knoxJohn

No Wonder He Was Weary.

Our post today, an account of the death of John Knox, is taken from the essential biography written by Thomas McCrie:—

Monday, the 24th of November [1572], was the last day that he spent on earth. That morning he could not be persuaded to lie in bed, but, though unable to stand alone, rose between nine and ten o’clock, and put on his stockings and doublet. Being conducted to a chair, he sat about half an hour, and then was put in bed again. In the progress of the day, it appeared evident that his end drew near. Besides his wife and Richard Bannatyne, Campbell of Kinyeancleugh, Johnston of Elphingston, and Dr. Preston, three of his most intimate acquaintances, sat by turns at his bed-side. Kinyeancleugh asked him, if he had any pain. “It is no painful pain, but such a pain as shall, I trust, put end to the battle. I must leave the care of my wife and children to you (continued he,) to whom you must be a husband in my room.” About three o’clock int he afternoon, one of his eyes failed, and his speech was considerably affected. he desired his wife to read the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians. “Is not that a comfortable chapter?” said he, when it was finished. “O what sweet and salutary consolation the Lord hath afforded me from that chapter!” A little after, he said, “Now, for the last time, I commend my soul, spirit, and body (touching three of his fingers) into thy hand, O Lord.” About five o’clock, he said to his wife, “Go, read where I cast my first anchor;” upon which she read the seventeenth chapter of John’s Gospel, and afterwards a part of Calvin’s sermons on the Ephesians.

After this he appeared to fall into a slumber, interrupted by heavy moans, during which the attendants looked every moment for his dissolution. But at length he awaked as if from sleep, and being asked the cause of his sighing so deeply, replied, “I have formerly, during my frail life, sustained many contests, and many assaults of Satan; but at present that roaring lion hath assailed me most furiously, and put forth all his strength to devour, and make an end of me at once. Often before has he placed my sins before my eyes, often tempted me to despair, often endeavoured to ensnare me by the allurements of the world; but these weapons being broken by the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, he could not prevail. Now he was [sic] attacked me in another way; the cunning serpent has laboured to persuade me that I have merited heaven and eternal blessedness, by the faithful discharge of my ministry. But blessed be God who has enabled me to beat down and quench this fiery dart, by suggesting to me such passages of Scripture as these, What hast thou that thou hast not received? By the grace of God I am what I am : Not I, but the grace of God in me. Being thus vanquished, he left me. Wherefore I give thanks to my God through Jesus Christ, who was pleased to give me the victory; and I am persuaded that the tempter shall not again attack me, but, within a short time, I shall, without any great bodily pain or anguish of mind, exchange this mortal and miserable life for a blessed immortality through Jesus Christ.”

He died in the sixty-seventh year of his age, not so much oppressed with years, as worn out and exhausted by his extraordinary labours of body and anxieties of mind. Few men were ever exposed to more dangers, or underwent such hardships. From the time that he embraced the reformed religion, till he breathed his last, seldom did he enjoy a respite from these, and he emerged from one scene of difficulties, only to be involved in another, and a more distressing one. Obligated to flee from St. Andrews to escape the fury of Cardinal Beatoun, he found a retreat in East Lothian, from which he was hunted by Archbishop Hamilton. He lived for several years as an outlaw, in daily apprehension of falling a prey to those who eagerly sought his life. The few months during which he enjoyed protection in the castle of St. Andrews were succeeded by a long and rigorous captivity. After enjoying some repose in England, he was again driven into banishment, and for five years wandered as an exile on the continent. When he returned to his native country, it was to engage in a struggle of the most perilous and arduous kind. After the Reformation was established, and he was settled in the capital, he was involved in a continual contest with the Court. When he was relieved from this warfare, and thought only of ending his days in peace, he was again called into the field; and, although scarcely able to walk, was obliged to remove from his flock, and to avoid the fury of his enemies by submitting to a new banishment. He was repeatedly condemned for heresy and proclaimed an outlaw; thrice he was accused of high treason, and on two of these occasions he appeared and underwent a trial. A price was publicly set on his head; assassins were employed to kill him; and his life was attempted both with the pistol and the dagger. Yet he escaped all these perils, and finished his course in peace and in honour. No wonder that he was weary of the world, and anxious to depart; and with great propriety might it be said, at his decease, that “he rested from his labours.”

The Life of John Knox, by Thomas McCrie, p. 130.

Words To Live By:

it is the Lord God who raises up His faithful, humble servants and employs them in powerful ways to advance His kingdom. Pray that He would yet again shake the kingdoms of this earth with the fervent preaching of His glorious Gospel. Our God has done this time and again in the past, and He can and will so move yet again. Are you so praying and watching expectantly?

Having written last week about The League of Evangelical Students, we present today two articles which appeared in the second issue of the League’s magazine, The Evangelical Student. The first article is by the Rev. Dr. O.T. Allis, who was then in 1926 a professor at the Princeton Theological Seminary.  Following that, a brief article by Johannes G. Vos, the son of Dr. Geerhardus Vos. This second article is titled “The Spirit of Error.” We trust you will find both articles profitable.

allis01


THE SCRIPTURAL METHOD OF BIBLE STUDY
by PROFESSOR O. T. ALLIS, PH.D.

There are certain things essential to the truly scriptural study of the Bible which need to be emphasized today in view of the insistent claims which are so often made by the advocates of the so-called “modern” or “critical” method of Bible study.

The first of these is the unity and harmony of the Bible. This charac­teristic has impressed believing scholars in all ages as a signal proof of its divine origin. The fact that so many different writers, so widely separated in time, wrote a collection of many books which are in the truest sense one book, the Bible, is a strong evidence of its unique inspiration. Yet one of the outstanding characteristics of the “modern” method is the way in which it exhibits, and the importance which it attaches to, the alleged dis­harmonies of the Bible. We cannot read beyond the first chapter of Genesis without being confronted with this cardinal doctrine of the critics; for the “second” account of creation (Gen. ii) contradicts, we are told, the “first.” And this is but a sample. We have, they tell us, two ac­counts of the Creation and the Flood; three accounts of the Plagues and of the Crossing of the Red Sea; four of the Crossing of the Jordan. Further­more, these accounts disagree and contradict one another. The theoretical Jehovist differs from the hypothetical Elohist; and the alleged Priestly writer contradicts them both. Judges discredits the account of the Con­quest given in Joshua; Chronicles is proved unreliable by Samuel-Kings. The “great” prophets are represented as the opponents of the priests and as the more or less uncompromising foes of the ritual sacrifice. Micah and Zechariah are divided between at least two authors, Isaiah is given to three; and many of these documents are declared to be composite and to have been edited, or revised, by a later compiler or “redactor.” All this partitioning and analyzing is made necessary, it is argued, by differences in language, style, ideas and manner of presentation, differences which not seldom amount to contradictions. The result is that for the “modern” student the Bible, especially the O.T., is characterized not by harmony and unity, but by discord and contradiction. How disastrous this is should be apparent to everyone, for nothing is more certain to discredit a book and destroy its influence with thinking people than to find that it does not contain a consistent and harmonious presentation of the matters which it aims to set forth.HERE are certain things essential to the truly scriptural study of the Bible which need to be emphasized today in view of the insistent claims which are so often made by the advocates of the so-called “modern” or “critical” method of Bible study.

Consequently the reverent Bible student will be very slow to accept these alleged contradictions. He will scrutinize them with the utmost care. If he does so, he will find that many of them are purely imaginary. There is nothing inconsistent about the statement in Num. xvi. that (i) a Levite and (2) three Reubenites were leaders in a rebellion against Moses, nothing to indicate that we have here two conflicting accounts of the same event The mention of two parties simply shows that the revolt was wide­spread and serious enough to require drastic measures. There is nothing contradictory about the statement that (1) the Lord told Moses to lift up his rod and (2) to stretch forth his hand and that then (3) the Lord caused a strong east wind to blow, in order that the Red Sea might be divid­ed before Israel (Ex. xiv. 16, 21). Such statements are different only in the sense that they record distinct features of the story, all of which are needed to complete the record. They become contradictory only when each state­ment is treated as complete in itself and placed in opposition to others which are designated to supplement it. Most events, especially if they be great ones, are complex; there are many factors which enter into them. Were the modern method of source analysis applied to almost any his­torical narrative which dealt at all adequately with an intricate situation it could easily be reduced to a mass of contradictions.

There are other alleged contradictions which are due either to a failure to recognize, or to ignorance of, all necessary facts. Thus, Hosea in pronouncing vengeance on the House of Jehu (i. 4), is not denouncing Jehu for obeying the command of Elijah as conveyed by Elisha. The ex­planation is given in 2 Kgs. x. 30 f. where the wilfulness of Jehu is exposed. And it is made still clearer by the prophetic denunciation of Baasha who provoked the Lord “in being like the house of Jeroboam; and because he slew him.” By following in the sins of the House of Omri, Jehu’s House merited the same punishment. Yet Hosea is cited as an instance of a later prophet denouncing what an earlier prophet had expressly commanded!

The second essential of which we would speak, is that the Bible student should understand and accept the viewpoint of the Bible. Many of the diffi­culties which the “modern” student finds with the Bible are the direct result of failure to do this, or, to put it more strongly, of the determination to judge and interpret the Bible by standards which are contrary to its whole teaching.

The oft-repeated reference in the first chapter of Genesis to God and to His sovereign acts is tremendously impressive: He spake and it was done. The Bible is a record of God’s wonderful works for the children of men. No one can understand it who does not accept its great major premise— God—or who seeks to set limits to His power. The O.T. purports to be primarily the record of God’s special dealings with a peculiar people to the end that through that people all the nations might be blessed. The uniqueness of the religion of Israel, of the Covenant with Abraham, of the Law given through Moses, is affirmed again and again: “God hath not dealt so with any nation.” To study the religion of Israel in the light of comparative religion as though it were similar in kind to the ethnic faiths, is to reject its most insistent claim—“All the gods of the nations are idols (worthless things), but the Lord made the heavens.”

The religion of Israel is represented as the religion of revelation. God has revealed Himself in word and in deed. He has made known what man could not discover; He has wrought wonders beyond the power of man. Miracle and prophecy are, according to the Bible, signal proofs that God has manifested Himself. The supernatural is of its very essence. A student who rejects the supernaturalism of the Bible, treats its miracles as legend, and post-dates its prophecies or reduces them to shrewd conjecture, is taking offence at what the Bible declares to be, and what the Church in all ages has regarded as, a unique and convincing proof that God has indeed revealed Himself.

Finally the Bible is the story of redemption, of salvation from sin. John the Baptist sums up the Gospel and also shows it to be the fulfilment of O.T. religion with the words, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” The Old Testament plainly teaches that the priestly sacrifices of the Law were divinely ordained; and the New Testa­ment as plainly interprets them as prophetic of and fulfilled in the Cross of Calvary. To treat the priestly ritual as a survival of paganism and to affirm that it was repudiated by the “great” prophets of Israel leads logically to the rejection of the Cross which is the central fact of Chris­tianity, God’s sovereign remedy for sin.

In one of our great historic creeds the statement is made: “The infal­lible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself.” We need to remember this. “God is His own interpreter.” If the Bible is the Word of God, it must be our final authority; it cannot be correctly interpreted by any standards but its own. If its human authors were inspired of God, God’s Spirit will enable us to understand it aright, if we seek His guidance. To the wise of this world the Bible is a book of riddles, sealed with seven seals. It tells of a divine revelation, miraculously conveyed; they would have it speak of man’s eager quest of truth and of his wonderful discoveries. It tells of God’s great salvation for lost sinners; they would have it describe the development of man’s religious nature and its limitless possibilities. In short the “modern” student is trying to restate in terms of a more or less frankly naturalistic evolution what the Bible states in terms of superna­tural redemption. No wonder the “modern” student finds contradictions in the Bible and has to tear it chapter from chapter, verse from verse, and line from line, since he would so completely change its message. But those who study it reverently as the Word of God and seek the guidance of His Spirit will be more and more impressed with the harmony and the heavenliness of its glorious message of redeeming love in Jesus Christ our Lord.

vosJG


THE SPIRIT OF ERROR

J.G. VOS

Error is always with us. It assumes many forms and makes various appeals. The systems of falsehood are almost without number. There are errors as old as the ages, and there are errors of recent origin. Errors appear, disappear, and reappear, while the truth of God abides continually. So sporadic, indeed, have been the errors, and so constant is the truth, that some have concluded that all error, because it is error, is about to die; and that all truth, because it is truth, is sure to survive.

This conclusion is certainly fallacious. It is true that error often dies, and that the truth usually survives; but the error does not die because it is error, nor the truth survive because it is truth. If error dies, it is because the Holy Spirit has used means to cut it off. If the truth survives, it is because the Holy Spirit has used means to ensure its survival.RROR is always with us. It assumes many forms and makes various appeals. The systems of falsehood are almost without number. There are errors as old as the ages, and there are errors of recent origin. Errors appear, disappear, and reappear, while the truth of God abides continually. So sporadic, indeed, have been the errors, and so constant is the truth, that some have concluded that all error, because it is error, is about to die; and that all truth, because it is truth, is sure to survive.

Error will not die of itself, because the natural heart of man clings to it and loves it better than the truth. Idolatry, the worship of that which is not God, is almost as old as the race, and a large part of humanity still ad­heres to it, for the worship of the things that are seen appeals to the na­tural man. Christian Science, with its denial of the reality of sin, flatters the sinful heart of man. The idea of salvation by works, by character, by ideals, etc., appeals to the pride of man and conveniently removes the stumbling block of the cross of Jesus Christ. While the heart of man is what it is, these errors will never die of themselves.

Error will not die of itself, because Satan is actively engaged in its propagation. He is the father of lies, and there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own. Error traces its origin back to him, for he is a liar, and the father of it (John viii. 44). Errors and heresies are not indifferent things which come from nowhere; they are devised and propagated by the arch-enemy of the human race.

If error is to be overcome, it must be by active opposition on the part of those who acknowledge the truth. Christians must witness for the whole of revealed truth and oppose all contrary error. If we merely state the truth and neglect to point out and oppose the contrary error, we are not faithful witnesses. It is only as the truth is distinguished from error that its real character can be shown. The notion that we can forget about the error and merely preach the truth, that we can ignore “modernism” and meantime engage in “constructive” Christian work, is tragically mistaken. No doubt God could accomplish his purposes without using men as his instruments; no doubt he could bring about the victory of the truth without using our testimony, but He has called us to be his witnesses, and it is our duty to testify.

The visible Christian Church is divinely appointed to bear a corporate witness to revealed truth, and therefore also to discountenance error. Chris­tian students by their membership in the body of God’s witnessing people support the truth and oppose error. In our day, however, great sections of the Christian Church have abandoned their testimony to the truth and their opposition to error, and other great sections seem about to do so. Doc­trinal indifference is the first step; open toleration of error is the conse­quence. On this account Christian students should consider earnestly and carefully the question of their relation to a particular branch of the Chris­tian Church, for membership in a witnessing church is itself a witnessing act, and membership in a church which tolerates error involves, to some extent at least, a tacit approbation of such toleration.

The League of Evangelical Students is essentially a witnessing body. We declare that we “bear united witness to the faith of students in the whole Bible as the inspired Word of God,” (Constitution, Article II, Sec­tion i). Those only are eligible for membership in the League who have “faith in the Bible as the infallible Word of God” and who accept “the fundamental truths of the Christian religion,” (Constitution, Article III, Section i). Let us not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. Let us not fear the charge of intolerance. God has commanded his people to wit­ness for the truth, but he has never commanded them to tolerate error. If we who have banded ourselves together into a League to witness for the truth and against error, are on that account called narrow-minded, bigoted, intolerant, or even unchristian, let us call to mind the words of the Lord Jesus which are recorded in Matthew v. x I: “Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”

Remember to praise God quite as much as to pray.

[excerpted from The English Presbyterian Messenger, New Series, No. 156 (December 1860): 375-376. Emphasis added.]

Some of our readers will peruse the following letter with interest and profit. It was not written for publication, but the Lord may make it useful for the edification of his own people. The friend who kindly sent it to us says :—

“ The enclosed letter, from a deeply tried and experienced Christian in Scotland, was sent to me the other day, along with two others, for my perusal. If you think with me that it is valuable, and can find space for it in “The Messenger,” it may, perhaps, prove a blessing to some souls. I have copied it, and I forward it to you almost entirely as I received it. You can do with it as you think proper.”

I——–, October 19th, 1800.

My Dear. Brother, — I was very glad to receive your kind and interesting letter. I value exceedingly the Christian friendship and brotherhood which the Lord permits me to enjoy. I value exceedingly your own ; but I desire grace ever to refer it all to the fountain, and to be flung back more than ever on the inestimable friendship of the Blessed One.

Dear brother, if it be sweet to have a friend—another poor, trembling heart like our own, to whom we can unbosom sorrow, assured that all will be looked at through the medium of a loving eye, and where no help can be given, sympathy, at least, will be felt; if this be precious, who can tell the preciousness of the sympathizing love of Jesus, who can feel as well as help, who can deal with us so gently and so wisely. No eye scans us with such gentle love as Jesus. Oh to have faith always as well in the love of his heart as in the power of his hand.

There is a little matter I would like to bring before you, dear brother, as having been used of the Lord to be exceedingly helpful to me; and although, perhaps, not needing it so much as I was, it may possibly be useful to you. Its benefit to me is incalculable. It is simply this. Remember to praise God quite as much as to pray. Now this is clearly scriptural. You will find in Scripture far more exhortations to praise than to prayer. The Psalms abound with them, line upon line, line upon line. God is served by praise, Psalm 50. 23. It is specially the Christian’s great service. Heb. xiii. 15 ; 1 Peter ii. 5—9. Now in looking at my own conduct in reference to this, I found it sadly neglected. My heart was little attuned to the blessed service of thanksgiving. I had infinite cause for thankfulness, but, alas! a thankless heart. I have sought to have this altered, and with happy results. I seek the spirit of praise quite as much as of prayer, and desire to cherish the feeling of happy thankfulness for mercies enjoyed, as well as believing prayer for mercies needed. Ofttimes when my cold heart cannot get into communion through the gates of prayer, I turn to the gate of praise, and in a minute or two am in the glorious presence. In certain states of soul, when the enemy rushes on me like Behemoth, and threatens to swallow me up, I fall down on my knees, and drawing near to God, through Jesus, begin to thank God for his mercies. And as the heart goes over the boundless and glorious list, it begins to glow, and the enemy is driven off. Ofttimes five minutes’ praise is blessed with a success that an hour’s praying fails to receive. Now, we have always matter for thankfulness ; and however low we are, let us begin there and come to God in our reality, and praise Him heartily for whatever blessing we feel laid on our hearts, I mean blessing in Christ Jesus. And oh, as faith gazes on that face, brighter than the sun in his strength, and listens to that voice, soft as the murmur of many waters, telling out the tenderness of His grace, the soul becomes as the chariots of Amminadib, and is caught up into heaven and brought very near. There is never between us and the joy of God’s presence any wall but the wall of unbelief. Alas, that we ever cherish and fondle it, and do our blessed Saviour, and the brethren, and ourselves this great wrong. For God is glorified, and others are helped, and our souls are blessed, precisely as we live in happy fellowship with our heavenly Father.

Dear brother, you may know all about this far better than I do, yet I would like to suggest your trying what benefit you might find in seeking to abound in faith with thanksgiving. Say that for a week you give up your heart to praise God for Jesus in all the relations in which you feel you can lay hold on him. In business, let your heart glance up every spare half-minute, just in a gleam of thankfulness, and one word of praise. By the way, to and from home, give up your heart to praise alone. At table let your wife and yourself provoke each other to gratitude and praise, by conversing on the excellencies of Jesus, and of Jesus as all your own. This does not interfere with your seasons of prayer. And, after the week, I am sure you will see occasion to seek God’s gift of the spirit of praise, as well as of prayer. When I blow out my candle in the evening, and sit gazing into the red coals for an hour, and letting the heart wander amid all the revelations of Divine love, back into a past eternity, forward into a coming eternity, to Calvary, to heaven ; taking everything only in connection with Jesus, and with Jesus as God’s gift to me, my heart begins to burn within me, selfish and temporal griefs disappear, Jesus himself fills my heart; and if any one were to offer me a kingdom for every sorrow I have, I could at such times scarcely manage honestly to muster a single one.

Dear brother, try it. When Satan casts us into prison, and puts our feet fast in the stocks, let us sing praises to God at midnight, and very soon God will send his angel, and there shall be an earthquake, and our chains shall fall off, and our souls be restored to liberty. “ O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness! ” Yes, that is our crying want, the want of a heart ever attuned to this blessed work of heaven.

With heartiest love, … I am, my dear brother,

Yours, humbly and affectionately,
J. D.

[excerpted from The English Presbyterian Messenger, New Series, No. 156 (December 1860): 375-376.]

Bringing Bibles and Rifles to Worship

It was in uncivilized territory where the Rev. Robert Cooper took his first pastorate in central Pennsylvania. Born in Northern Ireland in 1732, the young man stayed there for the first nine years of his life. When his father died, young Robert accompanied his widowed mother in 1741 to the American colonies across the Atlantic. Following so many of their Scot-Irish race, he studied at the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University, graduating there in 1763. As was common practice in that era, Robert prepared for the ministry by studying theology with a private tutor, and he was ordained to the gospel ministry on November 21, 1765. Within that same year, he was called to Middle Springs Presbyterian Church, just north of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. He was to remain there for thirty-one years, finally leavening in 1797 due to declining health.

Worship in pre-Revolutionary times was a challenge, due to the presence of hostile native American in their region. The usual items brought to a worship service were a Bible (the Genevan edition, with Calvinistic footnotes), a hymn book (a Psalter for unaccompanied singing of psalms), and a  rifle, with ammunition readily available. Their defensive armament would then be stashed at the entrance of the church whenever they would attend church services.

Dr. Cooper remained at Middle Springs for three decades plus. He was a scholar of considerable merit. He had served later on for a brief time in the Revolutionary Army. His interests were of wider influence than the local scene, for he had helped to plan for the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1789, at which he was a voting delegate.

He wrote a tract entitled “The Signs of the Times” as well as written messages delivered to the American troops of the Revolutionary Army. He went to be with the Lord on April 5, 1805.

Words to live by:  If  you remember that the Scots-Irish Presbyterians initially settled in Cumberland County of Pennsylvania, and then after about thirty years began to migrate west and south, we will have a real appreciation for the Rev. Robert Cooper. He no doubt influenced the evangelistic and revival traditions of the Scots-Irish Presbyterians in America.  With the danger of Indian attacks ever present as they walked to and from church, or upon their homes while they were away at church, it took real courage to be a Reformed Christian in those days. Increasingly we have our own challenges to faith and life today. Then as now, a firm resolve based upon God’s sure care for each of His children, is necessary in standing for faith and righteousness.

evangstudent

It was on this day, November 20th, in 1925, that students from across the nation gathered in Grand Rapids for the first annual conference sponsored by the new campus ministry known as the League of Evangelical Students. Seeking to establish an evangelical campus ministry, invitations went out in January of 1925 to a select number of seminaries. Six schools sent delegates to a meeting in April and a constitution was drawn up. Then, wasting no time, the November conference was planned and carried off to great success.

Established under the leadership of Dr. J. Gresham Machen and other prominent evangelical and Reformed scholars, the League began with high promise, but in sixteen short years, it had run its course and disappeared off the stage of campus ministry. Yet the League, despite a short term of ministry, can be said to have accomplished much. A fore-runner of InterVarsity and Reformed University Ministries, the League of Evangelical Students played a significant role in breaking up the fallow ground of campus ministry. 

To understand more about the League and its work, we can do no better than to read the following reports from three of the conference leaders:

The Grand Rapids Conference, by W.A.H. Zoerner

The League of Evangelical Students was given the great impetus, which promises to make it a very real factor in the lives of American students, at its First Annual Conference held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 20-24, 1925. At this conference nineteen schools were represented, eleven theological seminaries and eight Bible schools, and these represented student bodies from Texas to Canada and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Advocates of Christian Unity can take comfort in the fact that these schools represented at least eight of the prominent protestant denominations. One of the outstanding facts of the Conference was the splendid spirit of harmony and Christian unity manifested. The true joy of Christian fellowship was an admitted blessing to every delegate.

The Conference was the guest of Calvin Theological Seminary whose generous hospitality and helpful cooperation added greatly to its successful issue.

Preparations for the Conference were made by the Conference Committee appointed at Pittsburgh in April 1925. The chairman was John L. Schaver (Calvin Seminary) and the secretary of the committee Walter Laetsch (Northern Baptist Seminary). Too much credit cannot be given to these men for the Conference preparations, especially Mr. Schaver who gave a great deal of time and energy in handling the details. Mr. Schaver was elected chairman of the Conference and Mr. Laetsch secretary.

The importance of the League in the estimation of prominent conservative Christian leaders is evidenced by the presence at the Conference of such a representative group as the following list discloses. These men came as delegates, or upon invitation, to lend their judgment and to give addresses. Their presence was a proof of the need and place of an evangelical witness among students today. Dr. J. Gresham Machen, Princeton Seminary, Presbyterian U.S.A., spoke on the theme, “The Church’s Historic Fight against Modernism from Within.” Dr. Leander S. Keyser, Hamma Divinity School, Lutheran, gave two addresses on “Christianity and Liberalism,” and “The Origin of Man and Woman.” Rev. Harold Paul Sloan, Haddonfield, N.J., spoke on “What Modernism denies.” Dr. J.E. Kuizenga, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Mich., Reformed A., spoke on the theme, “The Supernaturalness of Christianity.” Rev. Joseph A. Schofield, Hobart, N.Y., gave a history of the movement. To these may be added the addresses of Dr. Melvin G. Kyle, Xenia Seminary, United Presbyterian, and Prof. S. Volbeda, Calvin Seminary, Christian Reformed, which are reported in other parts of this paper.

The Conference had also as visitors, Philip Mauro, Framingham, Mass., Prof. A.B. Winchester, Evangelical Theological College, Dallas, Tex., and J.E. Krebs, McCormick Seminary, Chicago, Ill.

The keynote of the Conference was unswerving loyalty to the Bible as the only authoritative rule of faith and practice.

The League’s Program, by Ned B. Stonehouse

“Ye shall be my witnesses.” These words are fulfilled by the witness of the individual Christian to his Lord and personal Saviour and by the great corporate witness of the Christian Church to Christ, its Head. Besides the perennial necessity of these forms of witness bearing, in times of doubt and unbelief and attach upon the Holy Scriptures, it becomes the right and obligation of Christians to band themselves together for the purpose of a united testimony to their common Faith.

The League of Evangelical Students is a witness-bearing organization. It is a movement among Christian students to bear witness to the Christian Religion in its Biblical, supernatural, historical interpretation. Such a witness necessarily includes a defense against the widespread attacks of present-day radicalism. That there is the need of a testimony before the world that there are thousands of students in institutions of higher learning who accept fully the fundamentals of the Christian Faith no one will deny.

One of the greatest fields of opportunity for the League is to present the claims of the true gospel ministry to college men. In too many educational institutions there is an idea that the purpose of the Christian ministry is simply the general uplift and improvement of mankind. This is important, but secondary. Over against this view, the League hopes to present the distinct calling of the Christian ministry to openly set forth Christ and Him crucified, the Saviour from sin and death through the atonement wrought by His shed blood.

The conference at Grand Rapids discussed and recommended the following as effectual means of carrying out the League’s purposes:
1. Promotion of the formation of chapters of evangelical students in seminaries, Bible schools, colleges, and universities.
2. Holding of conferences for inspiration, fellowship and the discussion of common problems; annually of the whole League and sectional conferences more frequently.
3. Sending of deputations to present the evangelical point of view and the claims of the gospel ministry.
4. Establishment of a bureau of evangelical leaders who will be available for addresses, especially at colleges.
5. Preparation of suggested reading for students with religious problems.
6. The publication of an official organ. [This was The Evangelical Student]
7. Issue of literature on the factual bases of the gospel.

“Why the League?,” by A.A. MacRae

THE greatest need of the world today and of every individual in the world is the religion of Jesus Christ. More important than any social improvement, any economic advancement, any political or moral reform, is the extension of the kingdom of God, through the proclamation of the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. Never did the world need this more than at the present time. Material conditions were never better, political and social advancements never greater, yet the world is not satisfied. Unrest and discontent abound. The only true satisfaction lies in the religion of Jesus Christ. The most real way to obey the second great commandment, “Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself,” is through obeying the first commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.”

Strange as it might seem, in this time of all times when Christians should present a united front before the world, and proclaim their God-given Gospel with power and conviction, foes to that Gospel have arisen within the very confines of the Christian Church itself, and many are seeking to dilute it until it loses all that gives it its distinctive power. No wonder scoffers outside the church are saying that the church is dead, when men inside the church are denying or explaining away the foundation stones of the church’s gospel.

The League of Evangelical Students is a student movement, originated by students, to declare beforethe world that there are in our educational institutions large bodies of students who believe thoroughly in the evangelical Gospel in all its richness. Radicalism and skepticism is noisy. It quickly makes its presence felt. It spreads rapidly, like the leaven described in Holy Scripture. Reading the accounts of student life in many current publications might lead one to believe that most seekers after learning had gone over to the ranks of Modernism and Infidelity. Attending some student conferences might lead one to a similar conclusion. It behooves the great body of students who accept the “Faith of our Fathers” to band together to witness to their conviction, and to record their opposition to the stealthy progress of religious unbelief.

The enemies of evangelical Christianity claim to represent intellectualism and scholarship. But truth is one, and the truths discovered by human research cannot reasonably contradict the truths revealed by the Maker of the Universe. The highest scholarship cannot discover any facts which contradict the plain teachings of the Bible. As Dr. Keyser declared at the Grand Rapids Conference: “I maintain that the finest shcolarship in the owrld, under the proper conditions, will lead just to the top of Mt. Calvary.” In the face of the widespread assertions that modern scholarship has rendered conservative Christianity untenable, the members of the League are witnessing to their conviction that true education is possible only when the facts revealed in God’s word are recognized as authoritative.

It is with this spirit that the League has been organized. It desires to include within its membership all who wish to declare with it their adherence to Biblical, supernatural Christianity. The occasion for its formation is plainly stated in the preamble to its constitution. Section I of Article III gives the qualifications for membership:

Qualifications for membership in the League shall be faith in the Bible as the infallible Word of God, and acceptance of the fundamental truths of the Christian Religion, such as: the Trinity, the Virgin Birth of Christ, His Divine and Human Nature, His Substitutionary Atonement, His Resurrection from the Dead, and His Coming Again.

This statement was purposely made very brief and simple, as the League had no intention of promulgating a new creed. It takes its stand upon historic Christianity, the common heritage of all the Evangelical Churches. It is not a movement toward church unity, nor has it a desire in any way to minimize the distinctive doctrines of the various denominations. But it is a movement of studnets who believe in supernaturalistic Christianity, from all the denominations, joining together for the specific purposes outlined in the Constitution of the League. This is very clearly stated in the next section of the Constitution (Art III, Sec. 2):

The above summary is not intended to be regarded as a complete statement, nor as an authoritative definition of the limits of Christian fellowship, but simply as an indication of the class of persons whom the League welcomes as members.

Mutually exclusive conceptions of the nature of the Christian Religion are current today. Every student who calls himself a Christian can easily determine which of these conceptions he holds. The League is a movement of those who hold one of these conceptions–that which regards the Christian Religion as a supernaturally revealed body of facts, showing how man can receive eternal life, through the great act of God who sent His only-begotten Son to die on Calvary’s cross for the sins of the world.

The above articles were transcribed from The Evangelical Student (Princeton, NJ), Volume I, No. 1 (April 1926), pages 3-4.

« Older entries § Newer entries »

%d bloggers like this: