The Same Old Struggle | thebereancall.org

TBC Staff

[TBC: When we see the growing apostasy and compromise in evangelicalism today, we should not forget that this battle has been fought repeatedly throughout history. Here is one example. It is instructive to see the same charges leveled against those who would defend the faith “once delivered to the saints.”

[Excerpts from J. Gresham Machen, Defender of the Faith]

On Sunday May 21, 1922, Harry Emerson Fosdick, supply pastor at First Presbyterian Church in New York City (although he was a Baptist), preached a sermon entitled “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?” The preaching of this now famous sermon “was the signal for a new and public outbreak of the conflict between the forces of historic Christianity and modern liberalism within the Presbyterian Church in the USA” (Rian, Edwin H, The Presbyterian Conflict, Philadelphia: The Committee of the Historian for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 1940, 1992, 17). In the sermon, Fosdick pled for tolerance of differing views on the inspiration of Scriptures, the virgin birth, the atonement, and the Second Advent of Christ. It soon became clear that, despite his protestations to the contrary, Fosdick “advocated modernism as the religion for this day and generation.” (Ibid., p. 18).

Beginning in October, 1923, [J. Gresham] Machen served as stated supply at Princeton’s First Presbyterian Church. Soon after preaching a series of messages on the issues dividing liberals and conservatives (Hart, “Doctor Fundamentalis,”p.142), he met opposition in the person of Henry Van Dyke, an old family friend, who surrendered his pew at First Church rather than sit under Machen’s “bitter, schismatic and unscriptural preaching” (Ibid., p. 146).

[In 1928 the Presbyterian Church USA] board published Re-Thinking Missions, which contended that Christianity was not hostile to other world religions, and “should unite with the other religions, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism, in a common front against materialism, naturalism, and immorality” (Rian, pp. 89-90). The Board of Foreign missions refused to condemn Re-Thinking Missions. In fact, it continued to support such missionaries as Pearl S. Buck who advocated ideas that went beyond the heretical statements of Re-Thinking Missions.

(IIIM Magazine Online, Volume 3, Number 15, April 9 to April 15, 2001)

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