This is the first in a series of posts commenting on the book God’s Hammer by Gordon Clark.
Necessity, authority, sufficiency, clarity. Historically Protestants have considered these to be hallmark characteristics of Scripture, summing them up under the Reformation slogan sola scriptura. But beginning in the 19th century, the reformed trumpet began to make an uncertain sound. In 1893, noted Presbyterian minister and scholar Charles Augustus Briggs was suspended by the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. for teaching that the Bible contains error. While this was a notable victory, the following decades were not so kind to the Fundamentalist cause, and by the end of the 1920s the PCUSA was firmly in the grip of Modernist ministers preaching a false gospel from a (supposedly) fallible Bible.
Now the theological debates of a hundred years ago may seem far removed and unimportant to Christians today. And while it’s tempting to dismiss the Fundamentalist-Modernist conflict over textual criticism, translations and Biblical infallibility as nothing more than a case of pointy headed professors wrangling over words, that would be a big mistake. The transformation of the PCUSA from a Bible believing church to a tool of the modernists began with an attack on the verbal inspiration and inerrancy of God’s Word. “Yea hath God said?,” was Satan’s first attack on verbal revelation, and his attacks continue in our day. Writing in the introduction to God’s Hammer (GH), editor John Robbins comments,
The twentieth century may be a pivotal period in human history, for the doctrines of justification through faith alone and truth through the Bible alone came under such a severe and sustained attack. That attack, which has been countered by only a few of the professed tens of millions of Christians in America, has come primarily from within the church itself. It indicated that the wolves are within the sheepfold, and in many cases, are actually posing as shepherds.
Gordon Clark was one of those few twentieth century theologians who undertook to counter the attacks on Scripture. And in truth, he did more than simply counter the attacks, with devastating logic he demolished the critical arguments of both modernist and neo-orthodox scholars and demonstrated powerfully from the Scriptures the truth and authority of the Bible.
Over the next several weeks, I’ll be blogging through God’s Hammer chapter by chapter to discuss Clark’s arguments in defense of the Bible. If you haven’t yet, I urge you to buy and read a copy. If you’re a long time Clarkian, I urge you to reread it, for God’s Hammer is an apologetic gold mine.
Comments are welcome.
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