Primary Sources for the Presbyterian Masses

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

In Modernism, Samuel G. Craig on 15/06/2009 at 16:38

Part III.

Dr. Craig’s home is in Princeton, New Jersey.  His residence is the old-fashioned red brick house on Stockton Street which was built many years ago for Francis Landey Patton as an inducement for him to leave Chicago and take a professorship in Princeton Seminary.  He wanted to stay in Chicago and the new house may have been a lure that persuaded him eventually to enter the scene of his great achievements.  When Dr. Patton in 1888 was elected President of the University (then a college), and moved to the campus, the residence was occupied by a succession of other eminent men, among them George T. Purves, the famous preacher and New Testament teacher, and Robert Dick Wilson, the authority in Old Testament languages, both titans in the realm of evangelical scholarship.

The house, of course, is so located in Princeton that from the tall windows of his study Dr. Craig, if he chooses, can cast a reflective eye across the street to the spacious grounds of the Theological Seminary with which he used to be associated as a student, as a close friend of the Faculty, and finally as a member of the Board of Directors.  While it might be natural for him to waste himself in meditating upon what that magnificent and venerable seat of Christian learning once was, what its builders and givers of endowments intended it forever to be, and what it now is, he seldom indulges the melancholy contemplation.   Christians are out of place at a Wailing Wall.

craigMuch of Dr. Craig’s work is done at his home.  On all sides of his study shelves are lined with books from floor to ceiliing, and tables fitted to corners and alcoves of the room are piled with magazines.  Over the fire-place is a portrait of Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield.  Near the east windows is a desk covered with correspondence, and on the corner of the desk is a worn type-writer plainly accustomed to hard usage.  The editor’s working hours are from eight in the morning to an indeterminate time of the night.

Actual labor involved in preparing material for a magazine making pretension to authority in the field of Christian literature is prodigious.  It means a painstaking effort to select the best of a vast array of church news, discussions of preaching and teaching, sermons, articles on Bible interpretation, and correspondence from America, Europe, and foreign mission fields; besides writing volumes of editorials, book reviews and accounts of current events as they relate to Christian faith and life.  Such labor is unremitting and yet it is far from the total of a publisher’s task.

Repeatedly Dr. Craig has faced the inevitable problem of paying bills when due, and of raising funds to meet perennial deficits.  When necessary, and this has been often, he himself has furnished the funds to insure the printing of the next issue.  He has given much and received little, and if the papers under his direction have been a success it has been because, ungrudgingly and unhesitatingly, he has put both his time and whatever money he could command at their disposal.  Some devoted people have stood by him financially through the years, but many times the number ought to be sharing the the burden willingly.  There is no better investment for the Lord Jesus Christ; no contribution to the protection and projection of the Gospel more direct and productive.

Fortunately Dr. Craig has assistance in his editorial work.  A competent Managing Editor has come to the staff of Christianity Today in the person of Mr. H. McAllister Griffiths, a young Presbyterian minister from California, who has a reporter’s insight and a natural gift for clear, concise and spirited writing.  His reports of recent General Assemblies and of the current Laymen’s Appraisal of Missions have been exceptionally fine.  Mr. Griffiths is a Calvinist of the Covenanter type, with no love for compromise either in doctrine or in practice.  By talent and inclination, he is admirably adapted to further the paper’s policy.

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