The Modernist's Bible

Topic: Bible

Type: Article

Author: A. Allison Lewis  

The religious Modernist in his view of the Bible, unlike the Liberal, insists on the centrality of Jesus to his theology and for some normative status for the Bible. The Modernist believes that we are all Christian brothers and children of God, but of course he believes that his version of religion is the best to date. To him the Bible is not the supernatural revelation of God to man. To him the Bible is simply the record of the natural development of what they consider the most noble religion. To them other religions are authentic and they truly worship God, but are inferior. To the Modernist there is no supernatural salvation to be appropriated by a definite act of saving faith as set forth in the Bible.

Some of the more famous Modernists would be Harry Emerson Fosdick, Shailer Mathews, Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, Rudolf Bultmann, Reinhold Neibuhr and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The more recent Modernists are usually referred to as Neo-orthodox. The Modernists make up the vast majority of Canadian, American and Europeans who call themselves "Christians."

The Modernist uses the Bible AND continues to use the Bible terminology AND traditional theological words, BUT with entirely different meanings. They will speak of the divinity of Jesus, the resurrection, sin and salvation without meaning what the New Testament plainly and obviously teaches.

Rudolf Bultmann, for example, says,

The … view of the world of the New Testament is essentially mythical in character … Heaven is the abode of God and … the angels. The underworld is hell, the place of torment. Even the Earth is more than the scene of natural, everyday events . . . It is the scene of the supernatural activity of God and his angels on the one hand, and of Satan and his demons on the other . . . This aeon . . . hastens towards its end … Then the Judge will come from Heaven, the dead will rise, the last judgment will take place, and men will enter into eternal salvation or damnation. This then is the mythical view of the world which the New Testament presupposes when it presents the event of redemption which is the subject of its preaching.

Modernists do not deny that the Bible teaches these things. They deny that what the Bible teaches is true. They sweep it away with the charge that these teachings are but the myths and legends of by-gone ages.

Of Christ’s return Bultmann states, "We can no longer look for the return of the Son of Man on the clouds of Heaven or hope that the faithful will meet him in the air." [See 1TH 4:13 ff.]. Of Christ he says, "Jesus Christ is certainly presented as the Son of God, a pre-existent divine being, and therefore to that extent a mythical figure." He calls the bodily resurrection of Christ, "the definitely non-historical event of the resurrection." The virgin birth he calls "legend" [The preceding quotations are from Kerygma and Myth by Rudolf Bultmann, Harper Torchbook edition, 1961].

Another Modernist, Shailer Mathews wrote:

If it should appear that certain stories of the Bible were legend rather than sober history, this would simply mean that the past expressed its religious attitude and conviction by the use of legend. Similarly in the case of pictures of the future which characterized the preaching of the early church. Certainly they are no more literal when found in the New Testament than when found in the non-biblical … writings [pp. 45, 46 of The Faith of Modernism by Shailer Mathews, 1925].

Modernism with its "Bible" of myth and legend is leading multitudes to everlasting punishment in the lake of fire. They are LOST. Turn from these false prophets to the Bible which is in fact the infallible Word of the Living God.

A man’s only hope of eternal life is found in the words of Jesus Christ, where He says, Truly, truly I say to you, He who hears My WORD and BELIEVES on Him Who sent Me HAS everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life [JOH 5:24].

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This Page Last Updated: 12/05/98 A. Allison Lewis