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Stirring Experiences: 3. How I Escaped Modernism


      Ever since the Bryan-Darrow-Scopes case at Dayton, Tennessee, the Modernists and Evolutionists have put up an untiring fight to turn America to Modernism, which is simply a cultured title for Atheism.

      Textbooks in the common branches and high schools, that had been comparatively silent on the subject before, have now come out open and aboveboard, declaring themselves as avowedly evolutionary. The textbooks in colleges and universities, that had been decidedly modernistic, are much worse now.

      Modernism has not only captured our schools and educational centers, but the American press and pulpit as well. If some blatant-mouthed skeptic gives a public address against God, the Bible, and spiritual things, every press in the country will clamor for the opportunity to print it. But if some clean, reputable gentleman, who has given the best part of his life for the uplifting and betterment of humanity, wishes to speak in the defense of the Bible and Fundamentalism, he can scarcely find a decent place in which to address the public. Then when he is through, scarcely a paper in the country dares to publish his address. Those who do at all refer to his lecture gelierahy speak with such slighting, insulting and insinuating remarks that the readers who failed to hear him are led to believe that it was simply the haranguing of some ignoramus.

      We have reached an age now in which, if anyone dare lift up his voice against the atheistic teachings in the educational world, he is put down as a backwoods numskull and an ignoramus. He is an old fogy and all of his ideas are antiquated; no matter how many standard colleges and universities from which he may hold degrees, he simply is not up-to-date.

      Some one may ask, "Why is it that conditions today are as above described?" Many reasons might be cited, but perhaps one of the greatest is the fact that the pulpit of today does not preach a clear, ringing, positive Gospel, that saves men from the uttermost to the uttermost, as was preached in other days. There is too much generalizing and not enough particularizing. Too much preaching about the Bible and not enough preaching of the Word. Too much preaching on the topics of the day, and not enough preaching of the Gospel. This condition has prevailed until men do not have clear-cut convictions with respect to the teachings of God's Word. They then, in this unstable and unanchored condition, are an easy prey to false doctrines.

      I am not a pessimist, but I am frank to state that we are now in the apostasy to which Paul referred in II Thess. 2 :3, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first." This falling away is not the ordinary backsliding, but the apostatizing of the church. To apostatize is to renounce, or turn away from that which one previously held as faith principles. This is exactly what has happened in America today. We have turned away in wholesale from that which we formerly adhered to in religion, as an American people. In the beginning as a nation, we were a praying, God-fearing, Bible-loving people; but today we have practically discarded the Bible and have swallowed the Darwinian theory of evolution. We have already apostatized, for the movement of Evolution and Modernism is the movement of the apostasy.

      During my college days I waded through a great deal of evolutionary and modernistic teaching, but more especially in my senior year did I intensify my pursuits of this nature. With the consciousness that some questions are never fully settled to the satisfaction of our own minds until we delve deeply into them, I pursued the hypotheses of Modernism. Month after month God helped me to hold my mental and spiritual equilibrium perfectly poised as I pursued the varied sophistries and theories that, again and again, contradicted Divine inspiration.

      Long before I enrolled in the university to take up my graduate work, having had several years of intensified study in the sciences and philosophies back of me, I was conscious of the Divine undergirdings. Not only was my personal faith poised on a sure foundation, but my confidence and faith in the Bible enjoyed a security and solidity that belongs alone to those who investigate for themselves.

      With respect to having to combat with Modernism in the class room, my sea of sailing was very placid all through high school and college; and it was not until the second semester of my second year in university that I was really thrown into the arena to clash swords with scholarly modernists. My major in university was history, and every student who majored in this department was required to take a course in historiography and bibliography. This course was intended to help us in writing our master's thesis. My professor was a very cultured modernist.

      In this course we were doing some original research work which led us back to the writings and works of the earliest historians. Some of us did not care to stop with Herodotus and Xenophone, but referred back to Moses as our earliest historian. This was very repulsive, as it is to all modernists, or atheists, and at once expressions to the contrary were forthcoming in class.

      Some who were Fundamentalists remained silent for a few days, giving those who had no faith in the authenticity of the Pentateuch an opportunity to state their views first. As is always the case, their doubts, questionings, and unbelief, instead of inspiring faith and hope, seemed to bring the very darkness of hell over the class room. The theory was advanced by the professor, our class text, and several students, that not only the Pentateuch, but the first ten books of the Old Testament were not authenticated, or inspired history, but folklore or legendary tales.

      The theory was very plausibly explained that these tales had been handed down from parents to children for hundreds of years. Then finally one who was especially interested in legends collected all these tales, and a master of narration wrote them all out in a beautifully connected story. This was the source of the first ten books of the Old Testament, and the idea of its having been inspired was a joke. They also laughed at the idea of such a man as Moses ever having lived. They said that was just a fictitious name that had been attached to the writings.

      In these class sessions the students did the lecturing, rather than the professor. Our names had been arranged alphabetically, and each one's turn to speak came accordingly. I saw that my turn to speak again was coming; and as the time approached, the Holy Spirit burned in on me the seriousness of the occasion. I did not need to speak in defense of the Bible to save my own faith, for years of study and walking with God had settled all these questions; but there was a large class of perhaps thirty unsaved graduate students, and under God I felt I was responsible to save their faith in the old Book, if possible.

      After this theory had been advanced for a few class sessions, the writer at his turn to lecture felt led of God to make a speech in defense of the truth. I prepared well for the occasion, for I knew that practically every student in that class was a college graduate and several held graduate degrees. Long before I entered the class room that day I knew exactly what I wanted to say, and the Holy Spirit gave me the courage of my convictions.

      As soon as I had finished speaking, and before I had time to sit down, two or three of those young men came running up to me and slapped me on the back, saying they were so glad I had said what I did. This, of course, at once brought the subject to a climax, and the war was on which lasted three or four weeks. Many times in the combat the atmosphere became quite tense as cultured brains clashed.

      Some of those who, at first, seemed free to advance skeptical ideas soon became silent. The class was at once divided and most of the students took sides. The leaders on the side of Fundamentalism represented a variety of faiths, as far as church membership was concerned. In our group of five there was a Lutheran, an Episcopalian, a Seventh Day Adventist, a Nazarene, and the writer, a member of the Pilgrim Holiness Church. These five stood together in a solid phalanx. In the process of the conflict God helped us to quiet our professor and every opponent of the Divine inspiration and authenticity of Moses' writings.

      It was not long until truth was prevailing against error, and all of our modernists became silent, never again to flaunt their atheistic ideas before the class during that year. Insults ceased being thrown at the name and writings of Moses. God helped us to whip the modernists and we rode victoriously over their heads.

      One of our greatest sources of help, outside of God and the. Bible, was Robert Dick Wilson's splendid book, "A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament." Mr. Wilson is a master of forty-five languages and dialects. For years he was professor of Semitic Philology in the Theological Seminary of Princeton University. His study and original research work have made him one of the greatest living authorities today on the Bible. He is the one American whom German Rationalists and Atheists fear, for he is more than a match for them all.

      On page twenty-two of the above mentioned book, in speaking with reference to the authenticity and dependability of the Old Testament, Mr. Wilson states, "Not one item of evidence in the way of time, place, logic, psychology, language, or customs has been produced against the trustworthiness of the document."

      The above quotation, with others from the pen of the same able writer, was read in the class room before the professor and the entire class and this seemed to clinch the truth of all previous arguments and forever quieted the murky waters of Atheism in that department.

      After fighting my way through the Atheism of the modern educational world, and having bumped elbows with a score of young people who once were on fire for God, but whose faith has been completely wrecked under the tutelage of atheistic professors, I cannot advise any of our young people to hazard, their souls by pursuing work in a modernistic college or university. This condition, as I found it in the second largest university in America, has led me to believe that we need a strong, standard, graduate school in the Holiness Movement for our young people who are thirsting for advanced educational work. Oh, that some one with a little money would start something like this to save the faith of our rising and oncoming generations!

Back to Walter L. Surbrook index.

See Also:
    Stirring Experiences: 1. My Struggle For An Education
    Stirring Experiences: 2. How I Escaped Adventism
    Stirring Experiences: 3. How I Escaped Modernism
    Stirring Experiences: 4. How I Escaped Marrying the Wrong Girl
    Stirring Experiences: 5. A Rare Jewel
    Stirring Experiences: 6 . Called Higher
    Stirring Experiences: 7. Mysteries
    Stirring Experiences: 8. Obituary
    Stirring Experiences: 9. Funeral Messages
    Stirring Experiences: 10. A Vision of Heaven -- By A Student
    Stirring Experiences: 11. Evangeline's Bible and Diary -- By Her Mother
    Stirring Experiences: 12. Notes From Her Diary
    Stirring Experiences: 13. Her Brother's Poem
    Stirring Experiences: 14. Tributes From Prominent People

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