Westminster Seminary

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“Westminster Theological Seminary: Its Purpose and Plan” was delivered by the Rev. Dr. J. Gresham Machen at the first convocation address at the Seminary on September 25, 1929. Dr. Machen’s address was subsequently published on the pages of The Presbyterian, in its October 10, 1929 issue (pages 6-9) and later reprinted in What Is Christianity?, edited by Ned B. Stonehouse (Eerdmans, 1951). The most recent reprint of this address appears on pages 187-194 of J. Gresham Machen: Selected Shorter Writings, edited by D.G. Hart (P&R, 2004):—

machen03Westminster Theological Seminary, which opens its doors today, will hardly be attended by those who seek the plaudits of the world or the plaudits of a worldly church. It can offer for the present no magnificent buildings, no long-established standing in the ecclesiastical or academic world. Why, then, does it open its doors; why does it appeal to the support of Christian men?

The answer is plain. Our new institution is devoted to an unpopular cause; it is devoted to the service of One who is despised and rejected by the world and increasingly belittled by the visible church, the majestic Lord and Savior who is presented to us in the Word of God. From Him men are turning away one by one. His sayings are too hard, His deeds of power too strange, His atoning death too great an offense to human pride. But to Him, despite all, we hold. No Christ of our own imaginings can ever take His place for us, no mystic Christ whom we seek merely in the hidden depths of our own souls. From all such we turn away ever anew to the blessed written Word and say to the Christ there set forth, the Christ with whom then we have living communion: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”

The Bible, then, which testifies of Christ, is the center and core of that with which Westminster Seminary has to do. Very different is the attitude of most theological institutions today. Most seminaries, with greater or lesser clearness and consistency, regard not the Bible alone, or the Bible in any unique sense, but the general phenomenon of religion as being the subject matter of their course. It is the duty of the theological student, they maintain, to observe various types of religious experience, attested by the Bible considered as a religious classic, but attested also by the religious conditions that prevail today, in order to arrive by a process of comparison at that type of religious experience which is best suited to the needs of the modern man. We believe, on the contrary, that God has been pleased to reveal himself to man and to redeem man once for all from the guilt and power of sin. The record of that revelation and that redemption is contained in the Holy Scriptures, and it is with the Holy Scriptures, and not merely with the human phenomenon of religion, that candidates for the ministry should learn to deal.

There is nothing narrow about such a curriculum; many and varied are the types of intellectual activity that it requires. When you say that God has revealed Himself to man, you must in the first place believe that God is and that the God who is is One who can reveal Himself, no blind world force, but a living Person. there we have one great division of the theological course. “Philosophical apologetics” or “theism,” it is called. But has this God, who might reveal Himself, actually done so in the way recorded in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments? In other words, is Christianity true? That question, we think, should not be evaded; and what is more, it need not be evaded by any Christian man. To be a Christian is, we think, a truly reasonable thing; Christianity flourishes not in obscurantist darkness, where objections are ignored, but in the full light of day.

But if the Bible contains a record of revelation and redemption, what in detail does the Bible say? In order to answer that question, it is not sufficient to be a philosopher; by being a philosopher you may perhaps determine, or think you can determine, what the Bible ought to say. But if you are to tell what the Bible does say, you must be able to read the Bible for yourself. And you cannot read the Bible for yourself unless you know the languages in which it was written. We may sometimes be tempted to wish that the Holy Spirit had given us the Word of God in a language better suited to our particular race, in a language that we could easily understand; but in His mysterious wisdom He gave it to us in Hebrew and in Greek. Hence if we want to know the Scriptures, to the study of Greek and Hebrew we must go. I am not sure that it will be ill for our souls. It is poor consecration indeed that is discouraged by a little earnest work, and sad is it for the church if it has only ministers whose preparation for their special calling is of the customary superficial kind.

J. Gresham Machen “Westminster Theological Seminary: It’s Purpose and Plan,”The Presbyterian 99 (October 10, 1929): 6-9.

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The Quiet Influence of a Canadian Presbyterian

Quiet workers, in God’s kingdom, are often found to have an abiding influence.

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,” – (Col. 3:23, NASB)

kikJMIn 1965, the following obituary (slightly edited here) appeared on the pages of Christianity Today, observing the passing of one of the founding editors of that magazine:

The Reverend J. Marcellus Kik was one of the first three members of the editorial staff of Christianity Today, from its inception in 1955. When the magazine was initially planned, advice was sought from hundreds of men in this country and abroad. None of the replies showed more depth of understanding and vision for this Christian witness than Mr. Kik’s. His long experience as a pastor and as editor of a church paper in Canada enabled him to make a significant and lasting contribution to this maga­zine, which he served as associate editor.

About 1960, Mr. Kik assumed the post of research editor. In that capacity he spent many months in Europe, particularly in Switzerland and Holland. In Geneva he received permis­sion to study all minutes’ of the consistory for the period of Calvin’s great ministry in that city, and also the min­utes of the city council dur­ing the same years. Mr. Kik had these minutes micro­filmed and then translated from seventeenth-century French into English. These indefatigable efforts brought to light the clear distinction Calvin made between his duties as a Christian citizen and the spiritual role of the corporate church in society.

During 1927 and 1928 Mr. Kik attended Princeton Theological Seminary, and he was part of the first class graduated from Westmin­ster Theological Seminary in the Spring of 1930. For the next twenty­-two years he held pastorates in Canada, where he also conducted a weekly radio program for thirteen years. He wrote a number of religious books and served on the Board of Trustees of both Westminster Seminary and Gordon College and Divinity School.

Mr. Kik continued his Calvin research up to the week of his death. In 1964, he underwent radical surgery from which he never fully recovered but which never daunted him in his work and witness for his Lord. He died in Philadelphia on October 22, in 1965.

Funeral services were held in the Second Reformed Church of Little Falls, New Jersey, of which he had been pastor for eleven years before joining the staff of Christianity Today. A testimony to his life echoed through the hymns sung at the service: “O, for a Thousand Tongues,” “Hallelujah! ‘What a Saviour!,” and “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”

Jacob Marcellus Kik was born in Phillipsland, Netherlands on 24 December 1903. He attended Hope College, graduating in 1927 and then went on to Princeton Seminary, attending there from the Fall semester in 1927 through the Spring semester of 1929. He then transferred to the newly founded Westminster Theological Seminary in the Fall of 1929 along with other Biblical conservatives. He graduated from Westminster in May of 1930, was ordained by Miramichi Presbytery on 29 October 1930 and pastored the Bass River and West Branch churches in New Brunswick, Canada from 1930 to 1933.

Rev. Kik’s influential role began early on, as noted in this article, speaking of the situation in Canada in the 1930’s and following:

“A pattern had been established. Independent Presbyterian journals presented an opportunity for minorities to present their views and gain an audience. Only a decade after church union, a new independent journal would appear. Bible Christianity owed much to the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the 1920s and 1930s from which Canada was largely spared. The magazine, supported by W. D. Reid, minister of the well-heeled Stanley Church, Westmount, Montreal, became known for its outspoken opposition to what it perceived as liberalism in the continuing church. Bible Christianity was edited by J. Marcellus Kik, a Presbyterian minister who was among the first graduates of Westminster Seminary after it split from Princeton in 1929. Kik had been minister in New Brunswick but came to Montreal in 1936 and served there in various capacities (for a time as full-time editor and religious broadcaster) from 1936 to 1952. [The later Bible Presbyterian, which was published out of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, by dissident Presbyterian minister Malcolm MacKay.]” — Note: Vol. 1, no. 1 of Bible Christianity is now posted in PDF format.

Another article, on the early history of the Banner of Truth Trust, notes the influence of Rev. Kik:

“Among Professor Murray’s chief concerns was the restoration of true preaching. One who shared this view was the Rev J Marcellus Kik, a trustee of Westminster Seminary. This subject was discussed with Mr. Kik when he was present in London in 1961. As a result he carried back to Professor Murray in Philadelphia a proposal that a conference should be held for ministers the following year in the UK, concentrating specifically on the need for a renewal of preaching.” [Thus the beginnings of the annual Banner of Truth Pastors’ Conferences.]

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dillard_ray“He Did Not Die Too Soon; No Christian Ever Does.”

I remember what a shock it was, back in 1993, to hear of Ray’s death. A beloved friend and professor was seemingly snatched away in the prime of life. It is almost as jarring to realize that twenty-two years have now passed. The following obituary was written by J. Alan Groves and appeared as an insert page in the Westminster Seminary Bulletin, volume 32, no 3 (Fall 1993).

Raymond Bryan Dillard, Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature at Westminster Theological Seminary, died October 1 while working in the woods near his home. Bom in Louisville, Ken­tucky he was 49 years old.

Professor Dillard graduated from Westminster Seminary in 1969 and completed his Ph.D. at Dropsie College of Hebrew and Cognate Learning in 1975. He did other post-graduate work at Temple Univer­sity, the University of Pennsylvania and Tel Aviv University. His teach­ing career spanned 24 years, all of it at Westminster. He held adjunct positions at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary and served as guest lecturer in numerous other institutions.

An exacting and careful scholar, a revered teacher, Professor Dillard was a master of classroom drama. Sought after for his lecturing gifts, he spoke throughout the United States, Europe, Israel and the Far East. Over the past five years he led lay seminars in the U.S. and Britain on the significance of the Old Testament.

The author of numerous articles and monographs, Dillard’s earliest scholarly work was as a transla­tor of the New International Version of the Bible, the most widely selling Bible in the English language today. He was the author of a commentary on 2 Chronicles in the Word Biblical Commentary as well one on the book of Joel in the Exegetical and Expository Commentary (Baker). At the time of his death he was working on the book of Esther for the Biblia Hebraica Diplomatica, a new critical edition of the Hebrew Bible being produced (under the auspices of the United Bible Societies) by an international team of biblical scholars. He was also the co-author, with Professor Tremper Longman of Westminster Seminary, of the forthcoming Introduction to the Old Testament (Zondervan).

Chairman of the faculty for much of the past 12 years, Dillard had the respect and esteem of his colleagues older as well as younger. He was an ordained minister of the gospel in the Presbyterian Church in America and preached regularly in their churches. His professional memberships included the Society of Biblical Literature, the Institute for Biblical Research, and the Evangelical Theological Society.

Besides his academic interests, he loved the outdoors and hunting. Dillard was a master cabinet­maker and handyman. One was as likely to find him with a hammer in his hand as with some tome. A pilot, sometimes judo instructor and radio broadcaster, Professor Dillard still found time for raising three boys and for listening to students.

Professor Dillard was the son of Raymond Eugene and Ruth Wallace Dillard of Fayetteville, North Carolina who survive him. Also surviving him are his wife Ann Albrecht Dillard, with whom he celebrated their 27th anniversary this past June, and his three sons, Joel B., Jonathan B. and Joshua A., all of whom are at home. Dr. Dillard is survived by a brother Bruce of Raleigh, North Carolina, three nieces, one nephew, and his aunt Madeline Wallace of Louisville, Kentucky.

Words to Live By:
We will all come to that moment when this life must end. Are you prepared for what will follow? Are you prepared to enter into the presence of the Lord of all creation? Have you learned to welcome each day as if it might be your last? So pray and so live as to stay ever close to your Lord and Savior.

For Further Reading:
The Death of a Christian, a sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon.

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A Call to Arms

The first mass meeting and rally to challenge and encourage the conservative members in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. took place on October 8, 1935 at the Central North Broad Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The  sponsoring organization which called for this first meeting was the newly formed Presbyterian Constitutional Covenant Union. This independent organization had been formed for two purposes: (1) to reform the Presbyterian  Church, U.S.A. from the inside, stopping the encroaching apostasy; (2) if that fails, to continue on a true Presbyterian church outside of the PCUSA.  It was this second purpose which caused the most trouble and resulted in many who had originally supported Westminster Seminary and the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions to become lukewarm  to Dr. Machen and  those associated with him. But the latter was not the case at this mass meeting as close to one thousand people came together for this first meeting.

The first speaker, as  reported by Mr. Thomas Birch of the Presbyterian Guardian in their October 21st edition, was Dr. Charles Turnbull, editor of the Sunday School Times. He spent a good time of his speech showing with much evidence the growing modernism which characterized the pulpits of the land and Sunday School rooms. Challenging the Christian audience to be faithful to the Word of God, and contend earnestly for the Christian faith by supporting the newly formed institutions, like the Presbyterian Constitutional Covenant Union, Westminster Seminary, and the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions.

Speaking secondly was Dr. J. Gresham Machen, President of the Independent Board and professor at Westminster Seminary. Using James 1:22 at his text, which states, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (KJV), the stalwart of the historic Christian faith, outlined the events which led to this crisis of faith in the Presbyterian Church.

Speaking last was the General Council of the Presbyterian Constitutional Covenant Union, the Rev. H. McAllister Griffiths. He spoke of future plans of the Union as well as the Presbyterian Guardian.

The closing hymn was an apt one, in that the great crowd sang Martin Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”  Truly another Reformation was being accomplished by those gathered on that Tuesday night in Philadelphia.

Words to live by: We have the advantage of looking back and seeing history as it unfolded. Attempts to reform the Presbyterian Church from the inside went nowhere as the apostate machine simply suspended, for example, two of the three speakers at that meeting — J. Gresham Machen and H. McAllister Griffiths — from the ministry.  They were joined by a number of faithful ministers who were also kicked out of the church.  So a new church — the Presbyterian Church of America — was formed in 1936 at the last meeting of the Constitutional Covenant Union.

The question is really quite simple, dear reader, if you find yourself in a liberal congregation or denomination. You may think that you are holding them back from moving further away from the Bible. But what influence are they having upon you? Are your biblical convictions becoming less and less important to you. Are your stands for righteousness becoming more and more distant and rare? Pray about this fervently, not only for yourself, but for your family, and then acknowledge the sad truth that it is the liberal church who has left you and who has left the faith given unto the saints. Support a Bible-believing, gospel-preaching, Great Commission-fulfilling church today with your membership.

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The Quiet Influence of a Canadian Presbyterian

kikJM

Quiet workers, in God’s kingdom, are often found to have an abiding influence.

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,” – (Col. 3:23, NASB)

In 1965, the following obituary (slightly edited here) appeared on the pages of Christianity Today, observing the passing of one of the founding editors of that magazine:

The Reverend J. Marcellus Kik was one of the first three members of the editorial staff of Christianity Today, from its inception in 1955. When the magazine was initially planned, advice was sought from hundreds of men in this country and abroad. None of the replies showed more depth of understanding and vision for this Christian witness than Mr. Kik’s. His long experience as a pastor and as editor of a church paper in Canada enabled him to make a significant and lasting contribution to this maga­zine, which he served as associate editor.

About 1960, Mr. Kik assumed the post of research editor. In that capacity he spent many months in Europe, particularly in Switzerland and Holland.  In Geneva he received permis­sion to study all minutes’ of the consistory for the period of Calvin’s great ministry in that city, and also the min­utes of the city council dur­ing the same years.  Mr. Kik had these minutes micro­filmed and then translated from seventeenth-century French into English.  These indefatigable efforts brought to light the clear distinction Calvin made between his duties as a Christian citizen and the spiritual role of the corporate church in society.

During 1927 and 1928 Mr. Kik attended Princeton Theological Seminary, and he was part of the first class graduated from Westmin­ster Theological Seminary in the Spring of 1930. For the next twenty­-two years he held pastorates in Canada, where he also conducted a weekly radio program for thirteen years.  He wrote a number of religious books and served on the Board of Trustees of both Westminster Seminary and Gordon College and Divinity School.

Mr. Kik continued his Calvin research up to the week of his death.  In 1964, he underwent radical surgery from which he never fully recovered but which never daunted him in his work and witness for his Lord. He died in Philadelphia on October 22, in 1965.

Funeral services were held in the Second Reformed Church of Little Falls, New Jersey, of which he had been pastor for eleven years before joining the staff of Christianity Today. A testimony to his life echoed through the hymns sung at the service: “O, for a Thousand Tongues,” “Hallelujah! ‘What a Saviour!,” and “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”

Jacob Marcellus Kik was born in Phillipsland, Netherlands on 24 December 1903.  He attended Hope College, graduating in 1927 and then went on to Princeton Seminary, attending there from the Fall semester in 1927 through the Spring semester of 1929. He then transferred to the newly founded Westminster Theological Seminary in the Fall of 1929 along with other Biblical conservatives.  He graduated from Westminster in May of 1930, was ordained by Miramichi Presbytery on 29 October 1930 and pastored the Bass River and West Branch churches in New Brunswick, Canada from 1930 to 1933.

Rev. Kik’s influential role began early on, as noted in this article, speaking of the situation in Canada in the 1930’s and following:

“A pattern had been established. Independent Presbyterian journals presented an opportunity for minorities to present their views and gain an audience. Only a decade after church union, a new independent journal would appear. Bible Christianity owed much to the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the 1920s and 1930s from which Canada was largely spared. The magazine, supported by W. D. Reid, minister of the well-heeled Stanley Church, Westmount, Montreal, became known for its outspoken opposition to what it perceived as liberalism in the continuing church. Bible Christianity was edited by J. Marcellus Kik, a Presbyterian minister who was among the first graduates of Westminster Seminary after it split from Princeton in 1929. Kik had been minister in New Brunswick but came to Montreal in 1936 and served there in various capacities (for a time as full-time editor and religious broadcaster) from 1936 to 1952.  [The later Bible Presbyterian, which was published out of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, by dissident Presbyterian minister Malcolm MacKay.]” — Note: Vol. 1, no. 1 of Bible Christianity is now posted in PDF format.

Another article, on the early history of the Banner of Truth Trust, notes the influence of Rev. Kik:

“Among Professor Murray’s chief concerns was the restoration of true preaching.  One who shared this view was the Rev J Marcellus Kik, a trustee of Westminster Seminary. This subject was discussed with Mr. Kik when he was present in London in 1961.  As a result he carried back to Professor Murray in Philadelphia a proposal that a conference should be held for ministers the following year in the UK, concentrating specifically on the need for a renewal of preaching.” [Thus the beginnings of the annual Banner of Truth Pastors’ Conferences.]

Lastly, Rev. Kik’s published works were another avenue of his influence:

A Partial Bibliography for Rev. J. Marcellus Kik—
1934
The Narrow and The Broad Way, and other sermons of salvation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1934. 4 p. l., iii, [13]-106 p.

1935-1951
Editor, Bible Christianity (Dalhousie, New Brunwick, Canada) — [Note: The PCA Historical Center has preserved a nearly complete run of this title. Vol. 1, no. 1 of this title may be viewed here, in PDF format.]

1955ff.
Associate editor of Christianity Today (Washington, D.C.) — [photo of the founding editors, here.]

1956
Voices from Heaven and Hell. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1956. 192 p.

Foreword to Calvin and Augustine, by B.B. Warfield. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1980, 1971, ©1956. pp. i-viii of 507p.

1958
Ecumenism and the Evangelical. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1958, ©1957.  v, 152 p.

1960
Matthew Twenty-Four : An Exposition. Philadelphia, PA: The Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1960 [2nd ed.]. xii, 115 p.

1961
Historic Reformed Eschatology [S.l. : s.n., 1961), 35 leaves.

1962
Church and State in the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1962. 46 p.; 23 cm.

Introduction to Limited Inspiration, by B. B. Warfield. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1962. 32 pp.

1963
The Supreme Court and Prayer in the Public School. Philadelphia, Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1963. 40 p.

1966
Kik, J. Marcellus, Mariano Di Gangi and J. Clyde Henry, Two Confessions: The Westminster Confession of Faith and the proposed Confession of 1967, compared and contrasted. Philadelphia, PA: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1966. 56pp.

1958-1968?
Reviewing religious books. S.l.: s.n., 1958-1968? 10 p.

1971
The Eschatology of Victory. Phillipsbugh, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1978, 1971. ix, 268 p.

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A Great Loss for Westminster Seminary

wilsonrw02The new orthodox seminary, Westminster, had only been open for two weeks on October 11, 1930, when one of the premier faculty members of that theological institution, and before that, Princeton Theological Seminary,  Dr. Robert Dick Wilson, died suddenly.  He had been blessed with excellent health most of his teaching career.  But after a brief week of illness, he went into the presence of the Lord.

This writer’s father, who studied under Dr. Wilson at Princeton from 1927 to 1929, told me that Robert Dick Wilson planned his life in three phases. Phase one was to learn all the extant languages of, or related to, the Scriptures. And he did have a working knowledge somewhere between twenty-five and forty-five languages (accounts vary). The second phase was to study all the higher critical attacks upon the Bible. And the last phase was publish in defending the Scriptures against all of those higher critical attacks upon the sacred Word. It was with regards to this last phase that he commented that he had come to the conviction that no man knows enough to attack the veracity of the Old Testament.

One humorous incident in his teaching career at Princeton was the time that a woman had enrolled in his class. One day, as was usually the case, he was disheveled in his attire when he came to class. Often the suspenders which held up his pants would be pinned by two safety pins. Teaching animatedly, the two pins became undone with the result that his pants slid to the floor. Embarrassed immensely, and sliding down to raise his pants again,  he could only cry out “Where is Mrs. Jennings? Where is she?,” fearing she was in class in the back row. When told that the lone woman in question had cut his class to study in the library, Dr. Wilson responded, “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.”

Words to live by:  Why would an accomplished scholar like Dr. Robert Dick Wilson leave his life calling at Princeton Seminary in 1929 to go to a brand new theological institution where there was no guarantee of funds for either teaching or retirement?  The answer is that Dr. Wilson knew that a person cannot have God’s richest blessings, even in teaching the truth, when the opportunity to teach that truth is gained by corruption of principles.  And the reorganization of Princeton’s Board of Trustees with two members who had signed the Auburn Affirmation was just that, a corruption of principles.  May we take a similar stand for righteousness, regardless of the outcome to our lives.

For further study: The PCA Historical Center, which hosts This Day in Presbyterian History, houses among its many collections the Papers of Dr. Robert Dick Wilson. As one means of promoting that collection, the Historical Center has posted a number of articles about Dr. Wilson on its web site, and these can be found here.

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As we approach the end of the academic year, and seminaries around the country will be sending out their graduates into pulpits, ministries and other pursuits, it seemed good today to revisit the following post from this date in 2012. On a note of encouragement, consider how far we have come in the past 83 years. In 1930, there were arguably just three solidly conservative Presbyterian seminaries—Westminster, Erskine, and the Reformed Presbyterian Seminary in Pittsburgh. Today there are over thirty. Some are small institutions, others relatively large, all are sending graduates out into the world to take up various positions of ministry in God’s expanding kingdom:—

An Historic Commencement Address

Macartney, Clarence EdwardTalk about history being made!  The first ever commencement address delivered to the  student body of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania took place on May 6, 1930.  The speaker was the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Clarence Edward Macartney.  He was a member of the board of this new seminary, besides being known as a conservative in the issues confronting the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

In his address, after looking at the approaching  state of the church from the standpoint of its adherence to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, Dr. Macartney focused the attention of the students on the very existence of this new seminary.  Listen to his words:

“The founding of Westminster Seminary, therefore, has a peculiar and definite meaning at this critical day in the history of Christianity.

“In the first place, its establishment is a protest against the action of the church in dissolving the Board of Directors of Princeton Seminary, and practically ejecting them for loyalty to the truth.

“In the second place, the establishment of Westminster Seminary is a warning to the Presbyterian Church against the danger of being completely submerged in the tide of neo-Christianity which threatens to engulf the whole Protestant church.  This seminary is a watchman on the wall, proclaiming with no uncertain trumpet that an enemy is in our midst.

“In the third place, the establishment of this seminary is a witness to the Bible as the Word of God, a notification to the world that we believe in the Bible, both as to its facts and its doctrines, and are confident that both facts and doctrines are capable of reasoned, thoughtful, and scholarly defense.

“In the  fourth place, this Seminary is founded as a witness to the saving power of the glorious gospel of the blessed God and of our Lord Jesus Christ.   This Seminary shall stand as a token of our earnest conviction that the gospel of Christ is the alone hope of a lost and fallen race.

“In the fifth place, Westminster Seminary is founded as a token of our faith in the rejuvenescence of evangelical Christianity, and that, as the tops of the mountains  were seen after the deluge, so after the deluge and invasion of unbelief in the Protestant church, when the angry waters shall have perished, those sacred heights of mountain tops of Sinai and Calvary shall again be revealed, and the Church shall again bow in gratitude, adoration, and love before the cross of the Eternal Christ.”

After such a reminder of the need for Westminster Seminary to exist, Dr. Macartney then reminded the students that they have been entrusted with the glorious gospel of the blessed God. It was a sacred trust, he added. He spoke about the temptation to forsake that trust, when standing alone, for example, but he encouraged them to resist that temptation and proclaim that blessed gospel.

Words to Live By: Whether we speak about a theological institution, a church, or a Christian, all of us have been entrusted with the gospel. If we won’t defend it, who will? If we won’t utter it, who will? If we forsake it, how will it be carried out? We have, all of us, been entrusted with the Gospel—it is a solemn and sacred treasure to share with all those around us, whomsoever will hear. And remember to regularly pray for these many schools that train your future pastors and missionaries. Pray that professors and students alike would maintain a godly humility in all their studies, lest sinful pride undermine all accomplishment. Pray that they would not neglect the regular habit of prayer. Pray particularly that even while students, that they would not neglect the joyful duty of sharing their faith with others.

To read the full message by Dr. Macartney, click here.

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Snapshot of a Social Gathering at Westminster

macrae05February 11, 1902 marks the birthday of Allan Alexander MacRae, whose papers are preserved at the PCA Historical Center in St. Louis. Educated at Occidental College (1923), Princeton Seminary (1927) and the University of Berlin (1929), MacRae returned to the States at the urging of Paul Woolley to serve as one of the founding faculty at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he remained 1929-1937.

Allan remained close to his parents and it is interesting to note among his papers, that he had carefully kept copies of every letter he sent home to his mother and father. And he wrote home nearly every day while away at school and even later in his new career as a professor. Transcribed below is one such letter, which provides an interesting insight into the social life of the early Westminster Seminary faculty.

Philadelphia, Pa., Oct.22, 1933.

Dear Folks,

Another week has passed by, and how it has flown.  It was quite a busy week.  There was the regular school work, there were the first classes of the year in the University and there were two special things.  These latter were the tea at the Allises last Wednesday afternoon and the party at the Wallaces on Friday evening.  Both these events were particularly pleasant.  The Allises gave a tea in honor of the Kuipers.  They invited over a hundred people.  They asked me, and the others of our faculty to stay most of the time from four to six to help entertain the visitors.  It was a very friendly reception.  Everyone was so cordial and harmonious.  Most of those who came knew most of the others.

On Friday evening the Misses Wallace, two maiden ladies who have been friends of the Seminary and have been present at most of our functions right from the start, entertained the faculty of the Seminary at their apartment in one of the suburbs.  They asked Dr.Machen to speak on mountain climbing.  He gave a very interesting talk indeed.  Then Jimmie Blackstone, who was also invited, sang several numbers for us, and one of the Misses Wallace read some poems she had written.  Dr.Kuiper was asked for a few remarks.  After that we had a spelling bee.  Most of those on the side on which I happened to be chosen were spelled down rather soon, and for a long time I was the lone survivor on our side, while the opposing team still had three standing.  These three were Dr. Machen, Paul Woolley and John Murray.  Then I put one ‘m’ too few in the word persimmon, and left the three of them alone.  So their side was victorious in the contest.  After that ice cream was served.  When we all came to leave, some one happened to look at a watch, and we could hardly believe it was actually past midnight, the evening had been so pleasant.  The only people invited who were not members of our faculty, beside Mr. and Mrs. Blackstone, were Mr. and Mrs.Freeman, whom I mentioned to you recently.  They took John Murray and me with them in their car, which was pleasant and also a great convenience
for us.

GriffithsHM1938H.M. Griffiths is having quite an unpleasant experience.  A week ago yesterday he developed a severe case of acute appendicitis, and that afternoon he was operated on.  They think the appendix might have ruptured soon if they had not taken it out.  Early this week some infection set in, so he had a disagreeable week.  I think they feel that that is pretty well over now,  I saw him yesterday.  He was quite uncomfortable, but is new getting along well, I believe.

Yesterday after faculty meeting John Murray and I went out to Germantown together and visited Griffiths.  Then John and I ate together in the neighborhood.  John had to come back to the city, as he was going right out to Oxford, Pa. to spend the week-end with one of our graduates.  I walked across Germantown to the Woolleys’ home.  I had a nice visit with Paul, and then had supper with both of them.  After supper I played a bit with Edward, who is very friendly.  Paul sat over in the corner, and seemed to have a great time, watching me playing hide and seek with Edward.  I took the train home early, leaving just as soon as I had said goodnight to Edward, so as to get a real good night’s sleep myself.

I am enjoying my beginning Hebrew classes again as much as anything I do.  I am presenting the material in a somewhat different order, and am surely enjoying it.  Early in the week my eyes bothered me a bit.  I stopped in at an optician’s and he spent a long time adjusting the glasses and the way they hung on my nose and ears.  They were hurting my nose.  Since that time, they do not hurt my nose at all, and the eyes have been very greatly improved.  Evidently they were not hanging right on my face.  I hope you are both well and happy as I am.  I will close, very lovingly,

[/s/, Allan A. MacRae]

Words to Live By:
Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. (Eph. 6:2-3, KJV)
Allan MacRae honored his parents first and foremost by himself living an honorable life before the Lord. But even in a small simple thing like frequent communication, he exhibited his care, concern, and respect for his parents. For those who are not so wise, the Lord teaches us to forgive, as we remember our own sins and failings and praise God that in Christ alone our sins are covered. But when we find a good example like Dr. MacRae, it is interesting to watch the rest of his life. Having lived long on the earth, Allan MacRae died in 1997, at the age of 95.

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