Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Auburn Heresy

Gordon H. Clark

When future historians of the Church evaluate this present age, the publication of the Auburn Affirmation will stand out in importance like Luther's nailing up his ninety-five theses. But it will be important for a different reason.

The reason the Auburn Affirmation is so important is that it constitutes a major offensive against the Word of God. It, or at least its theology, is the root of Presbyterian apostasy.

Officials in the Presbyterian Church in the USA have commonly spread the rumor that there is nothing doctrinal involved in the Auburn Affirmation. This rumor, regardless of its source, is untrue. It is true that the Auburn Affirmation is a cleverly written document with some pious phraseology slightly obscuring its real intent. But once a person has seen exactly what it says, there is no disguising the fact that it is a vicious attack on the Word of God.

The five doctrines involved are the truth of Holy Scripture, the factuality of the virgin birth of Christ, his miracles, his sacrifice on Calvary to satisfy divine justice and reconcile us to God, and his resurrection.

The real purpose of the document is partially obscured because it states that some of the signers believe some of these doctrines. That is true. Some of the signers believe some; but they all deny the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures. They all hold that the basis of the Westminster Confession is harmful and that the Bible contains error. This attack on the Bible is of fundamental importance because obviously if the Bible be rejected, why should the religion of the Bible be retained? You cannot well impugn the veracity of the Scriptures and then accept the content of the Scriptures.
Because this point is so serious, evidence is not to be omitted. On page five of the Auburn Affirmation you may read these words: "There is no assertion in the Scriptures that their writers were kept 'from error.' The Confession of Faith does not make this assertion.... The doctrine of inerrancy, intended to enhance the authority of the Scriptures, in fact impairs their supreme authority for faith and life, and weakens the testimony of the Church to the power of God unto salvation through Jesus Christ."

Now kindly note this strange fact. The Auburn Affirmation states that to believe the Bible is true impairs its authority and weakens the testimony of the church. Or, in other words, in order for the Bible to be authoritative, it must contain error; and, no doubt, the more erroneous it is, the more authoritative it can be.

But what does the Confession say? In Chapter I, Section 4, you may read: "The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth ... wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God."
Study also Chapter XIV, Section 2. "By this [saving] faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God himself speaking therein...."

The Auburn Affirmation says it is wrong and harmful to believe to be true whatsoever is revealed. Thus the signers of the Auburn Affirmation are seen to be antagonistic to the very basis of Christian faith. In denying the truth of the Bible, they repudiate their own Confession, and so have no rightful place in the Presbyterian ministry. Do they perchance reply that they agree with the Confession that the Scriptures are the Word of God, and that they deny only that the Scriptures are inerrant? God forbid that they make that reply. For if they say that they believe the Bible is the Word of God, and at the same time claim that the Bible contains error, it follows, does it not, that they call God a liar, since he has spoken falsely. Either they have openly repudiated the Confession, or else they have called God a liar. In either case they have no rightful place in the Presbyterian ministry.

The Auburn Affirmation is more generous toward the other four points. The virgin birth, the miracles, the resurrection, which orthodox Presbyterians regard as historical facts, the Affirmationists regard as permitted theories.

On page six of the Auburn Affirmation, after referring to the five points emphasized by the General Assembly of 1923, it states:
...this opinion of the General Assembly attempts to commit our Church to certain theories concerning the inspiration of the Bible, and the Incarnation, the Atonement, the Resurrection.... Some of us regard the particular theories contained in the deliverances of the General Assembly of 1923 as satisfactory explanations of these facts and doctrines. But we are united in believing that these are not the only theories allowed by the Scriptures and our standards as explanations of these facts and doctrines of our religion, and that all who hold to these facts and doctrines, whatever theories they may employ to explain them, are worthy of all confidence and fellowship.
Now to be concrete, what "theory" other than the historical fact of the virgin birth, can you think of to explain the incarnation? There is one which the anti-christian Celsus used in his effort to defame Christ. If Christ be not virgin-born, and if, as both Joseph and Mary claim, Joseph was not Jesus' father, whose son is he? Does the Auburn Affirmation really mean that one who accepts this view of our Lord's birth is worthy of all confidence and fellowship? That is exactly what the Auburn Affirmation means. It says definitely that ministers are worthy of confidence "whatever theories they may employ to explain" the incarnation.

Consider next Christ's sacrificial death by which he satisfies divine justice and reconciles us to God. This, too, is declared unessential, and Christians are asked to put confidence in men who deny this doctrine, who so long as they use the word 'atonement' may employ any random theory to explain it. Christ's death, then, may be nothing but an example, and our salvation may depend on our efforts to imitate his good deeds. No longer will salvation be entirely by grace. And we are told that these men are worthy of confidence "whatever theories they may employ to explain" the Atonement.
Is there time also to refer briefly to the resurrection? This too is reduced to a permitted but unessential theory. The signers of the Auburn Affirmation may have in mind some theory of a spiritual resurrection as opposed to the fact that Christ rose from the grave with the same body with which he suffered. The Auburn Affirmationists, on the one hand, may hold to some sort of spiritual resurrection; but on the other hand, Jesus Christ said: "Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye behold me having." Apparently Jesus would not have been eligible to sign the Auburn Affirmation. The signers of the Auburn Affirmation say the bodily resurrection—and that is the only kind of resurrection worth talking about—is unessential. But Paul says: "If Christ hath not been raised, then is our preaching vain, your faith is also vain." You will note that Paul's name does not occur among the signers of the Auburn Affirmation. No, you will not find Paul asking us to put confidence in men "whatever theories they may employ to explain," or better, to explain away the resurrection.

If, now, the Auburn Affirmation had been signed by only two or three persons, it would still be incumbent upon Presbyterians to ask them to repent and recant, or to remove them from the ministry. But if only two or three had signed, there might be little cause for alarm. As a matter of fact, 1300 ministers in the USA church signed this heretical document. And yet this number, large as it is, does not of itself reveal the full significance of the situation. One must see also to what extent this type of theology controls the boards and agencies of the Presbyterian Church in the USA. From time to time there have been prepared lists of Auburn Affirmationists who hold responsible positions in the ecclesiastical machinery. These positions include the moderators of Presbyteries, of Synods, and of the General Assembly; directors of seminaries; at one time 22 members of the Board of National Missions were Affirmationists; and so on through the various important positions in the Presbyterian Church in the USA.

But not even this list of positions indicates the total depravity of that church. Realize also that there are numerous other office-holders who, although they have not signed the Auburn Affirmation, approve its principles, and, far from protesting against it, cheerfully cooperate with its signers in the work of the various boards and agencies. Try to mention any secretary of any board, try to mention any official who has attempted to defend the Word of God against this Auburn attack. None can be named; there are none; they cooperate with the Affirmationists, they approve the same policies, and have thus taken their stand against the Holy Scriptures and against the Confession they vowed to defend.

In addition to these office holders who cooperate with the signers of the heretical Auburn Affirmation, there are the ministers who take their orders from headquarters, who in their Presbyteries regularly vote with this Bible-dishonoring band. They may not have signed the document, but they have voted its principles into effect and have banished the orthodox from their denomination. Try to mention any minister who has made any serious, public attempt to discipline the signers of the heretical Auburn Affirmation. When has anyone in the Presbyterian Church in the USA heard a sermon defending the atonement and the resurrection against this attack? What minister has brought the matter before his presbytery?

Some years ago the modernists used to talk in favor of an inclusive church. The church, they said, was big enough to include all brands of theology. Today, however, they have changed their tune. They now have excommunicated the orthodox. The Affirmationist officials and their supporters decreed that those who remained true to the Word of God, those who objected to the General Assembly's placing its own authority above that of the Bible, those who would not obey an order to support modernism, those who took their ordination vows seriously, had to be expelled from the church.

The most important of these expulsions was that of the late J. Gresham Machen. He had been accused of disobeying a legal order and of telling lies about the Board of Foreign Missions. He was brought to trial. He wanted to defend himself by arguing that the order to support modernism was illegal, and that what he had said about the Board of Foreign Missions was true. It was supposed to be a judicial trial, but his judges absolutely refused him the right to present his defense. On the Permanent Judicial Commission, which made final disposal of his case, half of the ministers had signed the Auburn Affirmation. No wonder the Bible-believing Christians were expelled from the Presbyterian Church in the USA.

This, then, in brief is the situation conservative Christians must meet. Shall the truth of the Bible be upheld, or shall orders to support modernism be made the supreme authority over men's conscience? This is no trivial matter; it is rather a life and death struggle between two mutually exclusive religions. One religion can without harm to its integrity reject the infallible Word of God, deny the virgin birth, repudiate Christ's propitiatory sacrifice, and deny the resurrection. That religion will remain complete even if all these things are eliminated; but that religion is not Christianity.

The other religion is Christianity because it accepts the Bible as the very Word of God, who cannot lie, because it makes Christ's sacrifice to satisfy divine justice the only basis of salvation, and because it glories in the historical fact of the resurrection.

Dr. Clark was an elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, formerly an elder in the Presbyterian Church in the USA. This was a revision of an address delivered February 28, 1935 at a mass meeting of Presbyterian Laymen of Philadelphia and vicinity, and later published in tract form by the Committee on Christian Education.

"Why I Am a Conservative"

By the Rev. Frederick N. McMillin, D. D.,
Minister, First Presbyterian Church on Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, Ohio

For almost thirty-four years I have been an
ordained minister of the Presbyterian
Church in two city pastorates. For more
than twenty-one years I have been the
pastor of the First Presbyterian Church
on Walnut Hills in the City of Cincinnati.
Had I been a so-called modernist
or liberal minister I would have gone
from my present pastorate long ago:
During these twenty-one years I have
seen four ministers come and go in a
church in this city which boasts itself of
its so-called liberalism. This is not a
pastorate in such a church, this is a procession.
The pitiful weakness of the
Universalist and the Unitarian Churches
is due to a very large degree to their so-
called liberalism. I have often wondered
why some of the ministers of our Evangelical
churches do not grasp the significance
of this fact. If you desire to read
the record of the sad influence of a so-
called liberalism upon an ecclesiastical
institution read the history of Andover
Theological Seminary.

I am a conservative because it be-
comes increasingly evident that a so-called
liberalism is a sinister menace to
what is best, most precious and most
necessary in the lives of men, in the life
of our beloved country, in the life of our
respective communities and in the life
of the church of Christ. Conservatism
gave way to liberalism in financial
circles and the stock market crashed,
bringing sorrow, loss, despair and hopelessness
to many.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Open Prayer

Journal of Bible and Religion, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Apr., 1952), p. 144

Open Prayer. Compiled by JESSE HALSEY. Nashville
2, Tenn.: Abingdon-CokesburyP ress, 1951. $7.50.

This is a unique and useful aid to worship leadership.
It has been prepared, apparently, by a clergyman
for use in his own conduct of worship services,
but it contains a wide variety of material that can
be used effectively in churches, at religious conferences,
or anywhere else that inspiring materials
for devotional leadership are needed. The "kit" consists
of three kinds of material: a loose-leaf file for
worship material, the worship material itself, printed
on separate sheets of sturdy paper, and an imitation
leather folder into which the particular sheets of
printed aids may be placed for inconspicuous use in
the pulpit or on a table. The aids include calls to
worship, invocations, prayers of confession, assurances
assurances and prayers for pardon, affirmations of faith,
prayers of thanksgiving, collects and short prayers,
prayers of petition and intercession, pastoral prayers,
offertory prayers, prayers before and after
the sermon, benedictions, and prayers for dedications.
Authorship of aids to worship ranges from
Alcuyn to Thomas Wilson, exclusive of the Bible and
other book sources.


D. G. Hart and John R. Muether

Progressive Presbyterians were not content with the revisions to the Westminster Confession that 
were approved in 1903. There was more work to be done to bring the Presbyterian Church into
greater harmony with the modern world. The center of the progressive movement was in the
Presbytery of New York, which pressed the liberal agenda on three fronts. First, on May 21, 1922,
Harry Emerson Fosdick, the Baptist supply pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New
York, rallied liberals with his famous sermon, "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" Although the sermon
wasa plea for tolerance, most Presbyterians, liberal and conservative, would have answered the
title's rhetorical question in the affirmative, because it appeared that the conservatives were strong
enough to force the liberals out of the church. 

A year later, the Presbytery took the provocative step of ordaining two graduates of Union Seminary 
who could not affirm the virgin birth of Christ.

Finally, the Presbytery convened a gathering in Auburn, New York, in December 1923. It produced
"An Affirmation designed to safeguard the unity and liberty of the Presbyterian Church in the United
States of America." The Auburn Affirmation questioned the constitutionality of General Assembly
deliverances that proclaimed certain doctrines as necessary and essential beliefs for
Presbyterian ministers, and it went on to describe those doctrines (the inerrancy of Scripture, 
the virgin birth of Christ, the vicarious atonement, Jesus' resurrection, and his miracles) merely 
as theories about the Bible's message. Within a year, the Auburn Affirmation 
secured the signatures of 1,300 Presbyterianministers.

Conservatives fought back in the General Assembly of 1924, when they narrowly elected a
conservative moderator, Clarence Macartney, and managed to secure the dismissal of Fosdick from
the First Presbyterian pulpit. The Assembly failed to take action against the Auburn Affirmationists,
however, as many conservatives believed that they lacked sufficient votes to win that battle.
Instead, a showdown took place a year later at the General Assembly of 1925, meeting in Columbus,
Ohio. Many commissioners were convinced of the creedal infidelity of the Presbytery of New York.
Henry Sloane Coffin, however, was prepared to defend the Presbytery. He preached the preceding
Sunday at the First Congregational Church of Columbus, the former pulpit of social gospeler
Washington Gladden. In his sermon, "What Liberal Presbyterians Are Standing For," he put forth his
case: "We question whether we have any right to call ourselves a Christian Church, if we exclude
from its ministry any whom Christ manifestly does not exclude from the gift of His Holy Spirit."
The Assembly elected Charles Erdman of Princeton Seminary as its moderator. Although Erdman's
theology was evangelical, J. Gresham Machen considered him to be the candidate of modernists and
indifferentists. Upon his election, Erdman quickly proved Machen right. He held a two-hour private
meeting with Coffin, listening to his plan to lead the Presbytery of New York and its sympathizers out
of the Assembly, should the Judicial Commission rule unfavorably.

Desperately seeking to avoid a walkout, Erdman agreed to permit Coffin to read a protest if the
Judicial Commission ruled against the Presbytery. The Commission did, in fact, 
determine that the Presbytery had acted improperly in ordaining men who could not affirm 
the virgin birth of Christ, which was "the established law" of the Church. 
Conservatives seemed to be on the brink of victory, and liberals prepared to leave.

Then Coffin approached the platform of the assembly, as his biographer describes:
He was pale and showed the effects of the strained and sleepless nights during which he had
been in conference seeking to avert this action. In a firm voice he read a prepared statement
on behalf of the Commissioners of the Presbytery of New York protesting the decision as
contrary to the constitution of the church and declaring the purpose of the New York
Presbytery to maintain its constitutional rights in licensure.

But Coffin's threatened exodus did not take place, because of a bold and desperate move by
Erdman. Yielding the chair to the vice moderator, Erdman proposed from the floor that the Assembly
establish a special commission "to study the present spiritual condition of our Church and the causes
making for unrest, and to report to the next General Assembly, to the end that the purity, peace,
unity and progress of the Church may be assured."

Erdman's stroke of parliamentary genius was unanimously approved. Later that night he met with
liberal commissioners and urged them not to leave the church until the Special Commission reported
to the next assembly. Erdman then appointed fifteen committee members, mostly "respected
loyalists." The most well known and influential member of the committee was his close friend, Robert
E. Speer, secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions, who would later clash with Machen over the
latter's claim of modernism on the Board.

In the ensuing year, the Special Commission met four times. Machen argued before the Commission
that the cause of the unrest in the church was "reducible to the one great underlying cause," which
was the presence of modernism in it. Coffin countered that the differences were due to
"misapprehension." Fighting this battle would "plunge the church into calamitous litigation and
hinder us from doing our work and building the kingdom of God." "It is ruinous," he continued, "to
divide existing forces. We ought to work harmoniously together and emphasize those things in which
we agree."

In the unanimous report that the Commission presented to the 1926 Assembly, it agreed with Coffin
that there was "evangelical unity" in the church. American Presbyterianism stood for toleration and
progress, shaped by "two controlling factors":

One is, that the Presbyterian system admits to diversity of view where the core of truth is identical.
Another is, the church has flourished best and showed most clearly the good hand of God upon it,
when it laid aside its tendencies to stress these differences, and put the emphasis on the spirit
of unity.

Coffin could not have authored a more agreeable conclusion. "It seems to be everyone's wish to
keep the peace," he wrote.

When the Commission presented its report, Clarence Macartney, two years removed as the
Assembly moderator, moved to excise certain sections and to dismiss the Commission. His older
brother, Albert J. McCartney, rose in rebuttal with withering words of ridicule: "Clarence is all right,
friends. The only trouble is he isn't married. If that old bachelor would marry, he would have 
less time to worry over other people's theology.... I know that if mother could come back, there would be
room for him and for me to say our prayers in the same words on her knee at that old home of ours
in western Pennsylvania. I believe there is room for him and for you and me, to say our prayers in
identical language in the Presbyterian Church."

The younger Macartney's motion was denied, and in 1927 the General Assembly approved the final
report of the Commission with only one dissenting vote. The effect was to grant freedom to the
Presbytery of New York to reject the virgin birth of Christ as an essential tenet of the church, and to
vindicate the signers of the Auburn Affirmation.

The report underscored that Presbyterian unity required the end of "all slander and misrepresentation" 
within the church. The focus of attention, then, fell on one particular source of recent unrest: 
the factions within the faculty of Princeton Seminary. The school's reorganization in
1929 brought two signers of the Auburn Affirmation onto its new, thirty-member Board. Convinced
that this would lead the school into a decline into theological liberalism, Machen left Princeton and
formed Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.

The General Assembly of 1925 marked the decline of conservative strength in the Presbyterian
Church; no subsequent assembly elected a conservative moderator. It also raised Henry Sloane
Coffin's visibility in the church. Together with Erdman, he forestalled the liberal exodus that most
observers regarded as inevitable. According to Time magazine, Coffin went to the General Assembly
"as he had gone before, one of the many commissioners from the Presbytery of New York. He
returned the acknowledged leader of the liberal elements of his church."

Nearly two decades later, in 1943, the General Assembly would elect Coffin as moderator, a symbolic
vote in two respects. First, it confirmed Coffin's role in the church he nearly walked out of in 1925.
Second, since he was president of Union Seminary at the time, the vote represented a healing of the
breach between the Presbyterian Church and the Seminary in the liberal Presbytery of New York,
and a vindication of Charles A. Briggs, fifty years after his heresy trial.

Dr. Hart is the director of fellowship programs and scholar in residence at the Intercollegiate Studies
Institute in Wilmington, Del.; Mr. Muether is the librarian at Reformed Theological Seminary in
Orlando, Fla., and the historian of the OPC; both are OP ruling elders and members of the
Committee on Christian Education. Reprinted from New Horizons, October 2005

Mother's Day: The Creation, Promotion and Meaning of a New Holiday in the Progressive Era

By Kathleen W. Jones
Texas Studies in Literature and Language, Vol. 22, No. 2, An Issue Devoted to Popular Culture Studies (SUMMER 1980), pp. 175-196
Although the sentimentalized image of American motherhood was a product of the nineteenth century, it was not until the Progressive era that Americans adopted a special holiday in honor of that vision. The plan to reserve one Sunday each year for honoring mothers originated with Anna Jarvis, a Philadelphia spinster who intended to memorialize the anniversary of her mother's death through a public holiday. However, initial observances of the new holiday, in May of 1908, did not win immediate popular approval for the continuation of the project. This essay will examine the cultural motives and pressures that transformed Mother's Day from the crank idea of one woman into an annual social custom.
I shall show how the holiday was conceived by Jarvis, furthered by the American Sunday school movement, but not popularly accepted until the meaning of the new celebration was defined by the Protestant churches and then redefined into a secular celebration of traditional but menaced American values. Ministers and lay contributors to weekly church magazines used the holiday to express their fear that middle-class Protestant culture, the culture so aptly characterized by the symbol of "Mother," was increasingly threatened in the Progressive era. Through sermons and didactic stories, concerned Protestants made of Mother's Day an adult celebration of their version of American values. When the holiday proved to be a powerful tool to sustain morale during World War I, the celebration of Mother's Day became a secular expression of loyalty to national ideals. Thus the history of the creation and promotion of the new holiday suggests that during the Progressive era the observance of Mother's Day fulfilled a social function beyond the purely personal mother-child relationship it ostensibly honored. . . .
. . . By 1912 religious publishing firms were offering to the church schools a selection of Mother's Day materials designed to attract youngsters to the Sunday meetings. Church presses produced special programs for Mother's Day, invitation cards, and celluloid carnations to distribute as mementoes. Teachers and ministers were assured that advance publicity through postcard invitations and newspaper coverage (churches were encouraged to buy space if necessary) would secure a large audience. The "successful observance" of the day was defined in terms of attendance, and ministers were advised that because of the "human appeal of the day" it was a "unique opportunity ... to reach the unchurched and the occasional church-attendant."* Sunday schools were instructed to issue special invitations to mothers and to seat them in a place of honor for the day. It was even suggested that the churches provide rocking chairs and child care for very young children, thereby enabling more mothers to attend. Leaders hoped that the attention to mothers would enlist the cooperation of the home in the Sunday school's effort to gain recruits.

*Rev. Jesse Halsey, "The Work of the Pastor: Suggestions for Mother's Day," Homiletic Review 71 (May 1916), 381. The Homiletic Review was published for use by Protestant ministers and contained sermon outlines and suggestions for prayer meetings as well as feature articles on the role of the minister.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

An Appeal to Fundamentalists | March 10, 1943

By Ruling Elder GORDON H. CLARK. Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy in Wheaton College

About a half century ago the churches in the
United States began to feel the effects of the
evolutionary denial of special creation, the destructive
criticism of the Bible, and the rise of Modernism. At
first it was the seminaries that succumbed to German
rationalism, and later their graduates quietly put over
a substitute gospel on the laity.

Recognizing the trend, a group of conservative leaders,
some of whom were very competent scholars, contributed
articles in 1912 to form a set of twelve booklets
called The Fundamentals. By choosing this title and
by distributing three million copies, they brought into
existence and popularized the term "Fundamentalism".
Since 1912 nearly all those writers have died; other
leaders have taken their places, and Fundamentalism
has come to include a wide variety of religious groups.
It is popularly regarded as a single religious movement
because all who claim the name accept the Bible as
authoritative. Whenever the late Dr. J. Gresham
Machen was confronted with the opposition between
Modernism and Fundamentalism, he always made it
clear that he was a Fundamentalist. The term, he believed,
was not sufficiently specific, but the disjunction
was clear-cut and his stand was unambiguous. He was a
Bible-believing Christian.

The Fundamentalists differ widely, however, in their
interpretation of the Bible. At the time of his death
(I believe), a nonchristian paid Dr. Machen the tribute
of pointing out that the difference in Fundamentalism
between Machen and Aimee Semple McPherson was
about as great as the difference in medicine between
the Mayo brothers and Lydia E. Pinkham. That wide
differences among Fundamentalists exist, both in doctrine
and in policy, must be kept in mind as one examines
the history of the movement.

For a few years after 1912, Fundamentalism may
seem to have made headway, but shortly the war directed
people's attention to other matters. After the
World War 'had taken its toll of religious belief and
morality, the well-known radical and pacifist, Dr. Harry
Emerson Fosdick, published a sermon entitled "Shall
the Fundamentalists Win?" Since then two decades
have passed, Modernism has swept the country, and
we are in the midst of a still more terrible war. When
this horrible carnage is over and the chaos is calmed
down, will there be any Fundamentalists remaining?

First of all, let us look at fundamentalist performance
in the last twenty years. As Modernism made inroads
in the large denominations, small groups of Fundamentalists
here and there became disgusted and, rather
than take up the disagreeable task of fighting for the
purity of their denominations, quietly withdrew to form
independent Bible churches. Some, not willing even
to withdraw, simply closed their eyes to the denominational
situation and quietly went to sleep in the false
security of their local congregations.

Both courses of action injured the
cause of Christ, and in several ways.
The withdrawal of Bible-believing
Christians from the denominations
made the progress of Modernism all
the easier, so that when some noble
men, like Dr. Machen, attempted to
resist infidelity in the church, not only
were false charges brought against
them, but also they were tried and
condemned in the ecclesiastical courts
without being given the simple justice
of a hearing-without being permitted
to present their defense.'

In the second place, the formation
of independent churches effectively
prevented these Bible-believing Christians
from forming a compact body
for the united and aggressive extension
of the gospel. They became the disorganized
remnants of a once-great army,
powerless before organized unbelief.
After twenty years of work, or at least
of existence, the independent leaders
of Fundamentalism have not accomplished
the task set for them by the
men of 1912.

Nor can these leaders point with
pride to the quality of the Christianity
they have fostered-if quality is to be
substituted for quantity. That real
Christians are proportionally fewer today
than twenty years ago is not a fact
lightly to be laughed off; but some
comfort could have been generated if
there had been an improving quality
to compensate. But at this point, too,
these leaders have surrendered to the
enemy and have betrayed their people.
So eager were these men at first to
preserve the very fundamentals of
Christianity that in large numbers they
spurned whatever they thought was
not fundamental. Each independent
group was persuaded to adopt a statement
of faith containing six, eight, or
ten doctrines-all fundamental, no
doubt-and to discard a score or more
other doctrines. These others may not
have been logically fundamental, but
by the authority of God's Word they
are all essential. The independent
leaders and Bible teachers had overlooked
the fact that a house needs a
roof as well as a foundation. To be
sure, they said they believed the whole
Bible-and so they did in a way; but
they did not preach the whole Bible.
Thus their belief in the inerrancy of
Holy Scripture was rendered impotent
by their neglect of so much of its contents.

The result of such leadership is that
many of these independent churches
today can hardly be called truly fundamental.

It is not that their people
have become Modernists. Far from it.
They still accept the authority of the
Bible. But because for the last twenty
years they have never heard of many
of the very important doctrines, these
good people have been raised from
childhood in ignorance of blessed and
profound truths that God has revealed
to us for our edification. Because their
ministers have neglected to instruct
them in the whole counsel of God,
they are blown about, not by every
wind of doctrine, but at least by many
winds. In some places the doctrine of
grace is vitiated by assigning a part of
salvation to man's efforts, so that irresistible
grace is replaced by the doctrine
of free will as taught in the
Romish church. Furthermore, some
Fundamentalists are preaching that
there are several ways of salvation, one
way for this age and other ways for
other ages. Since each church is independent
of every other, each minister
does that which is right in his own
eyes. There are no checks on fancy or
perversity. One minister claims that
repentance is unnecessary; another
that baptism is for another dispensation;
a third refuses to use the Lord's
Prayer; and quite a number have repudiated
the Ten Commandments.

In the meantime, the secularization
of society grows apace. The reading of
the Bible in the public schools of
some states is prohibited by law,
though the doctrine of creation is attacked
from the second grade on. Not
only is true piety considered impolite
in good society, but profanity is found
on the pages of the most reputable
magazines. While Americans vaunt
their moral superiority over Gestapo
sadism and Japanese barbarity, brutal
labor racketeers are encouraged to
prey on honest workingmen. The freedom
of religion is imperiled not only
by governmental units but also by
those who, advocating church union,
aim at a united Protestant church devoted
to evolution while giving a
patronizing acknowledgment to what
they call Hebrew mythology.
Let us not ask what American pagans
need; they need a disquieting
sense of sin, repentance, a return to
God through Jesus Christ. But let us
rather ask what Bible-believing Christians

First of all, the scattered, independent
congregations of devout and
humble Christians need ministers who
have renewed their grip on the fundamentals.
Both ministers and people
should take Charles Hodge off the
shelf and learn what the deity of
Christ, the atonement, the person and
work of the Holy Ghost, really mean.
Next the minister should lead the way
beyond the fundamentals to the essentials:
total depravity and its implications,
unconditional election, and irresistible
grace. In short, he should
possess himself of all the doctrines
of the original Reformers. A close
study of Calvin's Institutes and the
confessions of the Reformed churches
would be a long step toward the recovery
of a lost heritage. Then when
faithful preaching gives the people a
fair understanding of these divine
truths, the prospects of the church of
Christ will look bright indeed.
Finally, these leaders should cease
their defeatist independentism and get
back to the Scriptural principles of
cohesion among congregations. The
apostolic churches were united and
sent delegates to a general council in
Jerusalem. America can well do without
one big antichristian Protestant
church, but it desperately needs well
organized, aggressive denominations
true to the whole counsel of God. Dis-
organized, independent congregations
with abbreviated creeds stand in pitiful
contrast with the appalling situation
of the day.

And if the present leaders of independent
Fundamentalism are unable
or unwilling to follow the principles
of the Scriptures they acknowledge,
the common people themselves must
seek a better leadership in a sound,
aggressive denomination that not only
acknowledges the Bible but also
preaches it in its entirety.

In very plain words, we invite you
to unite with us, The Orthodox Presbyterian