True Scholarship -- By: Warren Vanhetloo

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 06:2 (Summer 1963)
Article: True Scholarship
Author: Warren Vanhetloo


True Scholarship

Warren Vanhetloo

Executive Vice President of Central Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary

According to the statement of purpose published in our Seminary catalog and officially adopted by our Board of Trustees, Central Conservative Seminary will “emphasize scholarship of the highest order as a means to an end of ‘rightly dividing the Word of Truth,’ and it will disdain that type of scholarship that indulges in mind worshipping.”

You will notice from this statement that our school believes that there is a worthy type of scholarship and an unworthy type of scholarship. The statement suggests that this is according to the means toward which scholarship is used. If it is a means to the end of correctly understanding the Word of God, it is pure scholarship. If it indulges in scholarship for its own sake and amounts to little more than mind worship, it hardly can be called true scholarship.

There are those in educational circles today who speak of scholarship in a sense which we are not ready to accept. They speak of the conclusions of scholarship as being diametrically opposed to the traditional views of the church. They are teaching that no scholar today holds to the traditional views of the church. They suggest that those of us who hold to the basic doctrines of Christianity are thereby unscholarly. They can easily dispose of our conclusions with the argument that we just do not accept the findings of modern so-called scholarship.

It is quite evident that we reject this distinction in regard to the word scholarship. There are scholars among fundamental believers in America. There are scholarly works being produced by those who believe in all the basic doctrines traditionally held by the church. In contrast to this position, we feel that those who reject

the testimony of the revealed Word of God are themselves, because of that, unscholarly.

The distinction to be maintained is not that of scholarly as against traditional, but instead that of a critical as against the traditional viewpoint. These men are not scholars investigating the Word of God; instead they are critics cutting it apart and attacking it. There certainly is no reason why we should give up the word “scholarly” to men of this sort nor allow them to pervert it from, its proper usage.

Strange as it may seem, there is a similar distinction used by some Bible believers who feel that anything scholarly has to be rejected. There are some who will reject a book because it is scholarly. There are some who will reject a teacher or a position because he or it is scholarly. They assume and sometimes they plainly sa...

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