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Can A Christian Student Rationally Reject Evolution? (1935)

In Evolution, Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, Modernism, Rationalism on 06/06/2012 at 11:26

The following address by Floyd Hamilton, delivered at a convention of evangelical students meeting in 1934, provides good evidence that the questions before us today are not new, nor are we without answers in our defense of the Christian faith. Rev. Hamilton graduated from Princeton Seminary in 1919 (Th.B.) and 1926 (Th.M.), was ordained by the Presbytery of Wooster (PCUSA) and served as a missionary to Korea, first under the auspices of the PCUSA’s Board of Foreign Missions, and then as a missionary with the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. Hamilton was a founding member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, but transferred his credentials into the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (aka, Southern) in 1955 and served his last pastorate, 1964-1969, in a Reformed Presbyterian, General Synod church in Indianapolis. Rev. Hamilton’s son, David, is an honorably retired PCA pastor and foreign missionary, having served in Mexico and Ecuador.
Though perhaps dated in part, Rev. Hamilton’s address would at the very least stand in evidence of a thoughtful response for that era, still useful in many respects. Much, at least in principle, remains pertinent, particularly the opening two paragraphs.

[Photo source, The Independent Board Bulletin, III.4 (April 1937): 5.]

CAN A CHRISTIAN STUDENT RATIONALLY REJECT
EVOLUTION IN THE LIGHT OP MODERN SCIENCE?

Floyd E. Hamilton, B.D., Th.M.
[1890-1969]

[An address (slightly abridged) delivered at the Ninth Annual Convention of the League of Evangelical Students in Boston, Massachusetts late in 1934, and subsequently published in The Evangelical Student, January 1935.]

The Christian student usually never makes any personal investigation of the evidence for evolution, but is simply over-awed by the sheer weight of scholarship on the side of evolution, and is paralyzed by the impressive array of materials in the museums of natural history, with their graphic groupings of the evolutionary sequence of different animals and men. The student reasons that since everybody believes in the fact of evolution, only an ignoramus can question it, and he doesn’t want to be classed among the ignoramuses.

A little thought about this matter however, would show him that questions of fact are not decided by majority vote, and that if a thing is false, all the professors in the world can’t make it true. Then, too, if he should study the history of science he would come across numberless theories formerly universally believed which are now universally discarded by scientists. When I studied physics and chemistry as recently as 1906 and 1907, all scientists believed that the atoms were indivisible and indestructible, but to-day that theory is as out-of-date as the idea that the earth is flat! Read the rest of this entry »

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God’s Key-Men in World Situations

In Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions on 30/08/2011 at 20:43

I’ve recently begun preparing an author-title index to the THE INDEPENDENT BOARD BULLETIN, the official publication of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, an organization formed by Dr. J. Gresham Machen and others in 1933. THE BULLETIN was first issued in January of 1936 and continues to this day as the primary newsletter of that organization. I was particularly struck with the thought expressed by the editor in the opening comments (in bold type).

GOD’S KEY-MEN IN WORLD SITUATIONS
His Provisions and Equipment
Isaiah 44:1-8
by Miss Frances Brook 

…In this article Miss Brook emphasizes the thought that God’s key-men are “even His witnesses that He is God.” It was precisely because missionaries failed to realize that it is a greater privilege, and a greater obligation, to witness to God than to lead a soul to Christ, that there was so much evasion of that primary obligation in the Japanese Empire. Missionaries and Christians alike failed to realize that in trial comes priceless opportunity, and therefore, save for a very few, missed a glorious opportunity to testify to the very highest officials in Japan that Jehovah alone is God.

How intimately God speaks in all these passages to His prostrate servant, the captive people in Babylon, the one who is heir to this situation, the people for whom it has been created. What loving personal words, to rouse him from his indifference and apathy! “But thou, Israel,” 41:8. “But now, saith the Lord” 43:1. “Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant,” 44:1. And is He any less intimate with us? True power of intercession lies in such close heart intercourse with God! Read the rest of this entry »

Missionary Tributes to Machen (1937)

In Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, J. Gresham Machen on 16/08/2011 at 20:15

Lately one of my projects is working to compile an index to the THE INDEPENDENT BOARD BULLETIN, the newsletter of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, intending at least to compile that index through the period of 1955-1956.  As I am now working through volume 3 (1937), I have come across the following, which provides a bit of material that many haven’t previously seen. The Independent Board, as most are aware, was founded in part by Dr. Machen as response to his own denomination’s willingness to send modernists into the mission field.

MISSIONARY TRIBUTES TO DR. MACHEN
[Independent Board Bulletin III.4 (April 1937): 10-11.]

These spontaneous tributes on the part of some our missionaries will be of great interest to friends of the Independent Board.

Mr. Hamilton, of Korea, writes :

“It seems impossible to realize that our dear friend, counsellor, teacher and guide has been called Home to Glory. What a loss to us all it will prove to be!

I can’t put into words all that the friendship and teaching of Dr. Machen has meant to me personally. In all our close and intimate friendship I have never heard him enter upon a tirade against any man who was opposed to him in the theological fight. He never went into personal attacks against his foes, but always attacked the principles and practices of those who in any way deviated from the teaching of the Word of God. Vituperation he left to his enemies, and I suppose there has been no man of our generation more unjustly maligned and misrepresented by those who were supposed to be orthodox than he.

Dr. Machen called forth a passionate loyalty on the part of his friends and pupils that few even of those most closely associated with him in the church at large realized. It was not so much personal loyalty, however, as it was a loyalty to the Christ whom he worshipped, and whom he constantly held before the minds of his pupils. Read the rest of this entry »

Who Are the True Revolutionaries?

In Francis A. Schaeffer, Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, Modernism on 09/07/2011 at 12:38

As the Schaeffers were preparing to move to Europe, the following article was published in BIBLICAL MISSIONS, the newsletter of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, under whose auspices the Schaeffers initially moved onto the European field, with the intent of planting theologically sound churches. The picture shown here is from the January 1949 issue of that same newsletter.
Some will remember that this same title “Revolutionary Christianity” appears as the title of the last chapter of Schaeffer’s book,
THE CHURCH AT THE END OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. The content of the 1948 article is entirely different, though it would be an interesting exercise to compare the two messages. Great minds are always building on prior accomplishments and advances, and I have to think that Schaeffer hadn’t forgotten this 1948 article when he so titled that last chapter of his book in 1970. For instance, does the latter contain an outworking of ideas first formulated in the earlier article.

REVOLUTIONARY CHRISTIANITY
Rev. Francis A. Schaeffer
[Biblical Missions 14.2 (February 1948): 27-31.]

The International Missionary Council met at Whitby, Ontario, in the summer of 1947. In reporting on that meeting, Reinhold Niebuhr’s paper, “Christianity and Crisis,” in its issue of November 10, 1947, gave an account of one of the speeches in which account it stated: “Bishop Neill, successful Oxford missioner, warned lest the church cease to be revolutionary and identify itself with the status quo, the powers that be. ‘Then,’ he said, ‘the revolution goes forward under demonic powers, which God uses to discipline the Church.’ The church losing its mission becomes irrelevant.”

This is a highly significant statement, for it is an illustration of the type of thinking that dominates the modernistic missionary movements, including those that are Barthian and neo-Barthian. Insofar as this statement was presented at this un-Biblical, but influential missionary conference, it is well to analyze carefully this problem in a Bible-believing missionary magazine.

What is meant by “revolutionary Christianity” is that we now need a socialized gospel. To these men the revolutionary concept of Christianity is a part of world betterment through a revolution in the economic field; to them, socialization is the next upward step for Christianity to take. When therefore these men speak of “irrelevant Christianity” they mean Bible-believing Christianity. To them, our historic emphasis that the church’s task is to preach Christ crucified and raised from the dead that men might accept Christ as their personal Saviour and be justified by faith alone, is irrelevant and little more than magic.

The sad thing is that there are some Bible-believing Christians who five excuse for such charges. Orthodoxy is in a constant danger of allowing hat orthodoxy to ossify so that it has no impact on life. Historic, Bible-believing Christianity believes that the task of the church is to preach Christ and Him crucified and that men are justified by faith alone; but his does not mean that after a man has accepted Christ as his Saviour his Christianity should not show, or need not show, in every aspect of his life. In spite of the minority of Bible-believing Christians who are irrelevant, historic Bible-believing Christianity has been and is the true revolutionary Christianity. We have the revolutionary Christianity, not the Modernists and neo-Barthians.

Spiritually

Historic Christianity is revolutionary Spiritually. By revolutionary, I mean that it is totally contrary to all the other religions of the world. Consider the prophets. They were the revolutionists, and they stood alone against their day. Christ, God the Son, when He was on earth, was revolutionary in that He stood alone against His day. Paul was revolutionary, and wherever he went, both Jews and pagans felt the clash of his message against the established religious order. In church history, the outstanding leaders have always been considered revolutionary. Who could be more I revolutionary than Luther standing against the established order of the I Catholic Church? The Reformation Monument in Geneva has carved in stone, “After the darkness came forth light.” Let us never forget that Calvin and those who were with him were revolutionists of the first order in spiritual things. Whitefield and Wesley preached in the fields because the churches were shut to them. The churches were shut to them because these men were spiritual revolutionists against the whole trend of the dead orthodoxy of their day. In our day, has the matter changed? Not a bit. We are the spiritual revolutionists of our hour. All else are agreed against us. The message of the cross is always against the whole world concept around about us. It is against the prince of this world. In spiritual matters, we have the revolutionary message, because the Biblical message in our age, as in every age, is totally contrary to all the religions of the world.

The Christian Century in reporting our attempt, by the grace of God, to form an International Council of Bible-believing Christians, said this attempt was of the Devil. Why have these men resurrected the Devil for us? It has been years since we have heard them mention the Devil. They do not say that the Roman Catholics are motivated by the Devil. At times, it is true, because of growing Roman Catholic political power, we hear them say that Rome is wrong politically, but in religious matters they hold out the hand of fellowship to Rome. They do not say that the Unitarians are of the Devil. In the leadership of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America and in the World Council there are men who individually hold the Unitarian position. They do not even say that the Hindu and the Mohammedan, or the Shintoist is of the Devil. In the Religious Congress that is being called in Boston for the United Nations, the modernistic leaders are calling to these primitive paganisms that they should labor together for world fellowship and brotherhood. However, when it comes to the Bible-believing Christian, then it is a different matter. Why is it that we are the only group they will fight religiously? Because we are the revolutionary group. The simple fact is, that religiously Modernism (including Barthianism and neo-Barthianism). Romanism, Greek Orthodoxy, and the rest, while having differences among themselves, are one in their basic errors. Read the rest of this entry »

Rationale for the Independent Board

In Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. on 28/06/2011 at 18:38

When Machen and his associates formed the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, they thought they had firm ground on which to stand, basing their actions on prior acts and decisions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. In the following letter [from the Buswell Papers, Box 276, folder 15]Dr. J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., writing to Dr. Peter Stam, makes some of those reasons clear. There’s a lot going on in this letter and the main thrust of the letter has to do with things that were going on in the Bible Presbyterian Church at that time. However, for our purposes I want to highlight the statement that it was in the Concurrent Resolutions of 1869 that Machen found precedent for the organization of an Independent Board. Though Buswell says in the letter that he has Machen’s correspondence on the subject, I have not yet been able to locate that correspondence among Buswell’s papers. Buswell may have pulled that material and somehow it never returned to his files. If that is the case, it might be possible to access the Machen Papers at Westminster and find a copy of Machen’s letter to Buswell.

May 30, 1955

Dr. Peter Stam
c/o Rev. Donald J. McNair [sic]
2209 North Ballas Road
St. Louis 22, Missouri

Dear Dr. Stam:

Replying to your request for references on data given at Presbytery, here are a few notes which I hope may be helpful.

The “Concurrent Resolutions” as they have been called or the “Concurrent Declarations of the General Assemblies of 1869” as they are designated in the Presbyterian Digest are found in Volume II of my old edition, (1930) under the head “Separations and Reunions” page 37 ff.

The particular section referred to is in the middle of page 38, number 6, “There should be one set of Committees or Boards for Home and Foreign Missions, and the other religious enterprises of the church; which the churches should be encouraged to sustain, though free to cast their contributions into other channels if they desire to do so.”

Machen explained this to me as based upon the fact that the majority of members of the new school had been supporting the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

I am sure I have Machen’s correspondence on the subject somewhere but I am not sure that I shall be able to dig it out before Synod.

Sections 7, 8 and 9 of the Concurrent Resolutions might be interpreted as swinging the balance toward denominational control. However, it could be argued that “supervision” of the seminaries (paragraph 9) did not necessarily mean anything more than visitation by Committees of Accreditation, as under the system which we now have. Certainly it is clear in paragraph 9 that the theological seminaries were perfectly free to do what they pleased under the different Synods and not under the General Assembly, although Princeton certainly was under the General Assembly in the days of our experience.

It certainly corresponds to recent history, that is the history of our particular movement, to leave the questions of boards and agencies perfectly open as your resolution does.

[Editor’s note : cf. Minutes of the Bible Presbyterian Church, 1955, pp. 78-79, Overture from the Presbytery of the Philadelphia Area, which reads in the first paragraph:
“Whereas the concurrent resolution of 1869, adopted by the Old School and New School Churches before they united in 1870, allowing liberty for both independent agencies and agencies within the church were held by Dr. J. Gresham Machen and others to be the logical basis for the formation of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, both being considered within the freedom of conscience, and both being within the Presbyterian structure;…” Also, see the end of this post for the text of the referenced Concurrent Resolutions of 1869.] Read the rest of this entry »

Abiding Themes

In Auburn Affirmation (1924), Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, J. Gresham Machen, Modernism on 18/06/2011 at 12:02

William Childs Robinson’s Reports on the Southern & Northern Presbyterian Churches 

Among the Papers of William A. McIlwaine there is a letter preserved in which his father, William B. McIlwaine, wrote to J. Gresham Machen, lamenting the spiritual decline of the Southern Presbyterian Church. Perhaps I will post a transcription of that letter here soon. But I mention that letter by way of introducing the following two reports issued by Dr. William Childs Robinson and published in volume 5 of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, reports which mirror McIlwaine’s letter of concern.

Robinson was one of the shining academic lights in the Southern Church (perhaps a singular light, according to Rev. James E. Moore) and a committed evangelical, Reformed Christian. His first article for CHRISTIANITY TODAY appeared in the July 1930 issue and he also served as a correspondent for the magazine, writing reports on conditions and events within the Presbyterian Church, U.S.  Following are two of his reports, reflecting on then current events in the Southern Presbyterian Church, while in the second report he turns his attention to the Northern Presbyterians, the IBPFM trials and the Church’s continual struggle against spiritual decline.  As William Iverson is fond of saying, “God has no grand-children.” — the urgent work of evangelism must be done afresh in every generation.

Shall We Keep the Faith?
By the Rev. Prof. Wm. Childs Robinson, Th.D., Columbia Theological Seminary
[Christianity Today 5.1 (May 1934): 26]

According to news items appearing in the religious press the Rev. Donald H. Stewart who was twice refused admission to West Hanover Presbytery on account of his modernism is undertaking the pastorate of the University Church at Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This item raises several questions. Has Mr. Stewart changed the views he so emphatically re-affirmed before West Hanover Presbytery? Did the Presbytery which dismissed him satisfy itself as to his doctrinal soundness; that is, did it observe the requirement of the Constitution of the Church and examine into his reported unsoundness as required in paragraph 183 of the Book of Church Order? Did the Presbytery which received him for the North Carolina work satisfy itself as to his doctrinal fitness to renew the ordination and installation vows? The reports of the former examination indicated that Mr. Stewart accepted religious experience as his rule of faith rather than the Scriptures as set forth in the first ordination vow.

While the pamphlet issued and now being circulated by Dr. Wm. M. McPheeters was called forth by the actions of Arkansas Presbytery, it is a message which other presbyteries need to hear and heed. It is not too much to say that every presbytery and every presbyter ought to reconsider the solemn truth of the ordination vows before men and especially before the God of truth. Now as ever an honest man is the noblest work of God. The Book still pronounces its blessing upon the man that sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not; and still excludes those who make and love the contrary. Rev. 22:15.

Standing in the shadow of eternity the eighty-year-old Southern Prophet, Dr. Wm. M. McPheeters, has issued a clarion call for a more faithful observance of the third and the ninth commandments–for truth and the keeping of vows made to the Holy God. Will the Church of today hear this word and gird herself to keep the faith before man and before God; or will she stone another prophet and leave it to the generations to come to build him a monument?

If you are following current events among NAPARC Churches, McPheeters’ words bring to mind the exhortation of another patriarch, the Rev. John P. Galbraith, at the recent 75th anniversary of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church: Read the rest of this entry »

On the Conduct of Trials in Presbyterianism

In Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, J. Gresham Machen, Presbyterian Church in the U.S. [PCUS], Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. on 03/06/2011 at 18:08

Recently on the Internet there has been some discussion of the Pacific Northwest Presbytery’s decision to conduct a trial under executive session.

Dr. Allan Strange, a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, volunteered in one post that per the OPC’s Book of Church Order, heresy trials must be conducted in public.

As it turns out, the OPC has had this provision in their BoCO since that document was first approved in 1938. Three denominations in fact, the OPC, the BPC and the RPCES—each looking back in common heritage to the modernist controversy of the 1930s—retain virtually identical wording in their respective Books of Discipline:

“The judicatories of the church shall ordinarily sit with open doors. In every case involving a charge of heresy the judicatory shall be without power to sit with closed doors. In other cases, where the ends of the discipline seem to require it, the trial judicatory at any stage of the trial may determine by a vote of three-fourths of the members present to sit with closed doors.”

[The BPC was a split from the OPC, and RPCES derived from the BPC, so those connections explain their retention of this provision. The BPC & RPCES editions have simpler language, with “court(s)” instead of “judicatory(ies)”.  And the RPCES of course is now dissolved, having merged in with the PCA in 1982.]

The purpose of this posting is to explore possible reasons why the OPC [and subsequently the BPC] have this provision.  I am working on the premise that polity  statements are always based on some theological or historical reasoning.  Why and how did the OPC include this provision in their Book of Church Order when there was no similar provision found in their predecessor denomination, the PCUSA?  [In fact it was just the opposite, as you will see below.] Two possible explanations have occurred to me thus far, each of which may take some explanation. And if these theories don’t hold water, perhaps they will still provide some interesting background to the larger story.

First, to look back further in American Presbyterian history, the PCUSA Rules of Process simply did not speak to this issue, until 1880. It was at that time that the Presbytery of Northumberland brought Overture 2 before the General Assembly, speaking “in regard to the disorder often occasioned at ecclesiastical trials by the presence of large numbers of spectators.” The Assembly’s Committee on Bills and Overtures then brought the following recommendation in its report:

Resolved, That the General Assembly recommend to its subordinate judicatories, that, before entering upon judicial process, they carefully determine what degree of privacy or publicity in the proceedings would be most conducive to the ends of justice, the peace of the church, and the spiritual benefit of the person tried.

Eventually this resolution was finalized in the PCUSA Book of Discipline under Chapter V, §18 thus:

In all cases of judicial process, the judicatory or judicial commission may at any stage of the trial, determine, by a vote of two thirds of the members present, to sit with closed doors.

This was the text that was in force in the 1930s when the PCUSA declared unconstitutional any involvement with parachurch missions agencies. The enforcement of that declaration led to the ecclesiastical trials of Drs. J. Gresham Machen, J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., Harold S. Laird, and several others.

By contrast, the Presbyterian Church in America to this day has no provision similar to that of the OPC and the BPC. The PCA initially based its Book of Church Order on the 1933 edition of the Southern Presbyterian [or, PCUS] BCO, and in this particular matter the PCUS BCO still reflected the pre-1880 PCUSA Rules of Process. In other words, the matter simply did not come up. Read the rest of this entry »

Chalmers #7 : Significance of Machen’s Dismissal

In Chalmers W. Alexander, Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, J. Gresham Machen, Modernism, Pearl S. Buck, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Southern Presbyterian Journal on 02/06/2011 at 15:20

What The Northern Presbyterian Church Did To Dr. J. Gresham Machen

(“Exploring Avenues Of Acquaintance And Co-operation”)
By Chalmers W. Alexander
Jackson, Mississippi

This is the seventh 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.

III. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF DR. MACHEN’S DISMISSAL

The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions was incorporated in December of 1933, with Dr. Machen as its President. “And for its general secretary and most active worker,” Time reported, in its April 23, 1934, issue, “they chose no grizzled Presbyterian die-hard, but a keen, quick-smiling young missionary named Charles J. Woodbridge.

The Board’s General Secretary

“Princeton students, and especially soccer players, of a decade ago remember Charley Woodbridge well. They remember him carrying trays in Commons as he worked his way through. They remember his antic agility on the soccer field where he more than held his own in the forward line against much heavier men. He had learned the game from the English at school in China, where he was born in 1901 in a family which counts 14 generations of ministers, back to 1493. They remember that, without being a ‘greasy grind,’ Charley Woodbridge was always near the head of his class in studies and that without being a meddlesome ‘Christer’ he was quietly, sincerely, and it seemed merrily, pious.

“Charley Woodbridge emerged from Princeton Seminary untouched by its liberalism, studied at Berlin and Marburg, took a pastorate in Flushing, L.I., where he married a missionary’s daughter. When he went as a missionary to the French Cameroun in 1932 it was to replace a man who had been fatally stung by an insect. Studying the local dialect, Missionary Woodbridge evangelized for six months in the malaria-ridden jungle, then took charge of 110 evangelists covering 5,000 sq. mi. A firm bible-believer, he learned to deplore the ways of the official Presbyterian Board, such as when a member on an inspection tour addressed 3,500 naked Cameroun heathens who had never heard of the Gospel, on the subject: ‘The Power of the Personality.’ When informed of his election as secretary of the upstart Board, Missionary Woodbridge resigned his post, returned in January with his pretty wife and two daughters.”

The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions got off to a flying start. Many Bible-believing Presbyterians volunteered to go immediately as foreign missionaries through the agency of the new Independent Board. And very shortly some of these volunteers began to be placed in the foreign mission fields. The prospects for the future of the Independent Board were bright and promising.

The Northern Presbyterian “Machine” Gets Under Way Read the rest of this entry »

Chalmers (1949) – #6 : Missions and Pearl Buck

In Chalmers W. Alexander, Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, J. Gresham Machen, Modernism, Pearl S. Buck, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Southern Presbyterian Journal on 01/06/2011 at 10:07

What The Northern Presbyterian Church Did To Dr. J. Gresham Machen

(“Exploring Avenues Of Acquaintance And Co-operation”)
By Chalmers W. Alexander

Jackson, Mississippi
[The Southern Presbyterian Journal 8.11 (1 October 1949): 13-18.]

This is the sixth in the series of articles by Chalmers W. Alexander under the1 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.

II: MODERNISM IN THE FOREIGN MISSIONS WORK

In order to understand why Dr. Machen was booted out of the ministry of the Northern Presbyterian Church in 1936, it is necessary to turn our attention to some events which took place only a few years before that.

Re-Thinking Missions”

In November of 1932, a book entitled Re-Thinking Missions was issued as the report of the “Commission of Appraisal” of the “Laymen’s Inquiry after One Hundred Years.” This report, which was about foreign missions work, was the product of an inter-denominational committee. The Northern Presbyterian Church’s one representative on the Commission of Appraisal was Dr. William P. Merrill, of New York City, a signer of the heretical Auburn Affirmation.

As Dr. Machen pointed out in a 110-page book which will be mentioned presently: “The work of the Commission was financed, to the extent of some half-million dollars, largely by a Modernist layman, Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who in 1918 wrote for the Saturday Evening Post an article which was afterwards circulated in pamphlet form advocating admission to the Church without any profession of belief whatever.”

The Theme Of “Re-Thinking Missions”

Dr. Machen gave this clear analysis of Re-Thinking Missions’ theme and teachings: “The resulting book constitutes from beginning to end an attack upon the historic Christian Faith. It presents as the aim of missions that of seeking truth together with adherents of other religions rather than that of presenting the truth which God has supernaturally recorded in the Bible. ‘The relation between religions,’ it says, ‘must take increasingly hereafter the form of a common search for truth.’ It deprecates the distinction between Christians and non-Christians; it belittles the Bible and inveighs against Christian doctrine; it dismisses the doctrine of eternal punishment as a doctrine antiquated even in Christendom; it presents Jesus as a great Teacher and Example, as Christianity’s ‘highest expression of the religious life,’ but certainly not as very God of very God; it belittles evangelism, definite conversions, open profession of faith in Christ, membership in the Christian Church, and substitutes ‘the dissemination of spiritual influences’ and ‘the permeation of the community with Christian ideals and principles’ for the new birth.”

Re-Thinking Missions revealed clearly that its authors had no conception at all of the finality and the exclusiveness of the Christian Faith as it was revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ when He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but to me.” Read the rest of this entry »

“Liberty of Conscience” by Wm. Childs Robinsion (1935)

In Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, J. Gresham Machen, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. on 09/06/2009 at 14:12

The penultimate paragraph in this brief essay provides an interesting contrasting argument when compared with the previously posted editorial by Dr. Samuel G. Craig.  Where Craig argued that the PCUSA was within its rights to prohibit membership in parachurch organizations, here Dr. Robinson correctly notes that earlier PCUSA examples contradict such a ruling.  On another subject, it might also be useful to compare Robinson’s essay with D.S. Kennedy’s comments in respect to the first of the Preliminary Principles. Read the rest of this entry »