Vol.VIII No.XII Pg.2
February 1972

Neo Orthodoxy

Robert F. Turner

Now hold your hat! I am not going to recommend a study of Karl Barth, or Emil Brunner — or any other teachers of Neo orthodoxy; but would like to review some points of their philosophy, to alert us to modernistic influences in current thinking. These popular theologians, despite their reaction to classical liberalism, have imbibed much of its subjective approach to the Scriptures, and have had a profound effect upon our day.

Schleiermacher, father of modern liberalism, found his authority in the souls experience rather than in the Scriptures. Inspiration was redefined in terms of the author instead of the writing. (It became the task of the liberal critic to determine at what points the Bible was true.) Neo orthodoxy retains this concept, believing that the Bible only becomes the Word of God as it relates to our experiences. Gods Word, to me, may be in the Bible, in a sermon, or even in things. Whatever overpowers me, leads me to Jesus Christ, This is Gods Word for me. (Of course without some fixed way for knowing that I am in Christ, this makes each man his own ultimate authority; and he must practice a high tolerance (what is the limit?) for all who claim to an experience.)

Emphasis upon being in Christ but accepting no objective standard for deter- -mining when one is faithful to Christ, is but one of many examples of double-talk in this new orthodoxy. Bible terminology is given new meanings, and a conservative fundamentalist may find himself greatly confused by it all — which is, to the neo orthodox, proof-positive of his intellectual superiority. His attitude will likely be most condescending — they bathe in love, but they also bite while they caress.

Faith becomes, not mans response to external evidence (Rom. 10:17) but a work of Grace which God performs in us. A Calvinistic background re. the Holy Spirit is here displayed. Understanding is, as one would expect, possible only through further working of the H.S. in us. Thus one looks inward for confirmation, rather than looking objectively to the Word. Many of us older preachers met this long ago in the spiritual discernment of early Baptist debaters.

Keep the above in mind as you read excerpts from an article by bro. Carl Ketcherside, p. 6. I do not believe Carl is knowingly following the neo- orthodox line. He would deny many of its tenets. But the spirit and style of subjective theology, with words to match, is knocking at the door.