Higher Criticism denies the authority of the Bible and argues that the Bible is not the inerrant, infallible, revealed Word of God. Advocates of this school of thought label the Bible as a hoax, a book full of “gross errors,” and “myth-filled.” They are men who are “dedicated to the destruction of orthodox Christianity” and the removing of the solid confidence held by Christians for their Bible.
In the past few hundred years, one of the strongest assaults on Christianity has been through Higher Criticism. The success of this stronghold has been the result of the undermining of the Bible. The foundation of this movement came mainly through English Deism. The two major avenues through which this assault was brought, was the social and intellectual movements of the day. Biblical law was replaced with natural law and the Bible was discredited to the point of becoming invalid for the outworking of social issues as well as intellectual issues.
The damage has been done; Higher Criticism no longer posses such a threat to Orthodox Christianity. The issue now is one of repairing the ruins and bringing back to Christianity the confidence in God’s Word that is so vital to the faith of the Church.
The techniques of Higher Criticism are crafty and very subtle. Higher Critics are deceivers and seek to evade the judgment of God all while trying to keep a cloak of a religious experience that can become beneficial to people.
Higher Criticism uses the same techniques as Lower Criticism in determining the authority and validity of texts; however, Higher Criticism takes the techniques to an unwarranted point of no return and denies the reliability of the entire Bible as a revealed “Word of God.” Those who advocate Higher Criticism see the Bible as a kind of novel and apply the techniques of literary criticism of fiction to their study of Scripture; as a result of this, many people all over the world have suffered in their walk of faith.
Another technique of the Higher Critic is to present the Bible as a sham, a hoax, a collection of writings full of “lies and myths,” and thus making it is obvious that God did not fully inspire the Word. We therefore, cannot turn to the Bible and say, this is what we can know about God, or this is the final and absolute truth; it is only a book about what certain people believe about God. This is how the resurrection is dealt with as well as words like creation, fall from Grace, and judgment.
The undermining of the Bible, that is, to remove the Bible as the Word of God and replace it as the thoughts of man, removes man’s accountability to God. With the authority of the Bible out of the way there is no need to face the explicit call to repentance and final judgment. This is in fact the ultimate goal of the advocates of Higher Criticism- to escape the judgment of God.
God’s judgment on man will come based on His ethical system revealed in His Holy Word. The goal of the higher critic is to twist the Bible into a terribly disjointed mess that you cannot make heads or tails from. The critic knows that, in order to escape the judgment, God’s unified ethical system must be obliterated. In their view the Bible is nothing more than another “mythical” or “religious” collection of writings put together by man. The truth is dropped and the collection of something that sounds like yesterdays newspaper is put in its place, with the title “true transcendent ethical unity.”
To prove the Bible to be false and contradictory, the critics sought to re-date major portions of the Old Testament, ascribe certain writings to scribes who had hidden agendas and wanted to forge a false document with the title of Prophecy on it, tear Old Testament Judaism from the New Testament, and last but not least separate ethics from faith. Obviously the consequences were disastrous.
It is interesting to see the connection between higher criticism and evolutionary thought. Both systems came around the same time and the results were anything but righteous. It could even be argued that Nazism had roots in German higher criticism.