How Winfred Ernest Garrison
Relates to the
Heresy of Decisional Regeneration
|Winfred Ernest Garrison (1874-1969) wrote in his book The March Of Faith, "Every evangelical modernist will deny at once, and truly, that he has surrendered his faith in the supernatural. What he has done is to abandon that pattern of the universe which pictures two worlds of reality existing side by side a natural world of men and events and natural causation, and a supernatural world of God and heaven and the angels from which truths and commands were once delivered to man by special revelation and which occasionally made contact with the visible world in miracles. Whether or not he believes in the possibility of miracles, the concept of the miraculous occupies little or no place in his thinking.|
Garrison accurately identified in 1933 the problem of modern Evangelical salvation. The Scopes Monkey Trial of 1920 did more than show Evangelicals the writing on the wall, it caused them to retreat further to a defensable position of insisting on the inerrancy of the Bible while denying the supernatural in every-day experience. Evangelicals give lip service to the supernatural, but deny it in every tangeable way, replacing supernatural regeneration and the indwelling of the Holy spirit with a psychological view of saving faith. The societal influences of Science, sociology and Psychology have so conformed Evangelical Christianity to worldliness that it is now a religion that "has a form of godliness but denies it's power".
This siege mentality of defending the Bible while denying the supernatural in modern life became fashionable for wordly Christians after Charles Darwin's Origin Of the Species was accepted by the universities. After the Civil War, Henry Ward Beecher, the most popular minister in America, departed from orthodoxy, denied the existence of Hell and preached romantic optimism in evolution as the way God is perfecting humanity .
Garrison wites," Evolution gave the orthodox some tremors of uneasiness, but the reconcilers of science and religion soon appeared to show that the theory of evolution, with its recognition of the resistless upward and onward movement of everything, reinforced faith in the goodness and the power of God by showing that a benevolent Deity and the cosmic evolutionary force were operating in the same direction. The triumph of righteousness in the freeing of the slave, and the abounding prosperity which followed this virtuous exploit and which accompanied the exploitation of the resources of the West and the development of new industries (especially steel and oil) in the East, confirmed this optimistic view.
A period of disillusion and doubt ensued...Science grew less complacent toward orthodoxy. It even abandoned its own early optimism and was no longer willing to testify that evolution would, in the long run, take care of everything. Perhaps, after all, we have a meaningless cosmos that goes around in circles, or one that is gradually running down like a clock, or coming to a stop like a spent bullet...faith in supernaturalism had so far faded that those whose voices were most influential left it out of account entirely. A literature of disillusion took the place of the literature of romantic optimism.