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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Howard A. Kelly
I have, within the past fifty years, come out of all uncertainty into a faith which is a dominating conviction of the Truth and about which I have not a shadow of a doubt. It has been my lot all through life to associate with eminent scientists and at times to discuss with them the deepest and most vital of all questions, the nature of the hope of a life beyond this.
I have also constantly engaged in scientific work and am fully aware of the value of opinions formed in science as well as in religions in the world. In an amateurish, yet in a very real sense, I have followed the development of archaeology, geology, astronomy, herpetology, and mycology with a hearty appreciation of the advances being made in these fields.
At one time I became disturbed in the faith in which I had grown up by the apparent inroads being made upon both Old and New Testaments by a “Higher Criticism” of the Bible, to refute which I felt the need of a better knowledge of Hebrew and of archaeology, for it seemed to me that to pull out some of the props of our faith was to weaken the entire structure.
Doubts thus inculcated left me floundering for a while and, like some higher critical friends, trying to continue to use the Bible as the Word of God while at the same beyond time holding it to have been subjected to a vast number of reductions and interpolations: attempting to bridge the chasm between an older, reverent, Bible-loving generation and a critical, doubting, Bible-emancipated race. Although still aware of a great light and glow of warmth in the Book, I stood outside shivering in the cold.
In one third the higher critics, like the modernists, however, overreached themselves, in claiming that the Gospel of John was not written in John’s time but well after the first century, perhaps as late as 150 A.D. Now, if any part of the Bible is assuredly the very Word of God speaking through His servant, it is John’s Gospel. To ask me to believe that so inexpressibly marvelous a book was written long after all the events by some admiring follower, and was not inspired directly by the Spirit of God, is asking me to accept a miracle far greater than any of those recorded in the Bible.
Here I took my leave of my learned friends to step out on another path, to which we might give the modern name of Pragmatism, or the thing that works. Test it, try it, and if it works, accept it as a guiding principle.
So, I put my Bible to the practical test of noting what it says about itself, and then tested it to see how it worked. As a short, possibly not the best method, I looked up “Word” in the Concordance and noted that the Bible claims from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 to be God’s personal message to man. The next traditional step then was to accept it as the authoritative textbook of the Christian faith just as one would accept a treatise on any earthly “science,” and I submitted to its conditions according to Christ’s invitation and promise that, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John. 7:17).
The outcome of such an experiment has been in due time the acceptance of the Bible as the Word of God inspired in a sense utterly different from any merely human book, and with it the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, the Savior of the world.