On July 18, 1957, the 24th General Assembly convened at Immanuel OPC in West Collingswood, New Jersey. On the previous evening, the retiring moderator, the Rev Dr. E. J. Young, preached a sermon, “Those that Trouble Israel,” based on 1 Kings 18:17-18, reminding commissioners that the gospel brings both division and peace. On Thursday morning the Assembly put the Rev. Bruce Hunt, home from Korea on furlough, to work as its moderator.
Two matters before the Assembly proved controversial enough to prompt protests that were entered into the minutes. First, the Assembly declined formally to remind the sessions of the OPC of previous actions of General Assemblies regarding the Masonic order and other secret societies. Secondly, the Assembly directed the Committee on Correspondence with Other Churches to send a fraternal delegate to the Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church (Columbus Synod) in 1958.
These debates did not prevent the Assembly from adjourning on the afternoon of July 20, a mere 56 hours after it was called to order. “Short and sweet” was Leslie Sloat’s description of the 24th Assembly. “While there was debate,” he added, “and occasionally rather sharp difference of opinion, the debate never became acrimonious or over-extended.” Presbyterian Guardian co-editor Ned Stonehouse agreed: “To the extent that the General Assembly is representative of the denomination it may well be that after twenty-one years it has come of age.”
Picture: Bruce Hunt