Primary Sources for the Presbyterian Masses

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.

XII.

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.

But whether He comes today or tomorrow, or tarries because He “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” we have much to do.  In order to teach this, Jesus told the parable of the man who buried his talent in the ground, and was found idle when his lord returned.  Wicked and slothful, he was cast into the outer darkness.  We are to be occupied.  We can be occupied as Christ’s witnesses individually.  We can be occupied as witnesses in our Church’s activities.  And we can be occupied by making a paper like Christianity Today the means of placing our united testimony before the world.  The editor of Christianity Today has proved that he will not falter because men mock.  What can be done, he will do.  On such an assurance evangelical Presbyterians can sustain him to the limit of their ability.  Great revivals come when Christians pray, and then speak boldly.

XIII.

While the Reformation was slowly gaining headway in Germany, Martin Luther often turned to his friend Melancthon with the abrupt command, “Come, Philip, let us sing A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”  Is there a hymn like the Forty-sixth Psalm to suit our need today?  Some might select Frederick W. Faber’s familiar lines:

O it is hard to work for God, to rise and take His part
Upon the battlefields of earth, and not sometimes lose heart
.

But right is right, since God is God, and right the day must win;
To doubt would be disloyalty, to falter would be to sin
.

This is a good choice, but not the best.  Two hundred years ago Isaac Watts wrote a Song of Zion that takes us into the presence of Christ.  Thus far it has escaped the attention of modern hymn tinkerers in spite of its resounding call to maintain the honor of the Word of the Lord.  Sung to the sonorous, swinging cadences of the tune in the old Scottish Psalter, it is pre-eminently adapted to the crisis we are experiencing.

I’m not ashamed to own my Lord, or to defend His cause.
Maintain the honor of His Word, the glory of His cross.

Jesus, my God!  I know His name; His name is all my trust;
Nor will He put my soul to shame, or let my hope be lost..

Firm as His throne His promise stands,—

Christians who sing this hymn with a believing heart will know how to meet whatever tests the future holds.

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