Clark Quick Quote

A twofer…

Archaeology, of course, can contribute little or nothing toward proving that the doctrines, as distinct from the historical events, of the Bible are true . . . The literary style of some parts of the Bible is majestic, but Paul’s epistles are not models of style. The consent or logical consistency of the whole is important; for if the Bible contradicted itself, we would know that some of it would be false.

— What Do Presbyterians Believe p. 17,18.

If, nonetheless, it can be shown that the Bible — in spite of having been written by more than thirty-five authors over a period of fifteen hundred years — is logically consistent, then the unbeliever would have to regard it as a most remarkable accident . . . Logical consistency, therefore, is evidence of inspiration.

— God’s Hammer p. 16.

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One Comment on “Clark Quick Quote”

  1. Hugh McCann Says:


    It may also be good to glean what Clark &/or Robbins had to say about satire.

    I’ll offer this Clark Long Quote* from ‘Christianity Today,’ 01/15/71:

    ‘A New Discovery in the Quest of the Historical Jesus’ by Gordon H. Clark

    Emil Brunner’s selection of the verse “The Word became flesh” as the basic theme of the original Christian Gospel is most puzzling. As Goethe indicated in his brilliant translation of John 1:1, the “word” is an unwarranted Hellenistic intellectualizing of a simple message suited to a peasant-oriented Palestinian sociology. No doubt Brunner’s choice can be explained by the cultured civilization of Zurich, but it will accord with an ancient agricultural Sitz im Leben. Interpretation ought never to ignore the historical situation, for the research scholar can succeed only by his imaginative identification with the subject matter.

    One must proceed scientifically. To reconstruct the main message of the historical Jesus-and those who deny his existence, far from being scientific, betray their objective Hegelian indifference to the existential and historical subject-one must not, like the fundamentalists, assume the verbal and plenary inspiration of the Scriptures. Competent scholars no longer give a second thought, nor even a first thought, to the superstition of the misguided Protestant Reformation. The New Testament is a human, all too human, in fact a Jewish, book; and to ignore this fact is to be defeated before beginning.

    When, now, a proper identification with the historical situation is made, it will easily be seen-and the evidence forthcoming is abundant-that Jesus is not a product of Greek philosophy, nor even of the mystery cults, but rather, in accord with the Jewish background, is an exponent of the Essene food laws that oppose the corpulent principles of the Pharisees. The early Church modified this original teaching of Jesus by introducing Hellenistic laxity, as was natural for those not nurtured in Judaism.

    Therefore the basic text of the Gospels, after the rest have been demythologized and separated into its various layers, is the profound socio-physiological principle of Matthew 6:16: “When ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance….”

    This is why trust in God alleviates the food problem: “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat [here the text is defective, probably because a very early copyist, or even the original author-whoever he was-ate too heavy a meal] or what ye shall drink…. Your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”

    A good diet is one that has the correct number of calories. Today stress is laid on reducing the number. In the historical situation it was also necessary to insist on enough calories. Therefore Jesus said (and this is one of those few places where we can be sure we almost have Jesus’ very words), “What man is there, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?” Jesus wanted the people to under stand that stones have too few calories. Naturally too many calories are also bad; therefore the oily calorific serpent in the next verse must not be substituted for a Galilean fish.

    Figs and grapes are healthful because of their vitamins, as Matthew 7:16 indicates; but swine are too too fatty (cf. ibid. 8:32), and the meat spoils in the Palestinian temperatures.

    That Jesus conscientiously followed his dietary regimen is seen in the fact that he could attend a banquet and never need a physician (ibid. 9:12).

    Of course Jesus could not be expected to hold our advanced ideas on social problems. Yet instinctively his message on diet helps to eradicate poverty. In fact, he recommends himself to the underprivileged classes by pointing out, in Matthew 11:5, that “the poor have the gospel of diet preached unto them.” Here no doubt it was the copyist rather than the author who omitted two words, but comparative criticism easily restores them.

    The gospel of diet, naturally, made enemies then as it does now with the established classes. Thus they caricature Jesus by saying that “the Son of Man came eating and drinking, a glutton and a winebibber.” Of course this is exaggeration, for we must balance a diet by supplying a meal that has enough as well as few enough calories. The corpulent, however, lack this balance.

    Though Jesus may have occasionally and incidentally spoken of other matters, food is his main concern. In the very next chapter he shows his disciples how to rub and eat grains of wheat. This is healthful because there are no additives, and the natural food is received eo ipso in statu puro, for whatever the original Greek requires. Here we have an excellent example of the progress of revelation, for David a thousand years before had eaten baked bread, but the disciples enjoyed the full nutriment of the raw grain.

    When the public learned of eating raw wheat, it became necessary for Jesus to explain how a sower went forth to sow. The types of soil were also explained, and productivity up to 100 percent. This is indeed remarkable. Of course we can do much better today, but it is unhistorical to judge Jesus by our modern agricultural norms. He had more trouble with weeds, too, and accommodating himself to the evil suspicions of his audience, he attributed the weeds to an enemy.

    A modern scholar is at first not surprised to read that Jesus fed 5,000 people at one meal. Yet a careful evaluation of the text shows serious corruptions. It is impossible, after so many centuries, to decide how much if any of this pericope is genuine. But no one can doubt that a redundancy of twelve basketfuls (Matthew 14:20) completely contradicts the principle of the proper amount, not too little, not too much.

    Those who wish greater detail on the primacy of food in the Gospel can refer to Matthew 9:17, 37, 38; 10:42, 12:33; 13:31-33; 14:9; 15:2, 11, 13, 17 (verses 18 and 19 are a gloss); 16:26, 27, 32ff. (this is also suspect, but not so bad as 14:20); 16:5, 6 (this also has been corrupted by a reference to 14:20); 20:1ff., 22; 21:19ff., 33ff.; 22:4ff.; 23:26, 37; 24:38, 49; 25:10, 26, 35, 37, 42.

    This mere listing of the verses that refer to food is enough to demonstrate beyond the possibility of successful contradiction that Jesus’ main message was food. Food fills the whole. When one excises the spurious passages, these verses increase in their proportional extent. Of course, I do not contend that we should interpret all these references according to their present contexts. The disciples, who never quite understood their beloved Dietician and Physician, wrote them down so as to fit their own preconceived notions of what Jesus had to mean. Nevertheless they could never disguise the fact that the Gospel is food.

    Although it is not strictly germane to our historical re search on Matthew, one cannot fail to note the widespread influence of the Gospel; for there is no other possible source of Feuerbach’s profound principle that der Mensch ist was er isst. This completely justifies Barth in identifying Feuerbach as the greatest Protestant theologian in the generation following Schleiermacher.

    This is why the culmination of Jesus’ life is a meal. The new and highly accurate science of form criticism, applied to such stories as these, including Plato’s Symposium, assures us a priori that a meal must be the climax. With their melodramatic proclivities, the disciples thought they could improve the story with a dramatic death and a deus ex machina of a resurrection. Even so, the original facts forced them to include vinegar (probably an original note from some other context) in the death scene. The Gospel of John adds fish to the resurrection, but then no one in this Post-Nicene age pays any attention whatever to John. Even manuscript A omits half a dozen chapters. The climax therefore is the Last Supper. Why, in view of Jesus’ constant message, should not a supper be the last of the story? What more fitting climax could there be? Apparently they had bread, lamb, sauce robert, and wine. Thus the true Gospel ends on a happy note, as all diets should.

    * @

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