The Irrelevance of “Modern Scholars”

Most of the material I read in preparation for sermons or in my own studies is written by believers. I particularly like Gordon H. Clark, A. W. Pink, John Calvin, R. C. Sproul, David Engelsma, William Hendrickson, and Simon Kistemaker. And I read commentaries of MacArthur, Keener, Carson, Lenski, John Murray, Charles Hodge, Keil & Delitzsch, Matthew Henry, Jamieson Fausset & Brown, and various others.

So I don’t often come across “modern scholars” in my readings. Years ago, before I found those trustworthy go-to authors above, I would occasionally stumble upon material that was “modernist.” For the life of me, I can’t figure out what a person would be a modernist; why they would be a fan of Christianity without being a Christian. They write about the Bible, but don’t take the Bible’s viewpoint.

Well just now I was researching for a teaching series I’m doing on “The Bible and War” and I was searching online for an answer to the question “What percentage of the OT (or the Bible text) is dedicated the subject of wars/battles?” Incidentally, I didn’t find many good answers. I’ve heard in fact that the Google search algorithm has changed in recent times, and that might explain why so many search results are so horribly off-topic. One of the results I was led to asked “What percentage of the Old Testament is considered historical by modern scholars?” Some of the words of my original question match this one, but the subject is entirely different. So, pooh-pooh on Google.

But pooh-poohing Google is not the point of this point. The point is, I didn’t even look at the answer given to that question “What percentage of the Old Testament is considered historical by modern scholars?”, because I have no interest in what “modern scholars” say. In my 25 years or so of reading/research on Biblical subjects, I’ve found the “modern scholars” almost invariably wrong. And its not just that I have opposite commitments or presuppositions, but they can be demonstrably shown to be false on many of the various contentions they’ve made in the last couple centuries. So why would I care if these folks think 90% or 50% of 3% of the Old Testament is historical? I care what actual scholars think because they think what Jesus thinks: “it is written.” The Bible is historically accurate. 100%

So the “modern scholars” are rather irrelevant. And I wonder if their day has largely passed. I hope it has. With the decline of “mainline” churches so also goes the decline of “modern scholars.” In a generation or so, that whole world might almost be gone. There will still be disagreements between Presbyterian believers, and Baptist believers, and believers of all stripes. But at least they are believers. And we’ll all together look askance at the “modern scholars” that have come and gone with their unbelieving theories that waxed and waned in popularity in their time. Hoorah for the irrelevance of modernism.