The First Ten Years: The Orthodox Presbyterian Church 1936-1946

Robert S. Marsden

The balmy spring air of the spacious Central High School auditorium at Syracuse, New York, was charged with an expectancy that was electric. It was June 1, 1936 and the 148th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America was in session. Solemnly the clerk announced the Permanent Judicial Commission of the church. He announced that the assembly was now sitting as a court of Jesus Christ, and that all should rise on the entrance of the Commission. He warned in somber tones that everyone was forbidden to leave the room until the Commission had retired. The Commission was to report on the judicial cases involving those who had opposed the rise of modernism in the denomination. In a stately manner, accentuated by their black ministerial robes, the Commission advanced across the platform. The immense congregation filling the auditorium rose to its feet and, when everyone had again been seated, the chairman introduced the member who was to read the first decision.

In the center of the front row of the balcony sat a young couple earnestly following the reading. The names Griffiths, MacPherson, Rian, Woolley, Woodbridge, McIntire, Machen, Perkins, DeWaard—valiant defenders of the faith—rang from the platform. The verdicts, expressed in polite judicial terms but meaning, "guilty," "guilty," "guilty," rang like a knell through the room. The reading of the last decision had begun and the young man on the front row turned and whispered to his wife, "What shall we do?" Her reply came promptly, "Let's leave." The solemnity was broken ever so slightly by the stir accompanying the young couple's exit; human endurance had reached the breaking point as the travesty progressed, and they could no longer remain.

Thus was one decision made, and throughout the land, and even across the seas, Christian men and women who loved the Lord were forced to decide whether they would rather be doorkeepers in the house of God or dwell in the tents of wickedness. Too often worldly preferment won the verdict over conscientious duty; but for those whose decision was on the side of the Lord there was begun the first ten years of happy life in a church dedicated to his service alone.

The decisions of the 148th General Assembly were no surprise to anyone. For years the persecution of zealous believers had gone forward apace in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. By slow but sure process through the courts of the church, the court of final appeal had been reached. Those who were pronounced guilty by the church speaking through its highest court were those who had been engaged in peculiar "crimes." Some of them had organized a missions board that was dedicated to the sending forth of missionaries who were committed to the Bible as the Word of God and who were truly in accord with the doctrinal standards of the church. At least one of them had taken part in the organization of an independent Bible camp, and this was adjudged to be an illegal act although it was not even alleged that anything contrary to the Word of God was being taught there. One had refused to promise not to criticize the boards and agencies of the church even when those boards engaged in anti-biblical practices. The events leading up to that day in 1936 are well chronicled by one of the participants, the Rev. Edwin H. Rian, in his book The Presbyterian Conflict.

It is sufficient here to say that those who were declared unfit for the office of the ministry by the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. were those who for years had been the most ardent defenders of the faith once delivered unto the saints. The actions which had led up to the convictions—the establishment of Westminster Theological Seminary, the establishment of Christianity Today and, later, of The Presbyterian Guardian, the attacks in the courts of the church upon the modernism in the boards and agencies, the organization of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions and the organization of the Presbyterian Constitutional Covenant Union—were righteous acts; and it was for such righteous acts that the participants were condemned.

In condemning the most faithful ministers of the church, the denomination had demonstrated that it was completely under the control of modernists and of those indifferent to the gospel. It had come under the control of those whose interest was not in the preaching of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, but in building a church. It was freely said that the church was for everyone—and the actions of the assembly made it clear that "everyone" meant modernists and Bible-believers alike.

The "sin" for which the most faithful ministers of the church were condemned was, in the last analysis, the "sin" of refusing to obey the church even when obedience to the church meant disobedience to Christ. By carrying their appeals through all the courts of the church and having them dismissed by the church's supreme court, those who were condemned were assured that their condemnations were not simply temporary actions of ill-advised presbyteries. When the General Assembly, on June 1, 1936, affirmed the condemnations of these ministers, it officially placed its stamp of approval on grievous and heinous sins of the presbyteries and synods. The assembly by its official judicial action set up the church as the supreme authority over the consciences of its members; the authority of the church was placed above the authority of God; Christ, the supreme Head of the church, was dethroned. This was in direct contravention of the teaching of the Bible and of the Westminster Confession of Faith (Chapter I, Section X), and, in the eyes of many, it constituted official apostasy.

A new church was not necessary merely because there was modernism in the old church; modernism had existed in the church long before 1936. The new church was necessary because the denomination had officially sanctioned a grave departure from the biblical doctrine of the final authority of the Word of God, and because the legal ways of combating this unbelief from within the church had been exhausted.

The first general assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church was a logical sequel to the events of June 1st. Called at the New Century Club in Philadelphia as the first annual convention of the Presbyterian Constitutional Covenant Union, the Union dissolved on the morning of June 11th and the First Assembly was constituted in the afternoon of that day. In the words of the Rev. H. McAllister Griffiths, D.D., who presided and who offered the constituting resolutions, the church was formed in order "to continue what we believe to be the true, spiritual succession of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America which we hold to have been abandoned by the present organization of that body...." Those who were willing to adhere to the declarations were then asked to rise, and in their own name and in the name of those who adhered to them and by the warrant and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ they constituted themselves a general assembly of the Presbyterian Church of America. Ruling Elder Gordon H. Clark, Ph.D., then presented the name of the Rev. J. Gresham Machen, D.D., Litt.D., for moderator and amid great applause Dr. Machen was elected. The Rev. Professor Paul Woolley was elected the clerk of the assembly.

Thus the work of the Presbyterian Church of America, as it was then called, began in its first assembly. The ground to be covered was one which had not before been trod—the reestablishment of a truly Presbyterian witness in this country and throughout the world. In general, those who were undertaking the task were young—the average age of the ministry in the church is not yet much above thirty years. The pitfalls were well hid and the rather easy optimism of the first assembly was soon dissipated. The conflict against modernism in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. had drawn together a number of diverse elements in that church. They were united by a common foe but they were not united by a common objective. A number of those who had been active in opposition to modernism in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. resigned from that church and remained independent rather than join another Presbyterian church. Some who had been most valiant in the fight but who had not directly been connected with the judicial cases elected to remain in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Others joined the Presbyterian Church of America for a time, only to leave it by the end of the first year.

In spite of all this, the first assembly evidenced a great deal of unanimity, although even then there were rumblings of dissatisfaction with the distinctly Presbyterian positions which were taken by Dr. Machen and leaders of the movement. The Christian Beacon, published by the Rev. Carl McIntire, was the voice even then of the dissidents. While the first assembly took decisive steps to establish a clear testimony, the evidence of a cleavage was apparent even there. An appeal was made, at least informally, to include in the doctrinal standards of the church the Declaratory Statement which had been attached to the Westminster Confession of Faith in 1903 and which is Arminian in character. Pleas were heard to the effect that, if the new church were to be the spiritual successor of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, it must adopt its whole constitution and polity. The majority in the church felt that it would be folly to adopt those elements of the church's doctrine and polity that had contributed to its decadence. The assembly elected a Committee on the Constitution and a Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension which was given broad powers of a commission to operate the church between the first and second assemblies. It likewise elected smaller committees on Foreign Missions and Christian Education.

Shortly after the adjournment of the first assembly, the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America began suit against the Presbyterian Church of America, charging it with using a name too similar to its own name. This is a peculiarly blatant example of the vindictiveness of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., since at one time that body had existed in two separate parts with identical names and it had existed in close comity with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (the official name of the Southern Presbyterian Church) for decades. However, the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. won the suit in the Common Pleas Court and it was subsequently decided not to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania but rather to change the name.

Between the first and second assemblies, the church expanded rapidly and by the time of the second assembly there were over one hundred ministers enrolled, compared with the forty-four who had been enrolled at the first assembly. By the third general assembly, which met in June, 1937, there were one hundred twenty-eight ministers enrolled.

By the time of the second assembly, which was held in November, 1936, the growing rupture in the church had become more apparent. The Committee on the Constitution, through its chairman, the Rev. Ned B. Stonehouse, Th.D., presented its report which indicated clearly that it was an orthodox Presbyterian church which was being established. Attempts were made to modify the constitution to make it more specific in its references to the visible, personal and glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Presbyterian churches have always welcomed on equal footing those who accept this precious doctrine, regardless of the detailed interpretations of it which individuals might give.

During the summer of 1936, the Presbyterian Guardian had expressed itself in opposition to modern dispensationalism and it was thought by some that opposition to dispensationalism meant opposition to the doctrine of the premillennial return of Christ. The church had from the beginning shown zeal that modern dispensationalists not be included among its ministry and eldership, and it was this zeal which brought about attempts to alter the Confession of Faith. It is significant that those who, at the second general assembly, opposed the adoption of the Westminster Confession of Faith as it existed prior to 1903, without modification, were almost identical in personnel with those who eventually left the church in the summer of 1937.

The second assembly showed a great fear of the centralization of power which had been so evident in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and it determined, as far as practicable, that no member should serve on more than one standing committee. This precedent has been observed since that time.

During the winter and spring of 1936-37 there were growing rumors of disunity in the infant church. The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions had replaced Dr. Machen with another president, even though Dr. Machen believed that a real principle was involved and had openly stood for re-election. A teacher in Westminster Theological Seminary had resigned from the faculty and it was reported that a new seminary would be formed. By the time the third assembly met it became evident that schism was inevitable. Immediately upon the convening of the assembly, there was a contest over the election of a moderator and the Rev. John J. DeWaard was elected over the Rev. Milo F. Jamison by a vote of 23 to 7. It was generally known that Mr. DeWaard represented the group in the church which was opposed to tampering with the Confession of Faith and which was opposed to making declaratory statements on matters of personal conduct. The vote for moderator was in about the same proportion as the vote throughout the assembly wherever the cleavage became apparent. The minority, apart from seeking a declaration concerning eschatological freedom, pressed hard for a declaration against the beverage use of alcohol. The majority in the church made it clear that they opposed all forms of intemperance and that which would lead to intemperance. Yet they felt that loyalty to Christ forbade their adopting rules or giving advice which went beyond the Word of God. They held dear the biblical doctrine of the adequacy of Scripture to reveal not only what man is to believe concerning God but also what duty God requires of man. They maintained that to add man-made rules to the Scripture was as harmful as to subtract from the Scripture. They had fought the latter tendency in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and they were prepared to wage just as strong a battle against the former tendency in the new denomination. Shortly after the assembly, about thirty ministers resigned from the church and many of them took part in the organization of the Bible Presbyterian Church and of Faith Theological Seminary.

At the end of its first year the church had gone through deep waters indeed. Dr. Machen had been the outstanding leader, and on January 1, 1937, Dr. Machen had died. During the Christmas vacation at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he was Professor of New Testament and chairman of the faculty, he had gone to North Dakota to speak in several rural churches and to hold a rally in Bismarck. He had been troubled with a severe cold before he left and the winter weather had aggravated the condition which led finally to pneumonia. On New Year's Day he went to be with the Lord. At the time of his death, he was the outstanding New Testament scholar in this country. He was a gentleman of wide culture and of generous affections. He had a knowledge of the Bible, coupled with unusual wisdom and foresight such as no other individual in the movement has possessed. His place has not in any sense been filled in the church. He was deeply loved by his friends and was greatly respected even by those who most vigorously opposed him. His death had been followed by the active disaffection of a large section of the church and the disruption of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. In addition to these blows, the Rev. Charles J. Woodbridge, who had been general secretary of the Independent Board and who had resigned to become general secretary of the missions committees of the church, withdrew into another denomination. The Christian Beacon had used its wide circulation in an attempt to discredit the church throughout the nation. Had the church been dependent upon man, the remaining leaders would not have had courage to go on. But their dependence was upon God. The Rev. Edwin H. Rian, who at that time was field secretary of Westminster Theological Seminary, did valiant service in traveling about the country encouraging groups here and there to persist in the work to which they had put their hands.

The withdrawal of so many who had been active in the church greatly embarrassed the program of the Home Missions Committee. Its income was cut nearly in half and missionaries were but partially paid for months at a time. Yet by the time of the fourth assembly, in 1938, the church had begun its recovery. There was again unity in the church and while the size of the assembly had shrunk to about sixty commissioners, there was a determination to go forward. The church continued work on its constitution. It decided to expand the work of its Committee on Christian Education and encouraged it to publish tracts. It took action in encouraging the missions committees to secure a full-time general secretary.

The fourth assembly had authorized the calling of a fifth assembly if action on the civil suit should demand the change of the name of the church and the fifth assembly met in February, 1939, for that purpose. A number of names had been proposed for the church, and the ones which obtained the most support were "The Evangelical Presbyterian Church," "The Presbyterian and Reformed Church of America," "The Protestant Presbyterian Church of America" and "The Orthodox Presbyterian Church of America." The debate was vigorous and sometimes heated and lasted from about noon until nearly midnight on February 9th. Straw ballots were taken during the day and at one point it seemed almost certain that the name "Protestant Presbyterian Church" would be chosen. Yet, led by the Rev. Everett C. DeVelde and other members of the Presbytery of Ohio, the champions of the word "Orthodox" persisted in their endeavors to have that adjective adopted. When they finally won, and the name The Orthodox Presbyterian Church was adopted, there appeared a remarkable commentary upon the unity of the church: all groups accepted the new name graciously, and the whole church has since then become proud of its highly descriptive name.

The sixth general assembly was perhaps the shortest and met, as have five of the last eight assemblies, at Westminster Theological Seminary. Work was continued on the constitution, and the interest of the church in what the Bible teaches was demonstrated by the appointment of a Committee on Texts and Proof Texts to accompany the Confession and the Catechisms.

The seventh assembly was royally entertained in Cincinnati, Ohio. There was much discussion concerning oath-bound secret societies and a committee was elected to consider the matter. This finally resulted in the ninth assembly's declaration that membership in the Masonic order is inconsistent with Christianity. At the time of the seventh assembly there was a possibility of union with a small church in Puerto Rico and preliminary plans for such a union occupied a large portion of the debate. Complaint was heard in the assembly against what was considered by some to be the unrepresentative character of the Presbyterian Guardian.

By the time of the eighth assembly it was beginning to be evident that there was growing dissatisfaction in the church regarding its slow progress. Apparently, at the beginning, at least some ministers had felt that the church would grow more rapidly than it had. Many reasons were advanced for the lack of great growth and there was an increasing feeling among a vocal minority that the leadership of the church, which had been centered in the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary, was not broad enough in its outlook. A committee of nine was elected by the eighth assembly "to study the relationship of The Orthodox Presbyterian Church to society in general, and to other ecclesiastical bodies in particular, with a view to bringing in to the next general assembly recommendations suggesting ways and means whereby the message and methods of our church may be better implemented to meet the needs of this generation and The Orthodox Presbyterian Church may have an increasing area of influence and make a greater impact on life today." The eighth assembly continued to plan advancements for the church and there was adequate discussion and consideration given to various elements of the missionary and Christian education endeavors. The assembly completed its work on the constitution, which was finally adopted.

At the ninth assembly, which met in Rochester, New York, the discussion centered around the report of the Committee of Nine. A majority of the committee had made a number of recommendations, including one for a committee to study the matter of cooperation with evangelical churches and one to the effect that the assembly make a declaration regarding the teaching of the Word of God on the matter of Christian liberty and its proper use. These and other recommendations were vigorously opposed by a minority of the committee and by a number of commissioners. Ultimately the recommendation concerning cooperation with evangelical churches was defeated by a narrow margin and the recommendation concerning Christian liberty was passed, with some modifications. The committee, however, was not continued and fear was expressed that, had it been continued, it might have become a "super-committee" which would engage in activities similar to those of the dreaded General Council of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

The tenth assembly was marred in its discussion by procedural difficulties and confusion over parliamentary law. The debate centered largely around a proposal to engage in mission work in Peru, a complaint against certain advice which the Presbytery of Philadelphia had given to the Presbytery of Ohio, and the conduct of Jewish missions. The assembly was apprehensive lest the Committee on Foreign Missions should engage in union activities in Peru which would compromise the distinctive witness of the church. The assembly also initiated steps which should ultimately lead to the publication of an Orthodox Presbyterian Hymnal.

At the eleventh assembly a number of controversial matters were presented for debate, and proposal was made that Westminster Theological Seminary be placed under the jurisdiction of the church. Exception was taken to the position which the Presbyterian Guardian had taken on several issues, and an attempt was made to have the Guardian removed from the budget of the standing committees. A proposal that the church unite with the American Council of Christian Churches led to the formation of a committee to consider such affiliation. A great deal of feeling was generated by questions which were raised concerning the beliefs of Gordon H. Clark, Ph.D., whose application for licensure had been given preliminary consideration by the Presbytery of Philadelphia. Yet this assembly also made substantial advances in the progress of the church and showed itself willing to consider seriously questions which were raised before it. Considerable attention was given to the matter of Christian education and a sizable report of the Committee on Local Evangelism was presented to the assembly. This was one of several such reports which the Rev. Calvin K. Cummings, the chairman of the committee, has presented and which demonstrate the interest of the church in reaching the unsaved with the gospel.

During the summer of 1944, Dr. Clark had been ordained by the Presbytery of Philadelphia and much of the time of the twelfth assembly was occupied with the consideration of a complaint which a minority of the presbytery felt compelled to bring to the assembly against Dr. Clark's ordination. The twelfth assembly, which met in May, 1945, was the longest thus far, and it considered many important matters. It adopted rules of order which contributed to making its work more efficient and it gave consideration to the matter of ministerial pensions. It received a well-formulated set of principles of Christian education and pedagogy which was presented by the Committee on Christian Education. It likewise heard of substantial advances in the fields of missions and Christian education. More than half the time was spent on the Clark case and on opposition to the Presbyterian Guardian. The journal was again recommended by the assembly, which retained it on the budget of the standing committees.

Since the twelfth assembly an unprecedentedly large number of special committees have been preparing reports for the thirteenth assembly which will convene at Westminster Theological Seminary on May 21, 1946. The minutes of the twelfth assembly reveal that there are now no less than thirteen such committees, and they are investigating many pertinent subjects—from the doctrinal elements of a complaint to the improvement of standing rules. Many hours are spent in their labors and the willingness of the general assemblies to direct committees to search the Scriptures is one of the most encouraging features of the progress of the church. The committee work has largely been done by a comparatively few individuals who live adjacent to Philadelphia. It is they who have done the most to shape the later course of the denomination. The following ten men have been most active in committee work during the past five years: the Rev. Messrs. John Murray, Robert S. Marsden, John H. Skilton, Ned B. Stonehouse, John P. Clelland, R. B. Kuiper, Robert Strong, Paul Woolley and Edward J. Young, and ruling elder Murray Forst Thompson.

The first ten years of the life of the church tell a story of success. The foundations for a very strong church which will be Presbyterian in government and polity and Reformed in doctrine have been well laid. The church has grown substantially. The first published statistics are those of the year which ended March 31, 1938, and they show that the church had 4225 communicant members in 56 congregations. On March 31, 1945, the church had 73 congregations embracing 5574 communicant members and, in addition to these, 1838 baptized infants. By the middle of 1938 the church had become quite stable, and all but two of the congregations whose statistics appear in the minutes of the fourth assembly appear in the minutes of the twelfth assembly. The number of ministerial members has not fallen below one hundred and it has consistently been within a few of that number. Fewer and fewer of our ministers are laboring in churches that are not members of the denomination, and a number of those congregations which began as independent churches have joined the denomination. New churches have constantly been organized and there are no less than ten chapels and missions that are even now in the process of organization. Contributions to the work of the church have risen greatly, and they amounted to over $300,000 for the year which ended in March, 1945. Per capita contributions rose from $30.17 a communicant member in 1940 to $54.30 for the 1944-45 fiscal year. Per capita contributions of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church are thus more than double those of most churches, and the church stands among the very highest in the whole country in this matter. These gains have been made possible through the almost incredible self-sacrifices of ministers and laymen alike. Thoughts of worldly preferment and comfort have been thrown to the winds by large numbers of people in the church and the most sacrificial efforts have been made to enable the local churches to become established. Many laymen, as well as ministers, have given not only of their income but of their meager capital to enable their local church and the whole denomination to go forward. No such history of success could be written without recording these sacrifices.

But the success cannot adequately be measured in terms of growth. The first ten years of the church's life have witnessed many other signs of great vitality. In 1937, when great temptations were placed before the church to depart from the Scripture, the church, at great cost, withstood the temptations. At that time it was fully realized that the church would be able to make a much more popular appeal if it did not adhere strictly to the Bible and to the Bible alone. Yet the church was willing to pay the price of lack of popularity to remain truly a church in which the Word was the supreme authority.

The church has likewise shown an ability to do things thoroughly and in good order. A perusal of the minutes of the several general assemblies will make it clear that, while the method of doing business is sometimes tedious, the business is well done. The reports which the committees have presented from time to time have shown a great amount of work and a most commendable zeal for the truth. The church has not been so busy doing things that it has had no time to do things right. It has been willing to give time and energy to searching out the truth as well as to applying it to the needs of our day.

The church has also shown a willingness to engage in controversy. Sometimes, to be sure, too large a portion of its energies has been spent in controversy, but when a church ceases to be willing to engage in controversy it has ceased truly to live. In any Bible-believing church, there will be differences of opinion concerning the message which the Bible teaches and the program of the church which the Bible authorizes. Time after time the church has shown a willingness to look into controversial matters in an attempt to discover what the Bible does teach. It has done this with a determination to follow that teaching regardless of what the consequences may be. It did that when it investigated oath-bound secret societies; it did that when it authorized a committee on song in the public worship of God; it did that when it erected a committee to study the question of theological education. Proposals to delineate the relationship of ministers laboring in other denominations were examined in the light of the Word. The possibility of a federation of Reformed churches and of union with at least one other church has been investigated, and the proper relationship of a truly Reformed church to a council of Bible-believing churches has been examined. Biblical methods of conducting evangelism and of conducting the work of Christian education have carefully been sought. Truly biblical missions have been established throughout the country and in at least four foreign lands. Special committees have been erected by every assembly, and to them has been committed the task of discovering what the Bible teaches on the several subjects that have occupied the church. To be sure, sometimes the church has been impatient in insisting that a satisfactory answer be immediately found to problems which have troubled the church for centuries. Yet the willingness to investigate questions that are properly brought before it is one of the most hopeful things in the whole history of the church.

It is the opinion of your historian that all the dominant elements of the church are zealous for the establishment and development of a truly orthodox Presbyterian witness. Opinions differ, indeed, on comparative details concerning what a truly orthodox Presbyterian church is and upon how it can be established and made to grow in our present age. But since the church has shown itself willing to submit itself to the Word of God in all things, there is good hope that the several elements in the church will find their common ground in the Word of God which all confess as their only infallible rule of faith and life. May the God of all grace grant that, if the Lord tarries, those who examine the history of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church at the end of its first hundred years may find there a church that was firmly established in its first ten years! May he grant that it will continue to grow and expand in complete loyalty to the Lord and to his Word until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ—until the roll of God's elect is complete and the Lord Jesus Christ returns with power and great glory to subdue all things unto himself!

The Committee on Foreign Missions

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church was born of a controversy that had its focus in a Board of Foreign Missions. Hence it is not surprising that it should be a church that is vitally interested in foreign missions. The constituency of the church was almost entirely recruited from those who had supported the establishment of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions and, when the members of that board were disciplined in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., it was those who were to make up the new church which championed their cause. The first general assembly appointed a committee on foreign missions, and when this committee reported to the second assembly it took cognizance of the Independent Board; the assembly recommended that Board to the churches. The second assembly elected a committee of five, without any authority to receive and disburse funds or to carry on foreign missions. It was at the instance of a majority of this committee, led by its chairman, the Rev. Franklin S. Dyrness, that the third assembly determined to erect a standing committee to carry on foreign missions activity. The third assembly thus proceeded to the election of the Committee on Foreign Missions. In conjunction with the Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension, it elected the Rev. Charles J. Woodbridge as general secretary. Mr. Woodbridge had been general secretary of the Independent Board, but he served the committees only two months and then resigned and transferred to another denomination.

The first missionaries, with the exception of the Rev. Malcolm C. Frehn, had all been missionaries under the Independent Board, and by the time of the fourth assembly there were seven missionaries under appointment. Their ranks were increased to nine by the end of 1938, and these original missionaries included, in the order of their appointment, Mr. and Mrs. Richard B. Gaffin, the Rev. R. Heber McIlwaine, the Rev. Egbert W. Andrews, Mr. Frehn, the Rev. and Mrs. Henry W. Coray and the Rev. and Mrs. Bruce F. Hunt. They were laboring in China, in Japan and in Manchuria.

These missionaries all worked effectively in their fields until about 1940. By that time the Japanese had overrun the part of China occupied by our missionaries and had imposed unwarranted restrictions upon the work of the missionaries in Manchuria and Japan as well. It became increasingly difficult for the missionaries to carry on their work, and under the restrictive policy it became unwise for the Corays, the Gaffins and Mr. McIlwaine to return to the fields after their furloughs, in the meantime the Japanese were preparing for war and, in order to unify the spirit of the people already conquered, they ordered that obeisance be made at the Shinto shrines. Our missionaries were one in opposition to this idolatry and the Hunts particularly were in a position to be very influential in seeking to persuade Koreans in both Korea and Manchuria to refuse obedience to the blasphemous pretensions of the Japanese emperor. Ultimately Mr. Hunt was arrested and jailed for his opposition to shrine worship and it was not until the Hunts, the Frehns and Mr. Andrews were repatriated in the summer of 1942 that Mr. Hunt was freed.

Two months before the return of the remaining missionaries from the Orient, the committee made its first appointments in what might be termed its post-war activity. It was not until 1943 that the Rev. Clarence W. Duff was able to sail for Eritrea where a pioneer missionary work has been started. He was joined the following year by the Rev. Charles E. Stanton and, in 1945, by Mrs. Duff, Mrs. Stanton and the Rev. and Mrs. Francis E. Mahaffy. In that country that had so long been virtually closed to missionary work, under Italian domination, three stations have been established, in Ghinda, in Arafali and in Assab.

The committee is planning the reestablishment of its missions in the Far East. Within the past few months, the Rev. Egbert W. Andrews has been able to tour China while in government service, and he expects to resume his missionary activity in that country in April, 1946. Passports have been applied for on behalf of the Rev. and Mrs. Bruce F. Hunt, and for the Rev. and Mrs. Floyd E. Hamilton, veteran missionaries who were appointed by the committee late in 1945. The committee expects to reenter China, Manchuria, and perhaps Japan; it would like to enter Korea also.

Financially the committee has been greatly blessed. It has consistently been able to meet its obligations, and contributions to its work have increased from year to year. For the fiscal year 1946-47 the committee has adopted a budget of nearly $20,000.

Since 1938 the committee has been served by the Rev. Robert S. Marsden as general secretary. Mr. Marsden serves also the Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension. Thirty-five different individuals have served as members of the committee since it was established in its present size in 1937, and their hours of consecrated consideration of the business has established the work of the committee on a sound basis. It is now prepared to expand its work greatly as soon as the world situation makes such expansion possible.

The Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension

The Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension has been the backbone of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church since the very inception of the denomination. Its erection was proposed as one of the first items of business of the first general assembly, and it was elected and given broad powers by that assembly. During the five-month interim between the first and second assemblies, it carried on a large part of the business of the church under the vigorous leadership of the Rev. Edwin H. Rian, who was elected its general secretary. Mr. Rian, who also served as field secretary of Westminster Theological Seminary, served the committee on a part-time basis during the first year.

At the organization of the church, there were a large number of ministers in proportion to the number of laymen, and the committee was faced with the tremendous problem of finding fields of service and securing funds for the support of the ministers. In a very few weeks, numerous appointments were made and a vigorous campaign to raise funds was carried on by the committee. Its budget quickly expanded to over $2000 a month and, with only a comparatively few contributors, it soon felt the pinch of this large budget. The little churches that had been organized all had pressing local financial problems, since practically all of them had lost their properties and many of them represented only small minority groups that had separated themselves from the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The burden of supporting the committee fell largely upon individual donors. Numerous donors gave most sacrificially and gifts, such as one for $2,500 from a poor widow, heartened the committee in its work.

During the first year the committee undertook the full-time support of fifteen missionaries and granted partial support to sixteen others. Nearly half the pastors and those who were organizing churches were dependent upon the committee for at least part of their support.

In the seven months between the second and third assemblies, the committee became less dependent upon a few individual donors and the churches began regular contributions. However, after the schism that rent the church in the summer of 1937, the committee entered into a period of great financial distress. Despite the fact that under the financial pressure numerous fields were compelled to assume self-support, and despite the gradual reduction of the number of missionaries, by the summer of 1938 the situation was acute. During that year Dr. Robert Strong carried on the work as volunteer general secretary and his fine work under most difficult circumstances assisted the committee over a perplexing period.

It soon became apparent to the committee that, if the work were to be prosecuted vigorously, it needed a full-time general secretary. It was felt that the work could most advantageously be carried on in conjunction with the Committee on Foreign Missions and the committees united in employing the Rev. Robert S. Marsden for that important post in the summer of 1938. During that summer, the financial condition of the committee was truly alarming. Salaries of the missionaries had had to be reduced to a pittance and for September of that year the missionaries received only thirty-one per cent of their meager allowances. Under the very able leadership of Mr. Marsden from that time until the present, the committee's work has continued to advance. The congregations themselves have assumed an ever larger amount of the budget and the work has been greatly aided by gifts from a large number of individual donors. From October, 1938, until the present, the cash receipts of the committee have aggregated $250,000 and the committee's budget for the fiscal year 1946-47 is nearly $60,000.

The history of the committee cannot, however, be well told in terms of receipts and disbursements. It can best be told in terms of devotion to the gospel and self-sacrifice on the part of the missionaries and the donors. When we consider the sizable number of missionaries who were willing to give up the security of a large denomination and cast in their lot with a small group that could offer them no earthly reward beyond the joy of their service to Christ and to his gospel, we have considered something of the history of the committee. When we consider the large number of individuals scattered all over this country and, indeed, all over the world, some of whom have even sold their possessions to make the work of the committee possible, then we have begun to appreciate something of the history of the committee.

Of the present organized congregations of the church, fully half of them have either been started under the auspices of the committee or have received financial aid from the committee at one time or other. This has been the primary work of the committee, and its activity has had a profound influence upon the whole character of the church. In late years the committee's work has been aided by the Rev. George W. Marston as field missionary. He has been active in surveying fields for new churches and in aiding established churches to find more suitable locations. Beside the work that is definitely related to home missions and church extension, the successive assemblies have assigned to the committee a great many special tasks, and it is under the auspices of this committee that the tenth anniversary celebration is being held.

No history of the committee could be complete without some reference to the faithfulness of the members. The committee has been truly representative, for forty-eight different men have served as members during the ten years. No individual member takes credit for the triumphs of the committee, yet without the faithful attendance of the members to their duties the work would have been impossible.

The committee feels that its work has only begun and even now it has planned an aggressive program of church extension. May the God of grace give the committee humility, courage and faith to seize the opportunities for service for the furtherance of his kingdom!

The Committee on Christian Education

For ten years the general assembly has had a Committee on Christian Education. The first assembly in 1936 charged this committee with the task of charting the future Christian educational course of the infant church. This broad assignment may have meant very little or very much. But the assembly was wise in selecting for this committee members with strong convictions—men who maintained that "the triumph of the old organization [the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.] was due in no small measure to the prostitution of existing educational agencies through compromise with unbelief, on the one hand, and to the lack of a full-orbed and consistent system of Christian education on the other" (Minutes of Second General Assembly, p. 23).

Among those who were named to this committee was the Rev. Calvin K. Cummings, who still actively serves on it. Under his capable leadership, repeated appeals were made in succeeding assemblies for greater interest in and support of a "full-orbed and consistent system of Christian education." The committee invited the Rev. Cornelius Van Til, Ph.D., to address the audiences at the public meetings held in connection with the assembly. His stirring messages aroused a keen interest in the Christian day school movement and went far toward bringing into existence several Christian school societies and a few Christian schools.

Not until 1939 was the committee authorized to receive and disburse funds. Shortly thereafter it was publishing tracts and issuing summer Bible school materials and young people's lessons. A comprehensive program of Christian education was early mapped by the committee. The broad outlines of that program still serve to describe much of the activity of the committee. During those lean years prior to the employment of a general secretary, the work of the committee fell largely on the shoulders of men already too busy in their own respective fields of endeavor. The Rev. Professor Edward J. Young, Ph.D., devoted much time to supervising the printing and mailing of tracts. With the assistance of Miss Ruth Stahl of the Calvary Church of Willow Grove, hundreds of tracts were mailed to students in seminaries throughout the land; thousands of others were mailed to individuals and churches, all of which took countless hours of tedious work in handling orders and keeping accounts straight.

When funds were available for issuing tracts, the question arose as to what could safely be recommended for use among the churches. The lack of sound literature, true to the Reformed faith, was appalling. The Rev. Lawrence B. Gilmore, Th.D., another member of the committee, produced several tracts of his own writing, which went through several editions in a few years. He it was who also made available the summer Bible school materials for the first few years. This was a gigantic task for one man and no one knows, except their author, how many hundreds of hours were spent in drawing, typing, stenciling, mimeographing and assembling materials to which he had already devoted the utmost care in writing.

A great need for young people's lessons became apparent. Another member of the committee, the Rev. Burton L. Goddard, Th.D., wrote, mimeographed and mailed these to a number of groups for several years.

The committee was able in 1943 to secure the services of a full-time general secretary. Prior to this time the Rev. Leslie A. Dunn, as chairman of the committee, bore the main burden of the work. The Rev. Floyd E. Hamilton was called to the secretaryship and has given a great impetus to Christian education in many of our churches. Under his leadership the committee has made available better Sunday school materials, stimulated a more adequate program of catechetical instruction, simplified the young people's lessons and secured a wider distribution of sound and timely tracts. Much time was spent by the committee in formulating principles which should guide it and the churches in promoting Christian education. This noteworthy contribution was printed in the 1945 minutes of the general assembly.

The assembly has acted favorably on all the committee's appeals for authorization of increased funds, and sessions have, for the most part, been prompt in allocating a proper share of benevolences for Christian Education. The committee has been able to maintain an office, employ a general secretary and an office staff to issue periodicals and tracts true to the Reformed faith.

The committee feels that much has been done but that much more needs to be accomplished. Junior, intermediate and adult lessons for the Sunday school are in design but not yet forthcoming. A number of titles for short and long tracts are on hand, waiting for money to have them printed. A few of the committee members have felt a need for the issuing of many sound, popular books and booklets in readable form, to enlighten young and old alike on the articles of our faith and on various timely subjects.

There is a need that the denomination itself should become more conscious of covenant obligations and engage in an active, long-range program of establishing a family altar with daily devotions in every home and catechetical classes in the churches where every child in the church will be enrolled for weekly instruction by the pastor. The committee believes that a whole generation of instructed and zealous born-again Christians is needed in our churches and can only be brought about by incessant teaching—in the home day by day, in the church on weekdays as well as on Sunday, and in Christian day schools established wherever there is an Orthodox Presbyterian church. Only then will we begin to see a church fully awake to the challenge of evangelizing the world and equipped for the fulfillment of the Great Commission, "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded."

Westminster Theological Seminary

By the Rev. John H. Skilton, Assistant Professor of New Testament

Westminster Theological Seminary is one of the youngest theological institutions in the United States, but it is also one of the oldest. It was founded less than twenty years ago—in 1929—but the tradition of theological instruction which it represents goes back much further indeed. It was founded in the year in which the modernism and the indifferentism which had long been at work in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America brought about the reorganization of Princeton Theological Seminary. And it came into being in order to carry on the great work to which the old Princeton had been committed for more than a century. It was as early as 1812 that instruction was first given in Princeton Seminary—the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church at Princeton, New Jersey, which had been founded by the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. From the beginning, Princeton Seminary had been committed to the Reformed faith and it had maintained its loyalty to that faith down through the years, without yielding to the New England and the New School theology. Outstanding theologians and leaders in the church had brought distinction to the faculty. Among them were Archibald Alexander, Charles Hodge, J. A. Alexander, B. B. Warfield, William Henry Green, Geerhardus Vos, Robert Dick Wilson, and J. Gresham Machen. It has been said that, in the period just preceding the reorganization, Princeton stood at the very height of its influence. The enrollment had markedly increased. The seminary was offering a very serious challenge to the modernism which was advancing in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and it was providing encouragement and assistance for the struggling forces of historic Christianity throughout the world. But opposition within the seminary and the opposition without succeeded in overthrowing the old Princeton. The reorganization in 1929 meant that the old Princeton had come to an end.

With the passing of the old Princeton, it became imperative that some other seminary be established to maintain its position and to continue its work. After a number of conferences of ministers and laymen, a temporary executive committee was appointed on July 18, 1929, to establish a new seminary.[1] After intensive work had been done, Westminster Theological Seminary was opened in Philadelphia on September 25, 1929, as the real successor to the old Princeton. Robert Dick Wilson, J. Gresham Machen, Oswald T. Allis, and Cornelius Van Til, all of whom had been teaching at Princeton before the reorganization, along with R. B. Kuiper, Ned B. Stonehouse, Paul Woolley, and Allan A. MacRae, formed the faculty of the new institution. All of the members of the original faculty had themselves been in some way associated with the old Princeton, either as members of the faculty, or as students, or both. In Westminster's second year, John Murray, who had also received theological instruction at Princeton and had taught there, joined the faculty. Many students transferred from Princeton to the new seminary. Westminster opened with an enrollment of fifty.

The formal organization of the seminary was completed on May 13, 1930, with the adoption of a constitution at the first meeting of the board of trustees. The first president of the board of trustees was the Rev. Frank H. Stevenson, D.D. Dr. Stevenson had been pastor of the Church of the Covenant in Cincinnati, president of the board of Lane Theological Seminary, and a member of the board of directors of Princeton Seminary. He had striven to prevent the reorganization at Princeton and had been very active in the founding of Westminster Seminary. In the early years of the new seminary, in addition to his other labors in behalf of the institution, he lectured in the department of homiletics and practical theology. Others who had been members of the board of directors of Princeton Seminary also became members of the board of trustees of Westminster Seminary.

In the faculty, then, in the student body, and in the board of trustees a vital continuity between the old Princeton and the new seminary was in evidence. A continuity in procedures and practices could also be observed. The procedures, methods and practices which Princeton had developed and tested in her long, rich experience were continued at Westminster—not as if they were infallible, but as being worthy of retention until further experience or necessity called for their modification. The highest scholastic traditions of the old Princeton were also continued at Westminster. Dr. Stevenson, in the early days of the Seminary, said: "We doubt if the Harvard Law School, or the Medical Department of Johns Hopkins, celebrated as they are for the rigor of their curriculum, have stiffer classroom requirements. The willingness of students to maintain the highest standards of sound scholarship at Westminster Seminary is securing the right tradition for the future of the school."[2]

The fundamental continuity between the old Princeton and Westminster Seminary was clearly stated by Dr. Machen at the opening of the new seminary. On that occasion he said: "Though Princeton Seminary is dead, the noble tradition of Princeton Seminary is alive. Westminster Seminary will endeavor by God's grace to continue that tradition unimpaired; it will endeavor, not on a foundation of equivocation and compromise, but on an honest foundation of devotion to God's Word, to maintain the same principles that old Princeton maintained. We believe, first, that the Christian religion, as it is set forth in the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church, is true; we believe, second, that the Christian religion welcomes and that it is capable of scholarly defense; and we believe, third, that the Christian religion should be proclaimed without fear or favor, and in clear opposition to whatever opposes it, whether within or without the Church, as the only way of salvation for lost mankind. On that platform, brethren, we stand. Pray that we may be enabled by God's Spirit to stand firm. Pray that the students who go forth from Westminster Seminary may know Christ as their own Saviour and may proclaim to others the gospel of His love."[3]

It should be clear, then, that although Westminster Seminary is a comparatively new institution, it is also in a proper sense a very old institution. It is in a true sense as old as the old Princeton. No account of its history can rightly ignore the long and distinguished history of the old Princeton.

Westminster Seminary was founded because decline in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. had brought about the fall of the old Princeton. But that denomination was not the only denomination which gave evidence of decline at the time. As Professor John Murray has pointed out,[4] the half decade in which Westminster Seminary was founded was a critical time in the history of different Presbyterian churches in North America and elsewhere and a time in which marks of serious decline were observed in them. "The seminary came into being," Professor Murray has said, "at a time when the very things for which it was established ... were being repudiated by large sections of the Reformed churches in North America and in Europe.... When the enemy came in like a flood, God in His abundant mercy and sovereign providence raised up a standard against him."[5] Bible-believing students of different denominations at that critical time could look to Westminster Seminary for the sort of training for the ministry which they desired. Westminster sought, of course, to provide properly trained ministers for the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. But it also, like Princeton, welcomed students from different denominations and from different parts of the world. It, again like Princeton, drew and has drawn its faculty members from different Reformed backgrounds. The members of its board of trustees have come from a number of denominations. It has been an ecumenical sort of Reformed seminary, gladly contributing to many and from many receiving stimulating contributions.

Westminster Seminary, however, was not founded as a seminary of an interdenominational type—and it has not become such an institution. It welcomes a true Christian catholicity, but it is opposed to church unionism of a compromising kind. Its teaching has been Presbyterian. Although not under ecclesiastical control, it has had great significance for the ecclesiastical life of our times. Dr. Machen and others connected with it played a vital part in opposing the unbelief within the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and in the formation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. It has provided theological training for most of the ministers of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Many of its friends have also given their support to that denomination.

Down through the years, Westminster Seminary by the grace of God has been sustained and has been enabled to carry on the work for which it was established. Its history has not been free of difficulties, conflicts, and crises, but out of them all it has been delivered. It had hardly opened its doors when the worst financial depression in the history of the United States began. Dr. Stevenson and others labored successfully for the survival of the seminary during the difficult years which followed. The death of Dr. Stevenson in 1934 was a very serious loss to the institution to which he had devoted the last years of his life. The Rev. Edwin H. Rian has given many years of attention to the financial needs of the seminary as its field secretary and as the second president of the board of trustees. Despite the fact that the seminary charges no tuition fees, provides rooms free to students in need of financial assistance, and has provided scholarships with liberality, it has been able to reach the present day free of all debt. Friends raised up by God have helped incalculably in establishing and sustaining the institution.

The size of the enrollment increased considerably in the early years of the seminary, but subsequently certain crises in the seminary and in the ecclesiastical situation tended to reduce it. The vigorous struggle against modernism in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. which was conducted by men associated with the seminary and the triumph of unbelief in that denomination in 1936 lost some supporters for the seminary and all but cut off what had formerly been its chief source of students. Faithful adherence to the Princeton, indeed the Reformed, tradition resulted in the loss of other former supporters of the seminary in 1937 and reduced further the sources of students. In more recent years the war and the declining interest in some quarters in the conflict between modernism and Christianity have brought fresh enrollment problems. Nevertheless, despite all the difficulties encountered, the enrollment has remained at about the same medium level for many years, and at times registrations for special courses have produced a substantial increase. The Rev. Arthur W. Kuschke, Jr., gave much attention to enrollment matters for some years, in connection with his work as assistant to the field secretary.

Much devotion, labor and prayer have been involved in the continuing life and faithfulness of the seminary. And the continued adherence of the seminary to the Princeton tradition has been immeasurably aided by the continuity which there has been in the faculty. Very great losses were suffered in the death of Dr. Wilson in 1930 and in the death of Dr. Machen in 1937. But most of those who were members of the faculty in the early years are still with the seminary; Dr. Van Til, Professor Kuiper, Dr. Stonehouse, Professor Woolley and Professor Murray are still serving on the faculty. Those who have been added to the faculty have themselves received theological training at the seminary. Dr. Edward J. Young of the Old Testament department received both his Th.B. and Th.M. degrees from the seminary and was the first recipient—in 1935—of a Stevenson Fellowship for study abroad.

Westminster Seminary has been enabled by God's grace not only to maintain itself through the years but also to make important advances. A major advance was made in 1937 when, after eight years in very limited quarters in central Philadelphia, the seminary moved to its present beautiful suburban campus of twenty-two acres. The largest of the buildings on the campus was dedicated on September 29, 1937, as the J. Gresham Machen Memorial Hall.

The library of the seminary has grown constantly. It has of course been developed as a library of a special, select type, with a view to meeting the needs of a theological institution. It has been substantially enlarged and enriched by acquisitions from the libraries of such theologians as Dr. Robert Dick Wilson, Dr. J. Gresham Machen, Dr. Geerhardus Vos, Dr. Caspar Wistar Hodge, and Dr. John Macleod. The valuable Frank H. Stevenson Memorial Collection was established by Mrs. Frank H. Stevenson in 1940, in memory of her husband. The number of bound volumes now in the library is approaching 20,000 and the number of pamphlets is more than 1,800. The library receives fifty or more religious and theological periodicals. Participation in the Union Library Catalogue project of the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area has made readily available books owned by the various cooperating libraries. The participating libraries own between five and six million volumes, a large number of which are in the field of religion. For several years the library has had the services of a full-time librarian, formerly of the Rev. Leslie W. Sloat and now of the Rev. Arthur W. Kuschke, Jr.

The seminary has given encouragement and assistance to the production of a Reformed literature. The writings of Dr. Wilson, Dr. Machen, and Dr. Allis have, of course, been influential throughout the world. But much has been published and much editorial work has been done by others who have been associated with the seminary—by other members of the faculty, by members of the board of trustees, and by alumni. The writing of books by members of the faculty has been facilitated in recent years by leaves of absence granted by the board of trustees for the purpose. Books which have recently been published by members of the faculty are The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ[6] by Dr. Ned B. Stonehouse, The New Modernism[7] an appraisal of the theology of Barth and Brunner, by Dr. Cornelius Van Til, and The Infallible Word,[8] a symposium to which each member of the faculty has contributed a chapter. Other books are being prepared. Since 1938 the seminary has been publishing The Westminster Theological Journal, a medium for the scholarly expression of the seminary's basic viewpoint. Through it contributions can be made to theological learning, and a Reformed evaluation of current theological literature and movements can be provided. The Journal is edited by Professor Paul Woolley and Professor John Murray. It is the real successor to The Princeton Theological Review, of which Dr. Allis was faculty editor for many years. The Harry A. Worcester Lectureship and Publication Fund was established in 1941 by Mrs. Harry A. Worcester in memory of her husband, who was a constituting member of the board of trustees of the seminary and who served on the board until his death in 1938, when he was its vice president. Under the terms of the Worcester Fund, lecturers or speakers on subjects connected with theological learning may be brought to the seminary and assistance may be given in the publication of books or pamphlets which are judged to be worthy contributions to the truth to which the seminary is committed. Both The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ and The Infallible Word have been published under the provisions of the Worcester Fund. A vigorous literary offensive against unbelief and for the truth is in motion.

Other important advances have been made. The seminary secured authority to grant the degree of Bachelor of Theology in time for its tenth anniversary observance in 1939, and authority to grant the degree of Master of Theology in time for its fifteenth anniversary in 1944. The Frank H. Stevenson Fellowship and Scholarship Fund was established by Mrs. Frank H. Stevenson in 1935 in memory of her husband. The chief purpose of this fund is to provide an opportunity for a year's study abroad for students of the seminary upon their graduation. This fund has also provided graduate scholarships for study in this country. The James H. Montgomery Scholarship Fund was established in 1939. This fund makes available scholarships for graduate study in Westminster Seminary. Undergraduate scholarships have also been made available from both the Stevenson and the Montgomery funds. A prize, given in memory of the Reverend Professor William Brenton Greene, Jr., D.D., of Princeton Theological Seminary, is awarded every year. The seminary has profited from visits of Christian leaders from different parts of the world. Of great importance was the visit, in connection with the tenth anniversary of the seminary in 1939, of the Rev. John Macleod, D.D., principal of the Free Church College, Edinburgh, Scotland. Principal Macleod delivered the commencement address and gave a series of lectures which were subsequently published in book form under the title Scottish Theology in Relation to Church History Since the Reformation.[9]

Many of the accomplishments of Westminster Seminary cannot be chronicled. No one, for example, can measure the influence it has had on the devotional life of many and in the encouragement of a genuine piety. The convictions, the teaching, and the witness of the seminary unquestionably have encouraged a rich, wholesome devotional life and a deep piety. One of the deepest convictions held at the seminary is that "Christian life is founded upon Christian doctrine as set forth in the Word of God." Through the years this conviction has borne abundant fruit. Devotional life at the seminary has been aided, among other ways, by daily chapel exercises, regular student prayer meetings, and special days of prayer. Classes are opened with prayer. Again, no one can measure the part that the seminary has had in the witness and influence of the pastors, evangelists, missionaries, teachers, church executives and chaplains who have gone forth from its halls to various parts of the earth. Their number has been large, and large numbers of men have heard their witness. In 1944, the year in which the fifteenth anniversary of the seminary was observed—a convenient point for surveying some of the more tangible aspects of the seminary's work—the Rev. Edwin H. Rian wrote: "During the fifteen years of its life, three hundred fifty-three students from thirty-four denominations have entered its doors for instruction. Today there are two hundred twenty-two graduates in thirty-two states and eight foreign countries. One hundred sixty-two are pastors, thirteen are active missionaries or missionaries on furlough, fifteen are teachers, seven are evangelists, and thirteen are chaplains in the armed forces of the United Nations."[10]

The great Reformed tradition of the old Princeton has not died. It has lived on, unbroken and with success at Westminster Seminary—and may it live long and prosper! May Westminster Seminary always be able to witness, with Dr. Machen: "Though Princeton Seminary is dead, the noble tradition of Princeton Seminary is alive. Westminster Seminary will endeavor to continue that tradition unimpaired; it will endeavor, not on a foundation of equivocation and compromise, but on an honest foundation of devotion to God's Word, to maintain the same principles that old Princeton maintained."


[1] The members of this committee were F. M. Paist, chairman, Rev. Charles Schall, D.D., Rev. Samuel G. Craig. D.D., Rev. Frank H. Stevenson, D.D., Morgan H. Thomas, Edgar Frutchey, T. Edward Ross, John L. Steele, Roland K. Armes, Rev. Maitland Alexander, D.D., LL.D., James L. Rankin, Esq., Rev. Walter Duncan Buchanan, D.D., LL.D., Rev. Roy Talmage Brumbaugh, James F. Shrader, Esq., and Rev. David De Forest Burrell, D.D. The following were advisory members: Robert Dick Wilson, Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Oswald T. Allis, Ph.D., D.D., and J. Gresham Machen, D.D., Litt.D.

[2] "News Notes from Westminster Theological Seminary," Christianity Today, Mid-October, 1931, p. 8.

[3] Quoted in Christianity Today, Mid-September, 1930, p. 4.

[4] In "The Banner of Westminster Seminary," The Presbyterian Guardian, July 10, 1944, pp. 197f.

[5] Idem, p. 198.

[6] Published in Philadelphia in 1944 by the Presbyterian Guardian Publishing Corporation.

[7] Published in Philadelphia in 1946 by the Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company.

[8] Published in Philadelphia in 1946 by the Presbyterian Guardian Publishing Corporation.

[9] Published in Edinburgh in 1943 by the Publications Committee of the Free Church of Scotland.

[10] "Westminster's Fifteenth Anniversary," The Presbyterian Guardian, Jan. 10, 1944, p. 7. For further information about the history of the seminary and for an account of the struggle between modernism and orthodoxy within the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, see Mr. Rian's book, The Presbyterian Conflict, Grand Rapids, 1940.

The Rev. Robert S. Marsden (1905-1960) was a minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. After studying at the University of Pennsylvania (A.B.), Princeton Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary (Th.B.), he served as pastor in Middletown, Pennsylvania, as general secretary of the Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension, and as executive secretary of Westminster Theological Seminary. He edited the book The First Ten Years (Philadelphia: Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension, 1946), from which this excerpt was taken.