News Coverage of the Machen Funeral
Using news clippings drawn from the scrapbooks of the Rev. Henry G. Welbon, our post today focuses on the funeral of the Rev. J. Gresham Machen, who had passed away on Friday, January 1, 1937. His funeral took place on Tuesday, January 5, 1937.
Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, 3 January 1937, page A9.
With high officials of the Presbyterian Church of America in attendance, funeral services for Dr. J. Gresham Machen, founder of the new fundamentalist denomination, will be held at 3 P.M. Tuesday in the Spruce Street Baptist Church, Spruce and 50th sts.
Dr. Machen, militant first moderator of the denomination who led his followers in a split from the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in Philadelphia last June, died in Bismark, N.D., Friday night of pneumonia contracted on a speaking tour.
Notice of the funeral arrangements was received here yesterday from Rev. Dr. Edwin H. Rian, of Philadelphia, general secretary of the Church’s Extension and Home Mission Board, who arrived in Bismark yesterday.
Arrived Too Late.
Dr. Rian and Dr. Machen’s brother, Arthur Machen, of Baltimore, both of whom arrived too late to see Dr. Machen alive will accompany the body to Philadelphia.
The services will be conducted by Dr. Rian, long one of Dr. Machen’s close associates, and by Rev. Dr. R.B. Kuiper, professor of homiletics at Westminster Seminary, of which the late church leader was founder and moving spirit.
Burial will be in Baltimore, Dr. Machen’s birthplace.
A statement deploring the death of Dr. Machen as a loss to evangelical Christianity was issued yesterday by Rev. Dr. John Burton Thwing, moderator of the Presbytery of Philadelphia.
“In the death of Dr. J. Gresham Machen,” he declared, “the cause of evangelical Christianity has lost its most trenchant advocate. His books, lectures, sermons and radio talks were always lucid presentations of the old-fashioned faith based upon sound scholarship.
“Brave under fire in France, he was equally brave under persecution by his false brethren in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. God will reward them according to their works.”
Bridgeton N.J. News:
CHANGE TIME FOR FUNERAL
Services for Rev. Dr. Machen to be Held Tomorrow Morning–Ministers Pay Tribute.
Funeral services for Dr. J. Gresham Machen, first scheduled for 3:30 p.m. will be held instead at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in the Spruce Street Baptist Church, Spruce and Fiftieth streets, Philadelphia, it was announced yesterday by officials of the Presbyterian Church of America.
Members of the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary will be honorary pallbearers for the founder of the new fundamentalist denomination, who died in Bismark, N. D., Friday. The service of Scripture reading, prayer and hymn singing, minus a sermon, will be directed by Rev. Edwin H. Rian, general secretary of the Home Mission and Church Extension Board, and Rev. Dr. R. B. Kuiper, professor of homiletics at the seminary.
Immediately after the ceremony the body will be sent to Baltimore for burial.
Some of the residents of Bridgeton heard Dr. Barnhouse, pastor of the Tenth Street Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, pay a tribute to Dr. Machen. He said that he had known Dr. Machen’s pastorate of 10 years in Newark and spoke of his warm personal friendship for the minister.
Dr. Barnhouse referred to his own experience in Europe and paid . . .
Dr. J. Gresham Machen, founder of the Presbyterian Church of America was buried yesterday in Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, after impressive services in Spruce Street Baptist Church
Clergymen of all denominations, including several members of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, mother church from which Dr. Machen and his followers seceded, joined the more than 800 laymen who packed the flower-decked church during the ceremony.
Dr. Edwin Rian, professor at Westminster Seminary, 13th and Pine sts., which Dr. Machen helped found, presided. Dr. R. B. Kuiper, also a professor at the seminary, preached the sermon. Officers of the student body and the faculty of the seminary acted as pall-bearers and honorary pall-bearers. Dr. Machen’s brothers, Arthur, a Baltimore attorney, and Dr. Thomas Machen, attended the services.
Dr. Machen died in Bismark, N. D., of lobar pneumonia while on a speaking tour on behalf of his fundamentalist denomination.
Words to Live By:
We will all certainly die one day. It is the final mark and proof that we are born in sin. Except the Lord first, we will all die. All through the history of the Church, time and again the Lord has raised up one man to lead the way. Think of Moses, Ezra, Augustine, Athanasius, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and a host of others over the centuries. The Lord may also remove such leaders, sometimes seemingly in a time of greatest need for leadership and direction. Such was the case in the death of Dr. J. Gresham Machen. And yet the testimony of the believing Church never wavered. Life went on; new leaders were raised up, and the Lord’s people continued to declare the Good News of the risen Savior, Jesus Christ. None of us is indispensable in the Lord’s plan for His kingdom, for it’s not about us! It’s all about the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished by His death and resurrection, saving an elect people from their sins, to His greater glory. We can appreciate and learn from those leaders whom the Lord raises up to lead His Church, but we give glory, honor and praise not to men, but to the Lord who worked in and through them.