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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reviews by Hubie Goode: The Wellhausen Agenda Part 2

The Wellhausen Agenda

part 2

Wellhausen was born in 1844 in Hamlen, Westphalia, Germany. He studied at the University of Gottingen and was so brilliant in his understanding of all things theological that he was awarded a professorship at Greifswald University. Theological studies continued there for the next ten years and in the meantime he departed step by step and inch by inch from the view of Bible scripture as being of divine inspiration. He was fired as a result of this. Other colleges entertained him in the interim and he eventually ended up teaching at the college he had first graduated from.

His career developed as he wrote many books on biblical criticism. Wellhausen eventually became famous as the leader of a strain of thought called “Higher Criticism”. A noted author gave us an insight into just what this thing called Higher Criticism was: “Scholars who will not admit divine revelation seek to explain Old Testament belief in God in terms of evolution. They would have Old Testament monotheism be the resultant from lower stages, or from polytheism, or regard it as a particular instinct of the Semites, or as borrowed from neighboring nations.”

It is easy to see how the ideas of Darwin and evolution were a big influence on the thinking toward biblical assumptions. These ideas spread like a wildfire throughout society as they had with them the guilding pet for the ego of man that pleases everyone at one time or another. Once a social movement begins, no matter its truth or shaky grounds, it is hard for a social animal like mankind to hold firm to an idea that leaves him on the outside.

Author Paul Heinisch had this to say: “The Wellhausen school maintains that pre-Mosaic religion in Israel had been polydemonism in the form of totenism, animism, ancestor worship, fetishism. Recent investigations in the countries of the ancient Orient, however, have demonstrated that the religions of the Near East as far as can now be ascertained, did not sink to such levels; they were polytheistic in character (star worship, personification of natural forces), and tapered off in a monarchical system. Rather than evolution, there was retrogression, because the number of gods gradually increased. Furthermore, prehistory testifies that primitive man was in no way intellectually inferior to his descendants, and that at least the realm of art was quite superior. Ethnology also refutes the theory of religious evolution, for the concepts of the so called primitive peoples are purer than those of their neighbors already engaged in agriculture and cattle raising. Therefore, we need but give scant attention to those passages which have been cited as having traces of the above-mentioned “isms”*

*Paul Heinisch, Theology of the Old Testament (St. Paul, Minn.: Liturgical, 1955). p. 34

As you can see, keeping in line with most of those who have agendas, Wellhausen had to invent an account of prehistory that was later refuted by scholarship that actually checked up on what he had to say. Once again, as in the case of Sigmund Freud, evidence meant little, the priory of stipulating that the Bible was just a collection of superior works akin to Shakespeare could not be bothered with the facts.

Another passage to support this refutation can be taken from Hienrisch’s book on page 86, where it is discussed under the title: “The Notion of God’s Justice before the period of the Literary Prophets.” Wellhausen claims that God’s justice was largely unknown until the writings of those who put the Old Testament together. It was vitally important to place the label of “fairy tale” on the Genesis account before such a claim could indeed be made. Adam and Eve ran into God’s position on rewarding those who stayed in his universal plan and punishing those who decided they knew better long before anyone wrote about it, but that didn’t fit into Wellahusen’s agenda.

A view known as the Documentary Hypothesis of the Pentateuch is crucial to understanding Wellhausen’s impact upon textual criticism. The phrase literally means that there were four other writers of the Old Testament and Moses may have been one or more or perhaps had a finger in some place of the writing.

In 1678, an Oratorian Catholic Priest named Richard Simon stated that there were at least two writers of the Old Testament, an Elohist and a Yahwist. This was based on the fact that there are two mentions of the name of God in the Old Testament at different points, Jehovah and Elohim.

Wellhausen dressed this up even more in the rhetoric of “college boys” of his day. He attempted to clarify who wrote what when by establishing criterion and chronicling the books in question. He dated them by the postulate of the science of comparative religion. The base concept is that cults indigenous to one another evolve in the same manner: from a pluarity of gods to a singularity. This “evolution” occurs roughly at the same rate, due to the cults geographic proximity providing a social, economic, political, and religious catalyst toward mutual change. Therefore, said Wellhausen, those passages that deal with a single deity were added at later dates than the simple narratives. Therefore, books like Deuteronomy were written as a result of social evolution and not divine inspiration.

For Wellhausen, only Exodus was completely historical. Not surprising, since the Jewish nation still exists today and is historically tied to all those events directly in both religious and also in physical history. He felt however, that everything before the monarchy was a complete myth.

Wellhausen’s college boy ways were a major contributor to religious liberalism as it took out those things considered spiritual that were included in the Bible. Due to this “demythization” of scripture, the door was opened for others to give their own hand a shot at interpreting Biblical truth and as a result they created in their minds a round robin of allegories that were all sound and fury and no necessary truth.

The logical consequence of all this was a defection from sound doctrine by the church. Christianity slowly lost its soul amidst the strength of so called higher learning and became something of a humanist religion that looked like many others all around the world. Those who adopted Wellhausen’s reason soon found that they had a book of human theory instead of the living, breathing Word of God.

Now Christianity became a complex set of human rationalizations. This defection from the orthodox view of Christianity, leaving it merely the flavor religion of the day, left the Bible as a book without hope, without life, without authority. Intellectual pride spread throughout the schooling system of Europe in that day and as the old guard died off, the new education of “the Bible as just another book” took hold.

Little did those young people who were being educated in this way understand that they were indeed being brainwashed to lose faith in the Bible. Every generation believes it is superior to grandpa and grandma as they benefit from the progress that past societies have made, so naturally as this generational process moves on, the counter education can easily take hold as more than just an alternative, but more or less as the discovered truth that our poor ancestors just were too stupid to realize.

How much like the generations of the Israelites in the book of Kings! It boggles the mind.

Despite all of this, churches still existed. Choirs sang. Candles burned. But spiritual life had died. The Bible was now only empty pages once written by men long dead. European Christianity was destroyed from the inside while still possessing the form it had always held for ages. It was apostate. Apostate being that it had all the appearances of the real thing but not the power of God. It had become demented, a jabbering, gibbering fool sitting on the corner in rags arguing with himself. Preachers of the day began to quote and teach everything but the scriptures and they lost an important foothold on reality.

Many believe that the AntiChrist will be the leader of the European Economic Community, and they may be right. Europe lost its soul during the days of Wellhausen and if they do not once again become involved in a spiritual life, they may indeed give birth to the one who is to come. There are those who say in fact that he is already living in the Monarchy of Britain and ready to take up the crown of England. We shall see.

Matthew 16:5-10 says:

Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.” But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up?”

Basically, Jesus is here warning against being too proud of your own reasoning as it has little to do with the Lordship and abilities of God, the creator of the universe. You simply can’t leave God out of any argument about spiritual reality. It all starts with: Does God exist? If he DOES exist then anything is possible, if he doesn’t then you can make up anything you like.

He also speaks here about the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, leaders who thought they knew it all, and had a right to direct others in the truth, and yet they fought with Jesus over everything. There is also a school of thought that says these two groups came from a certain lineage, a lineage which Christ himself called, in a sense, the Sons of the Devil. And that could very well be a literal idea. Physically literal. The SONS of Satan. If so, and we know that Satan is the great enemy of all we have been discussing, then they too had an agenda. If the line still lives today, it’s not too much of a stretch to state that Jesus would have called Wellhausen one of these men also, for he too had an agenda.

So Europe looks to be a part of that “great falling away” predicted in scripture before the end times. We get so programmed by the fantastic presentations of the media in venues like the movies and television, that we often are waiting for the sun to explode before we see something happening. Wouldn’t it be sad if we came to the end of it all and God pointed out to us that this historical event, happening long before we were even born, was indeed the beginning of the end, the great falling away before the second coming. But it’s not fantastic, so we missed it. Don’t be proud in your own understanding of these things and easily dismiss what I am suggesting. You could be dead wrong.

Next time: America the Liberal

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