Revelation and Inspiration. James Orr

John C. Granbery
1910 The Biblical World  
New York: Scribner, 1910. xii+ 224 pages. 75 cents. Since in these latter years Dr. Orr has become so pronouncedly and consciously defensor fidei, it must be confessed that his writings lack something of the freshness and inspiring quality of his works in other days. At the same time it may be well to have the faith expounded and defended from the traditional standpoint. In the present work there is ever before the author's mind the dualism of naturalism and supernaturalism, of the human and
more » ... divine, of natural revelation and special revelation, of common event and miracle. For him the urgent questions are these: "Have we an authoritative divine revelation in the Bible ? Is the Bible itself, in a unique and special sense, an inspired book? What are the limits of this inspiration, and how does it differ from the inspiration we ascribe to poets and other men of genius? Or is there a difference of kind at all ?" (p. i). The way of putting the questions suggests the answer that Dr. Orr is constrained to give. Professor John Watson, of Queen's University, is quoted as saying: "Hence, just as there was a primitive view of history and of nature, so there is a modern view which Christianity must incorporate on pain of extinction." To which Dr. Orr replies: "It might be truer to say that the Christianity which incorporates this 'modern' view is not threatened with extinction but is already extinguished" (pp. 11, 12). And there are some who are adding: Then so much the worse for Christianity! Dr. Orr is always well-read, clear, vigorous, and from his point of view, fair. To one who does not live in the same sharply dualistic world his apologetic is not very relevant, but for those who occupy the same philosophic standpoint there will be found much of comfort and help. When the molds of thought are different, when the same terms have a different connotation, when the alternatives presented are not acceptable, detailed criticism is superfluous. Besides, in the case of so venerable, earnest, and courteous a scholar criticism would be ungracious. It is possible that some of the men at whom is aimed Dr. Orr's polemic are equally concerned to conserve essentially and in the last analysis the same great spiritual values. Certainly many will heartily agree in such statements as the following: "This leads, in closing, to the remark that, in the last resort, the proof of the inspiration of the Bible-not, indeed, in every particular, 69 This content downloaded from 138.073.
doi:10.1086/474355 fatcat:i3ykmvq26bgbfpcg4pvqrvgkma