellers on the road, they subsequently lacked either courage or clear thinking, and went the whole way.

On the other hand, of course, many are in the position where true saving faith has never been their possession. They were blind from the beginning. As natural men they had not been able to receive the things of the Spirit. One can hardly speak of these as having arrived in modernism by a process of decline. They were plunged into colleges or seminaries where the onslaught was so immediate and overwhelming that within a short time all semblance of Bible belief was gone. The ruin thus accomplished is more complete and devastating than the effects of fleshly sin. The sinner who sits by the swine-troughs of pleasure or vice at least knows his condition as one of need. Not so the apostate or the liberal, who imagines .that he has need of nothing.

The road to full-blown modernism is not plainly marked with all the signs of a highway. For that very reason it is necessary to warn wayfaring men of the nature of the road, and of the kind, of men they are likely to meet, and of whom and what to beware.

Many evangelicals unwittingly wander from the highway of truth by an utter confusion regarding the nature of tolerance. They fall victims to the constant propaganda cry of liberal thought, which is that “love and mutual tolerance” will solve every problem. This is related, of course, to the modern conception of God. “God is love.” From which it is concluded that ...

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