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Be Honest, Now!

In Chalmers W. Alexander, Southern Presbyterian Journal, Uncategorized on 12/06/2011 at 21:48

Yet another article by Chalmers W. Alexander. 

Do We Really Want A Great Revival?

By Chalmers W. Alexander
Ruling Elder in the First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS.

[THE SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL, 15 January 1949, page 9.
Click here for a brief biography of Chalmers W. Alexander, plus links to all posted articles by him.]

There was a time when I would readily have answered yes, but in recent years I have begun to have my doubts. And I have talked with many other laymen who hold this same view.

We Southern Presbyterians have been saying for many years that we have wanted a great revival (using the word revival in its popular sense, to include both the saving of the lost and the re-awakening of the saved), but such a revival has not occurred in our denomination in recent years.

It has become the custom in many of our churches to hold a “revival” of approximately a week’s duration, in the fall or winter of each year. The course of events usually runs somewhat like this: Committees are appointed and preparations are begun; some prayer meetings are held prior to the week’s services; notices are put in the local newspapers and cards announcing the special meeting are printed and distributed. Then the visiting preacher (whose own church often needs a revival as badly as does the church in which he is about to preach) comes from a distance and delivers some especially prepared sermons. As the meeting draws to a close, a few persons may come forward at the invitation time for the purpose of accepting Christ as Saviour, or of rededicating themselves, or of joining the church. Then a written report is forwarded to headquarters, and things in that church settle back into their normal routine. Thus another yearly “revival” has come to a close and a similar one will take place next year, in all probability.

Now do not for one moment misunderstand me. If, during such a meeting, only one soul is saved, if only one wavering Christian is truly re-dedicated, then that meeting is more than worth all of the effort and preparation connected with it.

But no one will contend that such a meeting can be called a great revival.

What is the matter? Where does the fault lie? Surely, sin is as prevalent as ever, and the unsaved are all around us. The Gospel is still the dynamite of God. The Holy Spirit is still as able and willing to convict and to convert as in New Testament times, and He is continuously among us. Then what is wrong? Why has there been no great revival in our churches? In the opinion of many of us laymen, the fault lies in the “we” group, and not in the “they” group. In discussing the reasons why an evangelical, effort fails to produce a revival, how often we use the word “they”! If, during the week of the church’s evangelical meeting, those men with their names on the church roll who come to worship services occasionally for conscience-salve purposes but whose real interest is almost exclusively in making money and in being prominent in civic affairs; if those society ladies who are church members, and who sent their children to Sunday School because it is the thing to do, but who never come to church themselves except at Easter and at Christmas and for weddings; if those cultured, attractive people who belong to no church and who seem indifferent to the claims of Christ, but who nevertheless live decent and respectable lives; if those in the community who are not only totally indifferent to Christianity but who shamelessly indulge in drunkenness, or in sexual impurity, or in gambling, or in some of the other grosser forms of sin—if only “they” could be brought into the church during the week’s special evangelical effort, what a great revival meeting there would be! So we have been thinking. Read the rest of this entry »

Luther’s Safe Place

In Southern Presbyterian Journal, Wm. Childs Robinson on 11/06/2011 at 07:43

For all the recent discussion of “safe places,” it was an amusing surprise to find Wm. Childs Robinson making reference to “Luther’s Safe Place” at the end of this article.

Has “Unreserved Dedication” Taken The Place of Creedal Subscription

By Rev. Wm. C. Robinson, D.D.
Decatur, Ga.
[THE SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL 8.17 (2 January 1950): 5-6.]

This question is raised by a paragraph in a recent book review carried in The Presbyterian Outlook of November 7. Reviewing Professor Cooper’s Southwestern At Memphis, Dr. Warner L. Hall writes the following paragraph:

“One of the sidelights of the book is the struggle which Dr. Diehl had with heresy hunters. His victory was, by no means a personal one, for it, in some sense, assured to many others the right of an intellectual freedom within the limits of an unreserved dedication to the Christian cause.”

We have no desire to reopen any struggle with reference to Dr. Diehl, but the inference which Dr. Hall draws gives us grave concern. The reviewer’s words imply that many Presbyterian educators and Presbyterian ministers—Dr. Diehl is both—have either (or both) been relieved of all creedal obligations or else have agreed among themselves that those creedal obligations to which they have subscribed are only indicative of their dedication to the Christian cause.

Now it is not difficult to show that “an unreserved dedication to the Christian cause,” indispensable as that is, is not a sufficient safeguard for the Church or her teachers. Certainly, there have been Jesuit missionaries unreservedly dedicated to the Christian cause, and Armenian ministers, and perhaps Unitarian scholars. The other day I was told about a very devout Mormon. Apparently, this Latter Day Saint could offer “an unreserved dedication to the Christ cause” as he saw it … and yet I cannot believe that Dr. Hall would favor him for a Chair of Religion in Southwestern or for his associate pastor in Charlotte, N. C.

We feel obligated, therefore, to ask the questions which Dr. Hall’s review has raised. First, have the professors in our Presbyterian educational institutions been relieved of all creedal obligations, vows or doctrinal conditions as requirements for the presidential or professional positions they hold? We invite the several educational institutions connected with our Church to let the Church know just what, if any, obligations are now required. If the institution in particular has abrogated such requirements in the last two decades, the reasons for such change would also interest the Church. We can conceive of an occasion in which a college might have a man of known evangelical piety and Bible belief from another denomination that they wished installed as professor in some chair in which he would not teach church doctrine and might properly make an exception in his case to a rule requiring subscription to Calvinism. But we could only question the propriety of a Board using such an occasion as an excuse for abrogating all requirements.

Three centuries ago Harvard was training men for the Calyinistic ministry in Puritan New England — teaching the Old Testament in Hebrew, the New in Greek and the Shorter Catechism in Latin . . . but somebody slept at the switch . . . and Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked. When I studied at Harvard they were inculcating almost everything, except the doctrine for which that institution was established. Read the rest of this entry »

Labels in the Current Controversy

In Chalmers W. Alexander, Southern Presbyterian Journal on 08/06/2011 at 22:39

The Use of Names And Terms In The Current Controversy

By Chalmers W. Alexander
Jackson, Miss.
[THE SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL 8.17 (2 January 1950): 7-8.]

As practically everyone in the Southern Presbyterian Church knows, there is a serious controversy going on in our denomination. At present the controversy is focused around the question of the proposed union of our denomination with the Northern Presbyterian Church.

But, in the broad sense, this is but one phase of the controversy. For this controversy arises directly from a difference in creedal or doctrinal beliefs. In the final analysis, there are two distinct groups in the Southern Presbyterian Church, and these two groups differ radically in matters of belief.

In discussing the views of the two groups it is necessary from time to time to use terms or names to designate the two groups and to identify their positions in doctrinal matters.

What names and what terms should be used?

The Wrong Use Of Names And Terms

One can, of course, pitch the discussion on a very low plane and refer to those with whom one differs as Dr. D. P. McGeachy, of our denomination, recently did, in The Christian Century, a non-denominational religious magazine with a wide circulation. Dr. McGeachy wrote therein a description of the 1949 General Assembly meeting of our denomination. The Presbyterian Outlook, in expressing its approval of Dr. McGeachy’s article, stated that it was “his annual classic describing the Presbyterian U. S. Assembly,” and that “there is nothing quite like it for color and for penetrating surgery.”

Now in his article in The Christian Century Dr. McGeachy referred to those of us in the Southern Presbyterian Church, who consistently hold to the Conservative position, in this manner:

“There will be a little handful of willful men who will persist in this sober-faced mummery,” and “They have all of the fearful and many of the rich and well-to-do on their side. Every tactic, good and bad, whether based on ignorance or prejudice, will be used,” and “We find Rome and the ultra-fundamentalists alive and unscrupulous in our very midst.”

In writing thus, and in using such insulting terms, Dr. McGeachy has given us a classic example of how the current controversy should not be conducted.

It is possible to put the current controversy on a very low plane by making such references and using such terms. On the other hand, it is possible to pitch the discussion on a much higher plane by using terms and names which are neither insulting nor slurring.

What terms should be used, and what names should be applied, to the two groups in the current controversy?

The Terms “Orthodox” And “Unorthodox”

Perhaps the most accurate terms that could be used would be the “Orthodox” group and the “un-Orthodox” group.

In discussing the meaning of that term “Orthodox,” Dr. J. Gresham Machen, the world-famed Bible scholar, once wrote in The Presbyterian Guardian: Read the rest of this entry »

Chalmers #11 – Contending Earnestly

In Chalmers W. Alexander, Southern Presbyterian Journal on 07/06/2011 at 15:54

 [THE SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL 8.16 (15 December 1949): 9-13.

Contending Earnestly For The Faith

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

Jackson, Miss.

This is the eleventh 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.

There is a great issue of supreme importance before the Church of our Lord today.

As Dr. J. Gresham Machen, that profound Christian scholar who had such an unusually clear insight into ecclesiastical matters, once stated it:

“That issue is the issue between Christianity as set forth in the Bible and in the great creeds of the Church and a non-doctrinal or indifferentist Modernism that is represented in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (the Northern Presbyterian Church) by the Auburn Affirmation and that is more or less dominant in most of the large Protestant churches of the world.

Three Positions May Be Taken

“With regard to that issue, three positions are possible and are actually being taken today. In the first place, one may stand unreservedly for the old Faith and unreservedly against the indifferentist tendency in the modern Church; in the second place, one may stand unreservedly for Modernism and against the old Faith; and in the third place, one may ignore the seriousness of the issue and seek, without bringing it to a head, to preserve the undisturbed control of the present organization in the Church.”

And in speaking of one of the most prominent figures of our day in the Northern Presbyterian Church, Dr. Machen remarked that this man was one of the leading representatives of this third, or so-called “middle-of-the-road,” group. Of him, as a representative typical of that group, Dr. Machen stated:

“He certainly presents himself not as a Modernist but as an adherent of the historic Christian Faith; yet he takes no clear stand in the great issue of the day, but rather adopts an attitude of reassurance and palliation, according high praise and apparently far-reaching agreement to men of very destructive views.

“It is this palliative or reassuring attitude which, we are almost inclined to think, constitutes the most serious menace to the life of the Church today; it is in some ways doing more harm than clear-sighted Modernism can do.

“The representatives of it are often much farther from the Faith than they themselves know; and they are leading others much farther away than they have been led themselves. Obviously such a tendency in the Church deserves very careful attention from thoughtful men.”

What Jude Tells Us

In the great struggle against that form of unbelief known as Modernism in the Church of our Lord today, the Holy Bible does not give us any authority whatsoever to work side by side with the Modernists in the Church or to tolerate Modernism in the Church. Read the rest of this entry »

Chalmers #10 : Modernism Another Religion Entirely

In Chalmers W. Alexander, Clarence E. Macartney, J. Gresham Machen, Modernism, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Southern Presbyterian Journal on 06/06/2011 at 16:18

Dr. J. Gresham Machen On Christianity And Modernism Or Liberalism

(“Exploring Avenues Of Acquaintance And Co-operation”)
By Chalmers W. Alexander
Jackson, Miss.
[THE SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL 8.15 (1 December 1949): 7-8.]

This is the tenth 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.

Modernism or Liberalism is not a present-day, up-to-date form of Christianity. It is not, in fact, a form of Christianity at all.

Modernism or Liberalism is a religion which is separate and distinct and different from Christianity, just as Mohammedanism and Buddhism are separate and distinct and different from Christianity.

Christian Terms Are Used

The Modernists or Liberals have borrowed many of the traditional words and terms and expressions which the historic Christian Church and the Bible-believing Christians have been using since the first century. Such words as “God,” “belief,” “faith,” “grace,” “atonement,” “redemption,” and “resurrection,” for instance, are examples.

Christian Ideas Are Not Conveyed

But the ideas and conceptions which the Modernists or Liberals intend to convey, when they use these traditional words and terms and expressions, are radically different from the ideas and conceptions which the Bible-beliving Christians have in mind when they use them.

As a simple illustration of what is meant by this, take the word “God.” The Modernists or Liberals use that term, and the Conservatives also use that term. Both state that they worship “God,” but the term does not mean the same thing to the two different groups. The extremely liberal Christian Century recognized this fact, and once stated that the Fundamentalists (or Conservatives) and the Liberals (or Modernists) do not worship the same god.

It was due to the fact that the Modernists or Liberals have borrowed so many of the traditional terms and expressions which the Bible-believing Christians have always used that the Christians were slow in recognizing that Christianity and Modernism or Liberalism are not one and the same religion at all.

Dr. Machen’s Achievement

The man who did the most in this century to show clearly that Modernism or Liberalism is not a form of Christianity, but is in reality a form of unbelief from the Christian viewpoint, was Dr. J. Gresham Machen, the world-famous New Testament scholar.

In this connection, that unusually able theologian with the razor-keen mind, Dr. William Childs Robinson, Th.D., of our Columbia Theological Seminary, once wrote: “For his uncompromising testimony that ‘Liberalism’ was radically different from Bible Christianity, Machen suffered.”

And Dr. Clarence E. Macartney, the great Conservative minister who is the Pastor of the famed First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburg, and who was once the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Northern Presbyterian denomination, remarked:

“More than any other man of our generation, Dr. Machen tore the mask from the face of unbelief which parades under the name of Modernism in the Christian church.” Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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 »

Chalmers (1949) – #5 : Northern Aggression

In Auburn Affirmation (1924), Chalmers W. Alexander, J. Gresham Machen, Modernism, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., Southern Presbyterian Journal on 21/05/2011 at 15:03

This continues our series on the Auburn Affirmation and its after-effects, as told by Chalmers W. Alexander, a lawyer and ruling elder at First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS.  These next several parts of the series specifically concern Dr. J. Gresham Machen.

What The Northern Presbyterian Church Did To Dr. J. Gresham Machen
(“Exploring Avenues Of Acquaintance And Co-operation”)
By Chalmers W. Alexander, Jackson, MS
[excerpted from The Southern Presbyterian Journal 8.10 (15 September 1949): 6-10.]

In 1936 Dr. J. Gresham Machen (pronounced “may chin”) was kicked out of the ministry of the Northern Presbyterian Church.

On January 1, 1937 Dr. Machen died of lobar pneumonia, after an illness of only four days, in Bismark, North Dakota, while on a preaching tour for the Lord Jesus Christ. At the time of his death he was no longer a minister in, or a member of, the Northern Presbyterian Church.

Dr. Machen was fifty-five years old, and at the height of his intellectual powers, when he died. He had never married, and he left an estate estimated at $175,000.00.

What H. L. Mencken Said

Dr. Machen’s sudden death evoked comments by newspaper and church paper commentators all over America, and from Christians and non-Christians alike.

What Dr. Machen had fought for, and what his opponents had been doing in recent years in the Northern Presbyterian Church which had aroused his opposition, were very clearly summarized, strange to say, by H. L. Mencken. H. L. Mencken has never professed to be a Christian, and no one has ever accused him of being very reverent in matters of religion. But no one can deny that he has a keen, incisive mind, and that he is one of America’s best known critics. Writing in the January 18, 1937 issue of the Baltimore Evening Sun, of which he himself was at one time the Editor, he remarked (the emphasis in the quotation is added): Read the rest of this entry »