The Liberal Captivity of the Presbyterian Church
The question was recently asked:
“How do you reconcile the idea of faith being really important to you … with the fact that, at least in our democracy and our civic discourse, it seems as if folks who take religion the most seriously sometimes are also those who are suspicious of those not like them?” *
I’d like to take it back a century and apply this inquiry to the beginning and the end of the American Presbyterian Church.
An unorthodox, liberal co-opting of all mainstream denominations had become commonplace by the early 1930’s. The sinister fruits of the enlightenment had a firm hold on mainstream culture and would come to infiltrate many a church body and denomination.
One of the most shameful takeovers was the contra biblical makeover of the Presbyterian Church. A divided house cannot stand, nor cease to pollute the surrounding atmosphere…
“Too often today, men think there can be security and justice in the nation even if the church becomes apostate. But surely this is a precarious security. …The church is to be the salt of the earth and light of the world, the spiritual teacher and example for the state. Does not history teach us that before a state is destroyed, its altars must first be polluted? (Luke 23:31)” ~ Pastor Richard Churchill
It does not take long for a spiritual infection to metastasize to a point in which the whole living body is affected. In the case of the Presbyterian church, the wound was mortal and would run deep. In fact, the dispute cut right to the heart of Biblical truth.
The higher liberal critics had declared themselves purveyors of Biblical interpretation and would come to exercise their own verdicts and decrees to accommodate the advances of modernity. Apostasy, compromise, and scriptural lukewarmness had become a perpetual norm that would run rampant throughout the whole Presbyterian church.
God’s word was on trial. A fair hearing in the courts of the high church swiftly became an impossibility. In a nutshell, those church leaders who stood on the side of orthodoxy were placed on the outside. They were essentially told to conform or else. All attempts to wholly square a form of progressive doctrine (increasingly more perverted by modernism) with scriptures would be shamelessly rebuffed by the adherents of liberal church reform. A heretical majority of this once faithful denomination had taken over and no amount of scriptural clarity could tame their demonic progressive thirst for interpretive transformation (i.e. liberal hermeneutics).
Ultimately, the fallout and eventual schism was not born out of a debate between Calvinism and Arminianism, or the like; but rather, a humanistic rationalization of scriptures. The supernatural exclusivity of Christianity had been minimized to the point of superfluity and by necessity extinction. Thankfully, out of the ashes of the apostate church would rise various faithful movements; but only through much trial and affliction would the truth be reclaimed.
In the end, God will have the final Word. In the meantime, let us consider the matter settled…
“Shall the truth of the Bible be upheld, or shall orders to support modernism be made the supreme authority over men’s conscience? This is no trivial matter; it is rather a life and death struggle between two mutually exclusive religions. One religion can without harm to its integrity reject the infallible Word of God, deny the virgin birth, repudiate Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice, and deny the resurrection. That religion will remain complete even if all these things are eliminated; but that religion is not Christianity.” ~ Dr. Gordon H. Clark (a former elder in the Presbyterian Church from an address delivered February 28, 1935)
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