Broadus and Higher Criticism

The famous evangelist and anti-evolutionist, T. T. Martin was once a student at the seminary. In his autobiography, he related the following story about the way in which Dr. John A. Broadus dealt with some proponents of biblical higher criticism.

An unpublished incident in the life of President John A. Broadus given to me by one who was present: In the palmy days of higher criticism and modernism when they had not been unmasked and exposed as they have since been by such scholars as Robert Dick Wilson of Princeton, A. T. Robertson of Louisville, and others, a great mass meeting was held in Chicago to be addressed by the great and noted higher critic, Briggs, of New York, and President W. R. Harper of Chicago; when they had finished, it looked as if the Bible did not have half a dozen friends left in the audience. Just then some one arose and said, “President John A. Broadus is in the audience, and the people would like to hear from him.” The audience gave him quite an ovation. Coming forward as modestly as a school girl and beginning in his inimitable simple way, he congratulated them on having a great University in their city. He went on to tell of the great universities of the world and what they had meant to the cities where they were located. He then told of the great work of real Bible criticism and the great benefits coming from it.

Then all at once, he seemed electrified! Trembling all over, he raised his clenched right fist in the air and, shaking it, let fly a thunderbolt, “But beware, my brethren!” And again raising the clenched fist over his head and shaking it, his eyes flashing, his face livid, he again shouted, “Beware, my brethren! Jesus said, ‘Moses wrote of me.’ Jesus said, Moses wrote of me'”, and, turning, he left the platform. The effect on the vast audience was electrical. It looked as if every one wanted to go and get a rope and hang Briggs and Harper.

–T. T. Martin, Viewing Life’s Sunset from Pike’s Peak: The Life Story of T. T. Martin. 18-19. Louisville: A. D. Muse. 1939.

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