Brother Wolfe's Comments
I will be glad to say a few words about Brother Tiner's reply to my article. What I have to say will be brief and to the point respecting each of his nine points.
1. The Bible the inspired Word of God. "All of us believe this truth; all of us teach it." Such a general declaration does not cover the issue, since most evolutionists and higher destructive critics occupying denominational pulpits make the same claim. Teaching that raises the question of how the Bible is inspired and then takes no forthright position but leaves the whole question hanging in the air often leads to a doubt as to whether the Bible is inspired at all.
2. Full Revelation of God in Christ. "We are not sure that we understand what Brother Wolfe means by the evolutionary principle,' as he used the term. Most people reading Brother Wolfe's statement probably thought he was referring to something about evolution as the term is usually used, but some who know him say he is criticizing the teaching that God gradually revealed himself to man in the Old Testament and finally fully revealed himself in Christ."
Anyone reading my article, even casually, would know that I referred neither to one nor the other of the above things. Here is what I wrote: "The majority of the books on my reading lists were written by men for whom religion was something conceived in the mind of man and developed through the ages, mounting to higher and higher conceptions, much as the race has developed its systems of languages, arts, or sciences." Again I wrote: "I have referred to the interpretation of religion upon the evolutionary principle, as a belief and a sentiment conceived and developed through the centuries in the minds of men without reference to miraculous revelations from a Divine Power." There is no ambiguity in the above statements. I give my readers credit for being able to understand the English language. If someone else was trying to explain to Brother Tiner what I meant, they did a good job in leading him away from the issue.
3. An Educated Ministry. "We do believe that it is valuable for those who preach to be educated."—"We do encourage men who are mature and who wish to teach to go on to the universities for the training that is required for teachers, but we constantly warn and guide them against influences that might lead them from the truth."
That is like telling a man to drink poison and then warning him against its effects. Denominational theological seminaries are known, for the most part, to be hotbeds of higher destructive criticism. We have fought denominational error and its handmaid, skepticism, too long to begin now to sit at the feet of these blind guides for instruction and inspiration. If preachers want to be educated, let them major in literature, history, or one of the other social sciences, but let them by-pass the polluted wells of denominational theology. For men trained in the atmosphere of modernistic seminaries to be the instructors of our young preachers is to invite disaster and a new apostasy.
4. Christ Died for Our Sins. "In courses in the history of Christian thought since New Testament times the student must study the ideas that many thinkers have had about the meaning of the atonement. Perhaps Brother Wolfe's misunderstanding arose out of this study."
I do not object to studying the "history of Christian thought" from the close of the Apostolic era to the Restoration Movement if it is studied with the full consciousness that it was one continuous departure from the truth and in fact what Paul calls the working of "the mystery of iniquity." The very phrase, "the history of Christian thought" betrays a false attitude toward the long, dreary period of apostasy and spiritual darkness that descended on the world following apostolic times. Of course, if one subscribes to the idea that the religion of the Bible sprang from the thoughts and aspirations of men it follows as a natural and logical consequence that he will see in this period of apostasy "the history of Christian thought," since for him all religion, of whatever category, derives from the same source, and consists of the evolution of men's thoughts.
Speculative theories about the atonement or about anything else, I repeat, may be all right if studied as such, but to contend for any speculative theory as for something clearly revealed is dangerous. It is the direct source of human creeds and sectarian bodies.
5. Miracles of Our Lord Genuine. "That anyone here believes that the special powers of our Lord were merely "hocus-pocus" is simply unthinkable. "By their words they shall be justified, and by their words they shall be condemned."
6. The Christian Teacher Must be Informed.
Under this heading, as under most of the others, Brother Tiner mentions my misunderstanding, though he doesn't say just what it was that I misunderstood. What becomes perfectly clear after reading my first article and his reply is that he has failed to understand almost every point in my article, or if he understood them has failed to deal with them. He says: "In short, it is true that we require our students to read widely and thoroughly in the books that we do not believe. We are sure they cannot be staunch defenders of the truth unless they are acquainted with error."
The value of wide and thorough reading in books tainted on almost every page with the subtleties of higher criticism and evolutionistic thought depends altogether on one's approach and attitude toward such reading. My criticism was directed toward the fact that no effort was made to refute these false teachings which are supposed to be so beneficial. I will take my stand on the proposition that a student should not be required to study any false teaching unless the instructor sees to it that he is able thoroughly to refute it.
7. All Scripture Inspired. I will admit that the statement I quoted, "Paul was fond of," etc., taken alone, might be innocent enough. I gave it as but one indication among many others of a general tendency and direction. We should be careful to use "sound speech that cannot be condemned."
8. Christ's Resurrection a Basic Truth. Brother Tiner's remarks under this heading show that he is confused regarding the whole question at issue. He is worried, not about what I said, but about what someone may think I meant to say. His own phraseology serves to confirm my charge on this point. He says: "He (Bro. Wolfe) may be raising a point about what is sometimes technically called the "doctrine of the resurrection" which seems to have something to do with a theory about how the idea of the resurrection developed in Jewish thought.
I deny that the idea of the resurrection "developed in Jewish thought" at all. If Brother Tiner thinks it did, he places himself in the ranks of modernistic thinkers. I believe that "the idea of the resurrection" was revealed by Jehovah.
9. One Faith, One Hope, One Baptism. "We believe that the church of the New Testament is the true church of Christ, body of Christ; that all who obey the Gospel of Christ are members of that body: and that all who have not so obeyed the Gospel are not a part of that church. We are opposed to all forms of denominationalism."
I gave concrete evidence to prove that the spirit of compromise is abroad in the school. No attempt was made to deny the things I reported. Who but one who condones sectarianism would speak of the church as "the group called the church of Christ?" The speech of Ashdod is too easily recognized to pass unnoticed. If Pepperdine College is "opposed to all forms of denominationalism," let them begin to make that opposition known and felt among the student body. I will be the first to applaud such a change of policy.