A Modern View of Inspiration

THE following article, which was published in the Christian Oracle of Chicago, contains the views of Professor Oscar T. Morgan, who was removed from the chair of Sanscrit, Hebrew, and Greek in Drake University, because he would not refrain from teaching his views.

In view of the fact that a widely circulated statement has gone out to the daily papers in regard to my disbelief in the inspiration of the Bible, and in response to an invitation from the Oracle management, I am glad to make the following statement concerning my position on the inspiration of the Bible. I do not do this as a matter of personal defense. The effect that the report may have on my individual prospects does not greately concern me. But for the sake of Drake University, and for fear that some hesitating soul may be made to stumble over the supposed fact that one who has been a teacher of the Bible has been led to deny its inspiration, some explanation seems to be demanded.

I have never expressed nor do I have any doubts whatever as to the inspiration of the Bible, or that it contains—or is, if you prefer that form of expression—a revelation from God. In spite of this fact, however, I am not ready to give a definition of inspiration. It is much easier to observe what inspiration does than to tell what it is. It is a process and not merely a fact; a mode of operation and not a result simply. Jesus has forever set an embargo upon the effort to limit the operations of the spirit by a definition. When Nicodemus wanted him to state just how the spirit works in the new birth, he told him that the operations of the spirit are like the activities of the wind; its results may be known, but the process must remain undefined.

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July 20, 1899

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