“He who with his whole heart believes in Jesus as the Son of God is thereby committed to much else besides. He is committed to a view of God, to a view of man, to a view of sin, to a view of redemption, to a view of the purpose of God in creation and history, or to a view of human destiny found only in Christianity.”
Christian View of God and the World — p. 4
Orr tells us here that believing in Jesus without having a biblical theology proper, biblical anthropology, biblical hamartiology, biblical soteriology, biblical teleology, (and we might add) biblical epistemology, biblical axiology, biblical ontology, don’t really believe in the Jesus of the Bible.
And herein is found the trouble with the modern Church in the West. Most of the clergy in our Reformed churches today are absolutely deaf and dumb clueless about these matters. They are not self-conscious in the least about these matters and so they end up teaching a Jesus that is a stranger to the Jesus who rules the Cosmos at the Father’s behest.
“If I were asked in what I think the distinctive peculiarity of twentieth-century Christianity will lie, I should answer that it is not in any new or overwhelmingly brilliant discovery in theology that I look for it. The lines of essential doctrine [except for eschatology as he had just admitted –BLM] are by this time well and surely established. But the Church has another and yet more difficult task before it if it is to retain its ascendancy over the minds of men. That task is to bring Christianity to bear as an applied power on the life and conditions of society; to set itself as it has never yet done to master the meaning of “the mind of Christ,” and to achieve the translation of that mind into the whole practical life of the age — into laws, institutions, commerce, literature, art; into domestic, civic, social, and political relations; into national and international doings — in this sense to bring in the Kingdom of God among men. I look to the twentieth century to be an era of Christian Ethic even more than of Christian Theology. With God on our side, history behind us, and the unchanging needs of the human heart to appeal to, we need tremble for the future of neither.”
The Progress of Dogma — pp 353-354 (1897) Here Orr anticipates the rise of Van Tillian presuppositionalism, Rushdoonian Reconstructionism, and Bahsenian Theonomy all sharing Orr’s insistence that all of life must be brought under the Lordship of Jesus Christ in very concrete ways. Interestingly enough, this plea by Orr was echoed over 100 years later by French Reformed theologian Pierre Courthial in his book, “The Day of Small Beginnings.” In that book Courthial argues that the Church must have a return to a consensus on the application of God’s law to all of life.
I hope that Courthial was more correct in his anticipation for the immediate future than Orr was.