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Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

A Very Insightful Comment from A.A. Hodge (1877)

In Archibald Alexander Hodge on 30/06/2009 at 23:05

“From the Reformation, for two hundred years, these principles stood in antagonism to absolutism of hierarchy in the Church, and of personal government in the State.  In modern times the conditions are materially changed, and a triangular contest has been inaugurated between Presbyterian principles of human equality subject to divine sovereignty, and of liberty under the supremacy of the written Word, at the apex, and the ancient foe of absolutism and the modern foe of license at the opposite angles. . .”

“. . .But the pre-eminent characteristic of modern times is the tendency in various degrees among all peoples of European descent to carry the reaction against authority inaugurated at the Reformation to the destructive extreme of license.  The insurrection of reason against traditional superstitions and the usurped authority of the hierarchy, has been succeeded by the illegitimate insurrection of reason against all supernatural revelation and spiritual illumination.  Rebellion against absolutism in civil government has been perverted by anarchical and anti-social principles, and been succeeded by the assertion of independence [from] the authority of God.”

[excerpted from “Adaptation of Presbyterianism to the Wants and Tendencies of the Day,” by A.A. Hodge, in Report of the Proceedings of the First General Presbyterian Council, Convened at Edinburgh, July 1877.  Edinburgh: Thomas and Archibald Constable, 1877.  Page 58.]

The World’s Debt to Calvin

In Uncategorized on 30/06/2009 at 13:19

The world is indebted to the church for everything noblest and best in her free institutions.  Freedom is under perpetual obligations to her.  Enforcement of organic law must exist, whether in church, state or nation; otherwise, everything rushes to ruin in all society.  It is the glory of the Calvinistic church, and not her reproach, that she “enforced” her denominational law in favor of Presbyterian “doctrine, order and worship,” giving thereby to the nations their most precious inheritance.  “By these,” says Mr. Buckle, “the dying spark of freedom was kindled into a blaze.”  “To John Knox,” says Froude, “England owes a debt for liberty it cannot pay.”  “Calvin’s principles,” says Henri, “are immortal and immovable in both government and doctrine.”  “Thousands were debtor to him,” says the judicious Hooker, “as touching divine knowledge, yet he to none but only to God—a founder of the French Church, incomparably the wisest it ever had since the hour it enjoyed him.”  “Geneva,” says Montesquieu, “is the mother of modern republics, and should celebrate with festivity the day on which Calvin entered the city.”  “Calvin,” says Bunsen, “spoke for all times and all men;” and in the language of Motley, “Europe owes her political liberty to Calvinism.”  “The Institutes,” says Guizot, “are one of the noblest edifices ever erected by men.”  Bancroft declares that “Calvin, bowing to no patent of nobility, but that of the elect of God, made Geneva the impregnable fortress of popular liberty;” and adds that the very “first voice” raised for liberty in this land, both civil and religious, “came from Presbyterians,” and that “he who will not honor the memory and influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American liberty.”  Is it in John Calvin we glory?  God forbid; but in God we glory, who gave us John Calvin.  What kind of an argument is it that would impeach all this glorious record as an “oppression of the conscience” through “sectarian law.”—Foreign paper.

[excerpted from The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter 15.4 (April 1877): 113.]

The Modernist Controversy through a Journalist’s Eyes, Parts 12 & 13 (1933)

In Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Samuel G. Craig on 30/06/2009 at 11:34

This is the final segment in this biographical sketch of Dr. Samuel G. Craig.  I will be posting a link to the full account as one single file before long.


Thoughtful Christians are not minimizing the signs of the times.  Days of increasing apostasy may be upon us, and ours may be the age of which Jesus asked the pathetic question, “When the Son of Man cometh shall He find faith on the earth?”  Devout students of the Scriptures are among those who think so.  They are not fanatics; they are awaiting the return of Jesus with an expectancy like Simeon’s.  It ill becomes any reader of the New Testament to ask, “Where is the promise of His coming? for all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”  Jesus is coming.  The Gospels and Epistles glow with the definite promise.  Upon one of our long night-watches the day will break and the shadows forever flee away. Read the rest of this entry »

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

In Uncategorized on 29/06/2009 at 22:10


Is there a prospect that Christianity Today will approach the record of the old Presbyterian in upholding the standards of the Presbyterian Church?  Some observers are pessimistic.  Writing along this line just three months ago, “Will the Presbyterian Church set up its ancient banners again? We fervently hope it will, but we know nothing in history which furnishes ground for hope.  When Churches decay they seldom, if ever, return to their original purity.  One might point to the Established Church in the Netherlands where the forces of orthodoxy are stronger and more numerous than fifty years ago, yet even in this Church heresy thrives in the congregations and councils.  Conservatives seem to be fighting a losing battle in the Presbyterian Church.  The establishment of Westminster Seminary by several former leaders of Princeton was a heroic effort to create a new educational stronghold for orthodoxy, but. . .” Read the rest of this entry »

The Modernist Controversy through a Journalist’s Eyes, Parts 9 & 10 (1933)

In Uncategorized on 28/06/2009 at 21:37


Four months after Princeton was reorganized, Westminster Theological Seminary was established in Philadelphia.  Twenty-nine young men left the two upper classes at Princeton Seminary to become the nucleus of its student body; four teachers from Princeton volunteered to start the Faculty, and a fifth soon joined them.  The new Seminary prospered, thanks to an outpouring of prayers and gifts.  Seventy-nine students, seven professors, and not a dollar of indebtedness, March 1st, 1933, revealed an assuring stability in the unparalleled conditions of the fourth year of the new institution’s life. Read the rest of this entry »

The Reformed Faith & Modern Substitutes, by John Murray (Part 1, 1935)

In Auburn Affirmation (1924), John Murray, Modernism, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. on 26/06/2009 at 20:49

We’ll return shortly to the rest of the series on “The Modernist Controversy through a Journalist’s Eyes.”
However, I was surprised recently to find that this article could not be located online, and this material seemed to provide a good but still pertinent break.  What follows here is the first of a short series of articles produced by the Rev. John Murray, Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary
. In this first article, Professor Murray addresses the advance of modernism in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., with particular focus on the so-called “Auburn Affirmation.” [Technically, that 1924 document was titled simply “An Affirmation”, but as it was initially issued from Auburn, NY  it easily acquired the more descriptive title in popular reference.]
Part II of Professor Murray’s series was a critique of dispensationalism, and that article turned out to be rather controversial as it began a volley of debate with other conservatives and eventually played into the division of the Presbyterian Church of America [later, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church] and the creation from her number of the Bible Presbyterian Synod.

The Reformed Faith and Modern Substitutes

by John Murray, Th.M.

[excerpted from The Presbyterian Guardian 1.6 (16 December 1935): 88-89.] 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 »

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

In Harry Emerson Fosdick, Modernism, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Samuel G. Craig on 20/06/2009 at 13:50

Part VII.

How far one paper went to rally Presbyterians to the defense of their heritage probably is still better shown in the events of 1922 and 1923. It was then that Drs. H.E. Fosdick, W.P. Merrill and H.S. Coffin, with a co-operating press within and without the Church, formed an apparently invincible leadership that threatened to break down permanently the Presbyterian Church’s corporate testimony to God’s Word. It is difficult to describe the turmoil and passion that culminated in this onslaught. Read the rest of this entry »

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

In Modernism, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Robert E. Speer, Samuel G. Craig on 19/06/2009 at 08:41

Part VI.

The Great War is blamed with many disasters. How it broke down the standards of sound management in nearly every human enterprise is the commonest of daily recriminations. The Presbyterian Church was not to escape. Restlessness was everywhere after 1918. The Inter-Church World Movement, born in 1918, was our Church’s star exhibition of post-War eccentricity. Read the rest of this entry »

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

In Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Samuel G. Craig on 17/06/2009 at 16:25

Part V.

Results of the seventeen years of Dr. Craig’s journalism are to be seen primarily in help given to thousands of pastors, Sunday School teachers, Missionaries, parents, churches, and homes. These results can be taken for granted; they testify to themselves. What we are to review are the extraordinary results of an editorial policy that did not falter during a series of gravest emergencies affecting the doctrinal integrity of the Presbyterian Church. Although the emergencies and everything connected with them are fading from the recollection of evangelical Christians, we need to remember them. One thing the matter with us is, we are entirely preoccupied with the stupendous drama of current developments and we rarely look back even to the very recent past. We have forgotten the promise that “thine ears shall hear a word behind thee saying, This is the way; walk ye in it.” Read the rest of this entry »