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January 12

Oswald T. Allis

On January 12, 1973, original Westminster Seminary faculty member and distinguished Old Testament scholar Oswald T. Allis died at the age of 92. A professor at Princeton Seminary from 1910–1929, he joined with J. Gresham Machen in 1929 to establish the new seminary that would be faithful to declare the whole counsel of God. When Machen and others left the Presbyterian Church, USA, Allis chose to remain. He retired from his teaching post in 1936.

A staunch defender of the Reformed Faith and the inspiration of the Bible, Dr. Allis published a number of important books on Old Testament interpretation, including God Spake by Moses, The Five Books of Moses, and The Unity of Isaiah. His most influential book, however, was Prophecy and the Church, considered by many the preeminent examination of the weaknesses and failures of the claims of theological Dispensationalism in light of Scripture's teaching.

In a 1969 testimonial for Dr. Allis marking the fortieth anniversary of Westminster Seminary, the Rev. Dr. Cornelius Van Til stated:

Much that was said about Machen could be said about Dr. Allis. He was a close personal friend and a great admirer of Dr. Machen. He was, as he is now, a humble saint. Machen worked in the limelight, debating on one occasion Dr. Robert E. Speer on the issue of Pearl Buck in Trenton, New Jersey. When he saw that the audience was with Dr. Speer, Dr. Machen gave a most eloquent and moving testimony to the grace of God in Jesus Christ, pleading with all those present to humble themselves under the hand of almighty God and not to seek help for themselves or for others from man in whom there is no help. At a faculty meeting soon after that Dr. Allis said something to this effect: "I have never seen our chairman more eloquent than when he spoke in defense of his Savior at the meeting in Trenton.

Van Til continued: Would that Dr. Allis, instead of only coming to this point with Machen in carrying on the old Princeton tradition, had carried on with Machen as he developed through his program of church reform to the point where the modernists, now largely in control of the church, compelled a break. Dr. Allis continues his struggle for the truth till this very moment, and all of us who worked with him are his friends to this day.

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