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BOOK REVIEWS lOi 

idea in Jewish categories and in close relation to the history. The main 

body of the church was finally driven, by dangers within and without, 

to a type of doctrine in which the Pauline and Petrine gospels were 

harmonized. The first great eirenicon of this kind is I Peter, and the 

process has its final outcome in the Fourth Gospel, which is essentially 

Pauline, though thrown into the Aramaic form of a hfe of Jesus. 

This hurried outUne does scant justice to Dr. Bacon's book, which 

is emphatically the work of a rich mind, continually raising new questions 

and throwing out fresh ideas. These incidental suggestions, which Dr. 

Bacon scatters in such profusion, are perhaps the most valuable part of 

the book. The main thesis lies open to many serious criticisms (e.g., the 

fundamental significance of the two Sacraments, the interpretation of 

the death of Jesus, the neglect of some cardinal elements in the thought 

of Paul, the Pauline character of Mark, the exaggerated emphasis on 

the Paulinism of the Fourth Gospel). It is impossible in a short notice 

even to touch on the many debatable questions which are started by 

the book, and which will doubtless occupy New Testament scholars for 

a long time to come. But the book is all the more valuable because it 

is so provocative. Whether Dr. Bacon's positions will finally be accepted 

or not he has certainly put New Testament inquiry on a nximber of 

fresh tracks and made old problems more living. 

E. F. Scott 
Union Theological Seminary 



WHAT SHALL PROTESTANTISM DO WITH MODERNISM? 

When Pope Pius X in 1907 published his famous encycUcal letter 
condemning modernism, a battle royal was on in the field of theology. 
In Catholicism, however, the battle was brief and decisive. The church 
ofiScially laid down the rules by which a victory must be judged. No 
one could claim the right to represent CatiioUcism who did not 
accept and defend the faith once deUvered to the saints and conserved 
in the official doctrines of the church. On this basis, there could be 
only one outcome. Modernism was outlawed. 

The same theological issue is now acute in Protestantism. But 
Protestantism, haAong repudiated the jurisdiction of an official church, 
and having staked its cause on the free consent of every individual to 
the faith which saves, is unable to employ the short and easy course 
open to the Church of Rome. In the last analysis public opinion must 
decide the issue. Hence the battle in Protestantism inevitably takes 
the form of propaganda to influence pubUc opinion among church 
members. This means that we are face to face with a lively period of 



I02 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

controversial reKgious literature. If the controversy is carried on with 
an intelligent definition of issues so that genuine debate is possible it 
ought to result in great good to the cause of religion. But there is grave 
danger that, owing to misstatements, heat rather than light may be 
engendered. Two books recently from the press dealing with modernism 
are here reviewed in the hope of making clear some aspects of the real 
issue and thus aiding toward a fruitful rather than a fruitless debate.' 

Dr. Horsch's book is an excellent Protestant counterpart of the 
papal encyclical. At the outset he makes a definition of the true 
Christianity by which all must be judged. He defends it as true because 
he is sure it is revealed in the Bible, and thus has divine sanction. He 
then proceeds to show by copious citations that the "liberalistic" 
theologians reject or deny the important items in his system. That 
these same liberals after the mask is thus stripped off should have the 
effrontery to persist in claiming the privilege of exercising religious 
leadership in Christian churches is intolerable. The book is marked 
by an earnest spirit, and the author has evidently endeavored to pile 
up the evidence in scholarly and dignified form. As he presents it, 
it is well calculated to make a profound impression, even if it does not 
persuade all readers that "the new theology discredits and destroys 
the foundations of Christianity as Christianity has been known in all 
ages from the time of its origin." 

Impressive as is the apparent mass of evidence furnished in this 
book, the modernist who reads it will feel that he has not had his case 
really presented at all. Isolated sentences may be skilfully used so as 
to create an impression which would never be suggested by the same 
words in their context. Indeed, such quotation with intent to prove 
a preconceived point easily leads an author into misquotation. For 
example, Horsch cites President McGiffert as saying: "Christ is essen- 
tially no more divine than we are or than nature is." In the original 
from which this is taken, McGiffert is simply setting forth historically the 
position of Schleiermacher. The entire passage reads: "The deity of 
Christ [according to Schleiermacher] resides in the completeness of 

his consciousness of God Essentially Christ is no more divine 

than we are or than nature is. But he knows his oneness with God: 
he is fully awake to his own divinity; and his life is completely controlled 
by his realization of it. He is therefore divine in a sense which nature 

' Modern Religious Liberalism: The Destructiveness and Irrationality of the New 
Theology. By John Horsch. Scottdale, Pa.: Fundamental Truth Depot, 1921. 
331 pages. 

Modernism and the Christian Faith. By John Alfred Faulkner. New York: 
Methodist Book Concern, igzi. 306 pages. $2.75. 



BOOK REVIEWS 103 

cannot be and in a sense which we are not yet hid hope eventtuiHy to become." 
[Italics mine.] One or two instances have been noted by the reviewer 
where Dr. Horsch apparently substituted his own notes for exact quota- 
tion. And this in spite of an evident intention on his part to be scrupu- 
lously objective in his citations. It only shows how impossible it is for 
one with a polemic purpose to give a fair picture of his opponent's real 
position. Little phrases and interpretative comments turn the original 
statement into the damaging kind of evidence which the author is looking 
for. The consequence is that the actual ideas of the opponent do not 
come to light in their original setting. All that the reader of this book 
will learn concerning modernism is that it consists of denials either 
direct or impUed of what the author considers fundamentals. That the 
modernist also has his positive faith which is dear to him and which is 
the expression of an uplifting religious life never appears. Dr. Horsch 
quotes repeatedly from liberals who generously, sometimes even wistfully, 
recognize the strength of orthodox loyalty, and engage in earnest soul- 
searching of themselves. But he is himself so sure of his own position 
that he never dreams of the possibility that it may be open to criticism. 
He sits in judgment on the modernists and is painfully oblivious of the 
reasons why his system fails to satisfy numbers of Christian men as 
devoted and as earnest as he is. It is this which makes the modernist 
feel the futiUty of even attempting to answer his arguments. Like the 
Roman church he has so defined the test of truth that no one can be 
right unless he agrees with the system authoritatively laid down. 

Professor Faulkner adopts a very different attitude. He recognizes 
that if men are unable to accept the traditional doctrines it must be 
because those doctrines have been so presented as to fail to carry convic- 
tion. He is not so naive as to suppose that doctrines can be reinstated in 
one's confidence by telhng the doubter that the authority of the church 
or of the Bible requires him to assent. The only way in which to secure 
real belief is to show that a doctrine is inherently believable. His book 
consists of a series of discussions deaUng with the crucial doctrines in 
debate between conservatives and radicals. In every case he simply 
attempts in straightforward fashion to show why the conservative 
position seems to him more reasonable and more defensible than the 
alternate. The discussions are stimulating and are calculated to 
challenge real thinking and criticism. This is precisely the kind of 
debate which is needed, and the volume is to be welcomed as a whole- 
some contribution. A large portion of the book is devoted to a detailed 
amassing of historical testimony as to the nature of Jesus Christ. Here 
are objective data for a profitable discussion. 



I04 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

The shrewd modernist, however, will wish some points to be cleared 
up a little further. For example. Dr. Faulkner defends the conception 
of authority. But what is the content of the authority which he so 
persuasively expounds? The child's confidence in his parents; the 
inexorable rule of the order of nature over our life; the restrictions of 
civil law; the inhibitions and sanctions of social custom; and in the 
religious realm analogous forms of control. The real question, however, is 
as to how far the individual may criticize and modify the inherited social 
sanctions. In no case can he ignore or utterly defy them. Dr. Faulkner 
opens the way for fruitful discussion here, but he does not really further 
it because he has cleverly retained a word^ — authority — while giving it 
a content which might readily disconcert many a conservative. As 
a matter of fact he is just as eager as any modernist to commend 
his doctrine on its own merits rather than on the basis of any extraneous 
authority. In the process, however, some familiar terms are so defined 
as to make one wonder if a genuine conservative will not feel that the 
cause has been betrayed. An instance or two will illustrate. "WTiatis 
meant by the infallibility of the Scripture, then, is that when discovered 
by scientific exegesis its teachings on faith and morals in its general 
drift and spiritual impUcations and essence, are truth and not error." 
It would be hard to find anyone who really knows the Bible who would 
deny this. But is it what is ordinarily meant by infallibility? "A 
miracle is any deed in an order which is impossible to the forces ordinarily 
working in that order. Crystallization — at least perfect crystallization — 

is not a miracle in quartz; but it is a miracle in sandstone 

It is a question whether genius is not another name for miracle In 

other words the special literary and intellectual powers behind Hamlet 
were such as God has never embodied and never will embody in another 
human soul. That is, to ordinary mortals, Shakespeare was a miracle." 
Again, who will object to this ? But is it what is ordinarily meant by 
miracle? There is more modernism concealed under the familiar 
labels than one would expect from an avowed opponent of radical 
hberalism. All this only shows that when in a spirit of sweet reasonable- 
ness men debate issues, it is possible for each side to retain the vocabulary 
which seems most appropriate to arouse religious devotion, and yet to 
center attention on convincing content rather than on charges of 
heresy and demands for resignations. It is to be hoped, for the sake 
of the spiritual welfare of the church, that the method and attitude of 
Dr. Faulkner rather than that of Dr. Horsch may prevail. 

Gerald Birney Smith 
University of Chicago