Not as the Scribes by S. M. Hutchens

Column: Mortal Remains

Not as the Scribes

by S. M. Hutchens

It was a defect of my seminary training, I am sure quite unintended by my professors, that by the time I graduated and was expected to preach, the view of the Scriptures I had carried to the school from my earlier life had undergone a transformation from "the Word of God, understood, but partially, and with varying degrees of clarity," to "the Word of God, understood partially, but now as a set of questions to be worked through with the aid of honest, conservative scholarship."

The text that upon graduation confronted the young preacher no longer seemed to be something from which he could even dream to imitate the Lord in "speaking with authority, and not as the scribes." For he found himself a subaltern in a scribal hierarchy that had the professor of New Testament at the top, so that, in order to preach faithfully and truly, he had to check his work in as much detail as he could find time for against the opinions of the masters of his guild. Their claims to authority, like those of their counterparts in liberal Protestantism, were founded principally in the text science by and through which they read
the Bible.

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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

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