John W. Robbins
Editor’s note: This is the Foreword (edited for space) to the new edition of Benjamin Warfield’s 1918 lectures on Counterfeit Miracles, to be released by The Trinity Foundation in June. As the United States becomes more religious, it becomes more superstitious; it is rediscovering and reinventing full-blown heathen religion – signs and wonders, priests, shrines, meditation, “spiritual formation,” “incarnational worship,” spiritual communities, healings, asceticism, monasticism, ecstatic “speech.” Warfield’s explanation of Biblical miracles and his dissection of modern heathenism are more timely today than they were 90 years ago.
Despite the growing interest in religion, most churchgoers in America – perhaps most churchgoers worldwide – seem never to have read the Bible. That in itself is a damning indictment of contemporary churches. Suppose a literary club were organized to study Shakespeare, but read only snippets from his plays and a few sonnets, and spent most of its meetings doing other things. Would we call it a Shakespearean society? Hardly. Yet churches that claim to be Christian have not taught their members even the most basic things about Christianity. Most of them, in fact, depreciate the truthfulness and importance of Scripture, and instead emphasize religious ritual; social, charitable, and political activity; and emotional experience. It’s as if the Shakespeare society ignored Shakespeare and spent its time bowling. Churches neither encourage nor practice the intellectual experience of studying the Word of God. That, if it is to be done at all, is to be done only by the experts – the academicians in seminaries and universities. Continue reading