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A History Lesson, by Robert Strong

In Auburn Affirmation (1924), Importance of History, J. Gresham Machen, Presbyterian Church in America, Presbyterian Church in the U.S. [PCUS], Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Presbyterian Journal, Robert Dick Wilson, Westminster Theological Seminary on 29/07/2013 at 09:28

I often come across the most interesting and useful things while searching out a patron’s request for some article or other material. For context, this article was written in the midst of those years leading up to the formation of the Presbyterian Church in America. Dr. Strong’s audience would have been those men who were considering leaving the old Southern Presbyterian denomination in order to form a new, faithful Church.

A History Lesson
by ROBERT STRONG [1908-1980, and pastor of the Trinity Presbyterian Church, Montgomery, AL, 1959-1973]

[The Presbyterian Journal, 27.42 (12 February 1969): 9-11.]

The struggle for the faith in the Presbyterian Church USA has been protracted. I grew up in that church and was ordained in it years ago when it was called the “Northern Presbyterian Church.” Thus I knew at first hand the issues as well as some of the people involved in the conflict.

Beginning in the nineteenth century, the strife deepened in intensity in the twentieth century and came to a climax in the 1920’s. Awareness of the rising tide of unbelief, and resistance to it, occurred in a spectacular way:

In 1923 the General Assembly endorsed adherence to five cardinal points of doctrine: the verbal inspiration of Scripture, the virgin birth of Christ, His mighty miracles, His substitutionary atonement and His bodily resurrection.

In reaction came the Auburn Affirmation, so-called because men of Auburn Seminary were its authors and from Auburn, New York it was distributed to gain additional signatures. In time, these amounted to 1100 names.

Cause and Effect

The Auburn Affirmation was in two parts: The first was an attack upon the right of the General Assembly to single out certain doctrines when the Northern Presbyterian Church was already committed to a system of doctrine as set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith. This was specious logic. This was illogic! This was evasive action. Read the rest of this entry »

Princeton Seminary, Class of 1919

In Benjamin B. Warfield, J. Gresham Machen, Princeton Theological Seminary, Robert Dick Wilson, Roy T. Brumbaugh on 23/04/2012 at 12:49

The Princeton Theological Seminary is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. In addition to festivities at the Seminary itself, both Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the Western Reformed Seminary have also observed the occasion with special lectures. Today, Dr. David Calhoun returned from his speaking engagement at Western Reformed and brought with him a memento of the occasion, a reproduction of the Princeton class photo for 1919. Our thanks to Dr. Calhoun for his donation of this interesting photo:

[click on the image to view a larger version]

Among the students, only Roy T. Brumbaugh is identified, with his photo circled.  Then along the bottom row you see pictured the faculty of Princeton in that year, beginning on the viewer’s left with Robert Dick Wilson, Geerhardus Vos, William Greene, J. Gresham Machen, Caspar Wistar Hodge, J. Ross Stevenson, William Park Armstrong, Charles R. Erdman, B.B. Warfield, John D. Davis, Frederick W. Loetscher (not identified in the photo above), and O. T. Allis.

The full list of 44 regular students graduating with the class of 1919 is as follows (can you put any names with faces?) :
Beltman, Henry
Blakely, Hunter Bryson, Jr.
Bowman, John Wick
Brumbaugh, Roy Talmadge
Carey, Thomas Derby
Cost, Harry Fulton
Davidson, Dwight Brooker
Dillener, Leroy Young
Doran, Hubert Frank
Edmunds, Horatio Spencer
Eells, Hastings
Gehman, John Luke
Glick, Curtis Morgan
Grier, Joseph Lee
Hamilton, Floyd Eugene [father of the PCA's Rev. David E. Hamilton]
Hathaway, Francis Ogden
Helsman, Franklin Benjamin
Henderson, Lloyd Putnam
Howenstein, John Calvin
Jenkins, Finley DuBois
Kleffman, Albert Henry
Logan, Robert Lee
Lohr, Herbert Martin
McColloch, Harry Van
McKnight, William Quay
Murray, Thomas
Neely, Harry Campbell
Nesbitt, Ralph Beryl
Ness, John Harrison
Orwig, Samuel Earl
Pitzer, Robert Claiborne
Riefsnyder, Thomas Bancroft
Rule, Andrew Kerr
Schweitzer, Frederick
Thompson, Yancy Samuel
Underwood, Charles Alfred
Van Eaton, J. Plumer
Walenta, Paul Herman
Welker, Herman Clare
Williams, Thomas Arthur
Wilson, J. Christy
Yeatts, Earl Raymond
Yeh, James Yunlung

Chalmers #9 – Cause of Doctrinal Trouble, Part II

In Benjamin B. Warfield, Chalmers W. Alexander, Modernism, Old School/New School Division, Presbyterian Church in the U.S. [PCUS], Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Princeton Theological Seminary, Robert Dick Wilson, Wm. Childs Robinson on 05/06/2011 at 22:21

The Cause Of The Doctrinal Trouble In The Northern Presbyterian Church

(“Exploring Avenues Of Acquaintance And Co-operation”)
By Chalmers W. Alexander
Jackson, Miss.
[THE SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL 8.14 (15 November 1949): 5-9.]

This is the ninth in the series of articles by Chalmers W’. Alexander under the heading, “Exploring Avenues of Acquaintance And Co-operation.” This is an informative new series of articles written by one of the most able laymen in the Southern Presbyterian Church.

When the reorganization of Princeton Seminary took place in 1929, four outstanding members of the faculty of Princeton Seminary voluntarily resigned their positions in that institution. And they left its campus, never to return.

At that time I was in my freshman year at Princeton University, which is located a few blocks’ distance from the campus of Princeton Seminary. Who were these four outstanding men?

The Scholars Who Left Princeton Seminary

One was Dr. J. Gresham Machen, probably the world’s greatest New Testament scholar at that time. Dr. Machen had received his A.B. degree from Johns Hopkins University, his M.A. from Princeton University, and his B.D. from Princeton Seminary. Then he had studied at the Universities of Marburg and Goettingen, both in Germany. Dr. Machen had been a member of the faculty of Princeton Seminary since 1906.

Another was Dr. Robert Dick Wilson, probably the world’s greatest Old Testament scholar at that time. Dr. Wilson had received his A.B. and his M.A. from Princeton University and his Th.B. from Western Theological Seminary. Then he had studied for two years at the University of Berlin prior to receiving his Ph.D. from Princeton University. Dr. Wilson, a great linguist, had mastered some two dozen languages collateral with Old Testament languages in order to throw light upon the Old Testament and its manuscripts. He had been a member of the Princeton Seminary faculty since 1900.

The third man was Dr. Oswald T. Allis, one of America’s greatest Old Testament scholars today. Dr. Allis received his A.B. from the University of Pennsylvania, his B.D. from Princeton Seminary, his M.A. from Princeton University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Berlin. Dr. Allis had been a member of the faculty of Princeton Seminary since 1910, and since 1918 he had been the Editor of The Princeton Theological Review.

And the fourth man was Dr. Cornelius Van Til, one of the ablest Professors of Apologetics in America at the present time. Dr. Van Til had received his A.B. from Calvin College, his Th.B. and his Th.M. from Princeton Seminary, and his Ph.D. from Princeton University. He had joined the Princeton Seminary faculty in 1928.

These four unusually great scholars left Princeton Seminary and, in association with other men of like mind, they proceeded to found Westminster Theological Seminary, at Philadelphia, in the autumn of 1929. Read the rest of this entry »

Chalmers #8 : The Cause of Doctrinal Troubles

In Auburn Affirmation (1924), Benjamin B. Warfield, Chalmers W. Alexander, J. Gresham Machen, Modernism, Old School/New School Division, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Princeton Theological Seminary, Robert Dick Wilson, Samuel G. Craig, Southern Presbyterian Journal on 02/06/2011 at 21:47

The Cause Of The Doctrinal Trouble In The Northern Presbyterian Church

(“Exploring Avenues Of Acquaintance And Co-operation”)
By Chalmers W. Alexander
Jackson, Miss.
[THE SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL 8.13 (1 November 1949): 9-11.]

This is the eighth in the series of articles by Chalmers W. Alexander under the heading, “Exploring Avenues of Acquaintance And Co-operation.” This is an informative new series of articles written by one of the most able laymen in the Southern Presbyterian Church.

What has been the principal cause of the doctrinal disturbance in the Northern Presbyterian Church?

Origin Of The Doctrinal Disturbance

In order to understand fully the answer to that question it is necessary to look back briefly over some of the events which took place in the early history of Presbyterianism in America. By the close of the eighteenth century, the Presbyterian Church in this country found itself working side by side with the Congregational Church in trying to build churches and furnish ministers for the nation’s expanding population, which was spreading throughout the Middle West. And in 1801 a plan of union was adopted whereby the Presbyterian General Assembly and the General Association of the State of Connecticut (Congregational) should work together, rather than in competition.

Old School” Theology Versus “New School” Theology

This union of 1801 marks the earliest discernible beginning of the decline of what we now refer to as the Northern Presbyterian Church, for the Congregational churches adhered to the liberal “New School” theology. This liberal “New School” theology differed from the Presbyterian, or conservative “Old School,” theology in several important points of doctrine.

The conservative “Old School” theology of the Presbyterians rested solidly on the teachings of the Holy Bible as they are outlined in the Westminster Confession of Faith and in the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. The liberal “New School” theology differed from its teachings, for instance, with reference to the extent of the guilt of Adam as it is imputed to his descendents, and with reference to the Calvinist doctrine of the definite atonement of Christ.

The New England theologians, who were the trainers of the Congregational ministers, were not inclined to consider very seriously the principles which meant much to the Presbyterian ministers who, for the most part, came from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Consequently friction developed between the two denominational groups, and in 1837 they severed their relationship.

The Presbyterian Groups Separate

But prior to 1837, the liberal “New School” theology of the Congregational Church had been embraced by some of the Presbyterian ministers. Accordingly, within a few months after the separation of the Congregational Church and the Presbyterian Church, there occurred a separation between the conservative “Old School” and the liberal “New School” groups which now existed in the Presbyterian Church. Read the rest of this entry »

The Modernist Controversy through a Journalist’s Eyes, Part VIII (1933)

In League of Evangelical Students, Modernism, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Princeton Theological Seminary, Robert Dick Wilson, Robert E. Speer, Samuel G. Craig on 22/06/2009 at 17:59

Part VIII.

It is profitless to thresh over the old straw of the Presbyterian controversy. The field is gleaned and the grain garnered. But Princeton Theological Seminary looms so large in Presbyterian history and Dr. Craig came so close to prevailing upon the Presbyterian Church to continue the maintenance of Princeton in its former glory, that considered simply as a feat in journalism the achievement deserves a thorough-going examination. Read the rest of this entry »

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