The Divine Origin And Unique Character Of Holy Scripture

by Gerrit Hendrik Hospers*

The question of the origin and character of the Holy Scriptures is one of great importance. Very much depends upon it. No wonder that determined controversy has raged around this question. On the one hand, frantic attempts have been made to demonstrate the reality of the Divine revelation: whilst, on the other hand, the directly Divine origin of Scripture has been as stoutly denied. Difficulty has been experienced in stating clearly what constitutes the canonicity of any part of Scripture. Says Professor Kemper Fullerton, of Oberlin, in his “Prophecy and Authority”: “While the Post-Reformation theologians clung to the doctrine of an infallible Scripture, Protestant scholars have followed the lead of the Reformation principle of exegesis [which is, that the “sense of Scripture was not threefold or fourfold, but one, and that this was the grammatico-historical sense” (p. 117), understood by Fullerton as ruling out any deeper lying or mystical meaning by him regularly called ‘allegorizing’] In the great battle of the nineteenth century over the higher criticism the fallibility of the content was established, and an historical conception of the Scripture has been substituted for a dogmatic conception. This involves a change in the conception of the canon. There is no longer any such thing as an infallibly authenticated canon of Scripture” (pp. 186, 188).

The general situation will appear from the following extracts taken from the introductory part of Fullerton’s book. “Now the settlement of the question of the Bible, its nature and authority, is of fundamental importance to the life and effective work of the Protestant Churches But there are many indications that the attitude of the Churches towards this principium of their ecclesiastical life is confused, irresolute.” This is very true, for the reason that the later Protestant Church neglected to learn and understand the real Reformation ground for the canonicity of the Scriptures. Generally, our American theologians reason for the canonicity of Scripture on the premises of the liberal — historical criticism; they are there compelled to make the best of a very vulnerable situation. This is borne out by Fullerton’s statement that they largely accepted the results of historical criticism with the “changed views of its authority which they necessitate”. He takes for granted that the results of modern research must be accepted, with which, of course, the old-time conception of the authority of Scripture falls. He continues: “The conviction which prompts to the publication of this volume is that Protestants must come to terms with itself as to its own principium and frankly adopt the results of modern biblical scholarship” (xiv). He accurately seizes upon the real point at issue. And what does Fullerton think of the old-fashioned ground for the authority of Scripture? “Now the premise of a dogmatic theory of Scripture is an unproved premise. Nor has it the quality of an axiom as has often been imagined. The testimonium Spiritus Sancti [testimony of the Holy Spirit] which is supposed to apply at this point, may apply to the religious content of Scripture, but it certainly cannot apply to Scripture as a whole” (pp. xv, xvi). This opinion fails to recognize a distinctly Divine character which attaches to the canonical Scriptures, and it reckons with the human aspect only. It therefore busies itself exclusively with historical criticism, which indeed has its legitimate use, but it ignores the more important Divine element. Dr. B. Weiss, in his “Manual of Introduction to the New Testament”, states the matter more correctly in these words: “Only so much is clear, that the Criticism which makes Christianity as such emerge from the strife and gradual reconciliation of the incompatible opposites, and finds in our New Testament nothing but memorials of a doctrinal, historical process continuing till beyond the middle of the second century does away with the idea of a Canon in the proper sense of the word” (p. 148). Hence, “historical research should rather seek with perfect freedom to settle the origin of each individual writing on the basis of external and internal evidence. The result of this examination will then first suffice to form the foundation of a judgment with respect to the traditional Canon. But this judgment is equally dependent on the doctrinal construction of the conception of the Canon, that is to say, on the question whether such construction makes the criterion of Canon to consist in that which is genuinely apostolic, or in a wider sense memorials of apostolic times, attesting each individual writing before the tribunal of the religious consciousness of the ancient Church or of the present” (pp. 147, 148). It will be noticed that the last clause of this quotation virtually recognizes the ‘testimony of the Holy Spirit’.

This idea of Canon began to arise in the earliest times, somewhat vaguely at first, as could readily be expected. Origen is the first to give it some definite expression; his main contention has proven to be so correct that it practically is the same as that of orthodox Protestant writers. Says Weiss: “Origen expressly states that the ‘Sacred Writings’ of the Old and New Testament are the true sources by which Christian doctrine may be proved, inasmuch as the sacred books are not ‘mere documents’, but were written ‘out of the thinking of the Holy Spirit’ . . . Hence it is necessary to know accurately what writings belong to the Scriptura, and Origen is the first who lays down a fixed principle in the matter, viz., that the ‘first tradition of the Church’ (prima et ecclesiastica traditio) must decide, and therefore that only those Scriptures belong to it ‘to which every Christian consents and believes’, those ‘which have been believed to be sacred in all the churches’” (Manual of Intr. to the N. T., I. 110, 111).

This dogmatic conception of the Canon already indicated by Origen finds small response today, because in current discussion the original Protestant line of argument has been neglected, and faulty grounds have been offered to prove the authority of Scripture. The consequence is, as Fullerton correctly states, that the “attitude of the Churches towards this principium of ecclesiastical life is confused, irresolute”. It is therefore very necessary that this confusion and irresolution come to an end on the part of evangelical believers. We must give up the attempt to prove the Divine origin and unique character of Scripture on conventional lines, and we must put it back in the wholly exceptional position where it belongs. That is to say: We must not establish it by discursive reasoning, or base it on certain external criteria, as being products of Apostles or of apostolic men: these criteria are of subordinate value only. On the contrary, the original Protestant principle requires that its Divine origin and unique character be attested by the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer, or as Dr. Weiss expresses it, “before the tribunal of the religious consciousness”. Our Belgic Confession of Faith thus puts it: “We receive all these books, and these only, as holy and canonical, for the regulation, foundation, and confirmation of our faith, believing without any doubt all things contained in them, not so much because the church receives and approves them as such, but more especially because the Holy Ghost witnesseth in our hearts that they are from God, whereof they carry the evidence in themselves” (Art. VI). Hence we must simply maintain the canonicity of the Scriptures as we have them, recognized as a matter of fact only by those who are of the Spirit. It cannot be helped that this gives a strongly dogmatic cast to the discussion, and savors of apodictic assertion. But our opponents, who complain of this, forget that they do exactly the same thing: they too proceed from premises which are as axiomatic, even though they profess to be particularly subject to reason. They proceed, namely, from the axiom that human reason is competent and self-sufficient to discern and judge of all things, even the deep things of God, While we acknowledge that this too is a dogmatic procedure on their part, we do not complain of it, since they cannot do otherwise — they cannot discern the things of the Spirit. And they should allow us the right to build upon our own principium. For since principia, like the axioms in mathematics, cannot in themselves be the subject of discussion with the design of establishing their correctness, so the more pertinent thing to do, if we are to reach results, is to ascertain which of these divergent principia best squares with the experiences of life, of reality.

At the outset of our discussion it is necessary to bear in mind something which radically determines the question at issue; a matter which Fullerton and the like deny, as they rest their theology on a naturalistic basis. We refer to the fact of Palingenesis [Regeneration]: its presence or absence divides all people into two classes. It is a difference which “does not have its origin within the province of consciousness, but outside of it. This difference is not one of degree but of essence, and is of so radical a nature that it cannot be bridged. They face the cosmos in a radically different manner and are each actuated by altogether different impulses. Mere argument is not capable of convincing either for the contrary view. Whilst they may agree on the formal aspects of scientific research, it is impossible for them to agree on its material aspects The choice which is made in this aspect of things is not determined by discursive reasoning, but entirely by the deep impulses of the consciousness. Scientific investigation, then, is in its deepest conception also determined by this two-fold insight. It is indeed possible that some regenerate people may be so deceived in their reasoning as to proceed on the naturalistic basis whilst retaining the faith which lies hidden in the mysticism of the heart. It is also true that Palingenesis does not at once remove the after-effects of the old unregenerate nature which plays its part in showing a false subjectivism which must be patiently overcome. . . . They actually stand in the faith, although they do not perceive that their true foundation is gone, and that, fortunately, they are acting inconsistently. When they become aware of this situation and essay to act according to the demands of the reason as based on worldly principles they become prone to much confusion and darkness. Light can break out only then, when they take the correct position of Scripture as the Word of God validated by the testimony of the Holy Spirit. But the deep-lying principle, given a fair and sufficient occasion, will assert itself one way or the other, so showing its real self, and will arrive at perfection” (Kuyper, Encyc.)

The province and the competency of the reason in this connection must therefore be well understood. When we choose in favor of Scripture as our principle of knowledge as over against the reason, we do not design to abdicate the use of our mental faculties in seeking to understand the revelation of God, or to pass an opinion on its grace and grandeur. That is not the point at issue. The precise point is this: The Rationalist derives the material, which he chooses to accept for his faith and conduct, out of himself; whilst the Reformed derives it from an objective source, from a revelation, and he holds that Scripture is the revelation. The Reformed uses his reason to think about this revelation, to construe and assimilate it; whilst the Modernist, in greater or lesser degree, manufactures it, so to speak: he is entirely subjective, for he determines by his own light and according to his own good pleasure what he judges ought to be the truth. Bacon has well put it: “The rationalists are like the spiders: they spin all out of their own bowels. But give me one who like the bee hath a middle faculty, gathering from abroad, and digesting that which is gathered by his own virtue.” Dr. Thornwell, in quoting this from Bacon, correctly remarks that this illustrates the Protestant principle. The Reformers believed in an objective revelation which man has not himself made nor formulated, but he finds himself in the presence of it, and like the bee he is to proceed to make use of it. We make use of our reason in connection with passing on Scripture as ground for our beliefs and practices, but in a secondary way; that is to say, the reason per se does not determine what is spiritual truth, but it acts in the presence or absence of dispositions and powers of the human spirit. For in our deepest self we are regenerate or unregenerate, and inasmuch as the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God because they are spiritually discerned, the reason in the natural man will assume an antagonistic attitude and will not be convinced. But he that is spiritual will find the reason perceiving the more clearly the things of the Spirit of God. We cannot go back of these premises: debating back of these is but a dead-lock.

“This fact of the existence of these two classes of people, also, strictly speaking, postulates two kinds of scientific investigation, because radically different world- and life-views underlie each of them. It is this circumstance which particularly affects Christian theology as it discusses a range of conceptions which from the nature of the case directly concern the things which can be spiritually judged only. This fact absolutely denies those who stand outside the Palingenesis the competency of judging in the premises.

“Two principia (methods of acquiring knowledge) underlie the situation. 1. Man takes knowledge of almost everything by bringing the objects before himself and proceeding to investigate them. 2. But of God he cannot thus obtain knowledge — what he thinks he knows through his own agency, is mere guess-work: it is necessary that God reveal Himself to man, and man can deal only with what is revealed to him. Hence, theology is obliged to proceed in a way all her own, as she is dependent for her material on what Scripture furnishes; whence Scripture as the source of his information imparted by a method in which man is entirely dependent, is called the principium unicum theologiae” (cf. Encyc. II. sec. 32).

Now Scripture as the revelation of the knowledge of God must be trustworthy. This it can be only when it is given by inspiration of God. We believe that Holy Scripture as a book before us is the inspired Word of God. It will be asked, How do you know this? This cannot adequately be answered except that it satisfies the believer who is constrained so to receive it; and that believer does so receive it, because the Spirit in his heart witnesses with his own spirit that he is a child of God and that this Scripture is the message of the Holy Spirit to him. “The Reformed were led to acknowledge the sole authority of the Holy Scripture by the subject matter contained in them brought home to their minds and hearts by the working of the Holy Spirit. It is the testimony of this Spirit whereby they were assured of the sovereignty of the Bible, in matters of faith” (Steffens). Of course, this cannot be objectively proved, and many scoff at such an assertion as mere cant. But Thornwell puts it pointedly: “The reality of evidence is one thing, the power of perceiving it, is quite another. It is no objection to the brilliancy of the sun if it fails to illuminate the blind.” Scripture attests the very same truth: “For the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged.” In its final analysis these things cannot be proven except that the proof consist in the testimony of the Holy Spirit to our spirit that these Scriptures are the Word of God. They are therefore autopistic, as the Reformed principle of the Reformation so clearly and so necessarily brought out, in order to have any real foundation at all. “Just as your person through optical processes photographs itself upon the plate of the artist, so it is revelation itself which gives its own effulgence in Holy Scripture” (Kuyper). And it need not be strange to have recourse to such a principle for the purpose of gaining this particular kind of certainty in the unusual realm of spiritual things, because we, living as we do more immediately on the natural plane, “gain our certainty in regard to material things by virtue of a testimony of God the Creator in the individual consciousness” (Kuyper). It is far too much overlooked that in its deepest analysis the natural man in the functioning of his sense-perception even, is as dependent upon God as the spiritual man is for saving grace. “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” And Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Art thou a master in Israel and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know. and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?” (John 3:10-12).

To throw some more light on this highly important matter, we can do no better than to quote the language of the late Dr. Herman Bavinck, of the Free University of Amsterdam, who was known not only as a widely read and able theologian, but also peculiarly well versed in the problems of philosophy. He too stresses the fundamental contention of the Reformers that Scripture is autopistic, that is, to be received on its own account. He writes: “Holy Scripture is autopistic, and therefore the last ground of faith. If you ask, Why do you believe Scripture? the only answer is, Because it is the Word of God. But if you ask further: Why do you believe that Scripture is the Word of God? the Christian must remain indebted for the answer. We may indeed refer to the characteristics of Scripture, to the majesty of its style, etc., but these are not the grounds of his faith: they are merely properties and characteristics which in course of time were discovered through believing thought. “God has spoken” is the prime principle to which all dogmas, that of Scripture included, can be led back. The bond between the soul and Scripture lies behind consciousness and under the proofs. It is mystic in nature in the same way as the deepest principles of the different sciences are” (Dogmatiek).

And how carefully and pertinently Bavinck sets forth the philosophical aspect of the matter, the following quotation shows, in which he touches the vital point at issue: “We cannot dispense with the subjective, not in a single science. Light postulates an eye. All that is objective exists for us simply through the mediation of subjective consciousness. In common with all sciences, yea, with all relations which obtain between man and the world, theology has the subjective starting-point. However, the accusation of subjectivism is justified only in that case when the subjective organ, which is indispensable for the observation of that which exists objectively, is raised to the principle of knowledge. The eye may be indispensable as the organ of observation of light, but it is nevertheless not the fountain of light. This is exactly the mistake of idealistic rationalism that it identifies the organ with the source of knowledge” [My italics].

In a similar manner Dr. J. H. Thornwell, that brilliant theologian of the South, thoroughly Reformed in his views of doctrine and church polity, writes: “The Protestant principle is that the truths of the Bible authenticate themselves as Divine by their own light. Faith is an intuition awakened by the Holy Ghost, and the truth is neither known nor believed until it is consciously realized by the illuminated mind as the truth of God. Intuition does not generate, but it perceives the truth. Reason under the guidance of the Holy Spirit appropriates and digests it. The knowledge is immediate and infallible.... The Word supplies an external test which protects from imposture and deceit. The Spirit educates and unfolds a Divine life under the regulative guidance of the Word. The Bible and the Spirit are therefore equally essential to a Protestant theology” (Works, I. 49). Again: “Reason, though wholly incapable of discovering the data in the free acts of the Divine will, yet when these are once given can discern the obligation which naturally arise from them. It can discern the fit and becoming in the new circumstances in which we are placed, and it can collect, compose and elaborate into scientific unity the truths which are brought within its reach. But in no case is reason the ultimate rule of faith. No authority can be higher than the direct testimony of God, and no certainty can be greater than that imparted by the Spirit shining on the Word” (Works, I. 50). “The reality of evidence is one thing, the power of perceiving it is quite another. .It is no objection to the brilliancy of the sun that it fails to illumine the blind” (Works, III. 445).

The reader will perceive that here we come to bedrock conceptions of things where argument and the use of the reason to directly establish matters of spiritual import will be of no avail. The Rationalist scoffs at the Reformed conception of things as being obscurantist as he persists in harping on the same one old string of forcing the Divine into human terms and valuations. It cannot be done. Kuyper has well expressed it: “The controversy over the reality of inspiration may therefore as well be given up, because the consciousness in regard to it stands altogether on one line with all our primordial notions, as the consciousness of our Ego, of our being, of our continuity, of our thought processes, etc. Because these things are primordial they are sufficient in themselves, and, allowing of no demonstration, they can neither be silenced by contrary argument. And in so far, then, our Fathers were entirely correct when they based their confession of the Scripture on no other testimony than that of the Holy Spirit” (Encyc. II. 306, 307). Fullerton has this very thing in mind when he characterizes this view, which is regarded by us as axiomatic, but is by him believed as resting on the imagination for its truth, and that its premise is unproved. Indeed, we do not even attempt to prove the premise, because along with other primordial notions it cannot be done.

It is therefore a matter of course that “theology proceeds on premises which are sui generis. This is owing to the fact that both through the history of the Church in general and through the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the individual a special relation obtains between Scripture and the investigator — a relation which in that same Scripture is described as a “trembling at the Word of God”. The Holy Spirit who gave the Word answers to the Holy Spirit dwelling in the heart of the believer. This mystical fact may not be lost sight of for a moment.

Kuyper beautifully describes the blessed matter-of-fact of the hidden knowledge of the heart — call it mysticism, if you will — which rests in the experience of its own assurance after the manner of the blind man who was healed by the Savior, and who repelled all doubts by the immovable conviction of reality: “Whether he be a sinner or not, I do not know: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see!” Says Kuyper: “A Christian lives by the Scriptures and serenely enjoys this life. The studies which examine the Scriptures by which the Christian lives, do not determine this life: they can only elucidate the existing phenomena. Thus, a man’s breathing through his lungs does not begin by permission of the scientist who studies their actions, but he breathes as a matter of fact. Now canonical studies can give this living by the Word a purer direction, if only this living by Scripture remain our point of departure in its historico-mystical sense. Hence the object of canonical studies can never determine for anyone what constitutes Scripture. For the heart of every believer and for the Church as a whole Scripture is what she is not as the result of study, but as a result of historical and spiritual-mystical factors. Canonical study can only interpret some things as far as these do not remain hidden in the depths of mysticism” (Encyc. III. 25, 26).

But there is a very practical, matter-of-fact proof which amply justifies these seemingly esoteric positions. Kuyper again indicates it: “After the manner of the correlation of the pieces of a dissected map, or of the members of an organism, so the correlation of the parts of Scripture (canon) is indicated by inspiration in the nature of these parts themselves. But just as a child does not immediately get an idea of the full and correct arrangement of the pieces of a dissected map, and at first is apt to make mistakes and only in course of time arrives at certainty, so also the eye of the Church has in the course of time begun to perceive the canonical connection of the parts of Scripture to that extent that with full assurance of mind she has observed in it the certain indication of the Holy Spirit” (Dict. Dogm. De Sacra Scr. 86, 87).

“As a matter of fact Scripture has come into existence under the operation partly of spiritual factors, partly of historical factors whether human or divine, and as the product of these factors Scripture became the possession of the Church: it was not given mechanically, but organically. Even though men deliberated and considered, they were, unbeknown to themselves under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So that at bottom of this all rules the providence of God, who, throughout every form of human activity gave His Word to the world, the written ‘kanon’ [rule, or, standard of measurement and comparison] even as He Himself is the Personal ‘Kanon’ for man” (Kuyper).

That the Reformed do full justice to the human aspects of these matters is thus brought out by Steffens: “Our formal principle does not extinguish in us the historical spirit; on the contrary, nowhere is this spirit found in a healthier state than in the loyal sons of the Reformed Church. We desire to stand everywhere on a solid historical foundation. But when Higher or Newer Criticism degenerates into an arbitrary reconstruction of history, when we are called upon to remove a huge pyramid from its base and try to put it on its apex, we stand aloof from such a foolish and hopeless undertaking. And when the critics of our age demand from us to look upon the prophets of old as enemies of the ceremonial law teaching us by their doctrines and examples to eliminate from what they call the “genuine religion of the Old Testament”, not merely the ritual but also the atoning significance of the sacrifices, the Theology of Blood; or when they ask us to look upon the priests and Levites as hypocritical formalists and bigots, Who used their position and religious influence in the interests of the State; then we feel it our duty to enter our protest against such a destructive radicalism, and to raise our banner — the sovereign authority of the Holy Scriptures — in the interest of Bible truth. In upholding this banner let us be willing to bear the ignominy of being called unscientific and fanatical.”

How then in short are we to conceive of the Canon? Let Kuyper again answer: “The idea then of the Canon is not according to what notion men of the Church decided what should belong to Scripture, but according to the thought which God has Himself, and which He gets brought out in Scripture. And under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the Divine will comes to man through the instrumentality of the Scriptures It must be added that the assembling of the books of the Bible did not occur as a result of immediate inspiration, but as the result of the enlightened consciousness of believers whose spiritual feelings began to recognize more and more clearly What is Scripture. Such it was with the Canon of the Old Testament, and Christ sanctioned this collection as the Word of God.”

Fullerton notes the interesting fact that Clement of Alexandria and Origen already in that early age half unconsciously stood on the foundation of the correct view of the principle of the Canon (from the orthodox standpoint). “They had a supreme confidence in the self-sufficiency of Scripture. It was its own interpreter. Its great Christian truths were self-authenticated to the spiritually illuminated. All that was necessary to do was to elaborate the technique of the allegory in order to possess the key to all biblical mysteries. And this Origen did. He sought to place the allegory on a scientific basis” (“Proph. and Authority”, p. 80). Says Kuyper: “Origen and they Who came after him may have come short in the elaboration of this idea, nevertheless the principle from which they proceeded stands high on account of its intrinsic truth above the insipid flatness of narrow-minded interpreters who cannot believe in the mystical element which is back of the written word” (Encyc. III. 160).

“These Scriptures do not lie loose beside the theologian but in the mysticism of his heart he knows himself bound to them and to its authority with a special bond Which nothing can break. For him the drawing of this bond is not the result of scientific investigation: he even denies to science the competency of judging in regard to the reality of this mystical bond. This bond to Scripture is inwoven with the life of the soul, and lie asks leave of science to have it so as little as he asks the permission of science to breathe.”

“It is admitted that the approach of the believer to Scripture as he accepts its authority in advance is a prejudiced one. But for the other it is just as true that he is prejudiced in favor of the authority of the reason, of the common opinion of the doctors, and for him it can never lie in Scripture as such. Scripture itself compels this alternative. Just because it places itself antithetically over against the vos mundi, the investigator must either honor the vox Dei or deny it. No one can stand neutral over against Scripture. It is a canonical investigation for him who bows to the authority of Scripture; and anti-canonical to the other. In both cases the investigator is, before he begins his work, predisposed as to the matter in the center of his consciousness one Way or the other. If one lives by virtue of the Palingenesis, then the mysticism of the heart will correspond with these Scriptures; but if one lives outside of the Palingenesis and hence out of a sinful nature, then the mysticism of the heart will stand antithetically over against the mysticism of Scripture. When people have received a good education, then out of that mysticism of the heart will come a two-fold world- and life-view, each in principle diverse from the other; the one postulating Scripture, and the other, having no room for it, will attempt to eliminate it. Every attempt to convince the latter by means of argument must be given up as completely as when Jesus forebore to convince the Sanhedrin to the contrary when they had firmly made up their mind that he was a blasphemer.”

“The task of the exegesis of Scripture is by no means ended with an inquiry as to what the writer may himself have thought to write. In her Bible the Church does not possess a collection merely of literary products, for the Church is not a literary or historical society, but she is the gathering of believers Who lay hold on eternal life. To this end she received Scripture as a means of grace, and in order that Scripture should be such, it came into existence and was completed as a Divine work of art with the unity of functioning which characterizes a living organism. It is so rich a Divine work of art and is designed so marvelously that throughout all ages the Church might be edified by it, and that the ministry of the Word might find out of these Scriptures the solution of every question. Hence, back of the literary and grammatical meaning there also obtains a deeper lying mystical one. Origen and others after him have failed in correctly working out this idea, but the idea has far more of inherent value than the insipid prosaic, interpretation of rationalizers which naturally begets spiritual aridity” (Encyc. III. 100).

The mystical interpretation has always invited attack, and today Modernist Theology does this with new vigor. Fullerton’s book is courageous in assuming the full consequences of his premises, so that he rejects plenary inspiration, and prophecy of every kind, and leaves a very uncertain and indefinite basis for the very uncertain thing which he makes of Christianity. With the Divine origin and unique character of Holy Scripture gone, we may well cry out in despair: “What is Christianity?” — the very question on which thousands have today become unsettled. The Reformed principle of authority which determines the divine origin and unique character of Scripture is the only thing which will put a solid foundation under the tottering structure of historical Christianity.

* Rev. G. H. Hospers was born at Pella, Iowa, in 1864 and graduated from Hope College in 1884 and Holland Theological Seminary in 1887.

This article is taken from his book, The Reformed Principle of Authority, originally published by The Reformed Press, Grand Rapids, 1924.