May 20: Gilchrist in Chile, part 3

by Dr. Paul R. Gilchrist

On May 18, 1944 the Presbytery convened.  One member declared, “When these two are got rid of, this movement will die in 24 hours.”  Another spoke, “Brethren, we are throwing out the cream and keeping the skimmed milk.”  Another pastor warned, “You will crucify these 2 ministers, but after the crucifixion there will come an earthquake!”  Anxious to get on with the condemnation of “all pastors, elders, deacons and other church officers who were related to the organization, Presbytery voted on:  “That the brethren George Gilchrist and Olivero Maufras be suspended from their ministerial rights until the next Presbytery meeting in January 1945.” The vote was 23 in favor of suspension, and 7 opposed, with 1 abstention.  Just before adjourning the presbytery late that evening, Gilchrist made one last plea to permit GAE to continue as part of presbytery in their evangelistic ministry.  One representative also pleaded for them to seriously consider its spiritual responsibility – but all to no avail.
Mr. Gilchrist was made the scape-goat, being blamed by fellow missionaries and fellow pastors for the break.  Presbytery empowered several of the commissions with power to act, one of which went to Santisima Trinidad church in Santiago and delegated others to go to El Divino Redentor church in Linares.  These were the only churches who lost their properties to the Presbytery.  Both churches were put under lock and key to keep the evangelicals from using the property.  When the churches learned of presbytery’s actions against their beloved pastor and missionary and against the two churches with properties which were confiscated, they were exceedingly upset, if not angry.  Interestingly, it was a movement among the young people of the GAE who began to consider starting a new denomination.

Shortly afterwards, conservative members began the process of organizing the National Presbyterian Church of Chile.  On July 2, 1944 held their organizational meeting in Santisima Trinidad church in Santiago.  They started with 13 churches or groups and 3 pastors and 21 elders with 97 lay workers representing a constituency of some 800 members and adherents who had left the Presbytery of Chile.

Words to Live By:
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 
14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 
17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

Take away the eternal truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and the universal church falls to the ground. Our Lord Jesus is Himself that Rock upon which the Church is established. The Church has enemies which fight against it, an opposition which springs from the very pit of hell itself, but our Lord has promised the victory, a victory which is as sure as the Word of God.
to be continued Thursday . . .


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