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A distinguished Presbyterian author 
tells how he, while still unborn, was 
dedicated by his devout mother to the 
service of Christ and how he was 
brought up to become an outstanding 
Presbyterian minister. He outlines the 
Westminster Confession of Faith which 
is the creed of English-speaking Presby- 
terians, and tells how the Presbyterian 
churches are governed by elders (Greek, 
presbyteros, means elder). He fills his 
book with factual information about the 
domestic and foreign missions of Presby- 
terians, about their work in education, 
and about their history which begins 
with the apostles. This is a fact-packed 
book telling what Presbyterianism is as 
well as relating the personal course 
that led Dr. Park Hays Miller to his 
long service as a Presbyterian editor, 
author, and minister. 

In recounting what Presbyterians are 
doing in the world today, Dr. Miller is 
mindful of the works of all the Presby- 
terian denominations. Himself a mem- 
ber of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., 
he pays tribute to the history of the 
Presbyterian Church, U.S. (sometimes 
called "Southern"), the United Presb) 
terian Church and the Cumberlan 
Presbyterian Church, as well as to hi 
own denomination. 

Why are Presbyterians called "th 
people of the book"? What is the Wes 
minster Confession of Faith? What 
the General Assembly? Why is Frana 
Makemie called "the real father c 
organized Presbyterianisn in America" 
These are some of the many questior 
answered, sometimes with dry humc 
but always lucidly and authoritative! 
by Dr. Miller. 

285 MM* 65-46987 

a Presbyterian 

285 M649w 65-46987 

fill Her 52*95 

Why I am a Presbyterian 



The Abundant Life 

Our Reasonable Faith 

Heroes of the Church 

The Holy Spirit in Christian Experience 

Christian Doctrine for Sunday School Teachers 



Park Hays Miller 



Copyright, 1956, by Park Hays Miller 
Library of Congress Catalog Card No.: 56-12396 

Second Printing, May, 1958 
Third Printing, August, I960 

Manufactured in the United States of America 
American Book-Stratford Press, Inc., New York 


Oliver Laird Miller, M.D. 


Mary Jane Cunningham 



IN ATTEMPTING TO tell "why I am a Presbyterian/- 
the writer would naturally be expected to write from the 
point of view of the particular kind of Presbyterian he is, 
namely, a member of the Presbyterian Church in the United 
States of America. However, he is mindful of other Presby- 
terians, who, while belonging to other groups, are just as 
truly Presbyterian as he is. He could not be expected, how- 
ever, to be as well informed concerning them as he is con- 
cerning his own particular section of the larger Presbyterian 
fellowship. He hopes he will be forgiven for assigning so 
much space to his own Church as an example of what Pres- 
byterians are, what they believe, and what they endeavor to do. 
Non-Presbyterians may care to know what groups of Pres- 
byterians there are. The Year Book of American Churches 
for 1955 lists the following: 

Associate Presbyterian Church of North America 

Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (General Synod) 

Bible Presbyterian Church 

Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Church 

Cumberland Presbyterian Church 

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church 

Presbyterian Church in the United States (often called 

The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America 


Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America (General 

Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (Old 

United Presbyterian Church of North America 

The author is deeply grateful for the assistance he has re- 
ceived from many friends. Dr. Lefferts A. Loetscher, Pro- 
fessor of American Church History in Princeton Theological 
Seminary, read much of the manuscript and made many help- 
ful and necessary suggestions and corrections. Dr. Henry 
Barraclough, of the Office of the General Assembly, read 
Chapters V and VII. Dr. Ray J. Harmelink of the Board of 
Christian Education read Chapter XII. Dr. Hermann N. 
Morse, of the Board of National Missions, read Chapter X. 
Dr. William N. Wysham was very helpful in connection with 
Chapter XI, and Dr. Walter L. Clark helped to bring Chap- 
ter XIII up to date. 

Mr. Guy S. Klett of the Department of History of the Of- 
fice of the General Assembly was exceptionally gracious in 
making available source material from the Historical Library 
on many occasions. 

The writer has drawn information from the pamphlet, The 
Westminster Assembly, published by the Department of His- 
tory of the Office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian 
Church in the U.S.A. A Brief History of the Presbyterians, 
by Lefferts A. Loetscher, published by the Board of Christian 
Education of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. has been 
invaluable, especially in connection with Chapter III. 

The author is indebted to his good neighbors, Dr. George 
D. Munro and Dr. Mills J. Taylor of the United Presbyterian 
Church, for the loan of the Minutes of their General Assem- 
bly and The Book of Government and Worship, which cor- 
responds to The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in 
the U.S.A. 
Much information concerning early foreign missions was 


found in One Hundred Years, a History of the Foreign Mis- 
sionary Work of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., by 
Arthur Judson Brown, published by Fleming H. Revell Co., 
and concerning home missions in Presbyterian Panorama, by 
Clifford Merrill Drury, Ph.D., published by the Board of 
Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. 

It is hoped that the fact that changes take place almost 
overnight will be appreciated by readers. What was at the 
time of writing the latest available information proves, when 
a book is off press, to be somewhat out of date. 

Information in regard to the Presbyterian Church, U.S., 
and the United Presbyterian Church of North America has 
been drawn from the Minutes of their General Assemblies of 
1955. The author hopes members of these fellowships will 
forgive any omissions that seem important. He realizes that in 
a book of this character it is easy to be guilty of inaccuracies 
in spite of meticulous care. In such cases the author must be 
held responsible for any undiscovered errors. 

All Biblical quotations in the text, with certain exceptions 
for historical reasons, are from the Revised Standard Version 
of the Bible by permission of Thomas Nelson and Sons. 

P. H. M. 

















Fourteen A LAST WORD 196 

INDEX 197 




THE TITLE OF this book, Why I Am a Presbyterian, 
makes it necessary to use the first personal pronoun, at 
least at the beginning. If the reader feels that this is an ego- 
istic intrusion, he may turn to Chapter Two, but the writer 
naturally hopes this will not be done. He is attempting here 
to say something that will help to answer the question that 
the title of the book raises. 

This autobiographical introduction begins before birth. 
My mother, a deeply religious woman, and a Presbyterian of 
course, attended the General Assembly of the Presbyterian 
Church, U.S.A., in Saratoga in 1879. She was interested in 
the women's meetings held simultaneously with the Assem- 
bly. At one of these meetings the speaker urged the women 
to make a personal dedication to the cause of Christ. My 
mother, deeply moved, dedicated her unborn child, boy or 
girl, to the service of Christ. Since she was a Presbyterian, I 
must have been one too. Of this dedication she did not tell 
me until I had completed my seminary course and was ready 
for ordination, for she did not wish to influence my own de- 



cision in regard to my life work. However, the dedication 
affected the whole atmosphere of the home. 

My brother, four years my senior, was branded for my fa- 
ther's profession. He was a physician. The professions of the 
two sons were therefore taken for granted. 

The atmosphere of the home was permeated with religion. 
My father was a Christian twenty-four hours a day and seven 
days in the week. Every meal began with a blessing. When 
father was not present because of professional duties, mother 
returned thanks for what we were about to receive. 

Father's office hours, beginning in the evening at six, some- 
times conflicted with the evening meal. This meant that fa- 
ther would ask the blessing, serve the plates, and then excuse 
himself, see a patient, and soon return for a few bites. Thus, 
sometimes, between blessing and dessert he would get three 
patients out of the way. It was surely for him a "piece" meal. 
Often, however, we all had our meal together and the con- 
versation seldom failed to include some reference to the 

Family prayers came after breakfast as we knelt by our 
chairs while prayer was offered by father following some se- 
lection of Scripture. We were not often together in the eve- 
ning, but my mother would read to us when we were in bed 
and offer prayer, which was rather searching into our day's 

Father almost always ended his family prayer with what I 
thought was "blast save us/' Later I learned that what he 
really said was, "at last save us/' The doctrine of salvation 
by grace was soon embedded in my mind. 

Mother was a model of integrity. I used to sit and listen 
when she conversed with visiting relatives and friends, for 
people felt free to drop in for a visit at any time, usually 
without notice. One day there was a discussion about a cousin 
of college age who was wasting his time and his father's 
money by making little use of his college opportunities. My 


mother commented that she would never compel a child of 
hers to continue his education against his will. This was my 
opportunity. I had the notion that I would like to earn some 
money by working as a cash boy in a near-by department 
store. So I broke into the conversation with, "Mother, I 
would like to stop school and go to work." Many a mother 
would have been hard put to it to hold to her word and at 
the same time not interrupt her son's education. "When do 
you want to stop school?'* she answered. Faced with the di- 
lemma, I made no audible answer, but to myself I said, 
"Mother wins." So my preparation for work in the Presbyte- 
rian Church continued uninterrupted. 

Many and varied guests came to our home, especially for 
dinner after church. We usually entertained the visiting 
preacher. When there were Presbyterian or interdenomina- 
tional gatherings in the city we frequently entertained a cou- 
ple of the delegates. On a certain occasion, two delegates 
were Chinese, one of whom became famous for his Christian 

On one occasion we entertained a representative of the 
Waldensian Church of Italy. He was here on a visit to raise 
money for his Protestant group in that Roman Catholic 
country. We had turkey for dinner. When we were seated 
at the table and prayer had been offered, our guest turned 
to my mother and said, "What! Have you no fish?" He was 
referring to the Roman Catholic custom of not eating meat 
on Friday. My mother raised her head with surprised dignity 
at the question, but the guest, holding his hands toward the 
turkey, uttered some gibberish and declared, "It is no longer 
turkey, but fish." Then he went on to say that some priests 
in Italy, not too devoted to their ideals, thus justified their 
departure from the Friday rule. While our family was as free 
from prejudice as any home I have known, it may be that 
this incident did not create any greater confidence in the 
practices of another communion than my own. 


For a physician my father had an unusual library. Among 
his books were three volumes of Hodge's Systematic Theol- 
ogy, the two volumes of Edersheim's The Life and Times of 
Jesus the Messiah, the three volumes of the Schaff-Herzog 
Encyclopaedia of Religious Knowledge, which has recently 
been reprinted with the addition of two supplementary vol- 
umes. He also had A Homiletic Encyclopaedia, which was a 
large collection of illustrations for preachers. Evidently it 
was secured to provide material for his use as a Sunday 
School superintendent and vagrant speaker. 

An illustration of the central place of God in father's life, 
and he hoped in mine, and the only instance I can recall of 
his being unfair, occurred in connection with his work as a 
physician. Leaving the house after his office hours he would 
always call upstairs, "I am going out now. I won't be long. 
I'm going just a few places. If anyone calls, I will be back 
soon/' But he might be on his rounds the entire afternoon. 

One day he was starting out when I was home. He asked 
me to go with him to "mind the horse," which meant sitting 
in the buggy while he made a call. He said he was going to 
make only a couple of calls. But, as often happened, two be- 
came four and four five. Nature took a hand in the situation, 
for there was a sudden drop in the temperature and I began 
to shiver. ''Will you go a couple more places with me?" fa- 
ther inquired. I was chilled to the bone and had already 
fulfilled my contract for a couple of visits, so I said, "You 
will have to take me past the house and let me get my coat. 
I'm cold." With a sudden surge of indignation he turned 
the buggy about, drove home and let me out of the buggy, 
and went on the rest of his rounds alone. 

When he came home, he spoke to me severely, telling me 
that I had been ungrateful. Then he said, "Go into the office 
and get down on your knees and ask God to forgive you.'" 
There was seclusion in the office and I did get down on my 
knees, but I could not ask God to forgive me when I felt 


that I had not sinned. Two things I learned. The first was 
that I should see my actions in the light of God's judgment. 
The other was that silence before God is better than insin- 
cerity. Almost immediately my father and I were on the best 
of terms again. 

He believed in the righteousness of God and his love, the 
sinfulness of sin and the blessing of forgiveness. My brother, 
perhaps twelve years old at the time, was eager to use a base- 
ball bat with skill and grace, so he was practicing his swing 
in front of a large mirror in the folding-bed in the large bed- 
room. Alas! he swung too far and shattered the mirror. Fa- 
ther heard the crash and rushed up to the bedroom, viewed 
the wreck of the mirror, took the boy by the hand, and led 
him down to the kitchen where there was a large coal stove. 
He thrust the bat into the stove and made the boy watch it 
burn to ashes. That was righteous judgment upon the sin of 
carelessness. When the bat was burned he took a quarter 
from his pocket and said, "Here's a quarter. Go and get your- 
self another bat/' for a quarter would go a long distance in 
that day. My brother had learned the penalty of sin, the need 
of repentance, and the wonder of forgiveness. 

I learned a similar lesson in an entirely different way. I 
was playing with my boyhood friends in the park opposite 
my home. My father was returning to the house and spied 
me at play. He called, "Come here, son." I heard him and 
began the long trek from play to my father's side, my feet 
dragging and my head downcast, plainly revealing my reluc- 
tance to leave my play to go on some errand. A nickel was in 
his hand, and these were the days of pennies for children, 
and he said, "I just wanted to give you this/' You can im- 
agine with what contrition I went back to my play. What an 
example of grace and kindness to the undeserving! 

There were many illustrations of his seven-day-a-week re- 
ligion. When a patient came to see him for the first time, 
after inquiring about his symptoms he would always ask, 


"Where do you go to church? I you do not have a church 
home, why not come to the First Church?" And if the patient 
came, he would find my father at the door to greet him and 
show him to a seat. In those days pews and sittings were 
"rented." My father always had a pew larger than the family 
required, so there was room for extra worshipers. When vis- 
itors came into the church and seemed embarrassed or were 
poorly clad, father would greet them, say an encouraging 
word, and lead them to our pew. 

When I went home at the time of his death, a Negro ac- 
costed me near the home and said; "There is something I 
want to tell you about your father. He was our family phy- 
sician when I was a boy. An old aunt lived with us and your 
father was called in to see her. After examining her care- 
fully, he said kindly, 'Auntie, do you know that you are not 
long for this world?' Then he spoke about faith and salva- 
tion. The children were called in and knelt while your fa- 
ther led in prayer." 

Yes, religion was an everyday affair for my father and in 
the home. Father was an elder for more than forty years and 
a Sunday School superintendent for much of that time. So 
of course I was brought up in a Presbyterian Sunday School. 
Although he had many confinement cases, for he was an ex- 
cellent obstetrician, he arranged almost without fail to have 
the babies arrive before or after Sunday School hour. 

I never heard him boast about his professional skill but 
once, but he liked to make speeches in prayer meetings and 
in Sunday Schools when he was invited. He was rather bold 
in seeking commendation for these. He really fished for com- 
pliments until sometimes I was embarrassed. One evening 
after prayer meeting, two of his grandchildren who were liv- 
ing in his home at the time took the notion that they would 
like to have some ice cream. They put their heads together 
and then went out to the front porch where their grand- 
father was sitting. After a pause, one of them said, "Grand- 


father, that was a great speech you made tonight/' Father's 
face glowed with delight as he replied: "Thank you, boys. 
Here is a quarter. Run down to the drug store and get some 
ice cream and we will have a treat/* 

When I was twelve, it was decided that I should leave the 
grade school and go to a preparatory school a few blocks 
from our home. One of the boys with whom I played re- 
marked with some acid in his tone, "It's a pity you could not 
get along in public school/' But there was another reason for 
the transfer. My mother, ahead of the times, thought that 
languages should be learned when children were young. If 
I was to study Latin and Greek, it would be well to start 
early. The atmosphere of the school was religious. The prin- 
cipal was a Presbyterian layman, and the teacher of Latin 
and Greek was a devout Christian. So the atmosphere of the 
home followed me to preparatory school. The prayer services 
held every day were informal and usually conducted by the 

At the time I was not aware of the influence of an incident 
in the class on reading which was conducted by the principal, 
but it often came back to me in relation to the reading of the 
Bible in the pulpit. The principal did not pride himself on 
his scholarship, but he was proud of his ability to read in 
public and one day he gave an example, which I later learned 
that he repeated at the same place every year in the reading 
class. As we were reading from the book of selections from 
notable sources, he suddenly took over the reading. We fol- 
lowed him on the page as he read. He came to a question 
which he read. He did it so naturally that, although we saw 
the printed words on the page, he seemed to be talking to 
us, and instinctively we answered the question as if he had 
not been reading and the question was addressed to us. I 
make no claim to being a good reader in public, but I have 
never forgotten that the Bible can be read from the pulpit 
so as to come alive for the hearers. 


I was a member of the Church at what may be considered 
an early age, for I had "joined the church" at the age of ten. 
How well prepared I was for this step might be a subject for 
debate, but after all these years some of the memories are 
still vivid. I was taken to one of the preparatory services be- 
fore communion. I am sure that my parents had no expec- 
tation at that time that this might result in a decision on 
my part. I remember that the minister preached on Abraham 
and used one of the incidents where God spoke to the patri- 
arch. Then he said, "Blessed are you, if you can hear God 
speaking to you." I listened for a voice, but heard none, and 
yet somehow I was deeply impressed. 

The church was planning to tear down the old building 
and erect a new one. Somehow I conceived the idea that I 
wanted to be a member of the church in the old building. 
One morning, shortly before the communion, I remember 
sitting on the floor and putting on my shoes and stockings. 
Mother was in the room. I was doing some real thinking 
with some emotion involved. Suddenly I turned to my mother 
and said, "I would like to join the church." Very tactfully she 
neither over-encouraged me nor discouraged me. The deci- 
sion must be mine. 

Father spoke to the minister and it was decided that I 
should meet with the session, as was the custom in the Pres- 
byterian Church. With my father present, and silent, I was 
"examined." There were no communicant classes in those 
days, at least in our church. The session meeting was more 
a time of instruction than an examination through which I 
passed. The minister tried to explain to a ten-year-old boy 
the way of salvation by faith in Christ. He gave a simple 
explanation of the Lord's Supper. I was approved by the ses- 
sion, and the following Sunday I went forward with the 
other new members and was publicly received as a member 
of the Church. I know I was far from being as intelligent at 
this step as was my older brother when he was received, but 


I often thanked God that at that very time I became a pro- 
fessing Christian. Being a member of the Church steadied 
me in many experiences, and if I had not then made the de- 
cision, I fear the step would have been long postponed. 

At fifteen I entered the Western University, then situated 
in my home town of Allegheny, opposite Pittsburgh. The 
Chancellor was a Presbyterian minister and an entomologist 
of note. He identified many moths and butterflies. The pro- 
fessor of Greek was an active Presbyterian layman. The pro- 
fessor of Latin was a Presbyterian minister. The teacher of 
history, also a Presbyterian minister, taught also natural the- 
ology, ethics, and Christian evidences, all of which were re- 
quired for "classical" students working for their B.A. 

One day in the history class the assignment had been the 
fall of Jerusalem to the Romans and it was intimated that 
there may have been something supernatural in the fire that 
broke out in the Temple. One of the students exclaimed, 
"Who knows that there is a God?" The professor met the 
challenge with "I do," and he made a warm argument for 
the existence and character of God. 

In the class on Christian evidences was a Jew. As the 
course progressed under this same professor's leadership, the 
Jew at the close of one of the sessions almost quoted the 
words of Agrippa to Paul in the King James Version, "Al- 
most thou persuadest me to be a Christian." None of us, 
however, followed up this outburst of an undecided mind. 
Lack of evangelistic zeal has sometimes haunted me. 

Some hinted that the professor of chemistry was a skeptic, 
if not an atheist, but one day in class he gave a testimony 
to the wisdom revealed in nature that was a fine advocacy of 
belief in a wise Creator. So in my university experience I am 
grateful to be able to say that there were no influences that 
would lead away from the religious convictions I had ac- 
quired in home and church. I was still in the Presbyterian 


Next came the seminary, Presbyterian, of course. There 
the teaching was open-minded, but confirmed and enlarged 
the Presbyterian views which I had been taught. Trained up 
in them as a child, I did not depart from them when I be- 
came older. There was nothing sectarian in my theological 
training in the Western Theological Seminary. The truth 
taught by other denominations was recognized. There was 
no narrow pride in the traditions of the Presbyterian Church, 
but there was a clear presentation of the system of doctrine 
and polity embodied in the Constitution of the Presbyterian 

Because of my youth I planned to teach a year in a pre- 
paratory school, where my subjects were mathematics and 
history. During this period I was asked to preach in a small 
college town. The elders approached me in the afternoon 
and asked if I would consider a call. I said that I was not 
ready to assume the responsibilities of the pastorate because 
of my youth. But my name was presented to the congrega- 
tion later and I was not elected. The kind elder's report to 
me was encouraging, and I have never forgotten it: "The 
only objection which was raised was your youth, but do not 
be discouraged. You can overcome this while you are doing 
something else/' 

After this year of teaching I was invited to preach in the 
First Presbyterian Church of Uniontown, Pa., while the pas- 
tor was away with his fatally-ill wife. This continued for six 
months. There occurred an incident which is the only event 
in my life that made me feel a bit proud. As I came out of 
the great granite church, the windows of which were de- 
signed by Tiffany and which were said to have cost fifty thou- 
sand dollars, a man was passing. He stopped, looked back at 
me, and then approached me. "Did you ever preach in Scio, 
Ohio?" he asked. That was the college town where I was not 
elected. I told him I did. "And what are you doing now?" he 
asked. With sinful pride I pointed to the great church build- 


ing and said, "I am preaching here." Alas! I did not say that 
I was only a supply for a few weeks. 

One day while in Uniontown the pastor who had returned 
came to my room. He said that he had been an agent on a 
number of occasions for a person who wished to give anony- 
mously to worthy causes. This person wished to send me to 
the Holy Land, provided I would never reveal who had 
sent me. Saturday night the donor went about town collect- 
ing the needed money, for the banks were closed, and eight 
hundred dollars in bills small and large, dirty and clean, 
were placed in my hands. By wire I had been able to secure 
the only available berth on the ship that would sail Tuesday 
from New York. Sunday night I preached in the church, 
went home to Pittsburgh Monday morning, and on to New 
York by a train which had to be rerouted because of floods; 
but providentially the ship was delayed in sailing and I got 
on board at last. The whole experience taught me two les- 
sons, the providence of God and the alertness of a Presby- 
terian layman to help a young minister to be more ade- 
quately prepared for his ministry. 

When we were on the way across the ocean I learned that 
there were two groups which were to tour Palestine from 
Haifa to Jerusalem and Jaffa, but both of these horseback 
and camping tours were filled up. What was I to do? For I 
had been sent to see the Holy Land. For some reason I did 
not worry. One day the manager of the tour called me to his 
office. He said that two Jews had decided that they would 
take the stay in Egypt rather than the trip through Palestine, 
so they had turned their tickets in. "I do not know why/' 
the manager said, "for there are others ahead of you, but 
you can have one of the tickets if you wish/' I surely did 
wish, and so had the privilege of traveling on horseback to 
the many places of interest in the Holy Land, tenting at 
night, and listening to the dragoman's narrative of the re- 
lation of places to Biblical events. 


While touring the Holy Land, I received a letter at 
Nablous asking me to go to St. Louis to look over a chapel. 
That fall I settled in my first parish. Through a friend who 
went from St. Louis to Philadelphia I was called to that 
eastern city to the Presbyterian Church of the Evangel. 
There I learned how laymen like G. S. Benson, Walter 
Kugler and Henry Albin can be the mainspring of a church. 
Through the same friend I was invited to enter the Editorial 
Department of what was then the Presbyterian Board of 
Publication and Sabbath School Work. This brought me 
into close touch with the leaders of the Church and with the 
work of the Church. One phase of the work after another 
became my responsibility. The chief reason for telling this 
story is to declare my faith in a kind Providence who has 
dealt with me far more gently and graciously than I deserve. 

In succeeding chapters, reasons for being a Presbyterian 
will be presented and discussed, it is hoped without pride 
or prejudice. 



WHEN THE AUTHOR was about twelve years old he 
was given a Bible as a reward for memorizing the 
Golden Texts of a quarter's lessons in the ''Bible School/' 
It was an Oxford Bible, gilt-edged, and morocco-bound. It 
was usually in sight in the boyhood home and lies on the 
table now. It is a kind of symbol of the "Word of God" in 
the life of a Presbyterian. 

Old as the volume is, it still holds together, and the bind- 
ing, while somewhat worn and brown in spots, is all intact 
after all these years. It suggests the permanence of the Scrip- 
tures in Presbyterianism. The Bible is in English, suggestive 
of the Presbyterian emphasis upon the Bible in "the vernac- 
ular." The margins contain voluminous cross references, sug- 
gesting the principle of comparing Scripture with Scripture 
in the search for truth, a reminder of the wisdom of the 
people of Berea to whom Paul preached, for they "were 
more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the 
word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to 
see if these things were so." Acts 17:11. 



To facilitate this comparison of Scripture with Scripture 
there is in this Bible a concordance making possible the dis- 
covery of the use of the same words in other places in the 
Old and New Testament books. There are also articles giv- 
ing the geographical and historical background of the vari- 
ous portions of the Bible, suggesting the importance of in- 
terpreting the Scriptures in the light of history and geography. 
Proper names are listed, which suggests that God gave his 
revelation through men. So the Bible for this Presbyterian, 
and other Presbyterians too, is to be interpreted on the back- 
ground of human experience. 

This Bible contained the thirty-nine books of the Old Tes- 
tament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. 
Significantly, the Apocryphal books are omitted. TEese 
omitted books were included in the Septuagint, or Greek 
version of the Old Testament, and in the Vulgate, or Latin 
Version of the Bible. Thus the book illustrates the Protes- 
tant rejection of the Apocrypha as not belonging in the in- 
spired Word of God, a view held by Presbyterians. 

Presbyterians have recognized that the Scriptures are vi- 
tally related to life. They came out of life and are to be put 
into life by guiding men in their faith and conduct. The 
Bible is to be lived. 

That the Scriptures came out of life is readily illustrated. 
The Pentateuch, or first five books of the Old Testament, 
tells the story of the patriarchs and the development of Israel 
in Egypt, their bondage, deliverance, and journey to the 
Promised Land. The commandments and the Tabernacle 
and the law were a vital part of their experience with God. 
As they passed through their experiences as a nation, as re- 
corded in the books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra and 
Nehemiah they learned through their successes and failures. 
The prophets spoke in God's name, meeting the current is- 
sues of their day, exposing and denouncing the nation's sins, 
declaring the righteousness and the mercy of God, and ex- 


horning the people to repentance and loyalty. The psalms 
grew out of the deep religious experience of their composers, 
revealing their yearnings, their penitence, their faith, their 
joy, and their perception of the righteousness and goodness 
of God. In the Old Testament we find God speaking to men 
through human experience. 

The New Testament came out of life and its whole pur- 
pose is to get God's revealed truth into the lives of men. 
The Gospels describe Jesus as seen by the disciples as they 
lived with Him. The Acts relates the experience of the 
Church as it undertook, under the guidance of the Holy 
Spirit, to carry out the command of Christ to give the gospel 
to the world. And the Epistles interpret the meaning of 
Jesus, his person, and his work in relation to man's salvation, 
and they deal with the experiences of the members of the 
Church, their need of knowledge, their errors in faith and 
practice, and their Christian service. So the Bible is to Pres- 
byterians, as well as others, a vital book, a book out of life 
and for life. 

The Bible is no abstract analysis of human experience; it 
is a record of God's dealings with men in order that they may 
know God's will and find salvation. The introduction, or the 
"Preliminary Principles," of the "Form of Government" of 
the Presbyterian Church declares: "Truth is in order to 
goodness; and the great touchstone of truth, its tendency to 
promote holiness; according to our Saviour's rule, 'by their 
fruits ye shall know them.' " 

There is a historic reason for the statement of the Shorter 
Catechism: "The Word of God which is contained in the 
Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule 
to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him." In the 
Church in the days of the apostles and immediately following, 
the believers in Jesus had the Old Testament Scriptures 
which they had inherited from the Jews. They had the teach- 
ing of the apostles who had been with Jesus and had learned 


the truth they were to proclaim to the world. This truth was 
gradually embodied in the Gospels and the Epistles, and 
these were preserved by the Church. They were copied and 
circulated. So the New Testament came into being and, com- 
bined with the Old Testament, made up the Christian Scrip- 
tures, which were read and taught everywhere the Church 
went with its message. 

As the years passed and turned into centuries, the Scrip- 
tures were neglected and the traditions of the Church and 
the actions of its councils were largely substituted for them. 
In the sixteenth century the Church had largely departed 
from the gospel as it is found in the New Testament. The 
Bishop of Rome had become a powerful pope who claimed 
to be the head of the true Church. The teaching of the 
Church and its practices had become cluttered and perverted 
with false ideas. There were, however, students of the Scrip- 
tures who discovered these departures from the New Testa- 
ment, and they began to proclaim the doctrine taught in the 
Scriptures. The church authorities insisted that the Church 
as such, under the Pope, with its traditions and declarations 
of councils, had all authority. What the Church taught must 
be accepted by everyone. 

The Reformers, on the other hand, declared that the 
Scriptures alone were the authority for Christians. So these 
leaders declared the Protestant principle which in the Pres- 
byterian Church is expressed in the answer to a question 
propounded to those who are to be ordained as ministers or 
elders: "Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New 
Testaments to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule 
of faith and practice?" In this connection reference is made 
to II Timothy 3:16: "All Scripture is inspired by God and 
is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for 
training in righteousness, that the man of God may be com- 
plete, equipped for every good work." It is not surprising, 
therefore, that the first chapter of the "Confession of Faith" 


is "Of the Holy Scriptures." For this reason the doctrine of 
the Presbyterian Church is based upon the Scriptures and 
its preaching is largely from texts or passages of the Bible. 

The interpretation of the Scriptures is not always easy or 
simple. The "Confession of Faith*' says: "All things are not 
alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those 
things which are necessary to be known, believed, and ob- 
served, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in 
some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned but 
the unlearned, in due use of the ordinary means, may attain 
unto a sufficient understanding of them." 

The revelation in the Scriptures is progressive, that is, it 
grows clearer and fuller as its story is told. This is declared 
in the Bible itself in Hebrews 1:1, 2: "In many and various 
ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in 
these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he ap- 
pointed the heir of all things, through whom he created the 
world." So Scripture needs to be compared with Scripture. 
Adam had but one wife, but Abraham had more than one, 
and so had Jacob. David had many wives, and Solomon sur- 
passed them all with his wives and concubines. But the New 
Testament teaches monogamy and the sacredness of mar- 
riage. Jesus said in Matthew 19:8: "For your hardness of 
heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the 
beginning it was not so. And I say unto you: whoever di- 
vorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, 
commits adultery." The New Testament insists upon the 
Christian standard of monogamy. 

We see the idea of God becoming clearer and fuller as the 
Bible grows through the centuries. Polytheism and idolatry 
were everywhere and the leaders and prophets in Israel had 
to declare in the midst of polytheism within and without the 
nation that there is but one God, the only living and true 
God. Idols are nothing. Other gods were the imagination of 
men's misled minds. So the Jews finally grasped and held to 


the truth of one God only, the God of all nations, the eter- 
nal, the almighty, the all-wise, the righteous, the ever-present 
and loving God. But then came Jesus. As men saw him they 
saw in him the likeness of God. And Jesus said, "He who has 
seen me has seen the Father." When Jesus was risen from 
the dead and ascended, the disciples began to understand 
clearly that he was more than man; he was the eternal Son 
of God. Jesus spoke to them of the coming of the Holy Spirit. 
When the Spirit had come on the Day of Pentecost, the 
Church faced a great mystery. There is but one God, but 
this one God is God the Father, God the Son, and God the 
Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity. So when believers were bap- 
tized they were baptized "in the name of the Father, and of 
the Son, and of the Holy Spirit/' People of Old Testament 
times could scarcely conceive of God as he is revealed in the 
New Testament, loving the world so much that He gave his 
only son for man's salvation. This illustrates the progressive 
character of the Scriptures. 

The Tabernacle and the Temple are another illustration. 
The Holy of Holies, which contained the ark, was entered 
only once a year and then by the high priest. The ark was 
the symbol of the presence of God. This taught the holiness 
of God. The sacrifices were an expression of repentance for 
sin and a recognition of the righteousness of God who de- 
manded atonement for sin, the innocent and spotless animal 
taking the place of the sinner. All this was but a foreshadow- 
ing of the holiness of God in heaven, the sacrifice of Jesus 
Christ as the Lamb of God, once for all for the sins of the 
world, and his entrance into heaven as our High Priest, to 
present himself in our behalf before God. 

Presbyterians believe in a sound interpretation of the 
Scriptures. They try to discover what the words were meant 
to say. We need to remember the limitations of language in 
expressing thought. A word does not always mean the same 
thing to everyone, for words acquire their meaning from ex- 


perience. That is one reason why they insist upon the au- 
thority of the original Hebrew and Greek and at the same 
time welcome the modern versions that are planned to give 
the meaning of the original in the language of present-day 
usage. The Presbyterian Church had no small part in the 
preparation of the American Standard Version of the Bible 
which was published in 1901. While the English Committee 
was working on the Revision of 1881, the American Com- 
mittee was at work in this country. Suggestions were ex- 
changed between the two, but many suggestions of the 
American Committee were not accepted by the English Com- 
mittee, so when twenty years had passed the American Com- 
mittee felt that it was free to bring out its own edition. 
During these intervening years many of the members of the 
original committee had passed on, but among the remaining 
members was Dr. Matthew B. Riddle of the Western Semi- 
nary of the Presbyterian Church. He had a full record of 
the suggestions of the American Committee and the votes 
of its members. He was able to have a large part in seeing 
the proof through the press. Presbyterians also shared with 
scholars of other communions in the preparation of the Re- 
vised Standard Version, the purpose of which was to make 
the Scriptures speak to the people of our day with clearness 
and without misunderstanding. 

The American Standard Version was printed in the lesson 
materials of the Presbyterian Church for use in the Sunday 
School, and when the Revised Standard Version was avail- 
able, it was used as the text for printing. Heartily as new 
translations were welcomed, the position of the Presbyterian 
Church is that "final appeal" is to be made to the original 
Scriptures, that is, to the best available text of the Hebrew 
Old Testament and the Greek New Testament. But because 
few can read the Bible in the original languages, it is neces- 
sary to translate the Bible into the language of the people. 
Thus the work of such organizations as the American Bible 


Society, which translates and publishes the Scriptures in 
many languages, is in the official budget of the Presbyterian 

The Bible must be approached with sincerity and honesty, 
seeking its real meaning. The abuse of Scripture was found 
even in the days of the apostles, for we read in II Peter 3:15, 
16: "So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you accord- 
ing to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does 
in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to 
understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their 
own destruction." 

This twisting or misunderstanding of Scripture is some- 
times done in ignorance, sometimes deliberately. An exam- 
ple of ignorance is the story of an uneducated but earnest 
Christian who, in spite of his limitations, sought to minister 
to the unsaved. Unable to read the Scriptures for himself, 
he quoted from memory. So when he sought to win some 
men who were diving for oysters, he took his text from the 
Parable of the Talents, "I know that thou wast an oyster 
man," not knowing that the Scripture read, "an austere 
man." The fact that he won converts by his earnest preaching 
does not justify his twisting of the Scriptures. Greater is the 
sin of the sensational preacher who wished to denounce the 
way the women were wearing their hair. He announced as 
his text: "Top not come down," not intimating that the text 
in Matthew 24:17 reads, "Let him which is on the housetop 
not come down to take anything out of his house." 

The Presbyterian Confession of Faith says that the Scrip- 
tures "are given by inspiration of God," but it does not 
overemphasize the mere words of the Bible. It says, "Yet, not- 
withstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the in- 
fallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the 
inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with 
the Word in our hearts." 

In interpreting Scripture, as has been pointed out, Scrip- 


ture is to be compared with Scripture, the Old Testament 
understood in the light of the New, one passage understood 
in the light of other related passages. Looking at two sides 
of a coin at once is impossible, and so it is with truth. For 
example, in one place Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to 
me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he 
who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Jesus 
seems to say that what we say does not count; it is what we 
do. But on another occasion our Lord said, "I tell you, on 
the day of judgment men will render account for every care- 
less word they utter; for by your words will you be justified, 
and by your words will you be condemned." (Matt. 12:36.) 
Either text alone does not give the whole truth. One must be 
interpreted in the light of the other. So the Presbyterian 
Church emphasizes the comparison of Scripture with Scrip- 

It also emphasizes the importance of the guidance of the 
Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would lead 
into all truth. And while the Church makes final appeal to 
the Scriptures, it also says: "There are some circumstances 
concerning the worship of God and the government of the 
Church, common to human actions and societies, which are 
to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, 
according to the general rules of the Word, which are always 
to be observed." 

Presbyterians, while they should not take false pride in the 
Church, may find satisfaction in the careful and balanced 
thinking which produced their Constitution. In spite of their 
great emphasis upon some beliefs and principles, the 
Church's fathers were not unaware of other points of view 
for which they had real respect. And because there is need 
of intelligence and discrimination they insisted upon an edu- 
cated ministry. 



ALTHOUGH THERE WERE previously many scattered 
Presbyterian ministers and congregations with Presby- 
terian beliefs, Presbyterians in America first formed an or- 
ganization in 1706. In 1788 The Synod of New York and 
Pennsylvania adopted the Constitution and became the Pres- 
byterian Church in the United States of America. Other 
Presbyterian bodies had their dates of organization also, such 
as the Presbyterian Church in the United States, often called 
"Southern/' the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and the 
United Presbyterian Church. All these, however, look upon 
themselves as parts of the true Church of Christ, of which 
Jesus Christ is the Head, and they find their real beginning 
in the Church of the Apostles in the New Testament. 

The apostles were commanded by Jesus to wait for the 
coming of the Holy Spirit. On the Day of Pentecost, when 
they were all gathered together in one place, the Holy Spirit 
came. He was to be their Guide in their search for truth and 
in their Christian living and Christian service. The one hun- 



dred and twenty believers became three thousand and the 
three thousand became five thousand. The Church was or- 
ganized under the leadership of the apostles. A practical 
situation led to the appointment of deacons to oversee the 
care of the needy. 

The gospel was preached with success in Jerusalem, so the 
enemies of Jesus tried to stop this preaching in the name of 
Jesus and as a result the followers of Jesus were persecuted. 
While the apostles remained in Jerusalem, the members of 
the Church sought ^safety elsewhere, but they were not si- 
lenced. Everywhere they went they bore witness for Christ 
as the Savior. Philip, one of the deacons, known as "Philip 
the Evangelist/' preached in Samaria and many converts were 
won. In this connection we have an illustration of the Church 
as an organization, for the apostles in Jerusalem felt that 
the growing Church should have proper supervision, so they 
sent representatives to Samaria to see just how the gospel was 
being preached and how the believers were being trained in 
the faith and in Christian living. So we see the Church grow- 
ing as an organization under supervision. 

Guided by the Spirit of God, Peter led in the welcoming 
of Gentiles into the Church by his mission to Caesarea where 
the Roman centurion Cornelius and his household were bap- 
tized as believers in Jesus. 

The gospel reached the city of Antioch in Syria where the 
message of Jesus was preached to Gentiles and they were re- 
ceived into the growing Church. Again we see the recogni- 
tion of need of oversight, for Barnabas was sent to Antioch 
to study the situation there. He rejoiced in the zeal and real 
faith of the members of the Church and "exhorted them all 
to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose." He 
brought Paul from Tarsus to help in the work. 

From Antioch the gospel spread through Asia Minor and 
reached Europe. When converts were won, they were in- 
structed in the faith and elders were appointed to oversee 


the activities of the church. So in the days of the apostles 
we find believers organized into churches under the leader- 
ship of men called elders or bishops, terms used interchange- 
ably, at least in part of the New Testament. In the Church 
we find two sacraments, Baptism, a symbol of repentance and 
cleansing and newness of life, and the Lord's Supper, or Holy 
Communion, celebrated in memory of Christ's redeeming 

One of the chief problems of the Church in the days of 
the apostles was the attitude of the Church toward Gentiles 
who were received into membership. There were some who 
felt that the Church, growing out of the ministry of Jesus 
and composed of converts from Judaism, should insist upon 
the Gentiles conforming to certain Jewish customs when they 
joined the Church. This discussion became so heated that a 
meeting was called in Jerusalem for its discussion. This coun- 
cil was composed of "the apostles and elders/' The problem 
was discussed and a decision arrived at and announced to 
the Church. Appealing to the example of Peter, who wel- 
comed the Gentile Cornelius into the Church by baptism, 
and the experience of Paul and others, it was decided that 
the Church should welcome Gentile members in their pro- 
fession of faith in Christ, without requiring the Jewish rite 
of circumcision. Gentiles were urged, however, to avoid ac- 
tions which would hurt the deep feelings of Jewish Chris- 

So we find a Church holding to the teaching of the apostles 
which was based on the ministry and teaching of Jesus and 
on their experience as they preached the gospel. We find 
groups of Christians in local churches organized for the mu- 
tual edification of their members and for the spread of the 
gospel. We find these local churches under the leadership 
of elders and supervised by the apostles. We find a council of 
apostles and elders studying the interests of the Church as 
a whole. To this New Testament beginning Presbyterians 


trace their real roots. They believe that they have returned 
to the New Testament for their doctrine and polity. 

Following the days of the apostles we find the Church 
meeting the changing situation in which it finds itself. As 
time passed, in different areas of the Church there were 
bishops who had oversight of the churches within their areas. 
One of these was the Bishop of Smyrna by the name of Poly- 
carp. He had gone to Rome to see the bishop there, for the 
Bishop of Rome had begun to have a place of large influence 
in the Church. On his return to Smyrna, Polycarp found the 
city in an uproar. Some of the citizens who were especially 
loyal to the Roman Emperor had the idea that the Chris- 
tians were disloyal, so they cried "Death to the Christians'* 
and "Let Polycarp be brought out." 

He was finally arrested and taken to the arena. The Roman 
official urged him to deny his faith in Christ and declare his 
loyalty to the Roman Emperor. For him to deny Christ was 
unthinkable, so he was condemned to death by burning. As 
he was bound, he prayed, "I give thee thanks that thou hast 
counted me worthy of this day and this hour, that I should 
have a part in the number of the martyrs, in the cup of 
Christ, to the resurrection of eternal life.'* He was burned 
at the stake. Tertullian, the historian, who was born about 
the time of Polycarp's martyrdom, wrote these famous words 
in substance, "The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the 
Church." All Christians, irrespective of their denomination, 
share in claiming Polycarp as one of the early heroes of the 

The time came when the Emperor of Rome became a 
Christian. He was Constantine. Under his rule persecution 
was ended and the Church prospered materially, but this 
prosperity in temporal things was not an unmixed blessing. 
Faith was not now tested by persecution. The clergy lost 
some of their devotion and purity of motive. 

In Africa, Augustine became a pillar of strength. Con- 


verted from a dissolute life, he became the Church's great 
theologian and left a deep impression upon its doctrine. Less 
than a hundred years after Constantine's conversion, Rome 
fell to Alaric, a barbarian chieftain. 

In the Middle Ages, which followed the fall of Rome, 
copies of the Scriptures and the teachings and writings of the 
Church fathers were preserved in the Church's monasteries 
and vaults. 

The Church kept in mind the Great Commission, for mis- 
sionaries were sent to Britain and Ireland and Scotland and 
Germany and Scandinavia and to the Slavs. 

The Bishop of Rome began to assume great influence in 
the Church and he became known as the Pope, or "father" 
of the Church. As time passed the popes claimed more and 
more power and they made kings and emperors bow to their 
authority. Corruption grew in the Church in spite of many 
noble Christians, and the time came when a new leadership 
was needed. 

Preparations were made for the Reformation as the years 
passed. In England John Wyclif was a powerful preacher. 
He had attended the University of Oxford where he estab- 
lished a reputation as a scholar. He championed England's 
refusal to pay tribute to the Pope. He took the position that 
the Bible was the true authority in religion. He wrote a book 
entitled The Truth and Meaning of Scripture, in which he 
taught that we are to find what is true from the Bible and not 
from the pope, that everyone has the right to think for him- 
self what the Bible means, and that the Church is not to be 
guided by what the pope says, but by what the Scriptures 
teach. He trained the "poor preachers/' known as the Lol- 
lards, who went about telling the message of the cross. They 
needed the Bible in their own language instead of Latin. 
Parts of the Scripture had been translated into the language 
of the people, but Wyclif, with the assistance of other schol- 
ars, gave the world its first complete Bible in English in 


1382. He was buried in the church yard of Lutterworth 
where he had preached, but thirty years later he was con- 
demned by the Council of Constance and his bones were 
dug up, burned to ashes, and the ashes scattered in the River 

In Bohemia a young man was influenced by the writings 
of Augustine and Wyclif. Led to the conclusion that the 
Bible is the authority in religion, he began to preach his 
convictions. This led to persecution and he was condemned 
by the pope. John Huss was willing to suffer for his faith, 
but when Bethlehem Chapel where he preached was ordered 
leveled to the ground and all Christian rites, even burial, 
were forbidden in the city of Prague, he went into voluntary 
exile. He was condemned and burned at the stake as a mar- 
tyr. However, he had sown seeds that were to bear fruit. 

In Germany a university student by the name of Martin 
Luther gave up his plan to study law and entered a monas- 
tery. He tried to find peace of mind through enduring great 
hardships, but in vain. In the study of the Scriptures he found 
the way of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. He de- 
nounced what he believed were wrong practices in the Me- 
dieval Church. When summoned for trial for his heresy, he 
refused to recant. He declared, "It is neither right nor safe 
to act against conscience. Here I stand, I cannot do other- 
wise: God help me. Amen." He was taken to a castle for 
safety by friends, where he worked on the translation of the 
Scriptures into German, the language of the people, and 
wrote on theological questions. With Luther began what we 
call the Reformation, really a return to the Christianity of 
the New Testament. 

In Switzerland Ulrich Zwingli led the Reformation move- 
ment. He was a patriot as well as a Church leader. In battle 
he defended the right to preach what he believed was true. 
He and five hundred of his companions fell, but the Re- 


formed Movement went on in Switzerland. Presbyterians are 
closely related to what is known as the Reformed Church. 

We now come to the leader of the Reformation to whom 
Presbyterians are especially indebted. In France there was 
a young man by the name of John Calvin. He was a student, 
modest, retiring, and timid. There was nothing he wished 
more than to continue his studies away from strife. But in 
Geneva, a French city in Switzerland, he met William Farel, 
who had been preaching in Geneva. Farel felt that this stu- 
dent was just the man to lead in the Reformation in Geneva. 
Retiring as he was, Calvin was convinced against his will 
that this was God's call. He had been well prepared for his 
task. His father was an attorney and a public official and 
was aware of his son's talents. These he planned to develop. 
After attending school near home he was sent to the famous 
University of Paris. There he led his classes. He mastered the 
art of writing and became a good debater. In spite of natural 
timidity he dared to stand up for what he believed. He was 
brought up a medieval Catholic, but a relative led him to 
study the Scriptures. At first he violently opposed the Bibli- 
cal teaching that we must be saved by the unmerited kindness 
of God, but as he became more and more conscious of his 
own sins he began to wonder if it was not indeed true that, 
if he was to be saved at all, it must be by the unmerited 
kindness of God, and not by any merit of his own. At last 
he cried in prayer, "O Father, the sacrifice of thy Son has 
turned away thy wrath; his blood has washed away my sins; 
his cross has borne my curse." 

As a student of law he made such progress that his teacher 
asked him to lecture in his place, and he was expected to 
succeed the great jurist. He also studied Greek and was thus 
prepared to study the New Testament in its original lan- 

Protestants were bitterly persecuted in Paris. Some were 
put to death. Calvin made his escape from Paris, but he took 


up the defence of Protestantism and wrote the book, The 
Institutes of the Christian Religion, which he later enlarged. 
It became one of the most influential books ever written. 

Thus prepared, Calvin accepted Farel's call to Geneva. His 
task was not easy, but his leadership was marked by success. 
Some opposed his severe discipline. He was driven from 
Geneva, but he was later recalled. A constitution was adopted 
which gave the Church partial freedom from control by the 
State. He also showed that a Church could be governed with- 
out pope or bishop at its head. The Church in Geneva was 
governed by a consistory composed of ministers and elders. 

Calvin believed in education and in industry and in pro- 
vision for public health. Thus religion and education and 
industry made Geneva a prosperous city. From many lands 
came students to Geneva to study under Calvin and went 
back to their own countries to extend the Protestant move- 
ment. He influenced France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Eng- 
land, and Scotland, and ultimately America. 

Presbyterians are interested especially in what happened 
in Scotland. As Moses was trained for his mission in Israel 
by schools of Egypt and the opportunity for meditation in 
the wilderness, so John Knox in Scotland was prepared for 
his leadership in the development of the Presbyterian 
Church. He studied under the most renowned professor in 
Scotland, John Major. He studied Latin, Greek, Hebrew, 
and French. He became a priest, but was led to reject the 
teaching and practices of the Roman Church. 

He became a kind of bodyguard to George Wishart who 
dared to preach the gospel in spite of opposition. After 
Wishart's death Knox found refuge in the Castle of St. An- 
drews, but its defenders were captured and for a year and 
a half Knox rowed chained in the galley. As he rowed, he 
had time for some real thinking. When he was set free he 
preached in England and then went to Switzerland where 
he was under the influence of Calvin. He returned to Scot- 


land where he gave himself to heroic service for his native 
land. He is known for his courageous opposition to Mary of 
Scotland who planned to make the country Roman Catholic. 
Knox opposed with great vigor views of the Roman Catholics. 
The Protestant Church was planned to take the place of the 
Roman Church which was ruled by pope and bishops, and 
so, to govern the Church, the General Assembly of Scotland 
was organized, which became a pattern for Presbyterians 

From the continent of Europe and the British Isles Presby- 
terianism came to this country. The early colonists came 
from varied backgrounds. To Virginia came settlers who were 
related to the Church of England with its Episcopal form of 
government. To Massachusetts came the Puritans who sought 
to purify the Church of England. They adopted the Congre- 
gational form of government, but there were some of them 
who turned to the Presbyterian or representative form of 
government in the church. Presbyterian churches were 
formed in New York and New Jersey, although the members 
had a Puritan origin. In 1692 a Presbyterian congregation 
met in Philadelphia, and some years later a pastor, a graduate 
of Harvard, was ordained and installed pastor of what is now 
the First Presbyterin Church of Philadelphia. Francis Make- 
mie, however, has been called "the real father of organized 
Presbyterianism in America." 

Before Makemie's time Presbyterians were scattered over 
the colonies as separate congregations without being related 
to any presbytery for overseeing. Among the pioneers who 
settled this country were many Scotch-Irish families. They 
brought with them their Bibles and their Protestant faith 
and Presbyterian background. They had their family wor- 
ship and their meetings for prayer and meditation on the 
Word of God. Some of these settlers had been elders in the 
land from which they came and they longed for a minister 
to preach to them and administer the sacraments. 


One of these, Colonel William Stevens, took the initiative 
and wrote to the Presbytery of Laggan, Ireland, in 1680, 
asking that ministers be sent to America. He was concerned 
especially about Maryland and Virginia. Francis Makemie 
was the answer to this appeal. 

Makemie was a college graduate who had been well trained 
for his task. Converted at the age of fourteen, he attended 
the University of Glasgow and became a student for the 
ministry. He was sent to America in 1683. He organized his 
first church in Snow Hill, Maryland. Other churches were 
also organized. 

Makemie was a real pioneer missionary. For six years he 
had no fixed home and much of his time was spent on horse- 
back going from place to place. He ventured into Virginia, 
but the governor objected to any preacher except from the 
Church of England. Like Paul who supported himself as a 
tent-maker while he preached the gospel, Makemie supported 
himself as as ship merchant. As the number of Presbyterian 
churches grew, the center of Presbyterianism moved to Phila- 
delphia. Largely as the result of Makemie's labors the first 
presbytery was organized in 1706, according to our calendar. 
Ten years later the churches had grown so that the General 
Synod was formed with four presbyteries. Makemie was a 
bold champion of religious liberty and knew what it meant 
to be imprisoned for the gospel's sake. He had much to do 
with securing religious liberty in the colonies. 

In 1729 the General Synod passed what is called "The 
Adopting Act/' This act adopted the Westminster Confession 
of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms as the Stand- 
ards of the Presbyterian Church in America. In 1788 the 
Presbyterian Church in America also declared its independ- 
ence of the authority of the State in the exercise of its author- 
ity, and denied the power of civil magistrates to persecute 
any for their religion. Thus the Presbyterian Church early 


declared the great principle of "a free Church in a free 

The Presbyterians were not without their problems. 
Where individual judgment and freedom of conscience are 
allowed along with free discussion, differences of opinion 
are likely to arise. Divisions from time to time hampered the 
Presbyterian Church. Some in the Church believed that every 
minister should subscribe to the Westminster Confession of 
Faith as expressing their own beliefs. Others, who were in- 
fluenced by Unitarianism, or Arianism, a denial of the deity 
of Jesus, opposed this subscription. A split was prevented in 
connection with the Adopting Act by providing that a min- 
ister should declare the Westminster Confession and the 
Larger and Shorter Catechisms to be "in all essential and 
necessary articles, good forms of sound words and systems 
of Christian doctrine." In regard to any statement a minister 
was unwilling to accept, he was permitted to state his scruples 
and the presbytery or synod would decide whether the matter 
was essential enough to warrant his exclusion from the min- 
istry of the Church. 

Another situation arose when the Church was divided by 
the "Old Side" and the "New Side" controversy. The bitter- 
ness grew out of what was called "The Great Awakening," an 
evangelistic or revival movement. The New Side leaders de- 
clared that many of their fellow ministers were unconverted. 
The Old Side came to the defence of the ministry. As a re- 
sult, the Church was divided, but the two sides were united 
again in 1758. 

After the Revolutionary War the unity of the nation was 
much in mind. The same spirit came into the churches. The 
Episcopalians organized the Protestant Episcopal Church in 
the United States of America. The Dutch Reformed, German 
Reformed, and Methodist Churches formed national organi- 

A similar movement in the Presbyterian Church led the 


Synod of New York and Philadelphia to organize the Gen- 
eral Assembly, which would be composed of elected delegates, 
instead of all the ministers of the Church and an elder from 
each church. This organization took place in 1788 and the 
Assembly consisted of four synods New York and New Jer- 
sey, Philadelphia, Virginia, the Carolinas. In the Assembly 
there were sixteen presbyteries, 177 ministers, 111 proba- 
tioners, and 419 churches. The standards of the reorganized 
Church were to be the Confession of Faith, the Larger and 
Shorter Catechisms, the newly created Form of Government 
and Book of Discipline, and a greatly revised Directory of 

The First General Assembly met in the Second Presby- 
terian Church of Philadelphia in May, 1789. While this 
meeting was taking place the United States Congress was 
meeting in New York under the new Constitution, John 
Witherspoon, a Presbyterian minister who signed the Decla- 
ration of Independence, acted as convener of the Assembly. 
The Assembly drafted an address to President George Wash- 

After the Revolution, in which Presbyterians had an impor- 
tant part, there was a spiritual decline in the United States. 
Skeptical and atheistic literature was widely read, but in 1799 
a new revival of religion took place. Great as was the con- 
tribution of this movement to religion in the country, it led 
to division in the Presbyterian Church. In zeal for the re- 
vival, especially in Kentucky, Transylvania Presbytery and 
the Cumberland Presbytery ordained men whose education 
did not measure up to the requirements of the Presbyterian 
Church. When the Synod of Kentucky and the General 
Assembly took action against these ordinations on the ground 
of lack of education and the rejection of some of the theo- 
logical positions of the Confession of Faith, those who were 
dissatisfied with this decision withdrew from the General 


Assembly- and organized the Cumberland Presbyterian 

The tendency toward division was not always because of 
differences in doctrinal thinking in the Church. There was 
a natural relation between the Presbyterians and Congrega- 
tionalists of New England, for they had a common heritage. 
Both had accepted the teachings for John Calvin and both 
used simple forms of public worship. The difference was 
largely in church government, the one being congregational 
and the other representative with higher courts having au- 
thority over local churches. The trend toward working to- 
gether led to cooperation between the two groups and a 
"Plan of Union" was worked out and adopted in 1801 by 
both the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church and 
the General Association of the Congregational Churches. In 
this plan of union a congregation could be related to both 
the Congregational and the Presbyterian Churches at the 
same time. The churches could be served by a pastor of 
either denomination, and each could have representation in 
the councils of the other. Ultimately, however, this plan did 
not prove to be practical. 

The trend toward united effort did not eliminate differ- 
ences which might lead to division. One of the most serious 
of these occurred with the division between the "Old School" 
and the "New School" parties in the Presbyterian Church. 
This came to a head in 1837. There were three matters espe- 
cially on which there was difference of opinion. One was the 
cooperation with the Congregationalists in missionary work. 
The Old School group felt that the Presbyterian Church 
should have its own Church boards. They felt also that the 
Presbyterian form of government was being sacrificed in the 
Plan of Union. There was, too, difference on some points of 
doctrine. Members of the Old School objected to certain 
modifications of the doctrines of Calvinism. So in the Assem- 
bly of 1837 the Old School majority voted to abrogate the 


Plan of Union. This action removed the New School party 
from the Church, so there were now two Presbyterian 
Churches, the Old School being slightly larger than the New 

Another division took place just after the bombardment 
of Fort Sumpter. Northern members of the Church stood by 
the Federal Government, while southern members were lean- 
ing toward the support of the Confederate Government. The 
Old School Assembly finally took action supporting the Fed- 
eral Government. This action was soon denounced by presby- 
teries of the Old School in the South and the Presbyterian 
Church in the Confederate States of America was formed, 
which in 1865 became the Presbyterian Church in the 
United States, commonly called "Southern/* The desire for 
unity between the Old School and the New School still con- 
tinued in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and in 1864 steps 
were taken looking toward the reunion of the Old School 
and New School Assemblies. In 1869 the two Churches 
united on the basis of "the standards pure and simple/* 
although a minority of the Cumberland Church continued 
as the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. There were thirty- 
four synods, and the boards of the two Churches were united. 
The spirit of union continued, and in 1903 steps were taken 
looking toward the reunion of the Cumberland Presbyterian 
Church with the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. This union 
was consummated three years later. 

The present United Presbyterian Church of North America 
was organized in 1858. It had its roots in Scotland. It dates 
back to the Reformed Presbyterian (Covenanter) Church of 
1643 and the Associate Presbyterian (Seceder) Church of 

The two groups appeared in America in 1774 and 1753, 
respectively. They united and became the Associate Re- 
formed Presbyterian Church in 1782. A minority, however, 
continued as the Associate Presbyterian Church, but in 1858 


the two groups became the United Presbyterian Church of 
North America. It has 831 churches, 228,718 members, 833 
Sunday or Sabbath Schools with an enrollment of 180,737. 

It has a Board of Foreign Missions, a Board of American 
Missions, a Board of Christian Education, a Board of Min- 
isterial Pensions and Relief, a Board of Directors of Women's 
General Missionary Society, a Committee on Chaplains, and 
a Committee on World Relief Appeals. 

It has two papers, the United Presbyterian, which is a 
weekly, and Christian Union Herald, which is also a weekly. 

Corresponding to the Constitution of the Presbyterian 
Church, U.S.A., it has The Confessional Statement and The 
Book of Government, adopted in its final form in 1925. 

The United Presbyterian Church of North America de- 
clares its adherence to the Westminster Confession of Faith 
and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, as setting forth the 
system of doctrine taught in the Scriptures, which are the 
only infallible and final rule of faith and practice. It affirms 
the right and duty of a living Church to restate its faith from 
time to time so as to display any additional attainments in 
truth it may have made under the guidance of the Holy 
Spirit. Accordingly, in 1925 it adopted in its present form 
the Confessional Statement. "This statement contains the 
substance of the Westminster symbols, together with certain 
present-day convictions of the United Presbyterian Church. 
It takes the place of the Testimony of 1858, and wherever 
it deviates from the Westminster Standards its declarations 
are to prevail/* 

The Confessional Statement is an excellent presentation 
of the contents of the Confession of Faith of The Westmin- 
ster Assembly. The Book of Government and Worship pre- 
sents in substance for the United Presbyterian Church ma- 
terial corresponding to The Form of Government, The Book 
of Discipline, and the Directory of Worship of the Presby- 
terian Church, U.S.A. 


In recent years steps have been taken looking toward the 
union of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., the United Presby- 
terian Church, and the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. Al- 
though the proposals were not successful, there is reason to 
believe that it is only a question of time until Presbyterians 
in the United States will be one great Presbyterian Church. 

The General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church, 
U.S.A., and the United Presbyterian Church will take action 
on sending overtures to their respective presbyteries approv- 
ing the union of these two Churches. If these overtures are 
approved by a majority of the presbyteries of both bodies, 
we shall have a united Church. According to the recommen- 
dations of the representatives of both Churches, the name of 
the new Church will be the United Presbyterian Church in 
the U.S.A. The special committee on consolidation will be 
composed of twenty members from each Church. All recent 
additions to The Form of Government have been included, 
among them the ordination of women to the ministry, the 
compulsory nominating committee for local church officers, 
and the compulsory rotation of local church boards. 

In spite of the fact that liberty of conscience and of opin- 
ion often lead to differences, Presbyterians have been notable 
for their spirit of interdenominational cooperation. They 
were active in the International Sunday School Association 
and its successor, the International Council of Religious 
Education, the Federal Council of Churches of Christ, and in 
the present more comprehensive National Council of 
Churches. Presbyterians cooperate with other denominations 
in work at home and abroad. While loyal to their own stand- 
ards and convictions, they reach out a hand of fellowship 
to all evangelical denominations and they seek also the 
friendship of all communions, even those in which there may 
be serious differences in both doctrine and polity. They pray 
earnestly, as the great Head of the Church prayed, "that they 
may be one." 



IT IS WELL to make the title of this chapter an interroga- 
tive sentence, for no one can make a dogmatic statement 
of what Presbyterians believe. This does not mean that there 
is not an official statement of Presbyterian doctrine or that 
doctrine is not important to Presbyterians, for one of the 
"sure beliefs" of Presbyterians is that we are saved by faith 
and faith includes what one believes, and what we believe 
is supremely important. 

No one, however, can answer "What do Presbyterians be- 
lieve?" for many answers could be given. Also, there are a 
number of Presbyterian denominations. Furthermore, some 
Presbyterians, ministers for example, have a comprehensive 
and detailed idea of Presbyterian doctrine, and yet even 
these, if they were to make their own statements, would vary 
in their content, in their omissions, additions, phraseology, 
and emphasis. Different lay Presbyterians would not make 
the same statement. Elders, having read the Confession of 
Faith, would have a more adequate understanding of official 



Presbyterianism, for they accept the Confession of Faith as 
containing the system of doctrine taught in the Scriptures. 
Presbyterians who have memorized the Shorter Catechism 
have a pretty clear view of Presbyterian doctrine. The rank 
and file of Presbyterians, however, would be at a loss to make 
a clear and comprehensive statement of what they believe. 
When they unite with the Church they are required, so far 
as doctrine is concerned, only to confess their faith in God 
Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ 
His only Son our Lord, and they promise with the aid of the 
Holy Spirit to be Christ's faithful disciples to their life's end. 

However, the Presbyterian Church is a doctrinal Church, 
and it has an official statement of its beliefs. This is found 
in the Confession of Faith, which is a part of the Constitu- 
tion, and in the Catechisms. This Confession of Faith has an 
interesting history. 

It had its origin in the Westminster Assembly or "Assem- 
bly of Divines," which met in 1643 in Westminster Abbey. 
Its work was practically completed in 1647, but it remained 
in session until 1652. 

King Henry VIII, in connection with his divorce of Queen 
Catherine, resisted the pope and made himself head of the 
Church of England. In this he had the support of the English 
clergy and nobles. He still held to Catholic forms and many 
Catholic beliefs. However, the Bible in English had had its 
effect upon the country and the Church had been influenced 
by Protestant beliefs and practices. Later, when James VI of 
Scotland became James I of England, although he was op- 
posed to the Puritans, he sanctioned the new translation of 
the Bible into English and it became known as the "King 
James Version." When Charles I succeeded James, it became 
necessary for Puritanism to defend itself against the king. 
Cromwell led the movement and Charles was dethroned and 
executed. It was during Charles's reign, however, that the 
Westminster Assembly was held. 


The House of Lords and the House of Commons were 
largely Puritan, at least in point of view, and were composed 
almost entirely of laymen, so it was felt that, if plans were 
to be made for a national church, the help of scholars should 
be secured. The Westminster Assembly was therefore 
planned to prepare, on the basis of the Scriptures, a state- 
ment of doctrine and worship and church government. 

When the Assembly was called, its members represented 
various Protestant points of view. There were outstanding 
scholars with a good representation of preachers and other 
religious leaders. There were one hundred and fifty-one in 
all. Ten were Lords, twenty were Commoners, and one hun- 
dred and twenty-one were divines. 

The first meeting was held in Westminster Abbey for wor- 
ship, hence its name. Later meetings were held in the Henry 
VII Chapel, and, for the greater comfort of its members in 
cold weather, in the Jerusalem Chamber of the Deanery. 

The first undertaking was the revision of the Thirty-nine 
Articles of the Church of England. There were no ministers 
in the group who had been ordained by a presbytery, for the 
clerical members had received Episcopal ordination. It was 
decided to send to Scotland for representatives to join in the 
discussions, but without vote. After preliminary steps an 
agreement was arrived at and six delegates from Scotland 
joined the Assembly. They were men of ability and had a 
large influence in the Assembly. 

Varying views were represented in the Assembly but the 
overwhelming majority were Presbyterian. Some were In- 
dependents who held that each church was a law to itself. 
There were some who, though opposed to the King's pro- 
gram, favored the Episcopacy as a form of church govern- 
ment. Some members were Erastians who taught that the 
proclaiming of the gospel and administering the sacraments 
was the only function of the Church, and that the Church is 
subject to the State. The Scotch had been brought in to secure 


uniformity of religion as between England and Scotland (and 
Ireland) with Scotland's existing Presbyterianism as basically 
the model. 

An important task of the Assembly, although not its first, 
was to draw up a Confession of Faith. Preparation for this 
had been made by a century of intelligent discussion among 
religious leaders. Unity in the Assembly was contributed by 
the fact that its members were largely Calvinistic in their 
religious beliefs. 

It should be kept in mind that a number of Calvinistic 
statements of doctrine had already been made. There was the 
"First Gallican Confession*' of 1559, the "First Scottish Con- 
fession" of 1560, and the "Heidelberg Catechism" of 1563. 
It was after these statements had been made that Arminius 
in Holland was made professor of theology in Leyden. Out 
of his teaching, carried much farther by his followers, came 
what is known as Arminianism, which took issue with the 
so-called "Five Points" of Calvinism. This movement influ- 
enced the Church of England, but the Puritans resisted it. 
The Confession of Faith, drawn up by the Westminster As- 
sembly, therefore stressed points of Calvinism more strongly 
than the earlier doctrinal statements, for there was now an 
issue between Calvinism and Arminianism. 

The original title of the statement of doctrine was "Articles 
of Christian Religion, approved and passed by Houses of 
Parliament, after advice had with the Assembly of Divines, 
by authority of Parliament sitting in Westminster." To this 
document, which is known as "The Confession of Faith," as 
finally approved by the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., we turn 
largely for an answer to "What do Presbyterians believe?" 
It should be kept in mind that the Catechisms also are official 
statements of Presbyterian doctrine. 

In America the Confession was adopted by the General 
Synod of the Presbyterian Church in 1729. It has been 
amended from time to time since. Those who wish an exact 


statement of the contents of the Confession of Faith should 
read the Confession itself, of which Dr. Frederick W, 
Loetscher has said: "The Confession is the ripest and best 
fruit of seventeenth-century theology. As was to be expected 
it made the doctrine of the Covenants its organizing prin- 
ciple, for this mode of presenting the Reformed faith had 
become dominant among the Scotch and English as well as 
among Continental Calvinists. The Divines were especially 
indebted to the Irish Articles of 1615 for the general arrange- 
ment of the topics and for the specific content and even 
phraseology of some of the most famous chapters. The range 
of truth surveyed in this formulary is no less impressive than 
the elaborateness of some of the major discussions. Its logical 
sequence, with exceptional lucidity, caution, and balance, 
and in language that is carefully guarded and precise as it is 
warm with fervor of deep conviction, weighty testimony is 
borne to every cardinal element of our evangelical religion. 
Moderate and irenic in spirit, avoiding partisan shibboleths 
and the over-refinements sponsored by a few of its members, 
the Westminster Assembly in this noble manifesto promul- 
gated what must still be regarded as our most adequate state- 
ment of generic Calvinism." * This being true, it is a hazard- 
ous venture to put its contents in more popular form. The 
venture is undertaken with proper humility. 

As pointed out in Chapter Two, Presbyterians are a people 
of "the Book." Accordingly, the Confession of Faith begins 
with a chapter, "Of the Holy Scripture." It declares that 
although we may learn much from nature, from the world 
about us, and the evidences of God's providence in human 
life, we need a revelation to teach us about God and his will 
sufficient for salvation. This revelation we have in the Scrip- 
tures. Furthermore this revelation ceased with the comple- 

* From a pamphlet, The Westminster Assembly, Its History, Formularies 
and Abiding Values, published by the Department of History of the Office of 
the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. Some historical 
material is also drawn from this pamphlet. 


tion of the canonical Scriptures. The Bible is therefore a 
Book different from all other books in its authority. 

The Confession lists the contents of the Scriptures as the 
thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven 
books of the New Testament. The books of the Apocrypha 
are omitted as uninspired and without authority. It is signifi- 
cant that recognition is given to the question of the author- 
ship of the Epistle to the Hebrews. After naming "Paul's 
Epistles/' it lists separately "The Epistle to the Hebrews/* 
It is intimated thus that Presbyterians may have an open 
mind in regard to the results of research in the field of the 

The authority of the Scriptures does not depend upon the 
testimony of man or of the Church, but upon God. However, 
there is rational ground for the acceptance of the Scriptures 
as the Word of God. The Church's testimony is not to be 
ignored and the character and content of the Bible bear out 
its testimony, but it is the inward witness of the Holy Spirit 
that brings conviction. 

The content of the Scriptures, with proper deductions 
from it, is fully adequate for meeting man's need of salvation 
and the good life. For such interpretations and deductions 
man must depend upon the Holy Spirit. At the same time 
"there are some circumstances concerning the worship of 
God and the government of the Church, common to human 
actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of 
nature and Christian prudence/' While parts of the Scrip- 
ture may not be easy to understand and give rise to differ- 
ences of opinion, anyone, with proper use of ordinary means, 
can learn all that is necessary for salvation. 

The "original" Scriptures, written in the languages of 
their day, Hebrew and in a few portions Aramaic in the Old 
Testament, and Greek in the New Testament, constitute the 
inspired Word of God. However, it is necessary for these 


original Scriptures to be translated into the language of 
every nation. 

One portion of Scripture is to be interpreted in the light 
of other portions. The Supreme Judge in all controversies 
in religion is the Holy Spirit as he speaks through the Scrip- 

After discussion of the Scriptures as the revelation of 
God's character and will, the Confession turns to a presenta- 
ton "Of God, and the Holy Trinity.'* God is central in the 
faith and practice of Presbyterians. This is made clear in the 
first question of the Shorter Catechism which declares that 
"Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for- 
ever." Man's fullest life is to be found in a right relation to 
God. The definition of God in the Catechism is at once com- 
prehensive and detailed. "God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, 
and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, 
justice, goodness and truth." There is but "one God, the 
living and true God," yet he is a Trinity the Father, the 
Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God, "the 
same in substance, equal in power and glory." Presbyterians 
therefore take issue with polytheism on the one hand and on 
the other with Unitarianism which denies the deity of Jesus. 

Calvinists emphasize the sovereignty of God. In the Con- 
fession of Faith God is described as self-sufficient, needing 
nothing from his creatures. He is the source of all existing 
things, Sovereign of the universe, carrying out his purpose. 

The Calvinism of the Confession of Faith soon shows it- 
self in the discussion of "God's Eternal Decrees." Calvinism 
at this point may be looked upon as harsh and not in har- 
mony with the infinite love of God. Take, for example, the 
statement in the Shorter Catechism: "The decrees of God 
are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, 
whereby, for his own glory, he has foreordained whatsoever 
comes to pass." Man's liberty, at the same time, is not inter- 
fered with or the force of second causes denied. The Con- 


fession of Faith rather baldly declares that some men and 
angels are predestined to everlasting life, and others foreor- 
dained to everlasting death. If strict logic is followed, and we 
begin with the premise that God has a purpose and that he 
is infinitely powerful and wise, we may well come to the con- 
clusion that, because God is eternal and existing before the 
events of time began, nothing could resist his will. But if 
God is infinitely loving, he could not plan anything incon- 
sistent with that love. So, lest the seeming severity of God's 
sovereignty be misunderstood, in 1903 the Declaratory State- 
ment was adopted by the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., as 
part of the Confession of Faith and is the authoritative in- 
terpretation of Chapter III of the Confession of Faith deal- 
ing with "God's Eternal Decree." This added statement de- 
clares that the doctrine of God's eternal decree is held in 
harmony with the doctrine of his love for all mankind, that 
God gave his Son to be the propitiation for the sins of the 
whole world, that God is willing to bestow his saving grace 
on all who seek it, that God desires not the death of any 
sinner, that salvation through Jesus Christ is sufficient for 
all, and that men are responsible for their treatment of God's 
gracious offer, and no man is condemned except on the 
ground of his sin. The sovereignty of God is maintained 
without denying man's responsibility. One theological pro- 
fessor remarked that Presbyterians preached as if everything 
depended on man's decisions for himself, and in after-meet- 
ings Methodists prayed as if the grace of God alone was re- 
sponsible for every conversion. Presbyterians do believe in 
the sovereignty of .God, but they believe also in his love and 
in man's responsibility for his own decisions and their con- 

The Confession of Faith holds that the Triune God was 
the Creator of the Universe and all that is in it. He created 
man with reason and conscience and will, and with liberty 
to make his own choices, and God set man in a world that 



would meet all his needs and over which he would have 

God did not desert his created world and man. He con- 
tinued to uphold the world and to guide all his creatures 
"by his wise and holy providence." While God is carrying 
out his purpose, second causes have their proper place. God 
uses means in carrying out his purpose, but at the same time 
he is free to work "without, above, and against second causes 
at his pleasure." While events take place within God's will, 
any sinfulness in them proceeds from the creature, not from 
God. God permits men to be tempted so that they may dis- 
cover their sinfulness, learn greater dependence upon God, 
and be more watchful against the enticements of evil. Per- 
sistence in sin, on the other hand, is bound to end in disaster 
for the sinner. In his providence God takes special care for 
his Church. 

Next the Confession of Faith deals with the fall of man, 
for we must recognize that there is something radically wrong 
with human nature. Man, left to the freedom of choice, 
sinned, and his sin resulted in corruption of his nature that 
affected his whole being. Man is prone to evil. Even the re- 
generated, while in this world, do not escape from the evil 
influence within them. Man is therefore under the curse of 
the law because of his sinful nature and sinful acts. 

In the beginning, before man's fall, only the condescension 
of God could bridge the gap between the infinite Creator 
and his finite creatures, so God made with man a covenant 
of works, which promised life to man on condition of perfect 
obedience. Man's sin was a breach of this covenant, so God 
made a second covenant, the covenant of grace, which offered 
salvation through Jesus Christ on the basis of faith. In Old 
Testament times rites were observed under the Mosaic law 
which foreshadowed the saving work of Jesus Christ, but we 
now have the preaching of the Word and the administration 
of the sacraments offered to all nations and to both Jew and 


Gentile. The new covenant in the New Testament is really 
the same covenant as in the Old Testament, which looked 
forward to the saving work of Jesus Christ. 

Christ is the Mediator of the new covenant of grace. He is 
God's only begotten Son, prophet, priest, and king, the head 
and Savior of his Church, judge of the world who brings to 
his people redemption, justification, and glorification. He is 
the Second Person of the Trinity, truly God, who took upon 
himself human nature with all its essential properties and 
infirmities, except that he was without sin. He is God and 
man, and the only Mediator between God and man. By the 
Holy Spirit he was prepared and fitted for his saving work. 
He perfectly kept the law, suffered the pains of body and 
burdens of mind and soul, was crucified, buried, and risen 
again, and ascended to make intercession for men and to 
return to judge the world. By his perfect obedience and sac- 
rifice of himself he made possible reconciliation with God 
and inheritance in the kingdom of heaven. His saving work, 
foreshadowed in the Old Testament sacrifices, was made effec- 
tive for men of all ages from the beginning of the world, for 
he was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He 
is the only Mediator between God and man because he is 
both God and man. 

"Of Free Will" the Confession holds that man has natu- 
ral liberty and is not forced or determined to good or evil. 
He began in innocence and freedom, but by his own choice 
he lost that freedom through disobedience and by his own 
strength he is not able to convert himself. By God's grace 
alone can he freely will and do that which is spiritually good. 
By God's Word and Spirit man's mind is enlightened, he 
understands the things of God, his heart is changed, his will 
renewed, and he is drawn to Jesus Christ. While this is the 
work of God's grace, man turns to Christ for salvation "most 
freely." There used to be much discussion in regard to the 
Confession's statement about "elect infants," children dying 


before they arrived at an age for decision for themselves. 
The Declaratory Statement which was adopted in 1903 reads: 
"We believe that all dying in infancy are included in the 
election of grace, and are regenerated and saved by Christ 
through the Spirit, who works when and where and how he 
pleases." There is one way of salvation, and that is through 
the saving work of Jesus Christ. 

Presbyterians hold that there are three results of salvation 
by faith in Jesus Christ. First, there is justification, in which, 
for Christ's sake, God pardons and accepts the sinner as inno- 
cent, Christ's righteousness being accepted as the sinner's. 
Christ by his perfect life and sacrificial death paid man's debt 
of sin. No one in this life is perfect, but when we sin, repent- 
ance and confession will bring God's pardon. Furthermore 
the saving work of Christ applies to those who lived before 
his coming and death and who put their faith in God. 

In addition to justification which makes us righteous in 
God's sight, we receive adoption, restoration to our place 
as children of God with all the privileges of prayer, the bless- 
ings of God's providential care, his fatherly discipline, and 
everlasting salvation. 

But sincere believers receive not only justification by faith 
in Jesus Christ and the privileges of children of God through 
adoption; they also receive sanctification, an inner transfor- 
mation which leads to victory over sin. The process of sanc- 
tification, however, is not complete in this life, for there is 
the conflict with evil in the heart and in the life, but by the 
work of God's Spirit believers are at last made perfect in 

Faith is not a word to be used in a narrow sense. It in- 
volves hearing the message of the gospel. It includes belief in 
the truth of the message of the Scriptures. But it is more than 
belief that something is true. Faith is also an act, the act of 
accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for sal- 


vation. Faith may be weak or strong, but it grows deeper and 
stronger as we follow Jesus. 

Associated with faith is repentance, consciousness of sin- 
fulness and unworthiness, awareness of the righteousness of 
God and his law, a sense of the mercy of God in Christ, sin- 
cere sorrow for wrongdoing, and the purpose to live as God 
would have us live. Repentance should deal with specific 
sins as well as general sinfulness. Repentance is between the 
sinner and God directly and does away with confession to a 
priest. But the person who has wronged his brother should 
confess also to the one who has been wronged, and, if need- 
ful, publicly. 

We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, not by anything that 
we do, for we can do nothing sufficiently good to earn salva- 
tion, but by obedience to God's commandments the believer 
shows his gratitude to God, sets an example to others, and 
glorifies God. Even the best of men are not perfect, nor can 
our good works, even at their best, merit God's forgiveness, 
and yet right-doing pleases God and is rewarded by him. 
Good works bear evidence of our salvation. Those who do 
not depend upon Christ for salvation cannot earn their sal- 
vation by their good works, many and great as they may be, 
for they fall short of what God requires. 

A point on which there has been much debate among 
Christians is what is called "the perseverance of the saints." 
The Presbyterian Confession holds that "once saved, always 
saved." In other words, God will not forsake anyone who has 
truly turned to Christ in faith. However, because of the sin- 
fulness that still lurks in the heart, and because of the temp- 
tations of this world, they may fall into sin, even grievous 
sins, and displease God and grieve the Holy Spirit. But this 
is only for a time and in the end the grace of God will be 

It is possible to deceive ourselves, but if, as we know our 
own hearts, we believe in Jesus as our Savior and sincerely 


love him and try to live as he would have us live, we may 
rejoice in the assurance of our salvation. At the same time 
we are called upon to make our "calling and election sure" 
by the use of the means that God has provided for our 
growth in Christian faith and life. At times we may feel over- 
whelmed by a sense of our unworthiness, yet by the work of 
God's Spirit in our hearts and our use of the means of grace 
God has given for our strengthening in the Christian life, we 
will be delivered from despair and find assurance of salvation. 

"The Law of God" is to guide us in the path of righteous- 
ness. God gave man his law and promised life if it was obeyed, 
and punishment and death if it was not obeyed. Man broke 
God's law and became the victim of sin. The law was still in 
force. It was made plain to Israel in the Ten Commandments 
which were given on Mount Sinai, setting forth briefly man's 
duty to God and man. To the moral law were added the cere- 
monial laws to guide in worship. These ceremonial laws fore- 
shadowed Christ and the way of forgiveness and restoration 
through him, so that, since the saving work of Christ, the 
ceremonial laws of the Old Testament are no longer ob- 
served by the Church. The people of Israel received also 
judicial laws to guide them in the body politic. These laws 
are no longer binding, except as they are supported by their 
evident justice. The moral law, however, is still binding. 

For Christians the moral law serves a number of purposes. 
It points out the right way of life, quickens the conscience, 
reveals man's sinfulness, leads to repentance, and shows the 
need of faith in Christ for salvation. It serves also to restrain 
men from evil and encourage right conduct. 

Christ brought liberty to men. This includes freedom 
from the guilt of sin, from the power of evil, from death as 
the penalty of sin, free access to God, and deliverance from 
slavish fear. We are also free from the requirements which 
are "in any way contrary to the Word of God or beside it in 
matters of faith and worship." But when, under pretence of 


Christian liberty, we practice any evil, we pervert the true 
idea of Christian liberty. We are free to do right, but not to 
do wrong. Christian liberty also does not give the right to 
oppose lawful powers, whether of Church or State. We may 
be called to account for any opinions or practices which are 
contrary to the light of nature or to the principles of Chris- 

Worship is a part of Christian duty, and God must be wor- 
shiped in accordance with the teaching of the Scriptures. 
Prayer is to be "with understanding, reverence, humility, 
fervency, faith, love and perseverance." And prayer offered 
in the presence of others is to be expressed so that those who 
hear may understand. Prayer is not to be made for the dead. 
In worship the Scriptures are to be read "with godly fear." 
Preaching is to be sound and heard with a good conscience, 
and with the purpose to put it into practice. Praise is to be 
a part of worship and singing is to be "with grace in the 
heart." The sacraments are to be properly administered and 
worthily received. No particular place of worship is neces- 
sary but God is to be worshiped everywhere in spirit and 
truth, in the family, by individuals, and in public assemblies. 

To provide time for worship the Sabbath was set apart for 
this purpose, one day in seven, in Old Testament times the 
last day of the week, but after the resurrection of Christ the 
first day of the week is to be observed as the "Lord's Day." 
With proper preparation beforehand, the ordinary activities 
of life are to be set aside and the day devoted to worship and 
the duties of necessity and mercy. 

Oaths and vows are to be solemnly made and may properly 
be required by lawful authority and must be conscientiously 
taken, the meaning being understood, and without equivo- 
cation or mental reservations. They are to be performed with 
faithfulness. No man is to vow to do anything forbidden in 
the Word of God, and monastic vows are superstitious and 
sinful snares. 


Civil magistrates are ordained of God for the public good 
and Christians may accept and execute such offices. Magis- 
trates are to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to 
the wholesome laws of each commonwealth, and war may be 
waged upon just and necessary occasions. 

Civil magistrates, as such, must not assume religious re- 
sponsibilities, but are to protect the Church without prefer- 
ence to any denomination of Christians, and no law should 
interfere with any denomination's exercise of its government 
and discipline according to its own profession and belief. 
Individuals and religious assemblies are not to be molested 
or disturbed. Civil officers are to be prayed for and held in 
proper honor. Difference in religion and even infidelity do 
not make void the magistrate's authority, much less has the 
Pope any power or jurisdiction over rulers and people. 

In "Of Marriage and Divorce" the Confession of Faith in- 
sists upon monogamy and enumerates four purposes of mar- 
riagemutual helpfulness, legitimate increase of mankind, 
providing a holy seed for the Church, and the prevention of 
uncleanness. While it is lawful for all kinds of people to 
marry, Christians are urged to "marry in the Lord/' The 
Confession opposes marriage with infidels, with Roman 
Catholics, with the notoriously wicked, and with heretics. 
Marriage is forbidden also between people of too close blood 
relationship. Adultery is accepted as a just cause for divorce. 
Where a firm purpose of and endeavor after Christian mar- 
riage is manifest, and the partners have been divorced on 
Scriptural grounds, remarriage may take place. Heavy re- 
sponsibility is laid upon the minister in the Directory of 
Worship. When in doubt, a minister is to take counsel of his 
brethren, and each presbytery may elect a Committee on 
Christian Marriage to give aid and counsel. 

In regard to the Church, the Confession recognizes the 
invisible Church which is composed of all true believers of 
all time, and the visible Church which consists of all those 


throughout the world who profess the true religion, together 
with their children. It is through the ministry of the Church 
that salvation is ordinarily obtained. This ministry includes 
the work of pastors, teaching, and the ordinances of the 

The Church is not faultless, for its constituent bodies are 
not always pure in their doctrine and practices, even the 
purest of them being subject to error. Some even have so far 
degenerated as to cease to be true churches. Jesus Christ is 
the only head of the Church and the claim of any man to be 
the vicar of Christ is * 'contrary to the Scriptures and with- 
out warrant.'* 

All true believers are "saints" and have fellowship with 
Christ, sharing with fellow believers in the fruits of Christ's 
saving work. They are to help one another in worship and 
service. The "communion of saints" does not make them di- 
vine or interfere with their individual rights. 

The Church recognizes two sacraments Baptism and the 
Lord's Supper. A sacrament must be God-given, symbolic, 
and expressing a relationship to Christ. The efficacy of a 
sacrament does not depend upon any power in them or upon 
the person who administers them, but upon the work of the 
Holy Spirit and the "word of institution" which contains the 
authority for its use and promise of benefit to worthy re- 

Baptism was instituted by Christ. It is the solemn admis- 
sion of the person baptized into the Church, a sign of re- 
generation, of remission of sins and of dedication to a new 
life in Christ. The outward element is water applied "In the 
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." 
The sacrament may be administered only by an authorized 
minister of the gospel. Immersion is not necessary, but bap- 
tism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling of the 
water upon the person baptized. Baptism is not limited to 
adults on the profession of their faith in Christ, but is to be 


given to infants one or both of whose patents are "believers," 
which is interpreted as "church members.'* Baptism is neither 
essential to salvation nor an evidence thereof, but the ordi- 
nance is not to be neglected. The sacrament of baptism is to 
be administered to any person only once. 

The Lord's Supper is in no sense a sacrifice offered to 
God; it is a commemoration of the sacrifice of Christ made 
once for all in his death. It is observed with praise to God 
for Christ's offering himself on the cross for us. 

In the observance of the Lord's Supper, the minister re- 
minds the communicants of the institution of the sacrament 
by Christ, blesses the bread and the wine to set them apart 
for this holy use, breaks the bread, partakes himself of the 
bread and the cup and gives them both to the elders who 
distribute them to the communicant members of the congre- 
gation. The Confession warns against certain practices of the 
Roman Catholic Church in the mass, namely, private masses, 
receiving the sacrament by priest or someone else alone, the 
denial of the cup to the people, and the worshiping of the 

The bread and the cup * 'represent" the body and the 
blood of Christ and their substance is not altered in the sac- 
rament, as the Roman Catholic Church teaches in the doc- 
trine of "transubstantiation." It is only inwardly and by 
faith and spiritually that believers receive and feed upon 
Christ crucified. Nor does the Confession of Faith hold to the 
Lutheran view that "in, with, or under" the bread and the 
cup communicants partake of the real flesh and blood of 
Christ. The blessing to be found in the Lord's Supper de- 
pends upon an understanding of its real meaning and the 
sincerity of purpose of the communicant. The sacrament 
should therefore be approached with understanding, with 
faith and repentance, and with the purpose of loyalty to 

The Confession of Faith asserts that the Lord Jesus, head 


of the Church, has appointed the government of the Church 
by church-officers under the authority of Christ, the head of 
the Church. This government is distinct from civil magis- 
trates, thus holding the separation of Church and State. The 
proper officers of the Church have authority to rebuke the 
sinner and to assure the truly penitent of God's forgiveness. 
Discipline is needed to reclaim the erring, deter members 
from offences, purify the Church for the honor of Christ, 
and protect the Church from the consequences of wrong- 
doing. For the attainment of these ends the officers of the 
Church may use admonition, rebuke, suspension from the 
Lord's Supper for a time, and excommunication from the 
Church, according to the nature of the wrongdoing and the 
unworthiness of the person disciplined. 

Provision is made for the government of the Church 
through assemblies or councils. These will be dealt with in 
the chapter presenting more or less in detail the Form of 
Government of the Presbyterian Church. 

The Confession of Faith also deals with the state of man 
after death. At death their bodies decay and return to dust, 
but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, but are immor- 
tal, return to God. The righteous are made perfect and enter 
heaven and the presence of God, awaiting the resurrection 
of the body, which is part of redemption. The souls of the 
wicked pass into a state of punishment for their sins. The 
existence of Purgatory as an intermediate state is denied. 
There are only heaven and hell. Finally there will be a day 
of judgment, when the bodies of the dead will be raised to 
honor or dishonor. The resurrected bodies will be similar to 
the body of the risen Christ. 

Finally will come the "Last Judgment/' with Christ as the 
judge. The whole world will be judged, including apostate 
angels, and they will be judged according to their thoughts, 
words, and deeds. The judgment will reveal God's mercy to 
those who are saved and his justice in punishing sin. The 


righteous will go into everlasting life, and the wicked who 
have refused to accept the salvation offered in the gospel will 
be punished for their sins. The warning of the day of judg- 
ment is to deter men from their sin and to comfort the godly 
in their adversity. 

Because of the need of greater emphasis upon the Holy 
Spirit a chapter on that subject was added to the Confession 
in 1903. It declares that the Holy Spirit is the third person 
of the Trinity. He proceeds from the Father and the Son. 
The Holy Spirit is the source of life, of all good thoughts 
and desires, and of holy counsels of men. The Holy Spirit 
inspired the prophets and the writers of the Scriptures. He 
opens hearts to receive the gospel, seeks to persuade men to 
accept it, thus leaving those who resist without excuse. It is 
the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin, moves to repentance, re- 
generates, and leads to faith. It is the Holy Spirit who creates 
unity among believers, who comforts and sanctifies, who im- 
parts the spirit of prayer, and who enables believers to grow 
in faith and character. He unites members of the Church in 
the body of Christ, calls and anoints its ministers, fits its 
officers for their work, and gives efficiency to the ordinances, 
and preserves the Church. 

Lest the seeming harshness of some of the positions of the 
Confession of Faith should be misunderstood, a chapter was 
added, also in 1903, on "The Love of God and Missions/' 
which declares that God has provided a way of life and sal- 
vation sufficient and adapted to the whole lost race of man. 
This salvation is offered freely to all men. God loves the 
whole world and desires that all men should be saved and 
invites all men to accept the mercy he offers, and by his 
Spirit he pleads with all men to accept his gracious invita- 
tion. Men must accept the mercy of God or pay the conse- 
quences of their impenitence and unbelief. The only way of 
salvation is the way of the gospel, so the gospel must be pro- 
claimed to all men and this is the mission of the Church. 


The Church must be maintained by all believers and its 
work for the extension of the kingdom of Christ supported 
by prayer, gifts, and personal efforts. 

This is a brief review of the content of the Confession of 
Faith. It should be kept in mind that not all Presbyterians 
know its contents, that it is the fruit of a long history, that 
it was written for the most part years ago, and that most 
Presbyterians who know the Confession best emphasize some 
of its points above others. The Declaratory Statement and 
the modifications and additions through the years reveal the 
placing of the heart above mere logic in practical faith. The 
statements in the Confession are supported by footnotes con- 
sisting of quotations from the Scriptures. It is a Biblical state- 

Again it should be said that what has been written here 
is an informal summary of the positions of the Confession 
and does not attempt to be a summary of all that Presby- 
terians believe as individuals and as a Church. Even the min- 
isters in their ordination vows declare only that they believe 
that the Confession of Faith contains "the system of doctrine 
taught in the Holy Scriptures." The effort to express Pres- 
byterian beliefs in ordinary language for the members of 
the Church is shown in the revision and rewriting of the 
Intermediate Catechism, approved by the General Assembly 
of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., in 1949, and published 
under the title, "An Outline of the Christian Faith," with a 
commentary thereon for use in classes in the Church and in 
the home. The missionary and evangelistic efforts of the 
Church through the years have demonstrated that Presbyte- 
rians, as a whole, are a warm-hearted people, zealous for the 
salvation of men through faith in Jesus Christ as presented in 
the Scriptures. 



CHURCHES GET their names in many ways. Some are 
named after a country, the Church of England, for ex- 
ample. Some are named after their leader or founder, the 
Lutheran Church, for example. Some by their name express 
a theological point of view, such as the Evangelical and Re- 
formed Church, emphasizing its Reformed theology. Other 
churches get their names from their form of government, 
such as the Episcopal Church, which is governed by bishops, 
and the Congregational Church, in which each particular 
congregation governs itself. The Methodist Church took its 
name from the methodical manner in which John and Charles 
Wesley and their companions performed the various activi- 
ties which a sense of Christian duty induced them to under- 

Presbyterians get their name from their form of govern- 
ment. They are ruled by elders, the Greek name for which 
is presbuteroi. Since the New Testament Church grew out of 
Judaism, this was quite natural. There were frequent refer- 



ences to elders in the Old Testament, not necessarily, how- 
ever, referring to a distinct church office. The Old Testa- 
ment word is Zaqen, meaning "old," "aged," or "bearded." 
In the New Testament there are references to elders among 
the Jews. For example, in Matthew 26:47 we read in connec- 
tion with the arrest of Jesus: "Judas came, one of the twelve, 
and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the 
chief priests and elders of the people/' In Acts 4:8 we read in 
connection with the arrest of Peter for preaching in the 
name of Jesus: "The rulers of the people and elders." In the 
eleventh chapter of Acts we are told of the organization of a 
church in Antioch in Syria. These Christians learned of the 
suffering of the Christians in Jerusalem, so they sent a contri- 
bution for their aid, "sending it to the elders by the hand of 
Barnabas and Saul." When Paul and Barnabas were on their 
missionary journey they organized churches. The record in 
Acts 14:23 reads: "And when they had appointed elders for 
them in every church, with prayer and fasting, they com- 
mitted them to the Lord in whom they believed." When a 
council was called in Jerusalem to consider problems in con- 
nection with admitting Gentiles into the Church we read in 
Acts 15:22: "Then it seemed good to the apostles and elders, 
with the whole church, to choose men from among them and 
send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas." They were 
to announce the decision of the council. So here we have a 
convention, an assembly, or a council, composed of apostles 
and elders to settle a disputed question in the Church. The 
decision was announced as having been "reached by the apos- 
tles and elders who were at Jerusalem." (Acts 16:4.) 

When Paul was on his way to Jerusalem before his arrest, 
he called representatives of the church in Ephesus to Miletus 
to meet him. (Acts 20:17.) They are called "guardians of the 
flock." The Greek word is episcopos, translated in the Amer- 
ican Standard Version "bishop," and in the King James Ver- 
sion "overseer." This passage illustrates the fact that "bishop" 


and "elder" are used interchangeably, here at least, in the 
New Testament. In his First Epistle to Timothy, chapter 
5:17, Paul refers to elders who rule well and to those who 
also preach and teach, from which Presbyterians conclude 
that there were ruling elders, or officers in the Church, and 
also preaching or teaching elders, who correspond to min- 
isters in our day. So Presbyterians have ruling elders and 
preaching or teaching elders, the latter being ministers. 

That elders were officers in the local church is clear from 
Titus 1:5, where Paul wrote, "I left you in Crete, that you 
might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every 
town as I directed you.'* And after speaking of the qualities 
required in an elder he goes on to say, 'Tor a bishop, as 
God's steward, must be blameless/' again illustrating the use 
of the word "elder" and the word "bishop" interchangeably. 
So the Presbyterian Church got its name because it is ruled 
by elders who are officers in the local church, and by higher 
councils or courts composed of church officers from a larger 

The government of the Presbyterian Church is representa- 
tive. Elders are chosen or elected to have oversight of each 
church and of the Church at large. It is a government by 
councils or judicatories. For example, the particular church 
is governed by the session composed of the minister and the 
elders chosen by the people to direct and guide the work of 
the church. The churches of an area are under the authority 
of the presbytery, which is composed of ministers and elders 
who represent their churches. A group of presbyteries are 
combined in a larger geographical judicatory called a synod, 
which includes a minister and an elder from each church or 
ministers and elders elected by the constituent presbyteries. 
The highest court of the Church is the General Assembly, 
composed of an equal number of ministers and elders elected 
by the presbyteries to represent the whole Church. 

In the Form of Government, Chapter I, which presents 


"preliminary principles/' is a statement of which Presbyte- 
rians may well be proud. The first principle is that "God 
alone is Lord of the conscience/' thus declaring the principle 
of religious liberty, the equal rights of all, and separation of 
Church and State. 

The second principle is the right of any Christian Church 
to determine its own qualifications for its ministers and 
members and its system of government. 

The third principle is that Church officers, ministers and 
others, have authority to exercise discipline within their own 
churches for the preservation of the Church. 

The fourth principle is that "Truth is in order to good- 
ness," and the test of beliefs is conduct. Faith and practice, 
truth and duty are inseparable. "Otherwise it could be of no 
consequence either to discover truth or to embrace it." 

In accordance with the principle just stated, a fifth follows, 
namely, that it is necessary to make effectual provision that 
all who are admitted as teachers be sound in the faith, that 
they believe that there are truths and forms with respect to 
which men of good character and principles may differ. Mu- 
tual forbearance should therefore be exercised by both pri- 
vate citizens and societies. 

The sixth principle is that all Church power is ministerial 
and declarative. It is to be based upon the Holy Scriptures, 
which constitute the only rule of faith and practice. The 
fallibility of synods and councils is recognized. 

Finally, the exercise of these principles will contribute to 
the glory and happiness of any Church. Ecclesiastical disci- 
pline is purely moral and spiritual and is not attended with 
any civil effects, so it can derive no force whatever but from 
its own justice, the approval of an impartial public, and the 
countenance and blessing of the great Head of the Church 

The Presbyterian Form of Government first defines the 
Church. It was founded by Christ himself, consists of all 


those, together with their children, throughout the world 
who profess the holy religion of Christ and submission to his 
laws. For practical purposes the members of the Church Uni- 
versal are divided into many particular churches, which con- 
sist of a number of professing Christians with their offspring, 
voluntarily associated for divine worship and godly living, 
agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, and submitting to a cer- 
tain form of government. Particular churches and commun- 
ions ought to cooperate in so far as possible in giving expres- 
sion to their oneness in Jesus Christ within his body, the 
ecumenical catholic Church. This description provides for 
particular churches, the gathering of these churches into a 
denomination, and interdenominational cooperation. 

The Presbyterian Church recognizes the miraculous gifts 
of the Church in the days of the apostles, but declares that 
these have ceased and the ordinary and perpetual officers in 
the Church are bishops, or pastors, ruling elders, and dea- 
cons. Administrative responsibilities, both spiritual and cor- 
porate, may be lodged in one body in the local church, 
namely, the session. 

In the particular church there are bishops or pastors, and 
possibly associate pastors or assistant pastors. Pastors are 
called by different names in Scripture because of their varied 
duties. They are called bishops because they have the over- 
sight of the flock; pastors, or shepherds, because they feed 
the flock with spiritual food; ministers, because they serve 
Christ in the Church; as persons who govern they are called 
presbyters or elders; as the messengers of God they are called 
angels; as those who declare the will of God and urge recon- 
ciliation to God through Christ they are called ambassadors; 
as dispensers of the Church's ordinances they are termed 
stewards of the mysteries of God. Associate pastors have sim- 
ilar duties, but with limitations, since they are under the 
direction of the pastor in consultation with the elders. 

Ruling elders are representatives of the people and chosen 


by them for the purpose of exercising government and disci- 
pline in conjunction with the pastors or ministers. They are 
distinguished from the minister by the fact that they do not 
labor in "the word and doctrine." 

The office of deacon is based upon Acts 6:1-6, where is de- 
scribed the appointment of persons, presumably deacons, to 
care for the distribution of food to the needy. It is the busi- 
ness of deacons to care for the poor and they may be made 
responsible for the management of the temporal affairs of 
the church. 

The ordinances of the particular church for which the 
church officers are responsible are many. They include prayer, 
praise, reading and expounding the Scriptures and preach- 
ing, the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, thanks- 
giving, instruction of the young, the administration of funds 
for the poor and other causes, and discipline. 

As already indicated, Presbyterians are governed by a se- 
ries of courts or judicatories, composed of elected representa- 
tives. The parallel between our National Government and 
our Presbyterian form of government is close, so much so 
that some have claimed that our National Government was 
patterned after the Presbyterian form. It is probably more 
accurate to say that both grew out of a common soil. In our 
National Government we have local governing organizations 
such as boroughs, towns, cities, and so forth. A larger area is 
the county with its officers. These counties form a state, and 
the states are united in one central government, the United 
States of America with its executive, legislative, and judicial 
departments. The representative bodies are the Senate and 
the House of Representatives, the members of which are 
elected by the various states. 

In the Presbyterian Church we have the local church, and 
then a group of local churches, corresponding to counties in 
civil government, joined in a presbytery composed of all the 
ministers together with an elder representing each of the 


churches. The presbyteries of an area are combined in a 
synod, composed of representatives of the particular churches 
of the area or of the presbyteries. The highest court is the 
General Assembly, which includes all the synods and is com- 
posed of an equal number of ministers and elders elected by 
their respective presbyteries. On this background of repre- 
sentative governing bodies we now consider briefly each of 
these judicatories. 

While insisting that the Presbyterian form of government 
is agreeable to the Scriptures and primitive Christian prac- 
tice, Presbyterians recognize the right of other denomina- 
tions to choose their own form of government. At the same 
time the hope is expressed that organic union with other 
Churches may be attained. They insist upon separation of 
Church and State and deny any powers to Church courts 
which encroach upon civil liberty or inflict civil penalties. 

The particular or local church is governed by a session 
which is composed of the minister and elders elected by the 
congregation. The minister is the moderator, or chairman, 
of the session which is responsible for the spiritual govern- 
ment of the particular church, the oversight of its members, 
and their discipline where necessary. The session receives 
and dismisses members. It has responsibility for the worship 
and other activities -of the church and is required to keep a 
record of its actions and these records are submitted to the 
presbytery annually for examination. 

A small community left to itself could scarcely manage to 
conduct all its affairs without relations with the larger com- 
munity. It has limited resources and leadership and has prob- 
lems which require that it be related to a larger governmen- 
tal organization. Villages are but a part of a larger area to 
which they need to belong. So the particular church has a 
great task and limited resources. It needs counsel and guid- 
ance and supervision and help in order to preserve sound 
doctrine, regularity of discipline, and measures for promot- 


ing knowledge and religion and preventing errors in faith 
and practice and to do its share in the task of spreading the 
gospel. It is therefore important for the particular church to 
have such oversight and help as is provided by presbyteries, 
synods, and General Assembly. 

A presbytery consists of all the ministers of an area, in 
number not less than five, and one ruling elder from each 
church within that area. Three ministers with as many elders 
as may be present constitute a quorum for the transaction of 
business. Difficulties which arise in a particular church may 
be brought to presbytery for adjudication and careful rules 
of procedure are in the Constitution to provide for the pro- 
tection of individual rights and securing just action. A pres- 
bytery has the right to organize a church, to dissolve, to di- 
vide, or to unite churches within its area. 

Provision is made for the proper calling of meetings of the 
presbytery, and in order that its meetings may be held in a 
proper atmosphere it is required that, as a rule, a regular 
meeting shall include a period of worship and a sermon. 

While the particular church elects its own minister, it is 
the presbytery that is responsible for the examination and 
ordination of ministers and for installing them when they 
have been elected with the presbytery's approval. Salaries of 
ministers are under the presbytery's supervision. A pres- 
bytery also must approve the removal of a minister from one 
church and his installation in another. Provision is made for 
the reverent and impressive ordination and installation of 
ministers in the Directory for the Worship of God, usually 
called the Directory of Worship. This part of the Constitu- 
tion will be considered in another chapter. 

Next to the presbytery is the synod. Natural geographical 
lines have frequently led to a synod covering the same ter- 
ritory as a state, but this is not always the case. For example, 
the Synod of New England, where Presbyterian churches are 
comparatively few and scattered, consists of the Presbytery of 


Boston, the Presbytery of Connecticut Valley, the Presbytery 
of Newburyport, with churches in New Hampshire, Massa- 
chusetts, Vermont and Maine, and the Presbytery of Provi- 
dence in Rhode Island. 

A synod is a convention of bishops and elders within its 
area. Seven ministers with as many elders as may be present 
constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. If mem- 
bers of a presbytery are not satisfied with actions taken by 
the presbytery, they may complain or appeal to synod, much 
as appeal is made to a higher court in law. Final action on 
questions related to doctrine and the Constitution of the 
Church rests with the General Assembly. The synod is re- 
sponsible for the erection of new presbyteries or for uniting 
or dividing them within its borders. Synods meet at least 
once a year and their records are sent to the General Assem- 
bly for examination, to see if their actions and records are in 
harmony with the requirements of the Church. In some re- 
spects the synod is a fifth wheel in that the presbyteries, not 
the synods, are represented in the General Assembly, but 
there is need of the supervision of the churches of the pres- 
byteries and their co-operation within the synodical area. 

The highest court of the Presbyterian Church is the Gen- 
eral Assembly, which is composed of ministers and elders in 
equal numbers elected by the presbyteries, the number be- 
ing determined by the number of ministers and communi- 
cants in the presbytery. 

The General Assembly is the highest court in the Presby- 
terian Church. It represents, in one body, all the particular 
churches of the denomination. After 1956 it will consist of 
an equal delegation of bishops and elders from each presby- 
tery in the following proportion: namely: each presbytery 
containing not more than 7,000 ministerial and communicant 
members in good standing shall send one minister and one 
elder; and each presbytery containing more than 7,000 min- 
isterial and communicant members in good standing shall 


send one minister and one elder for each additional 7,000 
communicant members in good standing or major fraction 
thereof; and these delegates, so appointed, shall be styled 
Commissioners to the General Assembly. The Assembly there- 
fore is composed of an equal number of ministers and elders, 
that is, ministers and laymen. One hundred commissioners, 
or more, half of whom shall be ministers, constitute a quo- 
rum for the transaction of business. This rule emphasizes the 
importance of ministerial training and experience in con- 
nection with the operations of the Church and also the prin- 
ciple of lay representation. A recent Assembly had over 900 
commissioners in attendance. 

All the work of the Church is under the supervision of the 
General Assembly. It receives from lower judicatories ap- 
peals, complaints, and references that affect the doctrine or 
constitution of the Church, reviews the records of every 
synod, gives advice and instruction. It seeks to bind together 
all the churches in unity and mutual confidence. It decides 
controversies within the Church, erects, divides, or unites 
synods, superintends the work of the whole Church, and re- 
lates the denomination to other Churches. 

All proposals of the General Assembly related to the Con- 
stitution must be approved by a majority of the presbyteries 
before becoming authoritative. 

The Assembly meets once a year. It is an impressive and 
moving meeting, marked by efficiency and conservation of 
time combined with liberty of discussion and deliberative 
action. To be a commissioner is a rare privilege, especially 
for laymen. There they see the mind and feel the heartbeat 
of the Church. 

The meetings of the Assembly are carefully planned. Local 
committees, in cooperation with the Office of the General 
Assembly in Philadelphia, arrange every detail for the com- 
fort and efficiency of the commissioners. No racial discrimi- 
nation is permitted. Hotel and other accommodations are 


arranged beforehand and the commissioners receive reports 
of the various boards and committees beforehand for study 
before the meetings begin, so that they will be informed and 
can act intelligently. Reports are in the "Blue Book" which 
is sent beforehand to the commissioners. The "White Book"" 
contains the order of worship for the worship services, the 
list of commissioners, and copies of overtures to be con- 

Upon arrival in the city in which the meetings are to be 
held, each commissioner enrolls and is given additional ma- 
terial to guide him in attendance and participation in the 
meetings. He is given a card verifying his membership and 
indicating exactly where he is to sit in the auditorium, and 
he is expected always to sit in the assigned place so that he 
can be located at any time. He is also given a button which 
is a convenient evidence of his right to sit as a member of 
the Assembly. The faithfulness of the commissioners in their 
attendance is notable. One chairman of a committee report- 
ing to the Assembly as almost the last item in the agenda of 
the last day remarked that not more than a dozen members 
failed to wait to hear his report. He added with a smile, how- 
ever, that this was no compliment to him, for the expense 
checks, reimbursing the commissioners for their travel and 
other expenses, are not given out until adjournment, and 
one must be in his seat to receive his check. Consequently,, 
although there is provision for withdrawal in case of neces- 
sity, there is full attendance to the very end. 

Local committees provide floral decorations and ushers 
see that movement is kept to a minimum and commissioners 
reach their seats with dispatch. 

The spirit of worship is created by opening and closing 
each session with prayer and especially by the sermon at the 
opening session by the retiring moderator and by an impres- 
sive observance of the Lord's Supper. Careful preparation 
for this sacrament is made beforehand. Elders are selected 


from local churches and are carefully prepared for this spe- 
cial service. When the bread and the cup are distributed, 
each elder goes to his place in the sanctuary and simultane- 
ously the great congregation receives the elements. It is a 
solemn and heart-searching time for the commissioners and 
visitors who are welcomed to the service. The memory of this 
service of confession and rededication remains with the com- 
missioners as they carry on the business of the Assembly. 

For some purposes voting is facilitated by placing the com- 
missioners in voting sections. Each section has a chairman 
and a secretary. Prepared ballots are passed to the commis- 
sioners and filled in by them. These are passed to the chair- 
man of the section and counted. A copy is handed to the 
Stated Clerk and the votes by sections announced. The speed 
with which the vote is determined is remarkable. 

The election of a moderator is one of the interesting items 
on the docket. The election is conducted in good spirit, but 
also with some rivalry between geographical areas of the 
Church. Nominations are made from the floor, but those who 
are to make the nomination speeches go to the platform at 
the proper time. Usually the moderator is a minister, but 
outstanding laymen have been elected to the office. Two 
speeches are made in behalf of each candidate, a nominating 
speech and a seconding speech. By rule the seconding 
speeches are made in reverse order. The speeches are usually 
characterized by considerable humor, but seek to present the 
qualifications of the candidate. The votes as they are cast by 
sections are announced. When the decision is known, the 
newly elected moderator, who, with the other candidates 
after casting their ballots, had withdrawn from the Assem- 
bly, is ushered in with great dignity. He is presented with the 
gavel, the sign of office, by the retiring moderator. He now 
assumes his responsibilities with a few appropriate words. 

The efficiency with which the business of the Assembly is 
carried on is due to the careful preparation by the Office of 


the Genera] Assembly, to the presence and guidance of the 
Stated Clerk, and usually to the tact, good humor, and effi- 
ciency of the moderator. 

In addition to the Office of the General Assembly of which 
the Stated Clerk is the head, the General Council carries 
heavy responsibility for the work of the Church between 
meetings of the Assembly. It is composed of the Moderator 
of the General Assembly, the retiring Moderator and his 
nearest living predecessor, representatives of the Boards of 
the Church and of the Council on Theological Education, 
each of whom shall be nominated by the Board or Council 
to be represented, and eighteen members from the Church 
at large. The members are elected by the General Assembly. 

The General Council, subject to the authority of the Gen- 
eral Assembly, promotes the spiritual welfare of the whole 
Church, prepares and submits annually to the General As- 
sembly the budgets of the various agencies of the Church, 
promotes the benevolence program of the Church, public 
relations, publicity, its official publications, men's and wom- 
en's organizations, and plans the long-range program and 
strategy of the Church. Its report is one of the most impor- 
tant presented to each Assembly. 

One of the most impressive reports to the Assembly is 
that of the Judicial Commission. The Permanent Judicial 
Commission is elected by the General Assembly and consists 
of eight ministers and seven elders, who are chosen with 
great care for their judicial abilities. In each odd-numbered 
year five members are elected to serve six years to fill the 
vacancies then occurring. They are not subject to re-election. 
They cannot be members of any other commission, commit- 
tee, or agency of the General Assembly. This is aimed to 
prevent any partiality in decisions. It considers judicial cases 
referred to it. When it reports its decisions to the Assembly, 
the Assembly sits in judicial capacity and only members of 
the Commission, commissioners to the General Assembly, 


and officers are allowed to remain. All others are requested 
to withdraw. The Commission, wearing robes, enters the 
room with dignity. No movement in the Assembly room is 
permitted. Reports of cases are read with the decisions of 
the Commission, which are worthy of the Supreme Court 
of the United States. There is no debate. The Assembly votes 
to sustain or not to sustain the decision. A majority vote is 
the final decision of the Assembly. 

Committees are largely responsible for the business of the 
Assembly. These committees, elected at the beginning of the 
Assembly, meet only during the Assembly. They give careful 
attention to the reports already distributed and share in the 
preparation of the final report and recommendations to the 
Assembly. The members of the various Standing Committees 
are chosen by the electing sections, but the chairmen are ap- 
pointed by the moderator. The deliberations of these com- 
mittees mean that careful study has been given by many 
minds to the problems that arise, and that there is oppor- 
tunity for asking questions and presenting points of view by 
any of the commissioners. The discussions are free and un- 
limited, except by the action of the Assembly itself. When a 
speaker seems to have reached the end o his constructive 
contribution to the discussion, a gentle hint to this effect is 
often made from the floor. So there is both liberty and con- 
trol in most discussions. 

As already pointed out, the Standing Committees meet 
only during the Assembly and cease to exist upon adjourn- 
ment. A list of the Standing Committees in a recent U.S.A. 
Assembly will indicate the wide interests and responsibilities 
of the Assembly as the highest court of the Presbyterian 
Church. There were fourteen of these Committees, as fol- 

1. Bills and Overtures. This committee considers docu- 
ments which come up to the General Assembly from presby- 


teries and synods and recommends appropriate action or their 
reference to the proper committee for study and report. 

2. National Missions. This committee considers the report 
of the Board of National Missions and formulates a report to 
the Assembly with recommendations. The full report of the 
Board's work, as is the case with other reports, has been in 
the hands of the commissioners for some time previous to 
the Assembly. 

3. Foreign Missions. This committee considers the mis- 
sionary work of the Church in foreign fields as carried on 
by the Board of Foreign Missions. Appropriate resolutions 
and recommendations are presented to the Assembly as 
worked out by the committee in conference with the repre- 
sentatives of the Board, as in the case with other Board 

4. Christian Education. This committee considers the 
whole educational program of the Church as it is related to 
the Board of Christian Education. Here, as is the case with 
other committees, the committee's report is prepared in con- 
ference with representatives of the Board who are ready to 
answer questions and give information and on the basis of 
the printed report of the Board as circulated before the 
Assembly. The report of the committee includes recommen- 
dations to be approved by the Assembly. 

5. Pensions. This is the Board which is responsible for the 
pension system of the Church, which, on the basis of pay- 
ments by the minister and the church of which he is pastor, 
or by the church alone, accumulates and invests the money, 
and, when the time of retirement is reached, pays the pen- 
sion in monthly installments. The standing committee brings 
to the Assembly any matters for information or action. 

6. Polity. To this committee are referred matters related 
to the Constitution of the Church for report and recommen- 

7. Theological Education. This committee deals with the 


report of the Council on Theological Education and other 
matters related to that phase of the Church's program. 

8. Social Education and Action. This committee considers 
the report of the Counselling Committee of the Department 
of Social Education and Action which works in connection 
with the Board of Christian Education. It brings to the 
Assembly resolutions in the area of social conditions for con- 
sideration and adoption. 

9. Synod Records. This committee examines the records 
of all the synods with a view calling attention to any depar- 
ture from proper form or to actions which are questionable 
according to the standards of the Presbyterian Church. 

10. Leave of Absence. This committee considers requests 
from commissioners who find it necessary to leave the Assem- 
bly before adjournment and reports its actions to the 

1 1 . Resolutions of Thanks. In behalf of the Assembly this 
committee expresses its appreciation of the great variety of 
services which have contributed to the comfort of the com- 
missioners and the success of the meetings of the Assembly. 

12. Finance. This committee considers and brings recom- 
mendations concerning financial and business matters of the 
Church at large and its boards and agencies. 

13. Mileage. This committee receives the vouchers of the 
commissioners for travel and entertainment expenses and 
audits and approves them. 

14. Evangelism. This committee presents a special report 
on evangelism in the Church as directed by the Division of 
Evangelism of the Board of National Missions and presents 
recommendations for the approval of the Assembly. 

In addition to the reports of the standing committees, re- 
ports are received from the Office of the General Assembly 
with its Department of Administration, Department of Pub- 
licity, and Department of History; the General Council; 
Presbyterian Life., the official denominational magazine; De- 


partment of Radio and Television; the National Council of 
Presbyterian Women's Organizations; the National Council 
of Presbyterian Men; the Committee on Nominations, which 
is a continuing committee and nominates the members of 
the Boards of the Church and Permanent Committees; the 
Committee on Chaplains and Service Personnel; the Depart- 
ment of Ministerial Relations; the Permanent Committee on 
Interchurch Relations, which was responsible for negotia- 
tions between the Presbyterian Church, U.S., the United 
Presbyterian Church, and the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., 
in regard to union, and deals with other matters related to 
other ecclesiastical and religious organizations. 

Printed reports for consideration are to be found in the 
seats of the commissioners when they arrive for any session 
and a daily paper is there each morning, containing a sum- 
mary of the sessions of the previous day and any news which 
will aid the commissioners in connection with the Assembly. 

Popular meetings on various subjects related to the work 
of the Church are held each evening, and the Assembly is 
preceded by Pre-Assembly conferences on vital subjects. 
These the commissioners are invited to attend. 

Saturday afternoon is a time of relaxation. The commis- 
sioners are guests on sightseeing trips planned by local com- 
mittees. So the meetings of the Assembly are a delightful 
combination of business, worship, friendship, and entertain- 

The General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church 
is similar to that of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. It re- 
ceives reports from the Moderator of the previous Assembly, 
from the Clerk, from the Trustees of the General Assembly, 
from the Committee on Historical Records, from the Com- 
mittee on Chaplains and Service Personnel, from the World 
Service Committee, from the Committee on Homes for the 
Aged, from Ministerial Pensions and Relief, on Christian 
Education, from the Committee on the Board of Foreign 


Missions, from the Women's Board, from the Board of Amer- 
ican Missions, from the Committee on Bills and Overtures, 
from the Committee on Church Relations in regard to 
the proposed union of the United Presbyterian Church of 
North America, the Presbyterian Church, U.S., and the Pres- 
byterian Church, U.S.A., of the Judiciary Committee, of the 
Committee on Social Welfare, of the Committee on Statistics, 
and other reports in regard to the responsibilities and work 
of the Church. 



PRESBYTERIANS from time to time in their history have 
moved from little use of liturgy and symbols to a larger 
use of worship aids. This broadening trend is illustrated in 
the experience of the writer. When he was past ten years of 
age, the church of which he was a member tore down its old 
traditional structure and erected a new building on even less 
ecclesiastical lines. When the new pipe organ was built there 
was a carving that extended above the center of the wooden 
base into which some of the pipes fitted. This carving was 
much like a fleur-de-lis, but it resembled a cross. Some of the 
members of the church took exception to this ornamentation 
because there was opposition to a Roman cross in a Protes- 
tant Church. Yet as the years have passed, the cross has be- 
come quite common in the chancel of churches as a symbol 
of the centrality of Christ and the atonement in the Chris- 
tian faith. 

The writer cannot recall any minister during his boyhood 
using a book as a guide in worship. There was a rather fixed 



order of service, but the whole was guided by the minister 
with the utmost freedom. When he reached the seminary 
a book was available from the pen of Herrick Johnston of 
McCormick Seminary in which were "forms" for the admin- 
istration of the Lord's Supper and Baptism, and for the con- 
ducting of funerals. It was not until 1905 that the Book of 
Common Worship was published as prepared by a committee 
of ministers and elders appointed by the General Assembly. 
In order that there might be no misunderstanding it was 
stated again and again that "liberty of worship has been 
esteemed a most precious privilege and inheritance" of Pres- 
byterians and it was urged that a golden mean should be 
maintained between a too great laxity and a tyrannical uni- 
formity in worship. Later the Book of Common Worship 
(Revised) was published. 

From time to time questions came to the publishers of the 
book raising questions about material in the book. Questions 
and suggestions were referred to the Office of the General 
Assembly. As a consequence, at the suggestion of the Stated 
Clerk, a Committee on the Book of Common Worship was 
appointed and a revision o the book undertaken. The new 
Book of Common Worship was approved by the General 
Assembly in 1946. 

In spite of what might seem to be a slow development in 
this country of a book to guide the minister and others in the 
worship of the Church, in the very beginning the Presby- 
terian Church gave serious attention to the subject of wor- 
ship, as is indicated in the section of the Constitution entitled 
"The Directory for the Worship of God/' This goes back to 
the Westminster Assembly, but it was revised and corrected 
in this country by the Synod in 1788, and there have been 
revisions through the years. 

The Directory of Worship emphasizes the Lord's Day as 
set apart for worship and urges that the day be used for the 
exercise of private and public religion. Private and family 


prayer should be offered for the minister and the service 
which he is to conduct and which all should attend with 
reverence and faithfulness. The service is to be followed by 
meditation and conversation and by works of mercy. 

The service of worship is to be characterized by decency, 
gravity, and reverence, and undivided attention. The Scrip- 
tures are to be read and heard with understanding, judg- 
ment being used as to the length of the portion to be read 
and its relation to the rest of the service, so as to maintain 
proper balance and not become too "tedious." 

Praise is an important part of worship both in the home 
and in the church and should be with the spirit and the 
understanding also. Some knowledge of the rules of music 
is urged so that God's praise should be in a becoming man- 
ner as well as from the heart. The use of song books is rec- 
ommended so as to avoid the need of following the old 
custom of reading the psalm line by line as it is sung. 

The service of worship may well be introduced by a short 
prayer, which we know as the invocation. Another prayer 
may well be offered before the sermon. The parts of this 
prayer are suggested, such as adoration, thanksgiving, con- 
fession of sin, supplication for pardon of sin and peace with 
God through the blood of the atonement, petition, and inter- 
cession for others, especially for the Church and its ministry 
in the world. The sermon should be followed by an appro- 
priate prayer. 

Ministers are urged to exercise judgment in the content of 
prayers, varying their emphasis from time to time, and by 
reading and meditation they are to acquire both the spirit 
and the gift of prayer and to avoid mean, irregular, and ex- 
travagant effusions. 

The offering is held to be of importance in worship and it 
should be systematic and in proportion to the individual's 
prosperity. The offering should be made with prayer. It 
should provide not only for the expenses of the congrega- 


tion but also for the support of the Boards of the Church and 
other benevolent and Christian objects. Furthermore, a 
proper record of offerings and their use should be kept. 

Preaching should receive special attention on the part of 
the minister and he should endeavor to prepare himself for 
this part of his responsibilities. The Directory of Worship 
calls for Biblical preaching, which involves presentation of 
truth, and the obligations and duties which the truth re- 
quires. The text should fairly contain the doctrine which is 
evolved from it in the sermon, and not be a mere motto. 
Expository preaching is suggested. Thorough preparation of 
sermons and expression of truth in language understandable 
to the congregation are indicated. Ostentation and parading 
learning are to be avoided, and the preacher is to adorn the 
doctrine by his own life. The Directory of Worship notes 
that sermons "should not be so long as to interfere with or 
exclude the more important duties of prayer and praise/* 
The sermon should be followed by prayer, singing, and bene- 

In spite of the warning against long sermons there was a 
time when short sermons were looked upon as neglect of 
opportunity. As a boy the writer had an uncle with the Bibli- 
cal name of Obed. He was a Presbyterian minister and 
was noted for his very deliberate speech. When asked how 
he happened to speak so slowly he explained that when he 
entered the ministry a sermon was not considered worth- 
while unless it lasted at least an hour, and he found that 
he had to speak very slowly to fill the time with what he 
had to say. 

The Sacraments should be administered with reverence 
and understanding. Parents should be told of the coming 
opportunity to present their children for Baptism, so that 
proper preparation can be made for it. The minister is 
to explain the nature of the sacrament, as instituted by 
Christ, and ask the parents to make their baptismal vows 


in behalf of their children. Then the minister baptizes the 
children "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost." Provision is made also for the baptism of adults who 
did not receive this sacrament as children. 

The Lord's Supper, or the Communion, is to be celebrated 
as often as the minister and session think wise, so as not to 
have it so frequently that it loses its significance through 
familiarity, and yet often enough to provide the inspiration 
and spiritual growth which Christians need. The minister 
explains the meaning of the Lord's Supper as instituted by 
Christ, reads the words of institution, invites those who 
should partake of the bread and the cup, sets the elements 
apart by prayer, and the bread and the cup are distributed 
by the elders. A brief meditation usually precedes the admin- 
istration of the sacrament, and is followed by a prayer of 
thanksgiving, penitence, and dedication. A collection for the 
poor is associated with the observance of the Lord's Supper. 

Provision is made for the reception of new members into 
the Church in connection with the Communion. Baptized 
children are expected in due time to confess their faith in 
Christ for themselves and to be admitted to the Communion. 
They are examined by the session and received, and then 
in the presence of the congregation make their public pro- 
fession of faith. They thus become communicant members 
of the Church. t 

The Directory of Worship also makes provision for the 
proper mode of inflicting and removing censures, the solem- 
nization of marriage, the visiting of the sick, the burial of 
the dead, the observance of Thanksgiving, and personal and 
family worship. 

For years this Directory of Worship was the guide of min- 
isters in connection with the various phases of worship, but, 
as has been pointed out, in time need was felt by Presby- 
terians in this country for a book that would put into the 
hands of ministers definite forms and materials for various 


phases of worship. The Book of Common Worship, first pub- 
lished in 1905, later revised, and completely revised in 1946, 
was aimed to put into the hands of ministers materials and 
guidance which they were free to use as they desired. The 
Book followed the directions of the Directory of Worship 
and embodied the best of the traditions of the Presbyterian 
and other Reformed Churches. The Scotch book was espe- 
cially helpful. Ministers are at liberty to depart from the 
forms in the book if they desire, but they are bound to 
include in their various services and ceremonies those ele- 
ments which are essential for conformity to the Directory 
of Worship and other parts of the Constitution. 

The Book of Common Worship is of handbook size for 
convenience and consists of some 388 pages. There is provi- 
sion for "Preparation for Worship," orders of public worship, 
morning and evening, for children and young people, for the 
administration of the Sacraments, reception of members, 
visitation of the sick, marriage, funerals, recognition, licens- 
ing, ordination and installation of ministers, recognition of 
Assistant Pastors, ordination and installation of elders and 
deacons, forms for recognition of other church workers, spe- 
cial services such as dedication of a church or parts of the 
church equipment, and so forth. There is also a treasury of 
prayers for various occasions and a lectionary or selected 
Bible reading for two years. 

The Directory of Worship emphasizes the importance of 
praise. It says: "In singing praise to God we are to sing with 
the spirit, and with understanding also, making melody in 
our hearts unto the Lord. It is also proper that we cultivate 
some knowledge of the rules of music, that we praise God 
in a becoming manner with our voices, as well as with our 
hearts. The whole congregation should be furnished with 

The word "psalms" is used consistently in reference to 
singing in the church. While some Presbyterians held to 


the singing of psalms only, many soon began to use hymns. 
In 1785 Watts added to his Imitation of the Psalms a collec- 
tion of hymns, thus departing from the principle that only 
"the inspired Book of Psalms" was permitted in the hymnody 
of the Church. This book was widely used in Presbyterian 
churches before it was officially adopted. The Psalms of 
David Imitated in the language of the New Testament and 
applied to the Christian Use and Worship, by I. Watts, D.D., 
was the first collection allowed by the General Assembly in 
1802. To the Psalms was added a selection of hymns, com- 
piled by Timothy Dwight, D.D. Other collections were "al- 
lowed" by the General Assembly. To the General Assembly 
in 1830 a committee presented an amended and improved 
book of psalms and hymns which was "authorized" in all 
the churches under its care. It was published by Solomon 
Allen, Philadelphia, for the General Assembly in 1831. 

In 1842 the Presbyterian Board of Publication issued with 
the approval of the General Assembly Devotional Hymns 
Adapted to Social,, Private, and Public Worship. This in- 
cluded a wide selection of hymns. Other books for use in 
worship appeared from time to time, but it was in 1864 that 
another committee of Psalmody was appointed. The result 
was the Hymnal, published in 1866. It was a final break with 
metrical psalmody. Other books followed until in 1895 The 
Hymnal was published with the approval of the General 
Assembly. Dr. Louis F. Benson was its editor, one of the 
foremost hymnologists of his day. The Hymnal Revised ap- 
peared in 1911 and The Hymnal in 1933. By 1956 a million 
and a quarter copies of The Hymnal had been published. 

In 1955 the Presbyterian Church, U.S., the United Presby- 
terian Church, the Reformed Church in America, the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Presbyterian Church, and the Presbyterian 
Church, U.S.A., joined in the publication of The Hymnbook 
for common use. 

The place of praise in other groups beside the congrega- 


tional meeting for worship has been recognized by the Pres- 
byterians and leadership in this field was undertaken. There 
have been published When the Little Child Wants to Sing, 
for very small children; Hymns for Primary Worship, Hymns 
for Junior Worship, and The Hymnal for Youth. Many of 
these are used by other denominations. 

It may be surprising to many to learn that Presbyterians 
have entered a wider field of publication of music for wor- 
ship. They have ventured with success to publish Anthems 
for Junior Choirs, 1, 2,3 3 Anthems for Youth Choirs, Anthems 
for Mixed Choirs, and Service Music for Adult Choirs. For 
the guidance of choir leaders Steps Toward a Singing Church 
has been published. There are also provided Church Music 
Sections in Summer Training Schools, where organists, choii 
leaders, choir members, ministers, and others who are inter- 
ested can receive help and guidance. 



IT WAS IN 1884 that the Book of Discipline became a 
separate part of the Constitution of the Presbyterian 
Church in the U.S.A. In dealing with the attitude of Presby- 
terians toward discipline in the church the writer is aware 
that he is drawing upon his own experience to some extent 
and upon the section of the Constitution of his own denomi- 
nation dealing with this subject. Members of his sister de- 
nominations will, he trusts, keep this in mind. He is not 
attempting to legislate for them. 

In his personal experience in connection with the church 
of which he was a member he recalls only two cases of disci- 
pline. The earlier of these was when a young man was ac- 
cused of living a rather wild life according to the standards 
of that day. He was brought before the session for examina- 
tion into his case. The writer had gone to the church with his 
father, a member of the session, and sat in an adjoining room 
while the discussion went on. He heard the sound of voices 
but understood no words that were spoken. Later he learned 



that the young man, the son of a much-respected member 
of the church, was denied the right to come to the Lord's 
Table until he showed signs of repentance and change of 
conduct. All this was done so quietly that it caused little 
or no disturbance of the peace and harmony of the church. 

The other situation was when the pastor of the church, a 
rather dictatorial man, was not satisfied with the election 
of one of the nominees to the eldership. He tried to annul 
the action of the congregation by a method which one of the 
elders could not approve. This elder insisted that the pro- 
cedure suggested by the minister was not according to Pres- 
byterian law, and, furthermore, he declared his faith in the 
man who had been elected at the congregational meeting. The 
minister in retaliation made some derogatory statements in re- 
gard to the elder who opposed him. The elder demanded that 
these accusations be either proved or retracted. The minister 
refused. The elder felt that the matter should be settled, so 
according to the Scriptures and Presbyterian procedure, he 
asked two of the members of the session to accompany him 
to a conference with the minister. When the minister refused 
to prove or retract his statements, the elder took the matter 
to the presbytery. After the presbytery's decision, to prevent 
division in the church, the elder transferred his membership 
with his family to another Presbyterian church. 

In all the years since, the writer has not had personal 
knowledge of any case of discipline in a particular church, 
although he has known of cases of discipline by presbytery 
of both ministers and elders. His impression is that either 
sessions have grown somewhat lax in the matter of discipline 
or members drop out of the church of their own volition 
when they are aware of unfitness for membership, thus vol- 
untarily placing themselves on the suspended roll by absence 
from the services of the church. 

The Presbyterian Constitution makes very careful provi- 
sion for correct procedure in cases of discipline. These are 


found in the Book of Discipline. From time to time revisions 
have been made in this section of the Constitution. As pub- 
lished in 1955, the Book of Discipline appears as it was 
approved in 1934. 

Discipline is defined as "the orderly exercise of authority, 
and the application of those principles and laws which the 
Church of our Lord Jesus Christ has derived from the Word 
of God, and has appointed for the instruction, training, and 
control of its members, officers, congregations, and judica- 
tories." It is to be exercised through the establishment of 
judicatories of the Church, and may be used in the general 
sense of administrative discipline or in the restricted sense 
of judicial discipline. 

The purpose of administrative discipline is the preserva- 
tion of the whole government of the Church by the mainte- 
nance of its purity, growth, and spiritual influence, by the 
proper exercise of its authority, and by the protection of the 
rights of its members, officers, congregations, and judicatories. 
It is readily seen, therefore, that Presbyterians are concerned 
about the good name of the Church and for its work, and 
also about infringement upon the rights of any person or 
group concerned. 

Judicial discipline is recognized as different from adminis- 
trative discipline. The former is the special and orderly 
exercise of that authority which Jesus Christ has invested 
in his Church for the prevention and correction of offences. 
Its purpose is to vindicate the authority and honor of Jesus 
Christ by the maintenance of truth, the removal of scandal, 
the censure for offences, the spiritual good of offenders, and 
the promotion of the purity and edification of the Church. 
Its exercise requires much prudence and discretion. As long 
as these principles are practiced there is no room in the Pres- 
byterian Church for witch-hunting, persecution, or malice. 

Administrative discipline includes all baptized members 


of the Church who are under its care, but judicial discipline 
relates only to communicant members. 

An offense is anything in doctrine, principles, or practice 
of a Church member, officer, or judicatory, which is con- 
trary to the Word of God or to those expositions of its teach- 
ing as to faith and practice which are contained in the 
Constitution of the Presbyterian Church. Judicial and ad- 
ministrative cases are to be clearly distinguished. 

Disciplinary action against members of the Church is the 
responsibility of the session of the particular church, but if 
proper action is not taken, a higher judicatory is to assume 
responsibility. Action against ministers is to be taken by 
presbytery. Dismissed members are under the authority of 
the session of the church of which they have been members 
until they unite with another church. 

The Book of Discipline carefully defines the judicial proc- 
ess as "the orderly succession of legal proceedings, in accord- 
ance with those principles and rules which have been estab- 
lished by the Church for the conduct of judicial cases." Some 
responsible person within the Church must institute the 
process and undertake to sustain the charge, or a judicatory 
may find it necessary to investigate an alleged offense. A 
person who considers himself injured by a rumor may re- 
quest an investigation, for which purpose a judicial commis- 
sion may be elected. Prosecution of an alleged offense may 
be instituted by an injured person, by a private person, or 
persons, not an innocent party, or by a judicatory. Persons 
instituting a prosecution must conduct it through all its 
stages on their responsibility. A person alleging injury must 
follow the injunction of Matt. 18:15-17 by first talking it 
over with the offender, and if the matter cannot be amica- 
bly settled, take with him one or two fellow church members 
for another conference with the offender, and if this is not 
successful, he is to take it to the judicatory of the church. 
The Book of Discipline outlines steps and requirements 


for the judicial process. A charge must be put in writing in 
detail. The proper judicatory may decide to try the case or 
may elect a judicial commission for the purpose. Proper 
procedure is outlined in detail for the hearing of the case, 
including the securing of adequate witnesses. An accused 
person or a witness who fails to obey the citation will be 
subject to censure; however only members of the Church are 
subject to Church authority. The Church exercises no civil 
rights in this connection. The parties are entitled to be repre- 
sented by counsel, but he must be a minister or ruling elder. 
No fee can be accepted. The accused may present objections 
to the sufficiency of the charges or the form of the specifica- 
tions, and if the trial continues may plead "guilty" or "not 
guilty/' If the plea is "not guilty/' the trial will proceed. 
There are directions for the presentation of the case, the 
arguments, the voting, the announcement of the verdict, and 
the record of the case, exceptions that may be taken, all in 
the interest of order and justice. These details will be found 
in the Book of Discipline. 

There are special rules for the judicial process against 
ministers. This is to prevent their being "screened from the 
hand of justice" or having their offenses lightly censured or 
having judicial process instituted against them on slight 
grounds. Investigation is to be made in case of a minister's 
divorce, rumors against his character, refusal to appear if 
cited, heresy or schism, and acts of infirmity which may be 

Church members against whom there are no charges, who 
inform the session that they feel that they have no right to 
come to the Lord's Table, or who unite with another with- 
out regular dismission, shall have their names removed from 
the roll by the session. A member who moves away and can- 
not be located may have his name removed from the roll by 
the session after two years. The name may be restored if in 
the judgment of the session this is justified. 


When a minister, not otherwise chargeable with an offense, 
renounces the jurisdiction of the Church, or is absent from 
presbytery for three years, or neglects to report to presby- 
tery, or his address or work cannot be ascertained, the pres- 
bytery may, without further action and without prejudice 
to him, erase his name from the roll. His name may be 
restored if presbytery is fully satisfied that this action is 
justified. This provides for a proper oversight of the minis- 
terial members of the presbytery. If a minister is not retired 
and enters full-time employment in a secular occupation, he 
may, after two years, be deemed to have left the ministry, 
and the presbytery, either at his request or on its own initia- 
tive, may relieve him of his ministerial status and erase his 
name from the roll. However, the way is open for the restora- 
tion of his name for satisfactory reasons. 

Church members who have moved away and not attended 
or supported the church for two years, and do not make 
application for transfer to another church, may be suspended. 
Restoration is possible, however, if this seems proper. Church 
members who reside in the community and who absent them- 
selves from church for two years may be transferred to the 
roll of suspended members until restoration to active mem- 
bership seems proper. 

A minister who desires to be released from the office of the 
ministry, may be put on probation for a year at least, after 
which he may be allowed to demit the office and return to 
the condition of a private member of the Church. He is given 
a letter so that he may join the church of his choice. A min- 
ister joining another denomination deemed heretical or 
schismatic, and thereby renouncing the jurisdiction of the 
Presbyterian Church, shall be deposed or excommunicated. 

Careful rules of evidence, of testimony, credibility of wit- 
nesses, proof of charge, examination of witnesses, oaths and 
affirmations, record of testimony, record of trial, and so forth 
are laid down so as to secure proper procedure, the protec- 


tion of the rights of all concerned, and ultimately a just 

There are five degrees of church censure, including ad- 
monition, rebuke, suspension, deposition, and excommunica- 
tion, which are pronounced by the moderator in the presence 
of the judicatory. Ten days are allowed for appeal. 

In admonition the guilty person is admonished to put 
away the evil he has done, to guard against temptation, and 
to be steadfast and earnest in the service of the Lord. Rebuke 
is more severe, setting forth the character of the offense and 
expressing reproof. Forms for both admonition and rebuke 
are provided. In the case of admonition and rebuke the of- 
fender is still a member of the church in good and regular 

In suspension the guilty person is temporarily or definitely 
excluded from the sacraments or from holding office in the 
church, depending upon the subsequent conduct of the per- 
son suspended. A form is provided for the suspension. In 
the case of a suspended pastor, presbytery declares the pulpit 

In case of deposition the ordination of the person found 
guilty is set aside and he is removed from office. When a 
pastor is deposed without excommunication he is given a 
letter to a church in which he wishes to be a member, stating 
his exact relation to the church which he joins. In case of 
deposition other presbyteries are informed of the action. 
Excommunication excises the offender from the communion 
of the Church and a form is provided for this. 

Hope for the offenders is indicated in a chapter in the 
Book of Discipline providing for the restoration of those 
under censure. Special guards are provided against any resto- 
ration which would harm the good name of the Church. In 
the case of ministers, elders, and deacons, they must be 
reordained after deposition. 

Provision is made for dissent or protest after an action 


or decision of a judicatory. A dissent is a declaration by one 
or more members expressing disagreement with the action 
or decision and must be made at the particular session o 
the judicatory during which the action or decision takes 
place, and it is entered on the records o the judicatory. A 
protest is a more formal declaration, made by one or more 
members of a judicatory, bearing testimony against what is 
believed to be an irregular or erroneous proceeding, deci- 
sion, or judgment, accompanied by reasons therefor. Provi- 
sion is made for its being entered on the record and its 
transmission within ten days to the clerk of the judicatory. 

The action of the General Assembly is final, but in the case 
of sessions, presbyteries, and synods, if there is dissatisfaction 
with any decision or action, it can be taken to a higher 
judicatory. The objection may be in the form of General 
Review and Control, or Complaint, when administrative dis- 
cipline is to be exercised; Reference and Appeal, when judi- 
cial discipline is to be exercised. Members of a lower judica- 
tory from which objection to the action or decision has come 
are not permitted to deliberate or vote and no party to the 
case is allowed to give publicity to the matter. Detailed pro- 
cedures and duties are carefully described with a view to 
an orderly and fair handling of the case in the higher judica- 

If the complaint is sustained, the decision of the lower 
judicatory may be reversed and the lower court directed as 
to further proceedings. 

If a complaint is entered by at least one-third of the mem- 
bers present when a lower court rendered its decision, the 
execution of the decision is to be stayed until a final decision 
is arrived at in the higher judicatory. Procedures for the 
presentation and action on references from a lower court to 
a higher court are carefully outlined. References are a repre- 
sentation in writing made by a lower court to the next higher 
judicatory for advice or for ultimate trial and decision in 


cases not yet decided, but it is recommended that the lower 
court endeavor to fulfill its duty in arriving at a decision. 

The plan of electing a judicial commission in a presbytery 
or synod to handle judicial cases was adopted and amended 
or revised from time to time through the years. The Book o 
Discipline now provides for judicial commissions to try cases 
and to act for the judicatory. Its decisions are final, so far 
as that judicatory is concerned, but appeals may be made 
to a higher judicatory, except in the case of the General 
Assembly. The organization and procedure in regard to judi- 
cial commissions are carefully described. A special section is 
given to the Judicial Commission of the General Assembly, 
which is a permanent commission. The General Assembly 
may confirm the judgment of the Judicial Commission or 
may fail to confirm it. If the latter, the case is recommitted 
to the Judicial Commission. Steps in judicial procedure and 
forms therefor are fully provided in The Book of Discipline. 

This chapter dealing with The Book of Discipline has 
been included to help the reader to see the meticulous care 
with which Presbyterians have planned to meet the need of 
the Church in maintaining its loyalty to the faith and its 
consistency in Christian conduct, protecting both the name 
of the Church and of her Lord and also assuring full justice 
to its members, whether innocent or guilty of wrongdoing. 
Justice is tempered with mercy, and the aim of the Church 
is the redemption of those who are found in error. 



IN WRITING TO Timothy, Paul referred to teaching, and 
said that "teaching must accord with godliness, otherwise 
it is followed by harmful and destructive fruits." The what 
and how of teaching is of great importance. Presbyterians 
have laid great stress upon the aim of teaching. Let us read 
more fully one of the Preliminary Principles in Chapter I 
of the Form of Government: "Truth is in order to goodness; 
and the great touchstone of truth, its tendency to promote 
holiness; according to our Saviour's rule, 'By their fruits ye 
shall know them/ And that no opinion can be either more 
pernicious or more absurd than that which brings truth and 
falsehood upon a level, and represents it as of no consequence 
what a man's opinions are. On the contrary, they are per- 
suaded that there is an inseparable connection between faith 
and practice, truth and duty. Otherwise it would be of no 
consequence either to discover truth or to embrace it/' 

The Presbyterian Church has an educational program 
which is (Comprehensive and detailed. It begins in the right 



place, in the particular church and with the children and in 
the home, and in harmony with the principle just quoted it 
bears the significant title, "Faith and Life." The program rec- 
ognizes the basic place of the home and seeks to make the 
church and the home partners in a common task. This chap- 
ter deals with the development of this teaching program 
even though another chapter will be given to the larger work 
of the Board of Christian Education. 

The name Sunday School is traditional, going back to the 
beginning of the movement inaugurated by Robert Raikes 
in England through which children were gathered from the 
streets and taught on Sunday. More recently, Presbyterians 
have preferred to speak of the Church School and the Sunday 
Church School. The program which has been developed 
through the years is comprehensive, including plans and ma- 
terials for all ages as children grow to maturity. 

At baptism, home and Church are united in the common 
task of bringing up children "in the nurture and admonition 
of the Lord." Materials for the various groups, members and 
leaders, are provided. The Nursery is for children under 
three; the Kindergarten for ages four and five; the Primary 
Department for children six to eight, or school grades one to 
three; the Junior Department, ages nine, ten, and eleven, or 
grades four, five, and six; the Junior High Department for 
ages twelve, thirteen, and fourteen, or school grades, seven, 
eight, and nine; the Senior High Department for ages fifteen, 
sixteen, and seventeen, or grades ten, eleven, and twelve; the 
Adult Department for ages 18 up. Materials for this curricu- 
lum consist of publications for group members, in many cases 
volumes which win the respect of the pupils or students, and 
adequate material for teachers and parents. In developing 
this curriculum Presbyterians have taken a place of leader- 
ship in religious education. 

A good many years ago, as it seems now, an effort was 
made to unite the various Protestant denominations in a 


common course of study which was centered in the growing 
Sunday School movement. The International Sunday School 
Association established a Committee on Uniform Lessons. 
The members were at first not officially appointed by the 
denominations, but were fairly representative. Various pro- 
posals were made from time to time, but it was found that 
the only basis on which denomination cooperation could be 
secured was on the principle of selecting a passage of Scrip- 
ture for each Sunday. Outlines on this basis were developed 
and each denomination published its own lesson materials 
with its own interpretation of the Scripture passage. This was 
known as the Uniform Lesson system. And the first lessons 
based on these outlines were published in 1872. 

The feeling grew in more recent years, however, that in 
spite of the virtue of being Bible-centered, these outlines and 
materials were not sufficiently adapted to the various ages. 
How could one Biblical passage meet the needs of very small 
children and young people and adults at the same time? So 
the Graded Lesson plan was devised with a different lesson 
for each year-group in the Sunday School. A department with 
children of a four-year span would have four different lessons 
on a given Sunday. Presbyterians were members of the syndi- 
cate which produced these lessons and they were used in 
Presbyterian churches. 

However, the system became difficult to use. It was not easy 
to have teachers each Sunday prepared to teach seventeen 
different lessons in a fully organized school on a single Sun- 
day. For a number of reasons discontent with the system 
grew and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, 
U.S.A., in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1918 directed the publishing 
board to withdraw from the syndicate and to prepare its own 
curriculum materials. The Uniform Lessons had been con- 
tinued for those who wished to use them. 

A number of denominations with natural affiliations faced 
the same problem as the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. Con- 


ferences were held and a new series of graded lessons was 
planned. Fortunately at this time there was a restudy of grad- 
ing in the Sunday School which led to three years in the 
Primary Department, three years in the Junior Department, 
and adjustments in the higher grades. The Presbyterian 
Church, U.S., the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., the United 
Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church of Canada, 
and the Reformed Church planned new lessons adapted to 
departments instead of single years. The plan proved to be 
so successful that the International Council appointed a com- 
mittee to prepare outlines for the Group Graded Lessons 
on a similar plan, but the Presbyterians continued to follow 
their own plan which was going so well. 

As the years passed continuous study was made of the prob- 
lems of the curriculum for the Church School. The Board of 
Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., 
which was responsible for providing curriculum materials 
for the churches, had the theory that it was not called upon 
to think for the Church or to dictate to the Church. Accord- 
ingly, conferences were held from time to time which were 
attended by representatives of the Mission Boards, especially 
equipped pastors, directors of religious education, Church 
School teachers, college professors, and persons active in the 
field. The Board thus sought to assume leadership in part- 
nership with the Church. These representatives met with 
the staff of the Board from time to time to restudy the cur- 
riculum field. The climax of this movement was a meeting 
in Wagner College which lasted for six weeks in June and 
July of 1942, with forty-three members. There were repre- 
sentatives of the Mission Boards, seminary professors, college 
professors, local church workers, public school teachers, field 
representatives, members of the staff of the Board, and rep- 
resentatives of two closely related denominations. Part of 
this goodly company met for the first three weeks to deter- 
mine general principles and to lay the foundation for a new 


curriculum. After two weeks others joined the group and 
were initiated into what had been done and on this basis 
continued the planning. Many of the group worked together 
for the entire six weeks, morning, afternoon and night, with 
some rest periods. Out of the conference came complete, de- 
tailed outlines for curriculum materials for all ages through 
Young People. 

Basic to the plan were a systematic and unified use o the 
Bible, an evangelical emphasis, the integration of missions 
into the curriculum, common subjects in the various grades 
in a given year, a knowledge of the Church and its work, the 
Church's heritage and an ecumenical spirit, educational 
method, an organization of Christian beliefs, co-operation of 
parents, and materials that would be new in appearance and 

This was a daring project for it would require a large fi- 
nancial investment and much time and energy on the part 
of a competent staff. It was necessary to provide new proce- 
dures for the creation of this new curriculum for the Church 
School. The situation was much like that of the church 
which planned to erect a new building. It was proposed to 
the contractor that the materials in the old building be used 
in the new building, and that the congregation be permitted 
to use the old building until the new building was ready. 

The Wagner College Conference laid the foundation for 
a curriculum with three separate emphases for each of three 
years, a year on Jesus Christ as central in the Christian reli- 
gion, a year on the Bible in which we find God's revelation 
of himself and his will, and a year on the Church which was 
founded by Christ for the nurture of Christians and for the 
spread of the gospeL 

Much labor followed. The Departmental Graded Lessons 
had to be carried on until the new curriculum was available, 
so the old editorial staff was continued. But materials for the 
new curriculum must be planned, the manuscripts secured, 


edited, the materials designed and published. Accordingly a 
new editorial staff was added to the existing staff with editors 
for the various grades added as the work progressed. Finally 
the new curriculum was ready for the churches, with books 
instead of quarterlies, some of the books beautifully illus- 
trated in color and bound in cloth, workbooks and notebooks 
for pupils, and with helps for teachers and for parents of the 
various grades in magazine form. The project involved an 
investment of a million dollars. The Church welcomed 
"Christian Faith and Life, a Program for Church and Home." 

The Church has continued to publish Uniform Lessons 
for churches which desire them. 

The new program has been extended to include materials 
for adults. 

A previous chapter referred to the abundant and valuable 
materials which provided for worship by a series of graded 
hymnals and other musical materials. 

Through the years it had been recognized that the value 
of tools depends upon the skill of those who used them. This 
meant that we must have trained teachers to make a curric- 
ulum effective. If the Church was to have an adequate edu- 
cational program, it needed a trained leadership in addition 
to the ministers. Presbyterians shared with other denomina- 
tions through the International Council of Religious Edu- 
cation in the development of Leadership Training courses. 
Many books were planned and published on various subjects 
dealing with content and methods in teaching and church 
leadership. The books were published cooperatively and in 
this enterprise Presbyterians shared. Interdenominational 
training schools were organized in local communities, espe- 
cially where local churches could not individually carry on 
an adequate program of leadership training. Presbyterian 
churches united in providing training for their own leaders 
and individual churches were encouraged to make leadership 
training an integral part of their programs. 


To help to meet the need of training young people for 
Christian living and in Christian service and in the Chris- 
tian faith, Summer Conferences were organized to which 
thousands of young people have gone each summer and have 
returned to their churches with deepened faith, increased 
devotion, and newly developed ability for leadership. Pres- 
byterians had a large share in organizing and promoting this 

On a higher educational level, from the point of view of 
study and class work, Leadership Training Schools were or- 
ganized, for the most part in summer vacation time. In these 
schools a serious program of study and class work is carried 
on with trained leaders and adequate materials. These schools 
are attended by teachers, superintendents, ministers, church 
officers, members and leaders of women's groups and men's 
groups. The courses run for one or two weeks and serious 
work is done. 

Presbyterians had a large share in the organization of 
academies in earlier days and in the founding of Christian 
colleges where young people could secure a sound education 
in a Christian atmosphere. More will be said about colleges 
in another place. 

From the beginning Presbyterians have laid great stress 
upon the training of young men for the ministry. This led 
to the organization of seminaries one by one, beginning in 
the East and reaching across the continent to the Pacific 
Coast, thus providing educational opportunities for all who 
wished to dedicate their lives to the cause of Christ in the 
Christian ministry. Some seminaries provide also for pro- 
fessional training for lay leaders. 

Perhaps modern transportation has made some colleges 
less necessary to meet the Church's needs, but there are forty- 
one colleges listed as definitely related to the Presbyterian 
Church, U.S.A. Other Presbyterian denominations have their 
colleges also. The Presbyterian College Union is engaged in 


a continuous study and evaluation of colleges with a view to 
maintaining and increasing their standards. Other colleges 
have traditional ties to the Presbyterian Church. 

The educational program of the Presbyterian Church thus 
seeks to provide for full educational materials and guidance 
in the local church from infancy to the end of life, for train- 
ing leaders for all phases of the Church's program, and for 
the education of both lay and ministerial service for the ad- 
vancement of the cause of Christ in the Church, the home, 
and in the community and throughout the world. 

The educational work of the Church will be seen from 
another point of view in a later chapter. 



ONE AUTHORITY in writing of the early missionary 
efforts of the Presbyterians in this country says that 
they let the Methodists and Baptists get ahead of them in the 
spread of the Church from east to west. The purpose of this 
chapter is not to try to place Presbyterians above others, but 
to show that Presbyterians had eyes to see the world's needs, 
hearts that responded to these needs, and hands that reached 
out to help. 

In the early days in this country Presbyterians, like others, 
were engaged in a struggle to establish their own homes and 
communities. They had worship in their homes and also met 
with other families for united worship. Ministers with a Pres- 
byterian background and training came to this country and 
became pastors of churches here and there. Presbyteries and 
synods and finally the General Assembly were organized. By 
these the need for evangelistic and missionary effort was of- 
ficially recognized. 

In 1766 the New York and Philadelphia Synod voted an 
offering for "Christian work in destitute places/* And in 



1767 the churches were directed to take an annual offering 
for this cause. The General Assembly of 1789 emphasized 
missions and in the last decade of the eighteenth century an 
interdenominational organization was formed for missionary 
service, and in 1810 the American Board of Commissioners 
for Foreign Missions was formed and supported by the Pres- 
byterians and Congregationalists unitedly. In 1802 a Stand- 
ing Committee on Missions was authorized by the General 
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church while it continued to 
support the interdenominational organization. 

The women of the Presbyterian Church early became ac- 
tive in missionary interest. They seemed to have the gift for 
organization and got together the women of local churches 
for missionary effort and formed societies that included 
larger areas. The first Woman's Society was organized in 
1818. At one time there were seven of these in different parts 
of the country. Then came the Women's Board of Home 
Missions and the Woman's Board of Foreign Missions. 

The mind of the Church turned first to the Indians. Strange 
as it may seem to us, the effort to evangelize the Indians was 
looked upon as foreign missions. As early as 1651 John Eliot, 
who had Presbyterian ideas, was outstanding in this enter- 
prise, and in 1718 David Brainerd gave heroic effort to this 

One of the earliest foreign missionary undertakings of 
Presbyterians was in Siam. The first missionaries to that 
country were Roman Catholics, but their interference with 
native customs and political matters led to their banishment; 
they returned later. The first Protestant missionary work 
began in 1818 when missionaries from England and the 
Netherlands went to Siam. In 1831 Presbyterians in America 
shared in the work in Siam through the American Board of 
Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Presbyterians began 
work in 1838, but permanent work was undertaken in 1847. 


A church was organized for the missionary families, but the 
first Siamese converts were won in 1859. 

The eyes of the Church turned toward Syria, so closely re- 
lated to events in Biblical times. Syria had a varied popula- 
tion of Moslems, Christians of ancient sects, Jews and others. 
In Syria there was a strong anti-Christian sentiment. In 1818 
the joint movement of Presbyterians and Congregationalists 
established headquarters in Beirut. In 1870, after the reun- 
ion of Old School and New School Presbyterians, the work in 
Syria was taken over by the Presbyterian Board. The original 
purpose of Protestant missions in Syria was not so much to 
establish a new or separate Church as to quicken the native 
churches that had drifted from New Testament beliefs and 

Persia and Iran are the same. Persia is the name with 
which most Americans had been familiar, but in 1934 the 
Government announced that the country should be called 
Iran. Persia, however, brings to mind many events in Bib- 
lical history as well as secular. We are reminded of the Book 
of Esther, and of Cyrus, king of Persia. Of course, modern 
Iran is a much more limited territory than the ancient Per- 
sian Empire. In Persia there were Christians descended from 
ancient groups, the Nestor ians and the Armenians among 
them. The Roman Catholics early entered the field. In 1829 
the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions 
explored the northwestern part of Persia and later a mission 
was formed among the Nestorians. They had been preceded 
by Henry Martyn who passed through Persia on his way 
from India. He tarried for some months to translate the New 
Testament and the Psalms for use in Persia. The Germans, 
English, and Scotch also took an interest in missions in Per- 
sia, but it should be kept in mind that in 1829 the American 
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions undertook an 
exploration with a view to missionary work and their first 
missionaries arrived in West Persia in 1835. They were the 


Rev. and Mrs. Judson Perkins, who were Presbyterians. 
Others followed later. In due time the program included 
educational and medical missions. The Syria Mission and the 
Persia Mission were supported by both Congregationalists 
and Presbyterians, although under the American Board, and 
it was because they were largely staffed by Presbyterians that 
these two Missions were transferred to the Presbyterian Board 
in 1870. 

Presbyterians naturally gave some thought to Africa as a 
mission field, for there were many slaves from that continent 
in this country. It was thought that missionary work could 
be done through Negroes sent back from this country to their 
own people. In 1831 the General Assembly urged the Pres- 
byterian churches throughout the United States to support 
the American Colonization Society. Soon the Western For- 
eign Missionary Society, organized by the Synod of Pitts- 
burgh, became interested in Africa as a missionary field. 
Presbyterian missionary work in Africa began in Liberia. 
The first American missionary to enter Africa was a Pres- 
byterian in 1833 in Liberia. The Baptists and Episcopalians 
soon followed in their interest in Africa. The Presbyterian 
mission work in Liberia was among the natives. The work 
in Liberia was continued until 1894, but, for various reasons, 
did not flourish and the mission was withdrawn at that time. 
Meanwhile, beginning in 1850, another mission was begun 
900 miles south of Liberia on the Island of Corisco and soon 
developed on the mainland into the thriving Cameroun 

In 1832 Presbyterians turned to India as another field for 
their missionary endeavors. India was famous for its culture, 
but the masses were ignorant and superstitious and bound 
by the iron grip of caste and women were downtrodden. 
There both Hinduism and Mohammedanism were the chief 
religions. The American Presbyterians, as they turned their 
eyes toward India, found that efforts had already been made 


to give the gospel to that land. The first British settlement 
was in 1612 and through the years England had a great in- 
fluence in India. Denmark had possessions there in 1705. 
Carey had gone to Calcutta in 1793 and Scotland had under- 
taken work in the first half of the nineteenth century. It was 
in 1832 that the Western Foreign Missionary Society, organ- 
ized by the Synod of Pittsburgh, planned to send Reed and 
Lowry. They sailed from Philadelphia in 1833. The famous 
Dr. Forman joined the mission in India in 1848, out of 
whose labors came the beginnings of Forman Christian Col- 
lege in the Punjab. Medical work among the lepers followed. 
It was in India that the Presbyterian missionaries undertook 
to teach agriculture in order to help to feed the starving 
millions of the country. 

The eyes of the Christian Church early turned to China, 
As far back as 505 A.D. it is said that Nestorian monks began 
missionary work there. Roman Catholics ventured there in 
time, but it was not until 1807 that the Protestant mission- 
aries entered China. The famous Robert Morrison was sent 
out by the London Missionary Society. The first American 
missionary to China was sent out in 1830 by the American 
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in which Pres- 
byterians shared. Missionaries from other American organi- 
zations followed. It was in 1837 that plans were made by 
Presbyterians for missionary work in China. This was by the 
Western Foreign Missionary Society, which was taken over 
by the Board of Foreign Missions. From that beginning grew 
the Presbyterian missionary work of later years. 

Japan was not to be overlooked. That country had been 
closed to foreigners for many years, although Francis Xavier 
and other Roman Catholics had reached there in the six- 
teenth century. Opposition to the missionaries became in- 
tense and persecution followed. Later efforts failed and Ja- 
pan was a closed country. It is commonly said that it was 
Commodore Perry who opened the doors of Japan to west- 


erners in 1854, but claims are made also for the Russians. A 
number of denominations began missionary work, the Pres- 
byterians in 1859. The Presbyterians' first station was in 
Yokohama. In 1881 the Cumberland Presbyterian Church 
sent missionaries to Japan. After the reunion of 1906 the 
work of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and the Cumber- 
land Presbyterian Church was united. 

Latin America was not to be ignored in the missionary 
outreach of Presbyterians. Conditions varied in the different 
countries of South America and Mexico. There were In- 
dians, mixture of Indians and Europeans, and people from 
Spain and Portugal. The Roman Catholic influence was ex- 
tensive and conditions rendered it difficult for Protestants to 
enter the field. The need, however, was great because of ig- 
norance of the gospel. Yet indecision on the part of many 
Protestants as to whether missionaries should be sent to 
Catholic countries, and ignorance of the need, made it diffi- 
cult to arouse interest in missionary endeavor in Latin 
America. It was realized, however, that there was great need 
of education, of the Bible in the hands of the people, and of 
a higher standard of morals. 

In the sixteenth century Huguenots had fled from France 
to Brazil and some from Holland in the next century. Mora- 
vians from Pennsylvania had gone to British and Dutch 
Guiana in 1735. 

The Methodists were the first North Americans to organ- 
ize missionary work. This was in 1833. The first American 
Presbyterians to undertake missionary work in South Amer- 
ica were Rev. Theophilus Parvin and his wife. He was or- 
dained by the Presbytery of Philadelphia in 1826 and soon 
sailed for Buenos Aires. He supported himself by teaching 
English and Greek in a government school, but he conducted 
regular preaching services. David Trumbull ministered to 
English-speaking people in Valparaiso and had a great in- 
fluence in Chile. 


The Presbyterian Board's first missions in South America, 
however, were in Colombia in 1856 and in Brazil in 1859. 
The Southern Church also had missionary work in Brazil. 
In Mexico the Presbyterian Church established its first mis- 
sion in 1872, but foundations had already been made by in- 
dividual Christians. 

In Guatemala the Presbyterian Church began missionary 
work in 1882, which was carried on for both English-speak- 
ing and Spanish-speaking people. 

In Venezuela the door was opened by the distribution of 
Bibles by the Bible Society. Also a former Capuchin monk 
had held Bible classes in his home where members of a group 
that had been under the care of the Southern Methodist 
Board gathered. In 1897 missionaries who had been in Co- 
lombia went to Venezuela for the Presbyterian Board. This 
was the beginning of Presbyterian work in this field. 

For a long time Korea, or Chosen, was little known in this 
country. The Netherlands Missionary Society was the first to 
send missionaries to that country in 1832. A Presbyterian 
physician from the United States arrived in Korea in 1885 
and began medical work. Some missionaries were transferred 
by the Presbyterian Foreign Board to Korea in 1884. 

The writer remembers when Fred S. Miller, his cousin, 
preached in the First Presbyterian Church in Allegheny, Pa., 
now Pittsburgh. He and his wife were about to leave for 
Korea. They needed to be vaccinated, and my father, being 
a physician, offered to render this service, but Fred asked for 
the vaccine so that he and his wife might vaccinate each 
other. In this way they would learn how to use vaccine in 
Korea if occasion arose. When Fred said that they were tak- 
ing ice skates with them, I must have looked incredulous. 
Why would missionaries want ice skates? and was there really 
ice in Korea? Fred tried to help me to see that missionaries 
were human. They liked to have good times just as much as 


anyone else. Korea became one of the most fruitful fields of 
the Church. 

The Spanish-American War brought the Philippines to 
the attention of American Christians. They felt that the is- 
lands had become their responsibility. Under Spanish rule 
the Roman Church had dominated the islands. There were 
many Moslems there too, and the Chinese had come in with 
their business acumen. After the capture of the islands, within 
two weeks of announcement of Dewey's victory, the Presby- 
terian General Assembly expressed its obligation to the 
Philippines. Conference was held with other denominations 
and by agreement, since the Presbyterian Church seemed 
best prepared for the undertaking, responsibility was assigned 
to the Presbyterians. Under Presbyterian auspices the work 
began in 1899. Soon other denominations inaugurated mis- 
sionary work in the islands. Plans were made for all these 
missions to work together for the common cause. 

Another field of interest because of the story the Bible tells 
is Mesopotamia, or Iraq, the country between the Tigris and 
Euphrates rivers. This area is associated in the minds of 
Christians with Biblical Chaldea, Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, 
and Persia. From Ur came Abraham and at Pentecost there 
were people from Mesopotamia. In Mesopotamia was one of 
the earliest civilizations of history, with its art, its learning, 
its philosophy, its manufacture, and its commerce. Viewed 
by Christians as a mission field it included sects of Moslems, 
Jews, nominal Christians, and others. The Protestant Epis- 
copal Church was the first American Church to undertake 
modern missions there. The English Brethren and the Church 
of England were also interested in the spread of the gospel 
in Mesopotamia. The upper part of the peninsula was given 
over to the Church of England. In 1824 the boards of the 
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., the Reformed Church in 
the United States, and the Reformed Church in America or- 


ganized a joint mission, thus setting an example of coopera- 
tive work. 

What has been attempted here is not to give a history of 
Presbyterian missions, but merely to give some indication of 
the increasing outreach of Presbyterian interest and service 
through the years. Two World Wars had a tremendous ef- 
fect upon the various countries in which Presbyterians had 
missionary work, and as the world-wide movement toward 
national independence grew, and as in many places the doors 
seemed closed to "foreign" missionaries, new plans and new 
policies were bound to develop. Presbyterians have been 
alert to develop these new policies adapted to the new situa- 

The year 1947 was an important date in the development 
of these new policies. Two World Wars had been fought and 
the nations were in a state of "cold war." The Board of For- 
eign Missions could not know whether we were facing armed 
conflict or not. As a result of study and conference and 
prayer a "crisis strategy" was developed in 1951, It was 
planned for the time of testing which the missionary leader- 
ship and forces faced. 

It was determined to maintain an unwavering purpose, a 
spirit of reconciliation, whether peace or war was in the fu- 
ture. There might have to be advance or temporary retreat 
in some areas, but there would never be surrender. The 
world situation would be faced "without fear, without hate, 
without hesitancy, though perhaps not seeing the way." New 
ways would be sought for better service to the cause of Christ 
throughout the world, and the spirit of repentance would be 
maintained, with the purpose of going forward unitedly with 
humility, courage, love, and utter dependence upon God. 
In spite of hope, there must be preparation for conditions 
which would be involved in either peace or war. 

Native leadership in the various fields should be recog- 
nized and cultivated. With this in view a restudy of the fields 


should be carried out and preparation made for adjustment 
to crises. The need was to be recognized for close coordination 
of home and field with a wise maintenance of forces as the 
situations demanded, and above all the spirit of prayer for 
divine guidance and enduement with power. 

Being ready for emergencies means a strong aggressive pro- 
gram when the situation calls for it. It means "fluid strat- 
egy/' meeting each turn of events with appropriate action. 

One of the important elements in strategy is the strength- 
ening of the national Christian Churches for leadership in 
the field and the preparation of the home base for intelligent 
and generous support. Involved also is the development of 
missionary personnel adapted to the new situation with an 
increased variety of services. This involves intensive training 
of personnel. Meeting the crisis calls for conference and dis- 
cussion by cooperating agencies and leaders, the develop- 
ment of special projects or demonstration centers that, in 
time of need, can be put into wider operation. 

The new policy gives even greater emphasis to ecumenic- 
ity in the world mission and the consequent cooperation of 
the agencies of all Christians. 

There will be need of alertness to respond quickly to spe- 
cial calls from the field in order to take advantage of oppor- 
tunities, the realignment of missionary forces overseas and 
the reassignment of missionaries from fields that may be 
closed. It involves caution in the investment of capital funds 
in places that cannot promise permanence, the running of 
some risks where wisdom seems to dictate investment, and 
the maintenance of work wherever possible. All of which de- 
mands wisdom, understanding, faith, and courage. 

The new attitude toward native churches is illustrated by 
a United States marine who had been located in China and 
returned from military service and entered one of our Pres- 
byterian seminaries to prepare himself for the ministry. He 
was sent to the Philippines, not as a "missionary," but as a 


"fraternal worker 7 ' in relation to the United Church of 
Christ in the Philippines. This fraternal worker would be 
under the direction of the Philippine Church. He would 
share in the labors of the Church and learn by experience. 
The young native churches carrying responsibility for self- 
support and leadership have been made possible by the past 
wise and effective work done under the direction of the mis- 
sion boards. It is hoped that the term ''American" will yield 
to the term "Christian" and that the Church will avoid any 
suspicion of sending out political "agents," which has some- 
times been charged by those opposed to the missionary en- 
terprise. It is hoped to rid missions of any hint of racial su- 
periority, and even the use of the word "foreign." A minister 
has suggested that it is a serious mistake to have missionary 
maps with lines going out from the home base to the various 
countries where missionary work has been done. It would be 
better to suggest that each locality has its own center from 
which radiates the influence of the gospel. Accordingly, re- 
sponsibility for administration has to a large extent been 
transferred from the missionary boards to the native churches. 

The new day in the missionary enterprise is illustrated by 
something which happened in 1954. In Arabia and Iraq, the 
cradle of Islam, every evangelical Church, from Muscat to 
Mosul, was represented in a conference led by Arab Chris- 
tians. The few missionaries present were observers only. 
Plans were made for the United Church with a joint pro- 
gram of Christian witness. 

Attention has already been called to the organization of 
various missionary societies in various parts of the country 
as needs for service by the Church took hold upon the con- 
science and imagination of Presbyterians. We need to keep 
in mind that the Presbyterian Church was hampered by di- 
visions, such as Old Side and New Side, Old School and New 
School, the Cumberland division, and the division between 
the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and the Presbyterian 


Church, U.S. It would be confusing to try to relate to these 
various divisions the attempts to meet the needs o America. 
They all reflect the mind and heart of Presbyterians in this 

There were people of Presbyterian preference among the 
earliest settlers in this country, in the colony in Jamestown, 
Virginia, in New England among the Puritans, in Long Is- 
land and New Jersey. As the population moved westward, 
Presbyterians were among the settlers. 

Attention has already been called to Christians' awareness 
of their obligation to minister to the Indians, a project which 
was first related to foreign missions, with John Eliot and 
David Brainerd among the early leaders in the movement. 

Early plans were made to reach new settlements with the 
gospel. These included itinerant ministers who went from 
place to place over a wide area with their preaching minis- 
try. Also settled pastors were released from their parishes for 
a few weeks or months during the year to carry the gospel 
where there were no churches. In this way churches were or- 
ganized and buildings erected for worship. 

After the Revolutionary War the movement west was 
rapid. Settlers moved down the Mohawk Valley, the Valley 
of the Potomac, and into the mountains of West Virginia, 
Kentucky, and Tennessee. As early as 1792 missionaries went 
out into these newly settled areas. In 1803 the General As- 
sembly commented favorably on the missionary work among 
the "blacks" and the settlers on the frontiers. The work 
among the Freedmen was emphasized in 1882. Attempts were 
made also to meet medical needs, such as the use of vaccine 
among the Indians. 

The question was frequently discussed as to whether it 
was better to have itinerant missionaries who went constantly 
from place to place or to have settled ministers who would 
do more intensive work in the community. There was much 
dissatisfaction because itinerant missionaries were compelled 


to cover so much territory that little effective work could be 
done. As the missionary work grew, a Board of Missions was 
organized to succeed the Standing Committee on Missions. 
At that time it was reported that 769 missionaries had been 
engaged in the work of spreading the gospel, that their com- 
bined services represented over 167 years, that they covered 
241,514 miles, and $77,941 were spent in the work. 

The Cumberland Presbyterians conducted very successful 
evangelistic work. Presbyterians reached into Texas. Then 
the Church reached beyond the Mississippi River. By 1837 
the claim could be made that Presbyterians had created a na- 
tional Church because it was represented in all twenty-six 
states, with the exception of Rhode Island and Maine. 

The arm of the Church reached to the northwest to Ore- 
gon in 1836. Methodists had arrived there two years before. 
The Gold Rush took many seekers after treasure to Califor- 
nia. Word of this wealth reached China and many Chinese 
came to California. Efforts were made by the Church to 
reach them with the gospel. 

Railroads were being built and settlements established 
along their lines. These towns became objects of missionary 
effort. The work of Whitman and Spalding in Oregon re- 
sulted in the first church on the Pacific Coast, This was 

The Church sought to help new congregations by aiding 
them in providing buildings for worship through Church 
Erection. Sabbath Schools were looked upon as strategic in 
the missionary program and the work of Sabbath School Mis- 
sions was organized. Men were sent out to form little Sab- 
bath Schools wherever people could be gathered together for 
worship and Bible instruction. This work was assigned to 
the Board of Publication, which was responsible for the prep- 
aration of literature for the Church. Out of the Sabbath 
School missionary work came countless churches, some of 
them leaders in the denomination. 


The Jews as a field for missionary work were not over- 
looked. In 1839 the Board of Foreign Missions organized the 
missionary effort among them, but it was discontinued in 
1876. It was later renewed by the Board of National Mis- 
sions. When immigrants began to pour into this country 
from abroad, effort was made to reach them with the gospel, 
although many of them were already committed to the 
Church. Among them were French, Italians, Welsh, and 
Germans. Some of these were, of course, Roman Catholics. 
The Catholics were not looked upon as a missionary field, 

When lumbering became an extensive industry, mission 
work was started among the lumbermen, missionaries visit- 
ing their camps and conducting services and doing personal 
evangelistic work. As the problems of the cities with their 
industries increased, city and industrial missionary work was 
instituted. The Presbyterian Labor Temple in New York 
City was a pioneer effort to minister to the unchurched work- 
ing man. 

When the islands of the West Indies became the responsi- 
bility of the United States after the Spanish-American War 
they were looked upon by the Church as part of the Home 
Mission field. As the problems of the rural churches grew 
Town and Country work developed. In Utah the Mormons 
presented a problem. They were strongly intrenched and 
were hard to reach with the gospel. They were also aggressive 
in trying to convert "Gentiles" to the Mormon faith. Con- 
sequently the Presbyterians established missionary work in 
the Intermountain Area, which included education to serve 
the non-Mormon population, and also witness to the gospel. 

As chaplains were needed for the military services, respon- 
sibility for Presbyterian Army and Navy chaplains was as- 
signed to the Board of National Missions. A realization that 
there was need of greater emphasis upon evangelism through- 
out the Church led to the organization of a Department of 


Evangelism in the Board of National Missions. So the Church, 
as time passed, sought to carry its share of responsibility for 
the moral and religious needs of the nation. 

As the Church carried its work farther and farther west, 
the Presbyterians of the various denominations kept to their 
standard of an educated ministry. This called for institutions 
of higher education, and so colleges began to be founded. 
There was the Log College of William Tennent at Neshaminy 
in Pennsylvania, which later became Princeton University. 
Another institution was founded in Nottingham on the 
Maryland border. A Presbyterian layman had a large share 
in the establishment of Dickinson College. There were also 
Washington College and Jefferson College in Western Penn- 
sylvania. The Western University of Pennsylvania in Alle- 
gheny had a Presbyterian origin in the Pittsburgh Academy. 
It is now the University of Pittsburgh. In some places Con- 
gregationalists and Presbyterians joined forces in establish- 
ing educational institutions. The Covenanters and United 
Presbyterians were active in this strengthening of the educa- 
tional resources of the Church. It would be tedious to list all 
the colleges that grew out of the conviction of Presbyterians 
that higher education, especially for its ministers, was an es- 
sential. As the years passed colleges dotted the landscape 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Canadian bor- 
der to the southern boundary of the country. 

They Seek a Country, published by Macmillan in 1955, 
lists 16 colleges and universities in connection with which 
Presbyterians had an important, if not dominant part in 
their founding (1746 to 1868), eight institutions founded 
jointly by Congregationalists and Presbyterians, 16 founded 
by Presbyterians which now hold an affiliated relation to 
some Presbyterian denomination but not implying local ties 
or ecclesiastical control (1780 to 1889), 51 institutions founded 
by Presbyterians and now closely related to other denomina- 
tions (1764 to 1923), nine junior colleges (1856 to 1929), four 


founded by Presbyterians and now related to other denomi- 
nations (1772 to 1845). These do not include institutions 
founded in foreign lands. For the special training of minis- 
ters fifteen seminaries are listed, stretching from Princeton 
to San Francisco and as far south as Texas (1785 to 1902). 
In connection with these institutions related to the Presby- 
terian Church, U.S.A., for their assistance and direction, the 
College Board was established, and for assistance to students 
the Board of Education was organized. The Board of Mis- 
sions to Freedmen was established to oversee the work among 
the Negroes. The moral condition of the country and the 
need of education and reforms in that area and the specific 
evils of intemperance led to the formation of the Board of 
Temperance and Moral Welfare and the Committee on Sab- 
bath Observance. There was also a Committee on Men's 
Work and one on Vacancy and Supply. All these were or- 
ganized as the Church became aware of areas of service in 
which it should operate. 

While appreciating the work being done by these various 
boards and agencies of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., 
there was an increasing consciousness of overlapping and 
need of coordination. The Church was also aware that the 
frequent appeals of so many agencies for support by the par- 
ticular churches had become confusing and a burden, and 
also that there was truth in the facetious remark that the 
board which could cry the loudest would receive the largest 
support, whether or not its program and therefore its need 
of financial support was properly evaluated in relation to the 
other boards and agencies. By the early twentieth century 
there were some sixteen or more of these boards and agen- 
cies in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., each of which had 
been properly authorized and had been doing a worthy work. 
Something needed to be done to coordinate them. 

Accordingly in 1920 the General Assembly appointed a 
Special Committee on Reorganization and Consolidation of 


Assembly Agencies. The list of existing boards and agencies 
included the following: The Board of Foreign Missions, the 
Board of Home Missions, the Woman's Board of Foreign 
Missions, the Woman's Board of Home Missions, the Board 
of Publication and Sabbath School Work, the General Board 
of Education (including the former College Board and Board 
of Education), the Board of Ministerial Relief and Sustenta- 
tion (formerly separate boards), the Church Erection Fund, 
the Board of Missions to Freedmen (Department of Missions 
to Colored People), the Board of Temperance and Moral 
Welfare, the Permanent Committee on Evangelism, the Per- 
manent Committee on Men's Work, the Permanent Com- 
mittee on Sabbath Observance, and the Committee on Va- 
cancy and Supply. We can imagine the confusion in the 
Church as each of these boards and agencies sought to in- 
form the Church concerning its work and appealed for sup- 

After extensive and intensive study and conference with 
the boards and agencies the Committee on Reorganization 
and Consolidation of Assembly Agencies brought in a report 
to the General Assembly in 1922 recommending the consol- 
idation of these agencies into four new boards: The Board 
of Foreign Missions, the Board of National Missions, the 
Board of Christian Education, and the Board of Ministerial 
Relief and Sustentation (now the Board of Pensions). 

The difficulty of putting this reorganization into operation 
was clearly understood. The loyalty of the churches to the 
old boards and agencies had been built up through the years. 
The leadership in the boards and agencies would be reluc- 
tant to see the identity of the work to which they had de- 
voted their lives lost, and the members of the staffs would be 
concerned about the loss of their positions in the reorgani- 
zation and would be fearful lest the importance of their 
particular phase of the work might not be appreciated in the 


new board. This situation, as has been said, was keenly ap- 
preciated by the Committee in its report. 

The report of 1922 recommended that the new Board of 
Foreign Missions would include the former Board of For- 
eign Missions and the Woman's Board of Foreign Missions. 
The New Board of National Missions would include the for- 
mer Board of Home Missions, the Woman's Board of Home 
Missions, the Church Erection Fund, the Board of Missions 
to Freedmen, the Sunday School Missionary Department of 
the Board of Publication and Sabbath School Work, and the 
Church Erection Fund, and the Committee on Evangelism. 

The new Board of Christian Education would include the 
former General Board of Education (including Higher Edu- 
cation, University Work, Recruiting of Candidates for the 
Ministry, and other forms of educational service), the rest of 
the Board of Publication and Sabbath School Work after the 
transfer of Sunday School Missions to the Board of National 
Missions, secondary schools and colleges conducted by the 
Board of Freedmen, the Missionary Education Departments 
of the Board of Foreign Missions, of the Woman's Board of 
Foreign Missions, and of the Woman's Board of National 
Missions, the Permanent Committee on Sabbath Observance 
(to be concerned with education rather than politics, leaving 
the latter to the Anti-Saloon League and the Lord's Day 
Alliance), the Permanent Committee on Men's Work, the 
Board of Temperance and Moral Welfare. It was recom- 
mended also that the Seminaries of the Church sustain a re- 
lationship to the new Board of Christian Education. 

The report also made recommendations concerning the 
number of members of the four boards, their appointment, 
how many men and how many women, and other require- 
ments. Of course, this did not refer to the employed mem- 
bers of the staff of the boards. Provision was made also for 
cooperation between the boards where their activities were 


The scope of the Board of Ministerial Relief and Susten- 
tation was to be enlarged to include a study of pensions for 
teachers, endowment of Presbyterian Hospitals and homes 
for the aged and orphans, etc., and a continuation of ap- 
proved retirement plans. 

In later chapters the operations of these four boards will 
be described as examples of the work of Presbyterians in 
these areas of service. 



IN CHAPTER NINE we followed the Church as it spread 
across the country and reached out to foreign fields in re- 
sponse to the Great Commission. We saw the growth o 
boards and agencies to meet the varied needs as the country 
grew and as the Church increased in membership and re- 
sources. We saw that many of the boards and agencies of the 
Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., were united in the Board of 
National Missions. It would be expected that any board un- 
dertaking to carry on so many phases of Christian work 
would need to have a rather complex organization. It would 
have to meet a great variety of needs in a changing nation in 
a changing world. It would require a staff of varied talents, 
alert to see and diagnose situations calling for action, able to 
meet these situations with a constructive program and with 
a trained personnel to carry out plans in the field. 

The Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church, 
U.S.A., one example of Presbyterian organization to meet 
these needs, is appointed by the General Assembly and con- 



sists of fifty-four persons, eighteen of whom are women and 
eighteen laymen. Eighteen are elected each year for a three- 
year term. The fifty-four are from nineteen states, thus rep- 
resenting the various areas of the Church. The Board has an 
Executive Committee of eighteen, selected from its number. 
The Board has a President and three Vice-Presidents. It is 
organized so as to maintain the legal identity of the various 
Boards which were assigned to it. 

The officers of the staff are a General Secretary, who is also 
Executive Vice-President, an Associate General Secretary, an 
Administrative Secretary, a Treasurer, a Secretary of Mis- 
sionary Support, and a Clerk of the Board. 

It has five Divisions: The Division of Missionary Operation 
has eleven Secretaries, two Associate Secretaries, and six As- 
sistant Secretaries. The Division of Missionary Support has 
seven Secretaries, an Editor of Outreach., the magazine of 
the Woman's Organizations of the Church, who represents 
also Foreign Missions and Christian Education, four Area 
Secretaries, and two Assistant Secretaries. The Division of 
Evangelism has a Secretary, an Associate Secretary, three 
Area Secretaries, a Secretary for Youth Evangelism, and one 
Assistant Secretary with a general assignment. The Division 
of the Treasury has a Treasurer, an Assistant Treasurer, a 
Legal Counsel, and a Secretary, who is the Secretary of the 
Department of New Church Development and Building Aid. 
The Division of Jarvie Commonweal Service has a Secretary 
and an Associate Secretary. Related to the Board are twenty- 
one Synod Executives, jointly representing the General Coun- 
cil, the Board, and the synod, and twelve Joint Field Repre- 
sentatives related to the Interboard Commission of the Board 
of National Missions and the Board of Christian Education. 
Changes in their number take place from time to time. 
These Joint Representatives work in the field in relation to 
the programs of both Boards. There are sixteen Executives 


in specially designated presbyteries and forty-six Field As- 

This number of personnel, as has been suggested, is not 
surprising when we realize the extent and variety of the as- 
signments of responsibility which have been made to the 
Board by the Church and the necessity for direct contacts 
with the field in addition to planning and oversight at head- 

Most of us realize the changes which are taking place in 
our own communities which raise problems that call for so- 
lution, but we may not appreciate the changes which are 
taking place in other communities over the country. 

There are, for example, the movements of population. It 
is reported that three-fourths of our population have moved 
in a decade and that one-fifth of the population moves an- 
nually. This creates problems for the local churches and also 
for the Board that seeks to meet the needs of the churches 
and the people all over the land. The flow of population into 
some areas opens up opportunities for growth in the churches 
or the need of new churches where they have not been estab- 
lished. This calls for evangelism, community visitation, 
church organization, erection of buildings, and an increase 
of facilities for an adequate program for the nurture of 
Christian faith and life. 

In other communities, people are moving out, leaving the 
church membership reduced, but often increasing the pop- 
ulation to be served. Such churches may need outside help 
to keep their work going, or new plans to reach those who 
are moving in and to meet their needs which may be dif- 
ferent from those of the members who have moved out into 
new areas. The rural areas usually have a decreasing popu- 

In the Indian field changes have been taking place. For a 
long time the Government sought to keep the Indians in 
their reservations. Under these conditions Presbyterians 


through their boards established schools, provided hospitals 
and clinics, engaged in evangelism, established Sunday 
Schools and built churches. But the trend in more recent 
times has been toward making the Indians a part of society, 
encouraging them to move into places where they can engage 
in the normal activities of American citizens in industry, or 
find other means of self-support. As they go into a new area 
to establish themselves, they need the help of the Church. 
They need to be made a part of the community. 

As everyone knows, great changes have come in the Negro 
population of our country. The recent Supreme Court deci- 
sion in regard to desegregation has raised problems. The 
Presbyterians have long had schools in places where the local 
government was not equipped for the education of the Ne- 
gro constituency. Hospitals, clinics, social centers, and other 
activities to increase the advantages and opportunities of 
this group were carried on. 

The Presbyterian Church in its plans has been ahead of 
the Supreme Court's decision in regard to desegregation. In 
the early days it was quite natural and desirable to have pres- 
byteries or synods composed of Negroes, Indians, and lan- 
guage groups. The General Assembly of 1954, meeting in 
Detroit a week after the Supreme Court ruling, while recog- 
nizing that former Assemblies had gone on record as assert- 
ing the all-inclusive nature of the Church, noted that five 
synods and about a score of presbyteries remained organized 
along racial and cultural and language lines, and took action 
to set up a special Committee of seven, in consultation with 
the Stated Clerk, to confer with those synods and presbyteries 
now organized along racial and cultural lines, as to the ad- 
visability of their being integrated into the present synods 
and presbyteries covering the same geographical areas. When 
this was written proposals were being made for the merger 
of some synods. 

The synods of Atlantic and Blue Ridge stretch across 


North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, 
Tennessee, and Alabama. In this area there has been a move- 
ment for better public schools, better equipped and better 
staffed. This left vacant many small schoolhouses near Pres- 
byterian churches. Their close proximity was due to the 
effort of the Presbyterian Church to provide schools and 
churches for Negroes just after the Emancipation Proclama- 
tion. In time public schools eliminated the need of most of 
the missionary schools. The mission schools in many cases 
were sold or leased to the county. Where the school build- 
ingsor their replacement reverted back to the churches or 
have been bought by the churches, these buildings are used 
for synod or presbytery workshops and institutes. These are 
led by volunteers and professional workers, and the Summer 
School of the South contributes heavily to the pool of mis- 
sionaries quick to keep pace with the needs of the churches. 
As we all know, the reaction in some southern states has 
created a problem for schools which attempt to desegregate. 
National Missions, U.S.A., has institutions in Georgia, South 
Carolina, and Missisippi which began as institutions for Ne- 
groes. The enrollment of non-Negro students is likely to 
move very slowly. The Mary Holmes Junior College in 
Mississippi has had a bi-racial staff for some years and now 
has a bi-racial advisory committee which includes local, pres- 
bytery, and synod representatives. At Gillespie-Selden Insti- 
tute in Georgia, the staff of the new School of Practical 
Nursing is bi-racial and the newly organized community com- 
mittees for this and for the day-care center are both bi-racial. 
Boggs Academy, also in Georgia, had a white student from 
Yale Divinity School for service in the summer and hopes 
to have non-Negro candidates for future staff vacancies. At 
the Harbison Junior College, South Carolina, the first step 
toward an interracial staff was taken when a young Chinese 
American became pastor of the church and the school's direc- 
tor of Christian Education. 


The Gillespie-Selden Institute in Cordele, Georgia, illus- 
trates the evolution of a missionary project as it adapts itself 
to changing conditions. The school began over fifty years ago 
as an ungraded mission day school and developed so that it 
included a boarding department and later all elementary and 
high school grades. It then became the city and county high 
school for Negro students. The city and county gradually 
took over the payment of teachers' salaries and finally en- 
tered into a contract with the Board whereby they rented 
the Gillespie school buildings, and the Board used the rental 
for school operating expenses. Local planning, however, 
came to a standstill with the Supreme Court decision, and 
the Board renewed its agreement for a year, thereby postpon- 
ing its plan to use the school building for youth activities, 
community library, adult education classes, recreation for 
young people and adults, and a counselling and guidance 
center for out-of-school youth, all closely related to the local 
church. It was possible, however, to launch a portion of the 
planned program in the Gillespie hospital building, whose 
services were discontinued when the community hospital 
opened. Adjustment was also made in Mary Holmes Junior 
College in West Point, Mississippi, providing intensive sum- 
mer sessions to enable county teachers to meet new minimum 
state requirements effective in 1954. 

Alaska is an example of rapidly changing conditions which 
have to be met if an adequate missionary program is to be 
carried out. Changes have been taking place almost over 
night. New conditions are developing even while this is being 
written and the latest information is not yet available. What 
is written here, however, is illustrative of what is going on 
and how these new situations are being met. 

Civilian populations have been increasing. Military In- 
stallations have been added in the interior. Ketchikan has 
spent several million dollars on streets and community im- 
provements to be ready for a doubling of population due to 


such year-round work as has come in part by the construc- 
tion of a new pulp mill. Villages, on the other hand, are 
shrinking, making it necessary for Christian forces to meet 
new needs. Native and territorial schools are being merged, 
and more provision for children who need home care has 
been made. The University of Alaska is establishing branches 
in Anchorage, Juneau, and Ketchikan. 

With population and industrial expansion comes expan- 
sion in mission projects. Cooperating denominations have 
planned new projects in cities and geographical areas as- 
signed to the Churches in the past. But non-cooperative de- 
nominations have entered fields already being served and are 
establishing competing programs. Barrow, where the Presby- 
terians have had the only church for sixty-five years, is an 
example. In 1954 the Roman Catholic Church built a 
quonset-type chapel and established a priest in residence. 
The Assemblies of God, claiming that Barrow's Eskimo peo- 
ple never had the full gospel, sent three missionaries and 
materials to build a church. 

Three advance steps are in progress by the Board of Na- 
tional Missions in its program in Alaska: attention to a min- 
istry to Eskimo people in the Fairbanks area, expansion of 
its boat ministry to serve more small communities and lum- 
ber camps, and the operation of the Board-owned radio 
station KSEW in Sitka. This first church-owned station in 
Alaska went on the air in September of 1954. It provides 
programs for all the people, including popular and classical 
music, drama, variety, news, sports, talks and discussion pro- 
grams. Great emphasis is placed upon public service broad- 
casts, including educational and religious programs. It has a 
radius of seventy-five miles, but has been heard as far as 

Eskimos who have drifted into Fairbanks seeking work to 
secure a dependable income, have previously known the serv- 
ices of one church or mission home. The Presbyterian 


Church served many of them for two generations, but in 
Fairbanks they found the confusion of competing churches. 
In Fairbanks church services were instituted and other activi- 
ties planned especially for them. They are welcomed to all 
the activities of the church, but they are timid about join- 
ing in them. National Missions therefore assumed responsi- 
bility for a half-time worker especially for them. 

Twenty-two college students and a few young teachers 
volunteered their service to form work crews and vacation 
church school teams. They worked for two months for room 
and board. A new and better equipped plane, the Arctic 
Messenger, is in use by the missionary pilot, replacing the 
plane in which he and an Eskimo companion-interpreter 
were forced down and for three days were not heard from 
because of weakness in the radio equipment. 

In the fall of 1954 a Christian education team from the 
staffs of the Boards of National Missions and Christian Edu- 
cation held training periods in methods and materials for 
children's, youth, and adult work in both of Alaska's presby- 
teries, thus bringing to them the fruits of experience in this 
important phase of the Church's ministry. 

To meet the needs of the field new manses are built, new 
sanctuary-hospitality houses erected, Christian centers at 
military bases planned, additions made to church buildings 
to meet the needs of expanding service, and recreation halls 

Alaska, like other places, has its problems of juvenile de- 
linquency. The Board and its workers realize that more can 
be done to meet this situation by solid missionary work than 
by the enactment of laws. 

Educational institutions plan their programs so as to meet 
the particular needs of their constituencies. Sheldon Jackson 
College, for example, centered an annual staff pre-school con- 
ference on youth's behavior problems. Consultants were 
brought in. Steps were taken to put into effect the recommen- 


dations of a special committee of the Board that had studied 
the school for two years. These included a building for an 
up-to-date library and improvement in the science depart- 
ment. A new cottage was dedicated and plans were under 
way for the erection of a residence for the president in 1955. 

As another illustration of the purpose to meet current 
needs in a changing situation, a survey of the Haines House 
was launched to determine its relation to the present condi- 
tions in Alaska. The program developed there can be a guide 
to other child-care institutions in Alaska. To reduce the cost 
and provide more projects for which the children will be re- 
sponsible, it was decided to replace the dairy herd, needing 
feed from the States, with rabbits, sheep, and pigs. Approved 
by the Department of Welfare, it is hoped that this experi- 
ment would be coordinated with the territory's 4-H program, 
"Environmental evangelism," permeating the entire life of 
the home, will help the children to live on a Christian plane. 

The Board cooperates with the new Valley Presbyterian 
Hospital in Palmer in staffing the hospital and making a 
small annual grant. A Christian surgeon was being sought 
who would establish a private practice in Palmer and make 
it unnecessary for surgical cases to make the journey to 

The General Council of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., 
recognizing the changing conditions in the center of our 
great cities, asked the Board of National Missions to study 
the problem of giving an adequate ministry to the city field. 
Presbyterians share this problem with other denominations. 
Sixty-four per cent of the nation's population reside in cities 
or city-dominated areas. The changes in the life of metro- 
politan areas have been great. In the case of the Presbyterian 
Church, U.S.A., eighty per cent of its members are in metro- 
politan areas. These changes bring about new homes in the 
outskirts of the city and draw many from its heart. New resi- 
dents of a different type come in to take their places. This 


creates a period of transition for both old and new com- 

Presbyterians have faced this new situation. Churches stra- 
tegically located near army, navy, air force, and marine bases 
have been given financial assistance to widen their programs, 
employ additional help, and enlarge church facilities. An offi- 
cer's wife attending a meeting in the First Presbyterian 
Church of Warrensburg, Missouri, on the invitation of a 
church member, said, "This is the first time anyone ever 
asked me to a church activity much less ever called on me." 
Churches in such situations have grown rapidly in recent 
years. Military personnel are brought into active service in the 
churches. For example, the Little Church in the Desert was 
the only Protestant church in a quiet resort town. Within 
months of the opening of a Marine Corps training center the 
community tripled in size. The church made contact with 
Presbyterians and other Protestants. Among the active service- 
connected personnel in another church are two ordained 
elders, thirteen communicant members, fifteen church school 
teachers, and two youth leaders. Before moving into a new 
location to which he was assigned, one serviceman said, "Be- 
cause of the church, we have put down roots that shall be 
growing for many years to come." 

New situations are encountered in mining areas. Work in 
the coal fields has been slowing down and depression in this 
field has put a heavy load upon church and missionary work 
there. A better future is expected, but not soon. This situ- 
ation leads to the moving of miners to industrial areas in the 
cities. This is being faced and plans have been made to 
strengthen churches and broaden their service. 

Interest in Orientals in our country has not been lost. 
There is a Japanese church in San Francisco. There are three 
classes of Japanese: the issei, who were born in Japan; the 
nisei, or second generation Japanese; and sansei, or third 
generation. The needs of all, which are not the same, require 


to be met. The changing emphasis upon race is illustrated in 
the Harlow Memorial Church (formerly Japanese Church) 
in Hanford, California, which dropped its old racial name 
and with it any remaining sense of exclusiveness. 

The Donaldina Cameron House in San Francisco is an 
example of ministry to Chinese in America. Cameron House 
was famous for its special service to Chinese girls who were 
brought over to this country in what was practically slave 
trade. The girls were taken into the home and cared for and 
taught the Christian faith and the Christian way of life. Now 
more than 450 young people share fully in a wide club, 
recreation, and leadership training program. The House is 
closely related to the Chinese Presbyterian Church in San 
Francisco. It has a bilingual pastor. 

The Ming Quong home takes Chinese girls from problem 
situations, orphaned or victims of neglect, illness and so 
forth. Its doors, however, are open to the children of all races. 

Another field for missions in our country is among the 
Spanish Americans. They are among the mass of moving 
Americans, which increases the problem of ministering to 
them. Churches which are affected by this movement of pop- 
ulation are given assistance. 

Migrants present another problem and opportunity. Many 
of them have a Mexican background. They move South to 
North, and East to West as they follow the forecasts of work. 
Efforts have been made to relate them to the churches near 
their camps and to alert the churches to their responsibility 
for these needy people. An interdenominational program in 
which Presbyterians cooperate in ministering to agricultural 
migrants is carried on nationally under the direction of the 
Division of Home Missions of the National Council of 

In New York, in the congested East Harlem area, there are 
450,000 Puerto Ricans. There is need of binding together 
their splintered lives by making the wholeness of the Chris- 


tian life a reality, for many different agencies seek to meet 
their needs, dealing with school and children's problems, 
financial need, health, safety, rent, housing, and so forth. The 
international and interdenominational East Harlem Protes- 
tant parish seeks to meet this need. 

Evangelistic work is carried on among the Jews of New 
York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Chicago. 

In various cities conferences are held to help churches in 
solving problems and improving their programs. Such con- 
ferences include discussion of the neighborhood house, the 
Church and social welfare, city pastors, work among the 
Chinese and their integration into the churches and the com- 
munity. Self-study guides have been prepared for city 
churches to help them to understand their task and to meet 
their responsibilities. 

One fruitful program in some areas is the development of 
a closer partnership between pastors and laymen in church 
and community service and the development of the larger 
parish, uniting churches in their common task through recre- 
ational centers, community choirs, establishing street lights 
and fire protection. Many who could not contribute much 
to the church have found that they have time on their hands 
for improving church buildings, adding class rooms, and 
making other alterations. Individual churches are adapting 
themselves to changes in their areas by lay visitation evan- 
gelism. Some churches have been made community centers. 
Academies and junior colleges have made their contribution 
to the Church's efforts to reach communities with Christian 
truth and ideals and practical living. 

It may surprise some to learn that after the settlement of 
our country through the years and the establishment of town 
and cities and rural areas across the country, there is still 
need for Sunday School missionary work. Some of us used 
to hear the stories of these men who went here and there, 
gathering groups to hear the gospel, organizing Sunday 


Schools, many of which grew into strong churches as the area 
developed, thus ministering to a neglected field and meeting 
human needs. These missionaries still have their ministry. 
There are still widely scattered families and small commu- 
nities without church privileges. The missionary in his jeep 
or station wagon or trailer, carrying various kinds of equip- 
ment, visits homes where the family, with neighbors gathered 
sometimes from great distances, are given the opportunity 
for Bible study and worship and preaching. 

Emphasis is placed upon a visit to every home in a scat- 
tered community or in small villages. There are thousands 
of communities without Christian teaching. To one mission- 
ary a grateful farmer in South Dakota said, "You have 
brought the Church to us. Others have come to ask us to 
contribute to their cause, but you are the first one who has 
ever come out here to bring the gospel to our door. Things 
are different since you have been here. No one else would 
ever do for people what you are doing." In Arizona a message 
came to a missionary from a little community: "Won't you 
please visit us and conduct a service? It can be held in our 
home and we can get six or eight other families to attend, if 
you will let us know when you can come. We have a piano, 
but no song books, so bring some with you. We are about 
thirty miles off the highway and almost a hundred miles 
from town or church. Come on Sunday or during the week. 
Let us know so we will have time to get word to the neigh- 
bors." In spite of the changes in our country, there is still 
need for the Sunday School missionary. 

Services are held in abandoned school buildings, closed 
churches, and homes, in shifting trailer camps near new oil 
fields and lumber camps. Often Bibles are left that will speak 
for God through the weeks that follow the missionary's visit. 
Camp meetings provide a fruitful ministry. They have met 
with great success in cowboy areas. 

Sixty-seven Sunday School missionaries and three colpor- 


teurs under the Board of National Missions of the Presby- 
terian Church, U.S.A., serve in 25 synods, Alaska, Cuba, and 
Puerto Rico. In a recent year they traveled 1,228,973 miles, 
visited and aided 1,604 Sunday church schools, delivered 11,- 
464 sermons, held 439 vacation Bible schools, organized eight 
new churches, and received 2,452 church members on profes- 
sion of faith. 

One of the newest services of the Board of National Mis- 
sions is that of a minister-at-large. To undertake this work 
Dr. Louis H. Evans was called from the pastorate of the First 
Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, California. The field of 
his service is wide and varied. He has visited college and 
university campuses to help professors and students to realize 
more clearly that spiritual responsibilities are being pressed 
upon them because of the "insufficiency of the factual." He 
has preached in the National Presbyterian Church in Wash- 
ington and conferred with leading statesmen connected with 
the Government. He has been heard by the National Confer- 
ence on the Spiritual Foundations of American Democracy 
and a thousand men of the United States Air Force met with 
him to "talk about God/' 

He has addressed many business groups, mass meetings, 
and conventions to emphasize the fact that to "make a life" 
is more important than to "make a living." That a sense of 
the spiritual is deepening is revealed in the Kiwanis "clergy 
and industry" days, Rotary 's "spiritual interest" committees, 
and the Lions' emphasis upon things spiritual in their con- 
ventions. The minister-at-large has addressed many business 
groups, mass meetings, and conventions. He spoke to eight 
thousand laymen of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., and ten 
thousand laymen of the Methodist Church. He met also with 
the leaders of the recently organized Fellowship of Christian 
Athletes. Radio and television programs have been a means 
of reaching a larger audience with the message of practical 
religion in everyday life. 


Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic are im- 
portant fields for missionary work right at our doors. A great 
service has been rendered by educational institutions, such 
as the Polytechnic Institute, a Presbyterian-related college in 
San German, which in 1954 had 600 students. The Evan- 
gelical Seminary in Rio Piedras, supported by five denomina- 
tions, is an important educational agency. 

Movements of population are characteristic of Puerto Rico 
as well as of the continent. To meet these needs strategic 
methods are used to strengthen the services of the churches 
according to their needs, the churches in growing areas reach- 
ing out with their Christian service. Educational and medical 
work is carried on in Puerto Rico. 

Cuba is an example of the fruits of wise and efficient lead- 
ership in missionary work. As a result of stress upon the 
development of an indigenous Church, Cuba has one of the 
best organized presbyteries to be found anywhere. It has an 
exceedingly effective program entirely under national leader- 
ship. The Board of National Missions, however, maintains 
fifteen schools rendering splendid service. The most impor- 
tant of these is La Progresiva at Cardenas, which now has an 
enrollment of 1,400. 

In Cuba there is work with students as well as with per- 
manent residents near the Marta Abreu University at Santa 
Clara. The Evangelical Seminary at Matanzas serves also stu- 
dents from Colombia, Venezuela, and Guatemala. With this 
institution the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions co- 

An important work is carried on in the Dominican Re- 
public, in which Presbyterians, Methodists, and Evangelical 
United Brethren share under the Board of Christian Work 
in Santa Domingo. Emphasis is laid upon education. The 
Hospital Internacional conducts clinics and trains nurses. 
Recently there was an evangelical awakening under the 
preaching of two Puerto Rican evangelists. A bookstore 


serves this area and recently reported the greatest sale o 
Bibles, New Testaments, and Scripture portions in its his- 

The Board of National Missions works to a great extent 
through presbyteries and synods which have their fingers on 
the situations which call for service. Thus plans are made 
to meet the changing needs and to seize opportunities as they 

In the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., a great responsibility 
rests upon the Board of National Missions for the develop- 
ment of the evangelistic spirit throughout the Church, for 
it is the local churches that must bear the burden of reach- 
ing the people of their communities with the gospel. Interest 
is aroused among laymen as well as ministers. A wide variety 
of means is used to deepen the evangelistic spirit throughout 
the churches. In a recent year 3,889,853 pieces of literature 
were distributed. Bulletins for Evangelism Sunday were dis- 
tributed to the number of 685,500, with 531,100 commit- 
ment cards. Conferences were held across the country. New 
Life Schools for Church Members are planned to train mem- 
bers of local churches for effective sharing in evangelism. In 
cooperation with the Board of Christian Education weeks 
of spiritual emphasis were conducted in forty-two church- 
related colleges. Special effort was made to appeal to young 
people for Christ in view of the loss of teenagers to the 
Church and the competition of the secular world. 

Great help has been given to churches which required new 
or enlarged buildings to meet their needs, and for which they 
did not have adequate resources. The Board of National Mis- 
sions shares in meeting this need. 

The Board of National Missions also has a Fund Raising 
Department, in which are men trained in the systematic 
solicitation of funds through building campaigns. The 
church in which a representative of the Board serves in or- 
ganizing and conducting the campaign pays a fee, not a 


percentage of the money raised, depending upon the size of 
the church and the length of the campaign. In a recent year 
$3,330,346 was raised through these campaigns. 

An unusual phase of the work of the Board of National 
Missions is the James Jarvie Commonweal Service. It grew 
out of the exceptional thoughtfulness of James Newbegin 
Jarvie. The Jarvie Commonweal Fund was established under 
the laws of the state of New York in 1925. The Fund oper- 
ated independently at 150 Broadway, New York City, until 
November, 1934, when it became directly affiliated with the 
Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church, 
U.S.A. At that time the name was changed to Jarvie Com- 
monweal Service. Mr. Jarvie's purpose was "to offer financial 
aid and friendly service to elderly folk 65 and beyond 
within the Protestant faith and residing within the Greater 
New York area; persons of culture and education whose for- 
mer comfortable circumstances had been reversed and who 
in their declining years found themselves without sufficient 
means of support." 

In a recent year 527 individuals benefited from grants 
made possible by Mr. Jarvie's generosity and thoughtfulness. 
Representatives of the Service seek to promote satisfactory 
relationships of older people with other people, both old 
and young, and to help in the use of leisure time, in the culti- 
vation of hobbies, and in finding profitable employment. 

A few statistics may help to give some idea of the service 
rendered in the field of missions at home by one of the 
Presbyterian denominations. The Board of National Mis- 
sions of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., has the following 
Missions Enterprises: 2,598 churches and preaching stations, 
134 community centers, 55 schools, 26 hospitals and clinics, 
and 631 other enterprises, making a total of 3,444. In its 
Missionary Personnel are: 1,286 ministers, 100 Sunday School 
missionaries and colporteurs, 470 community workers, 488 
teachers, 71 doctors and nurses, and 537 others, making a 


total of 2,952. It has an Executive and Field Staff of 164. 
It organized 68 new churches, gave 166 churches building 
grants or loans, and assisted 62 churches in financial cam- 
paigns. Its expenditures in the year referred to in these 
statistics in the current budget was $6,637,335. The Jarvie 
Commonweal Service expended 759,746 dollars. The figures 
above do not include grants or loans from Building Aid, 
Building Campaign, or Church Extension funds. 

Like the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., the United Presby- 
terian Church has been concerned about the Church's wit- 
ness on our own land. For the Negroes it has maintained four 
schools in the deep south. In Alabama there are Miller's 
Ferry with over four hundred pupils in twelve grades; 
Prairie, ninety per cent of whose pupils ride to school by 
bus; Camden Academy with 732 pupils, 400 of whom come 
by bus, and Arlington Institute at Annemanie. Missionary 
work is carried on also in Tennessee, North Carolina, and 

There is work among the Indians in Utah, Oklahoma, 
Iowa, and Oregon. 

In addition to the work among the Negroes and the In 
dians, churches which need help are aided by workers ana 
gifts, mission stations carried on, new churches organized, 
pastor's salaries supplemented, and migrant workers minis- 
tered to. 

The Presbyterian Church, U.S., likewise is doing a similai 
and important missionary work in this country through its 
Board of Church Extension. It enables city churches through 
its planning and support to develop more adequate pro- 
grams in their communities, institutes have resulted in better 
work in town and country, the larger parish idea has been 
promoted, Sunday Schools have been organized and devel- 
oped into churches, more adequate church buildings have 
been designed, a closer relation between chaplains in the 
armed service and the Church has been brought about, the 


spiritual ministry to mountain people has been carried on 
through churches and schools and other means, schools and 
churches and orphanages have ministered to the Indians, 
work has been carried on among Latin- Americans. Congrega- 
tions have passed from the "mission stage" through growth 
in self-support and self-government, and a school has been 
carried on for Mexican girls in Texas. The Church has min- 
istered to foreign language groups, such as Italians and Hun- 
garians. The Jews have not been overlooked. There has been 
a mission for the Chinese in New Orleans. Important work 
has been carried on among the Negroes through the develop- 
ment of self-sustaining churches and college education. Radio 
and television have been used in the service of the Church, 
and a program of evangelism for the whole Church has been 



THE BOARD OF Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian 
Church, U.S.A., which we take as an example, consists of 
fifty members, sixteen of them women. They are elected 
by the General Assembly, each for a period of three years. 
The Board has as its officers a President, three Vice-Presidents, 
and a General Counsel. 

The Executive Staff includes a General Secretary and an 
Associate General Secretary. The Administration is com- 
posed of a number of divisions the Division of Overseas Ad- 
ministration with four officers, the Division of Interpretation 
and Support with two officers and with Area Secretaries, two 
Eastern Area Secretaries in New York City, two Central 
Areas Secretaries in Chicago, one West Central Area Secre- 
tary in Kansas City, Mo., and two Western Area Secretaries 
in San Francisco. There is also a Secretary for Layman's Re- 
lationships, an Office of Overseas Projects with a Secretary, 
an Office of Special Gifts with a Secretary, an Office of Over- 
seas Interchurch Fellowship with a Secretary, and an Office of 
Youth Work with two Secretaries. 



There is a Division of Interchurch Services with an Office 
of Literature and Publications with a Secretary, an Office of 
Broadcasting and Films with a Secretary, and an Office 
of Student Work with a Secretary. There is a Division of 
Women's Work with a Secretary, and a Division of Ecumeni- 
cal Personnel with a Secretary and an Associate Secretary. 
There are also two Medical Officers and the Treasury with 
a Treasurer and an Assistant Treasurer, and a Legal Coun- 
selor. There is also a Secretary of the Administrative Council,, 
who also serves as Recording Secretary of the Board. 

This is not a mere list of divisions and offices and officers, 
but the framework of an organization planned to meet the 
practical requirements of an institution which has a great 
work to plan and conduct in behalf of the Presbyterian 
Church, U.S.A. Other denominations also have their organ- 
izations planned to carry on the work which is assigned to 
them by their respective Churches. 

Here we can attempt only to give some suggestion of the 
varied services of the Board of Foreign Missions in many 
lands and its responsibility for developing in the home 
churches an understanding and appreciation of these services, 
and securing the kind of support which its vast responsibili- 
ties demand. 

In a previous chapter we learned something of the way in 
which the Presbyterian Church became aware of its oppor- 
tunities and obligations in obedience to the Great Commis- 
sion of our Lord. We have seen the Church through its mis- 
sionary organizations reaching out with its manifold services. 
Now we are to have a glimpse of the work now being carried 

We need to appreciate how the Board has endeavored to 
adapt itself and its service to the changing needs of a chang- 
ing world with its rise of nationalism, the hampering politi- 
cal efforts of the Roman Catholic Church, and the ideological 
penetration of Communism. The Board, in behalf of the 


Church, has had to adapt its leadership to the increasing 
readiness of the younger Churches to assume leadership in 
their countries and yet are in great need of counsel and sup- 
port from without. Also the need for cooperation in the 
common cause of Christian missions has called for interde- 
nominational relationships which may make the distinctive 
work of the Board less easy to describe and evaluate. 

Japan is in a position of unequaled opportunity for leader- 
ship in the Orient, but it has many problems to solve, in- 
cluding economic and governmental. Out of a population of 
85,000,000, about 450,000 are Christians, but their influence 
has been beyond the measure of their numbers. Many Japa- 
nese leaders have come out of Christian schools and churches. 
Japan has its United Church of Christ with which the Pres- 
byterian Church, U.S.A., has been working. The Japanese 
Church is beginning to feel itself a part of the world-wide 
Church. Cooperation has made evangelism effective. The 
Japan Bible Society has responded to the requests of the 
Christian Churches and brought out a New Testament in 
colloquial Japanese, since much of the Bible has been in the 
archaic and obscure form of Japanese. 

The many service men in military bases in Japan have 
been a rather neglected field, but the Christian Servicemen's 
Program has been planned for this field. The Presbyterian 
Board sent a man and his wife to Japan to organize, di- 
rect and coordinate this program. The Japanese Churches, 
through the Social Service Commission of the National 
Christian Council, took the initiative in starting this work. 

Many of the educational institutions of great influence in 
Japan were founded by missionaries. Of these there are two 
hundred, from primary to university grade. Three Presby- 
terian families have been connected with the International 
Christian University. Its international staff has high stand- 
ards of scholarship and Christian character. The Presbyterian 
Board is also interested in ve girls' high schools and a boys' 


school, two agricultural junior colleges, and a school for deaf 
and dumb children. The Presbyterian Board is one of seven 
that support the Tokyo Union Theological Seminary and 
has a missionary representative on the staff. The Boards of 
the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and the Reformed Church 
in America support Meiji Gakuin, a college in Tokyo. Nearly 
125,000 young Japanese men and women have been attend- 
ing Christian schools under the United Church. 

The Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., has had 68 workers in 

Representative government has been developing in Korea, 
but the country is in desperate need of substantial financial 
help. The Presbyterian Church in Korea has never been 
healthier or stronger than now. It has planned to send two 
missionaries to Thailand at its own expense. There have 
been reports of tension in the Church, but this has passed its 

The Presbyterian Church's rehabilitation program through 
the One Great Hour of Sharing fits into the plan of the 
United Nations armed forces rehabilitation movement. Visas 
for the return of missionary wives and children have made 
it possible for the resumption of the regular program in the 
major cities of South Korea where missionaries were for- 
merly in residence. 

Presbyterians have shared in rebuilding churches, in the 
revival of schools and colleges, in medical education and hos- 
pitals. The General Assembly Presbyterian Theological Sem- 
inary has been moved to Seoul. Provision is being made for 
amputees and war widows and widows of martyred pastors. 
At the end of War II there were no publications, but 100 
books and three periodicals were published by 1955. 

In Chung Ju $25,000 from One Great Hour of Sharing has 
been used to restore 30 churches. The Miller Memorial Bible 
Institute with a little over 100 students relies heavily upon 
missionaries for leadership and training. 


About six years ago two Presbyterian missionaries were as- 
signed to Taejon to start a farm project. The War interfered 
with this, but it has been re-established. 

In Andong is an example of evangelistic work. A team, 
traveling on bicycles, carrying a portable loudspeaker and a 
slide projector, visited 114 churches and 23 unchurched, un- 
evangelized communities. The churches in that area reported 
1,210 new believers attending their services. In Taegu edu- 
cation, medical work, and new churches give promise for the 

It is said that at no time in the history of the Mission in 
Korea have there been greater opportunities for Christian 
work or a more encouraging response than now. The Pres- 
byterian Board has 69 representatives in Korea. 

In China there has been a great change in recent years in 
the missionary situation. Communism has made it impossible 
for the Board to maintain missionary work in Communist 
China. The last three of our missionaries imprisoned there 
were released in 1955. In that year it was reported that res- 
ignations and retirements of missionaries who had been work- 
ing in China totaled 179 and no new appointments had been 
made. This is significant when we remember that almost one- 
third of the Church's overseas work was formerly carried on 
in China. However, missionary work is still carried on in 
Hong Kong and in Taiwan (or Formosa). 

In Hong Kong missionary work has shown great stability. 
The population of Hong Kong has increased enormously, 
creating a problem because of decrease in trade. There is 
great need of medical service, schools, and other facilities. It 
has recently been estimated that there are 667,000 refugees 
there. Hong Kong has become a strategic center of Christian 
work in East Asia because of its location on the edge of Com- 
munist China and the colony's political stability. Places of 
worship have been built; educational, medical, and relief 
services have been enlarged. Churches and small chapels 


have been opened. Hospitals have been expanded. School 
buildings have been erected. Villages of small houses for 
refugees have been erected under Mission and Church aus- 

There is the Hong Kong District Association of the Chutch 
of Christ in China to which Presbyterian missionaries have 
inherited a close relationship. Until the last six years no Pres- 
byterian missionaries were stationed in Hong Kong, but re- 
cently there were nine engaged in church, educational, and 
relief activities. Aid and encouragement has been given to 
several schools. Some of these have been able to become in- 
dependent, while some have continued to maintain a special 
relationship to the Presbyterian missionaries. One refugee 
institution in Hong Kong is Chung Chi (Reverence for 
Christ) College. A member of the Presbyterian mission group 
has been serving on the staff as chaplain and teacher in the 
philosophy department. A Christian student center has been 
planned with the help of funds provided by the Presbyterian 
Church. From One Great Hour of Sharing contributions the 
Presbyterian Board has also helped in the erection of a Chil- 
dren's Center. Among other important services the children 
from their huts have a bathing hour and mothers find sewing 
machines and other facilities. Adult meetings are held, in- 
cluding a weekly religious program. In Hong Kong "the 
compassionate spirit of Christ is being manifested, not only 
in deeds of mercy but in the preaching and teaching of the 
word of God to people whose ancestral homes are far away 
in an inaccessible land." 

In Taiwan (Formosa), the location of the Chinese Repub- 
lic under Chiang Kai-shek, numerous Protestant groups are 
putting forth great effort for the evangelization of the island. 
There are forty of these groups with 250 missionaries in serv- 
ice. Roman Catholics have come in with almost 500 priests 
and nuns. They are building churches without asking for 
local contributions and Protestant workers have been tempted 


with four times their stipends. This challenge has spurred 
the Protestant forces to build up their members in the faith 
and to provide adequate leadership, especially among aborig- 
ine tribes. The Formosan Church was reported in 1955 to 
have 440 congregations. More than 80 students were com- 
pleting their last year of theological education. Several mis- 
sionaries from the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., are at work 
in Taiwan, representing the ecumenical Church in such 
work as Tung Hai University, the Women's Bible Training 
School, the theological seminary in North Formosa, and 
evangelistic work among the ex-Communist Chinese soldiers. 
The table of missionary personnel of various kinds indicates 
that in 1955 there were 34 representatives of the Presbyterian 
Board in Hong Kong and Taiwan. 

As pointed out in a previous chapter, the Presbyterian 
Church, U.S.A., was in a position to be the first among the 
Protestant Churches to enter the Philippines. Other denom- 
inations joined in the work later, and as the work grew and 
the denominations cooperated, the United Church of Christ 
in the Philippines was organized. There is good reason to be 
encouraged by the progress of Christianity in the Philippines. 
The native Church has a full-time General Secretary, and a 
full-time Secretary of Evangelism and Stewardship. Recently 
the General Assembly of the Philippine Church elected mis- 
sionaries to the offices of Secretary of Christian Education 
and Secretary of Public Welfare. The native Church is thus 
relieved of the support of these officers. More than 200 stu- 
dents are in training each year in four seminaries. The sup- 
port of this education of students by the Republic's own Phil- 
ippine Church is increasing. 

Work is carried on by the Philippine Board of Missions 
among the Moslem population of the island of Mindanao, 
the tribespeople in the Mountain Province of northern Lu- 
zon, and the long-neglected Bilaan tribespeople in southern 


The mission Boards have passed to the United Church of 
Christ responsibility for medical service. This includes five 
hospitals and four dispensaries. Philippine Christian col- 
leges in Manila are related to the United Church and the 
Methodist Church, but the Presbyterian Board shares with 
the Methodist Board in their support. The General Assembly 
of the Philippine Church recently faced the ratio between 
mission board support and Philippine support and was chal- 
lenged to give this problem the attention it deserves. There 
is reason to believe that a beginning has been made in the 
direction of a truly indigenous Church, another illustration 
of the new policy of giving larger responsibility to the na- 
tive Church while continuing needed support by the mis- 

The Presbyterian Church has a special concern for Silli- 
man University which it established. It now has a Filipino 
President and is facing a serious financial situation. The 
full-time Controller is an appointee of the Presbyterian 
Board at the request of the University. A War damage grant 
by the United States Government will ease somewhat the 
financial situation. The University is laying stress upon ex- 
tension work in the areas of agriculture, health, home-mak- 
ing, religious education, citizenship education and literacy, 
and the improvement of village life. Sixty-four representa- 
tives of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions are ac- 
tive in the Philippines. 

The government of Thailand, or Siam, is Buddhist, but 
the king, head of the Buddhist order, is constitutionally pro- 
tector of all religions. There is freedom for Christian schools, 
churches, and individuals. However, becoming a Christian 
calls for faith and courage. There is the Church of Christ in 
Thailand with which Presbyterians and Disciples and the 
United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the Mar- 
burger Mission (German) are associated. In the Thailand 
Church there is slow but steady growth in membership and 


self-support. The McKean Leprosy Home gets its name from 
a Presbyterian medical missionary. It is supported by the 
American Leprosy Missions, to which the Presbyterian 
Church makes contributions. The Literature and Christian 
Education program in Thailand has been of special interest. 
Two missionary staff members have been assigned to the 
staff of the department which conducts this work under the 
supervision of the Thailand Church. Presbyterians will be 
gratified to learn that the "Faith and Life Curriculum* ' pro- 
duced for use in their churches at home by the Presbyterian 
Board of Christian Education is being adapted and translated 
for use in Thailand. Eight youth conferences were conducted 
one year under Thailand missionary leadership. Under the 
sponsorship of the World Council of Churches, the Church 
of Christ in Thailand, the World's Student Christian Fed- 
eration, and UNESCO, the Student Christian Center in 
Bangkok was host to an international work camp that brought 
students to Thailand from Pakistan, India, Ceylon, Burma, 
Malaya, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, Hong Kong, 
Okinawa, Japan, the United States, Germany, and Switzer- 

The Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions contributed 
$25,000 to the new headquarters building of the Church of 
Christ in Thailand which was dedicated in June 1954. The 
building and equipment cost $60,000. The balance was 
raised in Thailand. At the meeting of the General Assembly 
of the Thailand Church in December 1954, the Disciples, the 
United Church of Christ in the Philippines, and the Mar- 
burger Mission (Germany) formally entered the Council of 
the Church of Christ in Thailand. For the first time in its 
history the Presbyterian Mission installed a Thai treasurer, 
which created a precedent in Church-Mission relationships. 

The challenge to Christianity in Thailand is increased by 
the fact that there is a renaissance of Buddhism in the claim 
that it nurtures the Thai people in the spiritual experience 


necessary for the preservation of the race. It claims to have 
a universal message in its doctrine of peace to all beings. 
Buddhism aspires for the first time to world' leadership in 
the field of religion. 

The Presbyterian Church has 69 persons in various phases 
of work in Thailand. 

India is a great field in which Presbyterians have been in- 
terested for a long time. The United Presbyterians have car- 
ried on excellent work there and it is one of their important 
fields. The War and other factors have created problems for 
the mission forces in recent years. There has been press prop- 
aganda against Christian missionaries, although in some 
areas this has been deprecated locally. Among the Sikhs, for 
example, full sympathy has been expressed for the Christian 
missionaries. The real attack has been upon evangelizing, or 
what is called "proselyting/' New avenues of service and wit- 
ness have therefore been recognized as especially valuable. 
The greatest problem has been to secure personnel to carry 
out the projects. 

There is special need for building up the rural Church in 
spiritual strength and outreach. The Village Service and 
Training Project trains workers for the "All of Life" ap- 
proach to villages. Rural Health Services have been empha- 
sized in the Punjab. The response, however, has varied in 
different locations. In Western India the entire congregation 
of a small and isolated church chose a nearby Hindu village 
to befriend. The pastor and his wife, a nurse, have gone to 
live in the village while his pastoral work is carried on by a 
stated supply. Efforts have been made to help the rural Chris- 
tians toward economic independence, especially in Pakistan, 
because of the partition of India and Pakistan. Projects for 
economic development have been undertaken in all areas. 
In the Punjab more than 200 Christian families were helped 
to lease government waste land and a tractor was taken into 


the area to break up the soil, and help was given in purchas- 
ing oxen and implements. 

For twenty years the North India Mission and the Punjab 
Mission had no voice in the determination of policy. All de- 
cisions were made by the Boards elected by the synods, but 
there has been some progress in integration. The changes in 
policy, which recognize the importance of the native church, 
do not indicate any intent to reduce the assistance to be 
given by the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. Nor is there any 
indication of a desire on the part of the United Church of 
Northern India that such assistance should decrease. 

Reports from self-supporting urban churches are encour- 
aging. Inquiries are received from the intelligentsia as to 
just what Christianity is. It is difficult to find candidates of 
ability and schooling for education for the ministry. The 
problem of religious education is great. There is large de- 
mand for Christian hospitals and dispensaries and it is not 
easy to secure workers. One hundred and eighty-two mission- 
aries under the Board of Foreign Missions are at work in 

In 1953 there were serious disturbances in Pakistan, but 
conditions have become much quieter. Emphasis has been 
laid on educational work, the development of trained lead- 
ers, extension of service, provision for public health nursing, 
the cultivation of youth, the establishment of new churches, 
provision for new and better schools, more scholarships, and 
better transportation facilities. 

There is the United Church in Pakistan, which is related 
to the General Assembly of the United Church of Northern 
India. The past and present relationships of the Church in 
India are illustrated by the fact that the United Church in 
Pakistan is related to the General Assembly of the United 
Church of Northern India, while seven presbyteries of the 
Punjab Synod of the United Presbyterian Church are a part 
of the United Presbyterian General Assembly in America. 


Schools and colleges are an important part of the work in 
Pakistan and there is need of Christian Pakistanis on the 
staff. The United Christian Hospital is manned by eighteen 
missionaries from eight mission groups, indicating again the 
new cooperation between the denominations. The progress 
of the gospel is here again illustrated by the fact that the en- 
tire permanent staff of the hospital is Christian and one- 
third of the patients cared for in the hospital are Christian. 
The other two-thirds illustrate the opportunity for Christian 
witness to non-Christian people in Pakistan. Thirty mission- 
ary personnel are provided by the Presbyterian Board for the 
work in Pakistan. 

The increase in political stability and absence of internal 
conflict in Iran recently offered renewed freedom for Chris- 
tian work. Foreign personnel have felt much more comfort- 
able. The Iran Mission has been endeavoring to meet the 
mood of cynicism and fear in Iran by a diverse program of 
Christian witness and service in collaboration with the Ira- 
nian Evangelical Church and a variety of additional institu- 
tions and projects. Effort has been made to strengthen the 
indigenous Church and to aid in the development of its 
leadership. The small native Church has been unable to pro- 
vide resources and leadership for the whole program, but a 
larger partnership has been developed between the Church 
and the Mission. Recently the Teheran Central Church has 
had its own national ordained pastor and one of the city 
churches outside Teheran has a regular ordained pastor. Un- 
ordained evangelists are doing effective work as acting pas- 
tors. The Mission and the Church work together in a pastors' 
training school and a summer training school for evangelists 
and lay workers. The Episcopal Church has shared in a large 
youth conference in southern Teheran. The spirit of service 
to others is illustrated in the women's association of Teheran 
contributing to the Children in Korea Fund, the Bible So- 
ciety, tuition for poor children in the church day school and 


the purchase of new hymnbooks for the church. The produc- 
tion and circulation of Christian literature is a cooperative 
enterprise of the Church Council of Iran in which the Epis- 
copal and Evangelical Churches share. 

Four hospitals have been carried on by the Presbyterian 
Mission in Iran. The missionary hospitals continue to be pio- 
neers in professional medical skills and in the spirit of con- 
cern and service as an expression of Christian love. An illus- 
tration of the opportunity of medical missions is the story of 
a boy of twelve who was brought to the Kermanshah hospital in 
a dying condition. He needed immediate blood transfusion. 
His father had the right type of blood, but refused to risk his 
life in a lost cause, for it was believed that the boy was dying. 
An older brother came forward and the transfusion was per- 
formed. The boy continued to breathe and the next day an- 
other transfusion resulted in his sitting up and smiling. He 
fully recovered and now patients come to the dispensary 
asking to see the doctor who takes blood from live people 
and with it brings the dead back to life. In the same hospital 
a patient with an incurable disease was a notorious atheist. 
He resisted the approach of an evangelist with curses. But 
later, in response to preaching in the ward, he asked the 
evangelist to pray for him and before he died he confessed 
his faith in the God of love in Christ. 

The Iranian Mission in cooperation with the Church, or 
with the assistance of members of the Church, carries on a 
variety of educational projects. In one of the educational pro- 
grams in Iran there were enrolled in one year 112 Moslems, 
48 Christians, 29 Jews, 19 Bahais, and five Zoroastrians. Here 
in Iran again the Mission's use of the funds from One Great 
Hour of Sharing in the United States enabled the emergency 
branch of Mission work to share in relief when summer 
cloudbursts resulted in loss of life and serious damage to 


Seventy-two missionary personnel have been supplied to 
Iran by the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions. 

Great changes have taken place in Iraq, or Mesopotamia, 
the country between the two rivers, the Tigris and the Eu- 
phrates. Many of these changes are due to the discovery of 
oil. Money from oil has made possible a wide scope of activ- 
ities, such as irrigation and drainage, highways, bridges and 
buildings, industry and mining, and agriculture. Similarly 
there have been great developments in the activities of the 
Christian Church and the United Mission in Iraq. A new 
building for the girls' school, a program for the Christian 
youth of the country, the effort to unify the existing churcnfcs 
composed of refugee remnants with different backgrounds 
and Moslems who have been won to Christ, all these con- 
tribute to the future hope of a strong integrated Christian 
Church in Iraq. This will call for enlighted national leader- 
ship which must be recruited largely from the country's 
youth. Evangelistic centers, Bible study groups, children's 
classes, and the identification of missionaries with the life of 
their neighbors contribute to this end. 

There have been conferences on Christian Unity in which 
all the Protestant groups of Iraq and the Persian Gulf prin- 
cipalities have shared. Bookshops, evangelists in villages who 
help the farmers by providing seed and stock and Bibles too, 
are means of meeting the needs of the people through Chris- 
tian service. The missionaries are facing the future with op- 
timism. The Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., has nine mission- 
ary personnel in Iraq. 

In Syria-Lebanon there has been much internal tension. 
The situation of Arab refugees has been the festering thorn 
in the body of the Near East and has affected its relation to 
the West. Through Church World Service and the One 
Great Hour of Sharing, Presbyterians have been making a 
significant contribution. Also the relations between the Mis- 
sion and che national Church have been improved. Helpful 


joint meetings of executive committees of Synod and the 
Mission have been held. The assignment of missionaries has 
become largely the responsibility of the Synod and the na- 
tional churches. National representatives on committees are 
elected by the Synod. The Cooperative Parish Program is a 
joint project. Assistance and financial aid in the Church's 
leadership training program are given by the Mission. The 
appointment of joint commissions to study integration is 
another evidence of progress. Also national representatives of 
educational institutions are chosen by the Synod. Much of 
the educational program has been taken over by the national 
Church. Projects have been planned for evangelism and so- 
cial service. Because of a sense of security, each year larger 
areas have been opened to agriculture. Reading rooms and 
Protestant student houses offer evangelistic opportunities. 
Projects in rural reconstruction also offer opportunities for 
the spread of the gospel. The use of literature has been em- 
phasized. Medical missions have been rendering a great serv- 
ice in this field. Flexibility is required in a Mission which 
covers two countries with varying conditions, and the nat- 
ural antipathy toward foreign activity has been met with 
Christian humility and patience. The Presbyterian Church, 
U.S.A., has 46 missionary personnel in Syria-Lebanon. 

Cameroun, West Africa, has a peculiar relationship to the 
Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., for it has two synods with nine 
presbyteries which are an integral part of the Church and 
report directly to the General Assembly. They are the Synods 
of Cameroun and Basa. 

In August 1954 the West African Mission at its annual 
meeting faced two startling facts. The first was that labor was 
thoroughly organized and influenced by Communist-con- 
trolled labor unions in France. The government's new labor 
code set up elaborate machinery for controlling employers, 
employees, wages, and working hours. Through organized 
labor and higher educational institutions the Communists 


planned to advance their cause. The Cameroun Christian 
College students were being supplied with Communist liter- 
ature from France, an indirect evidence that this Christian 
school is an obstacle to the Communist cause in this part of 
the world. 

The second revelation was the fact that the Roman Cath- 
olic Church was slowly but surely winning the loyalty and 
allegiance of the people of Cameroun. The plan of the Pres- 
byterian Mission through the years has been to develop a 
strong African leadership in order to enlarge and consolidate 
the spectacular growth of the Protestant Church between 
1900 and 1940. The Roman Catholic priests and teaching fa- 
thers now outnumber the Protestant missionaries four to 
one. New stations are well staffed and complete with beauti- 
ful churches, schools, and dispensaries, even in strong Prot- 
estant communities, and the lone African pastor in charge of 
a lowly bush center, ill-equipped and isolated, suffers by com- 
parison. In the Marian Year statues of the Virgin were car- 
ried in huge processions in every city, town, and village of 
Cameroun. The Protestant Church may well face the fact 
that in Spanish and French territories in West Africa the 
Roman Catholic Church is militantly on the offensive and is 
gaining ground rapidly. 

A third force must be recognized and met. This is the rise 
of nationalism. Africa for Africans is very much in the air. 
Foreign control is resented. Missionaries are likely to be 
linked with emissaries of foreign nations. The Church in 
Cameroun cannot ignore or avoid this struggle. It must try 
to guide the rise of nationalism into sane and constructive 
channels until Cameroun shall find freedom from fear, free- 
dom from want, and freedom from oppression. 

The Church and Mission in Cameroun, accordingly, have 
placed emphasis upon indigenization and consolidation. With 
the two synods of Cameroun and Basa which have been in 
existence, and a third being organized, the Cameroun Pres- 


byterian Church may become an independent body. The 
Church would take over all property rights for church build- 
ings and manses. 

For the first time in the history of the Mission church- 
appointed African delegates attended all sessions of the an- 
nual meeting of the Mission, and sat in committees as they 
met. Each major institution has an African to assist the mis- 
sionary in charge. It is not easy to find qualified persons to 
take over these responsibilities. 

Rural work needs to be developed. When young Carne- 
roun men go to France for study they often do not return 
and when they do, adjustments are difficult. The movement 
is toward the cities, which leaves the villages much as they 
were when the first missionaries arrived in the country. 
Gains in the rural areas have been lost in the commercial 
centers. While not ceasing to minister to the rural areas, it 
is imperative that a new effort be made to reach the young 
people in the cities. 

One of the greatest forces for right in Cameroun in recent 
years has been the ever-growing movement among the women 
of the Church. Some of them ventured into the presence of 
a polygamist chief where all the men were sitting. In spite of 
a cold reception they found opportunity to talk about Jesus. 
As a result the chief sent for the evangelist at the Mission 
and confessed faith in Christ. He united with the church and 
released all his women but one. He and several of his sons 
attended catechism classes. 

Three forces are struggling for the conquest of Africa- 
Communism, the Crucifix and all it symbolizes, and the liv- 
ing Christ. The Presbyterian Board maintains 119 workers 
in Cameroun. 

It may surprise some Presbyterians to learn that the Board of 
Foreign Missions supports 17 workers in Europe. The Chris- 
tian Church in Europe has been a spur to the continent's 
rethinking its destiny. Laymen and politicians who did not 


take the Church seriously have begun to give consideration 
to it. The Evanston Assembly, the members of which were 
carefully selected in the various nations, was widely reported 
when the delegates returned home. They were given a sense 
of the unity of Christians. Presbyterian Inter-Church Service 
in Europe has been in touch with this ecumenical process 
since it acted directly and indirectly through the World 
Council of Churches in the different countries. Most of this 
service has been in the relief of need. Four young Presby- 
terians were at work among refugees, helping to resettle peo- 
ple whose homes had disappeared. Presbyterians worked 
alongside their fellow Protestants in the tiny churches in 
Portugal and Spain where the field is fertile but terribly re- 
stricted. The Portuguese Presbyterian Church has been es- 
tablished as an autonomous national Church. Protestant 
Spaniards continue to grow in number and in congregations 
and in unity. Presbyterian Inter-Church Service, along with 
others, works among Protestant minorities in Belgium, 
France, Italy, Yugoslavia, and Greece. Among the emergen- 
cies helped by the Board through the One Great Hour of 
Sharing of the Presbyterian Church were earthquakes in 
Greece and droughts and floods in Yugoslavia. Medicines 
were provided in an emergency in Eastern Europe. Two 
thousand persons were reached by contributions from U.S.A. 

Brazil is a huge land. The Roman Catholic Church is be- 
stirring itself to discredit the Evangelical cause. In the 
Amazon region there has been persecution, destruction of 
churches, and pastors put to flight. 

In Brazil is the largest Latin Protestant community in the 
world. New communities in the vast interior are open to the 
gospel while in the great cities Evangelical congregations are 
numbered by the hundreds. It is estimated that there are 
more than two million Protestants in Brazil. 

The Central Brazil Mission of the Presbyterian Church 


and the Presbyterian Church of Brazil have gone their sep- 
arate ways for decades. The need of cooperation is felt and 
a conference of the national Church, the Missions of the 
Presbyterian Church, U.S., and of the Presbyterian Church, 
U.S.A., was planned. As a result an Inter-Presbyterian Coun- 
cil was set up, composed of twelve Brazilians, six members of 
the Presbyterian, U.S.A., Mission and six members from the 
Presbyterian, U.S., Mission, again illustrating the Presby- 
terian principle of working together in a common cause. 

The majority of Presbyterian missionaries are in the inte- 
rior of the country, doing itinerary evangelistic work by 
jeep, plane, and mule. This has proved a fruitful ministry. 
Medical service is also carried on as well as educational in- 
stitutions. Seventy-three representatives of the Presbyterian 
Board are active in Brazil. 

In Chile inflation had greatly increased the cost of living 
and efforts to change the situation have served only to in- 
crease the problem. Without increase of wages the cost of 
living has gone up. The effect of this upon the Evangelical 
churches has been disastrous. At the same time the Presby- 
tery of Chile has set for itself the task of becoming self-sup- 
porting before 1960. While the proposal is that the contri- 
bution of the Board toward the support of pastors be 
gradually reduced, thus far no reductions in the number of 
pesos contributed by the Board have been made, but the in- 
creased cost of living reduces the purchasing power of this 
money. As a solution to this problem an endeavor is being 
made to increase the membership of the churches through 
men's, women's, and young people's organizations. There 
were 13 active pastors, one licentiate, and one student serv- 
ing in 23 churches in a recent year. 

Colegio David Trumbull, a primary school with over 
eighty years of ministry in the area of education, and with 
two hundred boys and girls in six grades, has had a great 
Christian influence in Chile. 


The Maternidad Madre e Hi jo is under the complete con- 
trol of the presbytery and Chilean management and the hos- 
pital has been well patronized. Two Presbyterian mission- 
aries give generously of their time to the Baby Dispensary 
at Vista al Mar, and the institution receives a small grant 
from the Board. Girls and boys from mining camps in the 
interior find a Christian atmosphere in the Antofagasta Stu- 
dent Home. The experiment of developing a self-propagat- 
ing, self-supporting, self-governing Church in Chile calls for 
patience and prayer. 

Dictatorship and persecution have made Protestant work 
in Colombia difficult. The Presbyterian Mission in Colom- 
bia centers in the large institutions located in Bogota and 
Barranquilla. A little over 2,000 boys and girls are enrolled. 
This is a significant contribution to a country in which the 
government's educational establishments are adequate for 
less than half the children of school age. Government restric- 
tions make the work difficult, but parents are appreciative. 

In the Mission schools there are regular chapel services 
and courses in the Bible and religion. There are seventeen 
primary schools under the direction of the Colombia Church. 
They receive money and personnel help from the Mission. 
The Mission also conducts clinics which are well equipped 
for medical service. The independence of the Presbyterian 
Synod of Colombia is increasing. 

Persecution bulletins issued from time to time are sent to 
Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders in an endeavor to 
reveal the true situation in regard to religious liberty in 
Colombia. The response to the gospel, in spite of opposition, 
repression, and persecution on the part of state officials, is 
encouraging. Protestant churches have been bombed and 
burned. The Board has 43 workers in Colombia. 

In Venezuela there is an organized Presbytery. Some young 
men in training for the ministry have been receiving their 
theological education in the Theological Seminary at Ma- 


tanzas, Cuba. The churches have been gradually increasing 
their contributions to the missionary funds of the presbytery. 
The large church in Caracas has been reaching out through 
Sunday Schools and preaching points. Emphasis has been 
placed upon evangelism. Young people have been enlisted 
in this effort. Even vacation church schools have been or- 
ganized. The Ocumare Project for Christian Rural Develop- 
ment ended its five-year period with significant accomplish- 
ments. A full-scale dispensary service was established. The 
Colegio Americano in Caracas served 500 children and young 
people of the city. The elementary school teachers, full-time 
employees of the school, are all Evangelical Protestants. An 
Evangelical book-store, the only one of its kind in Caracas, 
sold in a year almost 7,000 pieces of literature. "Prospects for 
the future are as bright as the promises of God." There are 
13 representatives of the Board of Foreign Missions in Vene- 

Four mission boards of different denominations unitedly 
sponsor the work of the United Andean Indian Mission. 
They are the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian 
Church, U.S.A., the Board of International Missions of the 
Evangelical and Reformed Church, the Department of World 
Missions of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, and 
the Board of World Missions of the Presbyterian Church, 

An agriculturist was sponsored by the Presbyterian, U.S.A., 
Board. Two nurses and a fourth couple specializing in agri- 
culture have entered the field. There are ten missionaries 
in the Mission working in two stations. An evangelist has 
been conducting services at the farm and in neighboring 
villages. Bible classes are conducted. Eroded soil will be 
reclaimed and equipment for its cultivation sold or rented 
to the Indians at reasonable rates. A student aid program 
will help qualified Indians to attend a government normal 
school. A Mission residence and student center have been 


provided near the normal school where Bible courses will 
be offered and other services provided. The majority of the 
Indians in the Andean country are still illiterate, but Protes- 
tants have begun to recognize the challenge of these Indians 
in the Andes. 

In Guatemala the Communist-dominated Arbenz govern- 
ment recently fell and the dictatorship of Armas came into 
power. Armas came out for freedom of worship and the 
equality of all religions before the law. Protestants therefore 
breathed more easily. The Presbyterian Synod of Guatemala 
is the third in size among the Presbyterian Church of South 
America. Brazil and Mexico are larger. The Synod has five 
presbyteries. In addition to 150 churches and groups there 
are more places where Christians meet regularly for worship. 
The Church is outstandingly evangelistic, each church hav- 
ing several preaching points where, under the leadership of 
Guatemalan elders and other church members, the gospel is 
regularly preached. The Mission assists the Guatemalan 
Synod through financial aid and the services of the mission- 
aries, such as moderators of churches, conducting institutes 
and evangelistic campaigns. Soon the fifty-seventh anniver- 
sary of the opening of Protestant work in Guatemala will be 
celebrated. The Mission maintains a training school for 
Christian workers, of which a Guatemalan pastor has been 
dean. The missionaries are engaged in work for Indians, in 
Bible translation, in the preparation of hymnbooks and Sun- 
day school literature in the language of the Indian churches. 
In Guatemala the Mam Center's "Whole-of-Life" program 
includes literacy work, a primary school for children, agri- 
culture, sanitation, and a clinic. The medical work helps to 
counteract the influence of witch doctors. From the Center 
missionaries go to villages as a team, holding meetings, 
preaching, teaching, and seeking to improve every phase of 
life. Conferences, retreats, and training schools for young 
people which present the challenge of Christ for their lives 


are to some extent subsidized by the Board. The American 
Hospital in Guatemala City is the largest medical work con- 
ducted by the Mission. The hospital has for some time been 
operating at full capacity. 

Aside from some fifteen rural primary schools the educa- 
tional effort of the Mission centers in Norton Hall in Guate- 
mala City and La Patria School in Quezaltenango. During 
the absence of the missionary principal, Norton Hall was 
very successfully administered by the Guatemalan head 
teacher. Education in Guatemala presents real difficulties. In 
a year in which it changed from a Communist stronghold to 
a military dictatorship, the Presbyterian Mission continued 
aid to the Presbyterian Church of Guatemala. The Presby- 
terian Board of Foreign Missions has maintained a personnel 
of 33 in the Mission. 

Mexico has been enjoying an era of free institutions and 
rapid material development. The President has convinced 
the people of his devotion to the public welfare, his sim- 
plicity, and his honesty. Only Mexico and Costa Rica in the 
Caribbean area have governments established by free demo- 
cratic elections. The appeal of Communism has been lessened 
without restrictions on Communist propaganda, according 
to competent observers. 

The Presbyterian Church of Mexico has its own General 
Assembly. The missionary work of the Presbyterian Church, 
U.S.A., is largely in projects in which the two Churches co- 
operate, which include evangelism, leadership training, and 
agricultural and medical work. Missionaries are establishing 
new churches and strengthening established ones. 

The Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Mexico City 
is an institution of the Mexican Presbyterian Church, but 
the Mission cooperates through a full-time missionary couple 
on the faculty and by a financial grant. The Rural Seminary 
in Yucatan trains leaders among the Mayan people. From the 
evangelistic program have come a large number of churches 


and groups. The Bible Institute of the Southeast in Xocen- 
pich has had an ever-increasing influence. Graduates of the 
Institute who have served at least five years and show ability 
are selected for the Rural Seminary. While the seminary 
is under the Mexican Church and Mexican pastors teach 
various subjects, its continuance is made possible by a grant 
from the Mission and the devoted labors of one of the 
Board's missionary couples who make this their major as- 
signment. One of the Presbyterian missionaries has devoted 
a year to the completion of the translation of the Bible into 
Mayan for the American Bible Society. 

The Mission also assists in Bible Institutes. Our mission- 
aries are also engaged in the work of the Turner Hodge 
School in Merida, Yucatan. The Mission has one family giv- 
ing full time to agricultural work, for the improvement of 
poultry and fruit and nut trees, and for developing Christian 
rural community life. The Mexican Presbyterian Church 
has made distinct progress and the Presbyterian Mission con- 
tinues to work with this growing Church. The Presbyterian 
Board has 26 workers in this field. 

Reference has already been made to medical work in vari- 
ous countries. This should be emphasized as one of the great 
contributions of Christianity to the various lands in which 
Presbyterians have Missions. So much progress has been made 
in the treatment of leprosy that the head of the American 
Leprosy Missions, a former Presbyterian missionary, recently 
predicted that in twenty years the disease could be brought 
under control. Presbyterian missions led in the establishment 
of the present-day caring for more than 6,000 patients in 
Africa, India, Thailand, and Iran. Financial support is now 
provided by American Leprosy Missions, Inc., while the Pres- 
byterian Board supplies the time and service of their mis- 
sionaries. In Cameroun and Thailand, however, American 
Leprosy Missions assumes full support of two doctors and a 
director. A young Christian medical missionary devised a 


hand operation which has literally made new hands out of 
crippled ones, and useful citizens out of crippled men and 
women. Presbyterian doctors have already started these oper- 
ations in the hospital at Elat in Cameroun. Similar treatment 
is given in the Leprosy Home in Thailand. Recently evan- 
gelistic opportunities among the patients in Colombia have 
been welcomed by a Presbyterian missionary. The leper work 
in various countries has won appreciation and help from 
people who have seen the service rendered by this mission- 
ary enterprise. 

It is a great undertaking for the Board of Foreign Mis- 
sions to keep the Church informed concerning the gigantic 
task which it is performing in so many places and in so many 
ways. This is done through literature, films, and other means. 
It seeks to interpret its work to young people, to secure sup- 
port for special projects. It appeals to the Church and to 
individual Presbyterians, and through various publications 
and leaflets makes its work known. The Board has shared 
with other denominations in the production of literature of 
various kinds and of films that tell the story of the mission 

The United Presbyterian Church has a long history of 
missionary work in foreign fields. It has concentrated upon 
a few fields in which it has done pioneer work and pressed 
on to a broad and intensive program. The writer recalls with 
deep appreciation his visit to Tanta, Egypt, at the time of 
the World's Sunday School Convention in Jerusalem in 1904. 
One of his classmates in college was J. Howard Boyd, who 
was sent to Egypt by the United Presbyterian Board. In 
Tanta he saw a missionary hospital in action. From the roof 
he could see many villages, all of which were non-Christian. 
They were visited by missionaries with their spirit of friend- 
ship and eagerness for the spread of the gospel. Regular 
church services were held in Tanta in the native language 
and with a native minister as pastor. A Bible class for young 


students was conducted in Rev. Boyd's home. Later a young 
woman, a member of the writer's home church, went to Alex- 
andria to teach commercial courses in the school there under 
the United Presbyterian Board. 

The United Presbyterian Church recently celebrated "one 
hundred years of witness and work/' It, like the Presbyterian 
Church, U.S.A., has been facing a world in transition. It has 
had one hundred years of missionary work in Egypt and 
Pakistan-India. It also has Missions in Ethiopia, North 
Sudan, and in the Upper Nile (South Sudan). It has estab- 
lished stations, built schools, organized converts into churches, 
and carried on missionary work of which the denomination 
may well be proud. 

World Missions of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., includes 
work in Africa, East, North, and West Brazil, Formosa, 
Japan, Korea, Mexico, Portugal and Ecuador. The mission- 
aries to China are being held in America. The work in Portu- 
gal and Ecuador has been cooperative. 



A I HE SITS at his desk, the writer can in a few minutes 
of recollection go through over seventy years of experi- 
ences that are related to the present work of the Board of 
Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. 
They could be paralleled by other Presbyterians in relation 
to their denominational boards. As he reviews these experi- 
ences he would like to guide the reader in imagination 
through similar experiences, bringing into a few minutes 
happenings in the life of a person today. This imaginary 
person might, for the most part, be either boy or girl growing 
into manhood or womanhood, but for our purpose let us 
imagine a male Presbyterian going through the many ex- 
periences of life. 

His birth has been prepared for by his parents* marriage 
in which the minister has used the marriage service from the 
Book of Common Worship published by the Board of Chris- 
tian Education. Their marriage certificate is in a little mar- 
riage booklet presented by the minister, also published by 
the Board. They have also been using a little devotional 



monthly magazine called Today, with Scripture, a thought 
for the day, and a prayer to use together. While kept from 
church attendance the parents have used the Home Depart- 
ment Quarterly for Bible study. 

Soon after the arrival of the new life in the home, arrange- 
ments are made for the Sacrament of Baptism, and in due 
time, with other parents, they present their child for this 
ceremony which makes their child a covenant member of 
the Church. In this service the minister again uses the Book 
of Common Worship. An eager representative of the church 
invites the parents to place their child's name on the Nursery 
Roll. When they enroll their little son they will use the new 
comprehensive program designed to bring the parents and 
their child into the proper and deserved place in the Church 
and the Kingdom of God. The parents are given a series of 
First Books for the Nursery by visitors from the church, or 
when the boy becomes two years old and he attends the 
Nursery Class in the church, materials are sent home with 
him. These provide guidance in play, the story of Jesus, 
the garden as a means of Christian nurture, and family life. 
For leaders of children's groups in which the children have 
reached the age of three, there is a book, When They Are 
Three. This book is planned to help the leader to make the 
little child feel at home in the church and to grow religiously 
through plans for each day. Stories are provided for telling 
and songs for singing. Each quarter a new book is given to 
the child to take home for his parents to read to him as they 
carry on activities planned for Christian nurture. 

So, as the child grows from year to year, he passes through 
the various grades and finds given to him wonderful books 
planned to meet his needs, and he discovers that his teachers 
have special material to guide the pupils in their classes. His 
parents, too, have magazines that help them in the partner- 
ship between the home and the Church in Christian educa- 


Envelopes are given to him, similar to those given to 
members of the church. His are for the Youth Budget, and 
each week, like his father and mother, he presents his offer- 
ing for the support of the work of the Church and he feels 
that he is a part of the Christian fellowship. So he receives 
his education in Christian stewardship. 

He finds himself in the summer enrolled in a Vacation 
Church School with its interesting program, the materials 
for which are supplied by the Board of Christian Education. 

He learns that the public school, because of the separa- 
tion of Church and State, cannot include the teaching of the 
Christian religion in its curriculum, so he finds himself en- 
rolled in a Week Day School, which in some places meets in 
a church near the school on released school time, or in other 
places after school. If he knew the story of this movement he 
would know that the Presbyterian Church has done much 
pioneering in this phase of Christian education. 

When he decides to become a communicant member of 
the Church he attends a communicants' class so that he will 
be prepared for this new relationship. He will use a course 
prepared by the Board of Christian Education. 

As a youth he becomes a member of the Westminster 
Fellowship which meets for worship, study, and service, with 
a program and materials developed by the Board of Christian 
Education through a long process of conference, planning, 
and publication. 

At some time in his youth during the summer he has the 
wonderful experience of going to a summer camp held under 
the auspices of the Church, plans for which were made and 
promoted by the Board of Christian Education. Later he at- 
tends a summer conference where his spiritual life is deep- 
ened and he resolves to give his life to Christian service. He 
discovers that here, too, the Board of Christian Education 
has taken a leading part in the development of the confer- 
ence program and the materials to help in carrying it out. 


Perhaps now he is sent to the Westminster Fellowship 
National Assembly, where with 1,700 other representatives, 
young people meet with their advisers for a week of serious 
study of world and national and local problems facing the 
Church, and where they engage in Bible study and worship 
and hear stimulating messages. The Westminster Fellowship 
National Council speaks to him through Our Job., edited by 
the Director of Young People's Work of the Board of Chris- 
tian Education. 

During his Church School days he developed an interest 
in reading. In the various grades he found illustrated papers 
with their good and helpful literature. These papers were 
published by the Board. But he wanted also some good books 
to read. For him and for girls as well he found that the Board 
of Christian Education published many outstanding books of 
fiction for boys and girls and young people, books which 
were true to life, inspired in him Christian ideals, and were 
of real interest. 

Near the close of his high school career he has to face the 
future. He has discovered that there are some forty or more 
colleges related to the Presbyterian Church, where he can 
pursue his education in an atmosphere of Christian faith and 
fellowship. He has also discovered that if he wishes to attend 
a university he will find a campus ministry promoted by 
the Department of Campus Christian Life of the Board of 
Christian Education. In institutions large enough to justify 
it, there are Presbyterian university pastors to work with the 
students. In 1954 the National Association of University 
Pastors met for a week at Center College, Kentucky, with 
similar representatives of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., at 
which there were representatives from Pakistan, the Philip- 
pines, Switzerland, France, and Puerto Rico. In a recent year 
$400,000 was contributed through the Board for this uni- 
versity work. 

When the time came for a decision concerning his life 


work, the young man whose experience we are considering 
got in touch with the Department of Vocation of the Board 
of Christian Education and arranged for a conference with 
the Church Vocations Counselor, who faced his problem with 
him and gave him tests that revealed his aptitudes and latent 

If he should decide to enter the ministry, he has nine theo- 
logical seminaries of the Presbyterian Church to which he 
can go, making his choice upon the basis of geographical 
location and on other grounds. There is a close relationship 
between these seminaries and the Board, but they are directly 
related to the Council of Theological Education. Three of 
these seminaries provide training for professional leadership 
in addition to the ministry. 

In facing the problems of education, finances must be 
considered. He is unable completely to support himself in 
college or seminary. What can he do? He can get in touch 
with the Board of Christian Education through the presby- 
tery to which he applies as a student preparing for the gospel 
ministry or for other professional Church service and secure 
assistance from the Service Loan Fund. This fund in a recent 
year gave financial aid to almost four hundred students pre- 
paring for the ministry, 27 for director of Christian educa- 
tion, five for director of church music, one for church social 
worker, 11 for medical missions, one for missionary nurse, 
and 10 other missionaries, making a total of over 450. The 
amount of money provided was over 70,000 dollars. 

Let us suppose that the man whose experience we are re- 
viewing does not decide to enter the ministry, but returns 
to his home church or settles in another community where 
he finds employment. He is now an adult. In the church he 
finds a number of organizations. One of these is a chapter 
of the National Council of Presbyterian Men, and for his 
wife there is a women's organization related to the National 
Council of Presbyterian Women's Organizations. He finds 


also an Adult Bible Class. A copy of Cross Roads is given to 
him and this he finds to be a study and program magazine 
for adults. Opening its pages he discovers general articles of 
interest to Christian adults, a study section presenting three 
possible courses. One of these is the adult portion of the 
"Faith and Life Curriculum," one a study of he Uniform 
Lesson series, and one, "The Christian Round Table," based 
upon a book which is to be studied and discussed. A class 
can choose which material it wishes to use. He finds that the 
teacher of the class has for his preparation also The West- 
minster Teacher with help for all the courses and general 
articles for his nurture as a Christian and as a leader. 

His interest in Bible study is kindled and he wishes to 
have a book which will throw light upon Biblical history, 
geography, customs, and so forth. He finds that the Board 
of Christian Education has published an outstanding book, 
The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible. 

After a time we can imagine our friend elected to the 
eldership or to be a deacon. He is ordained and installed by 
the minister, using the Book of Common Worship, and in 
his hands is placed a copy of Presbyterian Law for the Local 
Church, written by the Stated Clerk of the General Assem- 
bly and published by the Publication Division of the Board 
of Christian Education. 

Our friend is eager to increase his knowledge so he exam- 
ines the catalog of the Westminster Press, a phase of the 
work of the Board of Christian Education. The purpose of 
the Press is to contribute to the entire Christian Church in 
its continuing virility and growth of Christian thought, at 
the same time serving the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. It 
seeks to promote and foster research., study, and discussion 
in all phases of Christian faith and life. It constantly keeps 
in mind the service of the larger field. 

Some of the men in the church have been concerned about 
such matters as desegregation of the races, the growing num- 


her of alcoholics, international affairs, migratory farm labor, 
and some community problems. An elder who attended the 
General Assembly had a copy of the Blue Book in which 
was the report of the Department of Social Education and 
Action to the Assembly, and he mentioned some of the 
items included in it, such as Christian citizenship, interna- 
tional affairs, the United Nations, disarmament, foreign aid, 
military training and service, peaceful use of atomic energy, 
the crisis in the Far East, freedom and civil liberty. It is 
decided to subscribe to Social Progress,, the magazine pub- 
lished by the Department of Social Education and Action 
of the Board of Christian Education, and to write for ma- 
terial on one or two subjects in which they are just now espe- 
cially interested. It is discovered that "hot" subjects are not 
evaded, but that an effort is made to suggest Christian solu- 
tions to the various problems without being dictatorial or 
unmindful of room for difference of opinion. 

When the subject of missions comes up, it is discovered 
that there is what is called the Missionary Education Move- 
ment and that Presbyterians and other denominations share 
in planning and publishing a series of books for different 
ages, dealing with the subject chosen for the year. The Board 
of Christian Education has a Director of Missionary Educa- 
tion on its staff. 

Only a much longer chapter could do justice to the breadth 
and length and value of the Board of Christian Education to 
the growth of those who are in the fellowship of its denomi- 

It will be instantly recognized by any thoughtful person 
that the service which this Board renders to the Church will 
require wise organization and a competent staff. 

To see the Board's organization we need to have in view 
the Board itself, the headquarters staff, and its field force. 

The Board is directly under the supervision of the Gen- 
eral Assembly and responsible to it. It consists of thirty-six 


representative members and includes both men and women. 
They are nominated to and elected by the General Assembly. 
These members of the Board receive no salaries in payment 
for their services, but their expenses in connection with meet- 
ings are defrayed. The Board receives full reports of the 
plans and activities of the staff and can give any directions 
it desires. The staff is responsible to the Board and the 
Board is responsible to the General Assembly. The Board 
has a President, elected by the Board, two Vice-Presidents, 
and a Recording Secretary. It is divided into committees to 
which the various departments report and these committees 
report to the Board at its regular meetings. In this way the 
work as a whole is reviewed in detail by the members of 
committees and in general by the Board as a whole. 

Under the Board is a staff. Its members have been chosen 
for their various positions with great care. Many of them 
have had experience as pastors and so they understand the 
problems of the local church. Many have had special courses 
in college or elsewhere and experience to fit them for their 
particular responsibilities. 

The program of the Board is being constantly studied and 
from time to time changes are made in the staff organization 
for the increase of efficiency. Changes may be under consid- 
eration as this is written and at any time there may be slight 
reorganization within the staff without disrupting the work. 
The following outline of organization, however, will provide 
all the information necessary for an intelligent appreciation 
of a great task and its performance. 

First there are the General Offices, with a General Secre- 
tary, an Assistant General Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Gen- 
eral Manager of the General Division of Publications. 

The Board in its work needs to keep in close touch with 
the churches which it seeks to serve. Mutual understanding 
and cordial relations and hearty support need to be main- 


tained. So there is the Department of Church Promotional 

Within the Board, with a staff so large, the problem of 
securing employees and maintaining proper relations among 
them is great indeed, so there is the Central Department of 
Personnel and Office Management. 

There is the Women's Department related to the activities 
of women throughout the Church. To keep in touch with 
the field there are Assistant Secretaries in the Eastern Area, 
the Central Area, the West-Central Area, and the Western 

There is a Department of Social Education and Action 
which studies social problems in their great variety and pre- 
pares materials to help the churches to meet these problems 
in their localities. 

The Board is a Board of Education which has to be unified 
in its great variety of services and operations, so there is a 
General Division of Education. This division operates 
through a number of departments. 

There is also a Division of Program Development. In this 
Division are the trained specialists in various phases of the 
educational program of the churches, such as children's work, 
young people's work, and adult work, and such special fields 
as camping. There is also a Division of Curriculum Devel- 
opment with editors responsible for planning, securing 
manuscripts and editing them for the various publications 
for the age groups. All these work together in planning the 
program and in the creation of materials. 

It is in the front lines that the battle with ignorance, in- 
difference, and evil must be fought, so there is a Division 
of Field Services which seeks to reach out through every 
possible channel into local situations with a helping hand 
motivated by a sympathetic heart and guided by an under- 
standing mind. A great many Field Directors of Christian 
Education scattered through the various areas are related 


to this Department of Field Work. This is like the circula- 
tory system in the human body. The heart sends its life 
blood to every part to build it up. So the vital program of 
the Board reaches each section of the Church with its service. 

The Board of National Missions has its task throughout 
the country. The programs of the Board of Christian Edu- 
cation and of the Board of National Missions are so closely 
related in the field that a Field Service Commission has been 
organized with representatives of both boards and the De- 
partment of Stewardship and Promotion of the General 
Council. Common problems are thus faced and solved. To- 
gether they maintain Interboard Commission Field Repre- 
sentatives who represent both Boards and their programs in 
their assigned fields. 

In the Board of Christian Education there is a General 
Division of Higher Education with its three departments: 
the Department of Colleges, the Department of Campus 
Christian Life, and the Department of Vocations. So the 
Board is related to the Presbyterian colleges, to the univer- 
sity and college campuses, and to enlisting and guiding 
young people into Christian service. 

One of the Board's General Divisions, and one which in 
itself is a great business organization with a large number 
of staff members and employees, is the General Division of 
Publication. In this division lies responsibility for the publi- 
cation of religious books, trade books, story papers, and the 
publication and promotion of the Church School curriculum. 
It has within itself a Division of Procurement, a Division 
of Sales, and a Division of Advertising. Only one who has 
had close relationship with this General Division of Publi- 
cation can appreciate the gigantic size of its task and the 
efficiency with which it is performed. Seeing printed ma- 
terials through the various steps of contracts, advertising, 
designing, copy-editing, illustrating, proof reading, selling 
and distributing, all of this amounts to big business indeed. 


The excess working capital of the Publication Division is 
used to create reserves for Board emergencies, and to finance 
special projects not yet covered by the giving of the churches 
to the General Assembly Benevolence Budget. 

Finally, there is the Office of the Treasury through which 
all money from every source passes and is handled according 
to the directions of the Board and the requirements of the 
Board's program. 

Each year the Board makes a report to the General Assem- 
bly through the Standing Committee on the Board of Chris- 
tian Education. 

The United Presbyterian Church has a program of Chris- 
tian Education similar to that of the Presbyterian Church, 
U.S.A., which has been described. It is concerned with Chris- 
ian Education in the home and the church, with the develop- 
ment of curricula, with the training of leaders, with higher 
education in the colleges, such as Sterling, Tarkio, Mon- 
mouth, Muskingum, and Westminster. It has given special 
attention to children's work, youth work, adult work, mis- 
sionary education, and publication. It is alert to the possi- 
bilities of audio-visual educational materials. 

The Presbyterian Church, U.S., having come from the 
same roots and being originally part of the Presbyterian 
Church, U.S.A., has the same Constitution, and has devel- 
oped a similar program along its own lines to meet its own 
needs. One of its outstanding achievements is the establish- 
ment of Montreat with its splendid facilities for conferences, 
summer schools, camps, and a great variety o assemblies in 
the interest of the Church. The General Assembly's Training 
School for lay workers is one of the important contributions 
to the Church's preparation for effective service. The Church 
has emphasized Men's Work as well as the work of the 
women. Its seminaries are of high standing, such as Austin, 
Columbia, Louisville, and Union. Its program for education 
in the local church is well developed. 



IN THE EARLY days of the eighteenth century certain 
needs were on the conscience of the young Church. There 
was need of funds for the support of the preaching of the 
gospel in needy locations and provision for places of worship. 
There was also need of care for retired and incapacitated 
ministers and their families and for their widows and or- 
phans. A Fund for Pious Purposes was organized and is men- 
tioned in the Minutes of the Synod of Philadelphia in 1717 
and reference to this fund occurs again and again from year 
to year. Some funds were received from Scotland for this 
work and the churches were urged again and again to make 
contributions to the Fund. There was frequent lament be- 
cause the churches failed to do their share in this respect. 
In 1759 the Widows' Fund was established for the relief 
of poor Presbyterian ministers and ministers' widows and 
children, and an application for a charter was authorized. 
In 1771 a corporation for the relief of poor and distressed 
Presbyterian ministers, their widows and children, was 
formed with careful specifications for membership and regu- 
lar payments to the fund. Many ministers, however, did not 



avail themselves of the benefits of this plan and it was re- 
ported that the plan was imperiled because the funds were 
not sufficient to make the proposed payments to widows. 
This is noted in the Minutes of the New York and Philadel- 
phia Synod of 1787. 

In 1849 the General Assembly took this action: "In order 
to constitute a fund for the support of widows and families 
of deceased ministers and for the relief of superannuated and 
disabled living ministers it is hereby enjoined upon all the 
Synods and Presbyteries to take such action as may secure 
a contribution annually." Direction was also given to add a 
column to the statistical reports for these contributions "as 
recommended by the presbyteries as the funds for Domestic 
Missions, Education and Church Extension are now." The 
principal was to be safely invested by the Board of Trustees 
of the General Assembly and interest added to the general 
fund provided for in the resolution. 

The first annual report of the Trustees of the General 
Assembly in relation to "Disabled Ministers, etc." was made 
at the meeting of 1856. At the Assembly of 1864 a report of 
the Trustees of the Fund for Disabled Ministers in Need 
and Orphans of Deceased Ministers was made with an appeal 
for annual support by contributions made by the churches. 

Some in the Church were desirous of having a more ade- 
quate plan for the care of ministers and their families in time 
of need and two presbyteries sent overtures to the General 
Assembly looking in that direction. In 1874 a Standing 
Committee was appointed to study the matter. It reported 
in 1875 and the Board of Ministerial Relief was organized 
in 1876. The Board was to consist of twelve members and a 
Secretary and Treasurer, these two officers ex officio members 
of the Board, and steps were to be taken to incorporate under 
the laws of the State of Pennsylvania. The first report of the 
new Board was made to the Assembly in 1877. 

In 1888 a Centenary Fund was established to secure sup- 


port for the agencies of the Church in which the Board 
of Ministerial Relief was to share. 

There was in the Church a desire for a plan which would 
provide for retired ministers or their widows and orphans 
on a more permanent basis. This was brought to the General 
Assembly. The plan included payments by the ministers and 
at the age of seventy, and after thirty-one years of service 
the retired minister would receive an annual sum of not over 
300 dollars. Disabled ministers and widows and orphans 
would also receive payments. 

This plan was a kind of forerunner of the Ministerial 
Sustentation Fund which had its roots in a committee ap- 
pointed by the General Assembly of 1902, which led to the 
organization of the Fund in 1909. The Board of Relief and 
the Sustentation Fund were combined and a report of the 
combined boards was made in 1918. 

The Church was still not satisfied with its provision for 
the needs of its ministers and their families, so a plan was 
proposed which would provide a real pension system to 
which both the ministers and the churches would contribute 
on an actuarial basis. Accordingly, the Service Pension Plan 
was established in 1927, to be administered by the Board of 
Pensions which also administers Ministerial Relief and Sus- 

The Service Pension Plan provides a real pension system. 
At first the minister paid two and a half per cent of his salary 
each year and the church paid seven and a half per cent. As 
interest on investments declined and new information on the 
age of ministers at death was accumulated, the rate was 
changed in 1942 to three per cent for the minister and eight 
per cent for the churches, and on January 1, 1952, in order to 
provide additional benefits, the churches' share was raised to 
nine per cent, making the annual payment 12 per cent of 
the minister's salary. 

In 1955 ministers became eligible for Government Social 


Security as self-employed. The Board then urged ministers 
to take advantage of Social Security while still maintaining 
their membership in the Pension Plan. The churches were 
urged to assume full responsibility for payments to the Pen- 
sion Board, thus making it easier for the minister himself 
to make payments to Social Security as required by law. In 
this way the minister or his widow or his children will have 
the advantage of both the pension provided by the Church 
and the Society Security provided by the Government. 

The Board of Pensions consists of twenty-one members 
elected by the General Assembly. They serve without remu- 
neration. The Board has a President, a First Vice-President, 
and a Second Vice-President, It has an Advisory Counsel 
consisting of specialists in actuarial matters, in investment, 
in law, and in medicine. It is staffed by an Executive Vice- 
President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Director of the 
Division of Welfare Agencies. Its General Offices are in 

The responsibilities of the Pension Board will be appre- 
ciated if we know that in 1955 the assets of the Board were 
$88,000,000. There were 9,910 members of the Pension Plan 
not yet drawing pensions, but paying into the Fund, 1,635 
pensioners, 185 disabled annuitants, 1,876 widows, 219 or- 
phans, making a total of 13,823. In the Sustentation De- 
partment, carrying over the responsibilities of the Sustentation 
Plan, there were 128 not yet receiving pensions from that 
department, 724 receiving pensions, 47 disabled annuitants, 
and one orphan, making a total of 1,654 in that department. 
In the Accumulations Department there were 167 pension- 
ers, and in Relief 29 pensioners, 265 widows, and five or- 
phans, making a total of 299, and a grand total of 16,419 
enrolled as members or as receiving funds from the Board. 
In a recent year the Board paid over $2,409,436 in benefits 
to beneficiaries of the Pension Plan. 

For this work a staff of approximately sixty is required. In 


addition to the home office, there are three field offices, in 
Chicago, in St. Louis, and in Los Angeles. 

The Board in its alertness has rendered service in helping 
ministers to interpret the requirements of the Federal In- 
come Tax. 

The Board is also concerned with housing or homes for 
older ministers and their wives and widows, and it is con- 
stantly studying the unmet needs of ministers and their 

The Board operates four homes with a capacity of 87 
guests. These facilities are available for ministers and mis- 
sionaries and their wives or widows. Fortunately, most of 
the six thousand who would be eligible have other provision 
for their needs. The four homes are in Sharon, Pa., Newton, 
N. J., Newburgh, Ind., and Coopers town, N. Y. The Board 
also supports ministers and members of their immediate 
families suffering from tuberculosis in a sanitorium in Albu- 
querque, New Mexico, and for special types of chronic illness 
they can use a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. It also offers 
special facilities as may be needed in a hospital in New York 
City. The demand for these services has been limited. 

The Division of Welfare Agencies, a new division, began 
its work in 1950. The General Assembly assigned to it the 
responsibility for the supervision of Homes, Orphanages, 
and Hospitals. It was not made financially responsible for the 
maintenance of existing institutions and the establishment 
of new institutions, but was given responsibility for erecting 
standards, for acting in an advisory capacity, and as a center 
of information concerning the Homes, Hospitals, and Or- 
phanages. Responsibility for the application of these stand- 
ards was assigned to the judicatory within whose bounds a 
particular institution may be located. After five years of trial 
of the plan this oversight was continued under the Division 
of Welfare Agencies of the Board of Pensions. 

The Division developed standards for Services for Chil- 


dren, for Hospitals and Health Services, and for Services 
for the Aging. 

In a recent year 65 institutions and agencies reported, with 
an income of almost $5,000,000, of which over $900,000 were 
Presbyterian gifts, or 20 per cent. This support is provided 
in various ways, such as allocation to the budgets of local 
churches on the basis of recommendations by presbyteries 
and synods, the action of sessions, through solicitors in the 
churches, through auxiliaries, and so forth. 

The Board has given counsel to other denominations 
which are planning institutions for their Church, 

There are still in the Church ministers and ministers' 
widows who are not protected by either the Sustentation 
Plan or the Pension Plan. Aid is provided for them through 
relief grants. These grants are limited to those who were 
retired or disabled before the Pension Plan went into effect. 
In a recent year 300 persons received grants from this source. 
In addition to the regular relief roll and the care provided 
in the five Board Homes, some $327,477 was received from 
the 1955 benevolent budget to provide supplemental assist- 
ance to "the oldest and neediest" of the retired group. To 
meet special needs there is a plan for relief in needy cases, 
according to which the Presbytery and the Welfare Fund of 
the Board of Pensions share on a fifty-fifty basis. 

Many of the pensioners of the Board would give their 
grateful testimony to the promptness and regularity with 
which their monthly checks are received. The United Pres- 
byterian Church also has its Board of Ministerial Pensions 
and Relief. It is planned to provide protection against dis- 
ability during working years, a monthly pension for retire- 
ment in old age, a widow's pension for life or until remar- 
riage, and minor children benefits in addition to widow's 

The Presbyterian Church, U.S., has similar protection for 
its denomination through its Board of Annuities and Relief. 



IN ALL HIS experience as a student, as a pastor, as an 
editor for thirty-five years, and as a free-lance writer, this 
book is the most difficult task that the writer has undertaken. 
He approached it with hesitation. He has at last finished it. 
His one hope is that the book may serve a useful purpose 
and in God's gracious providence be some contribution to 
the Cause of Christ in a desperately needy world. 


Admonition, 104 

Adopting Act, 45 

Adoption, 62 

Albin, Henry, 26 

American Board of Commissioner's 

for Foreign Missions, 116, 117 
American Colonization Society, 


Apocrypha, the, 28 
Arminius, 55 
Associate Presbyterian Church of 

North America, 7 
Associate Reformed Presbyterian 

Church (General Synod), 7 
Augustine, 39, 40 

Baptism, 67, 68, 93 
Barraclough, Dr. Henry, 8 
Benson, Dr. Louis F., 26, 97 

Revised Standard Version, 9 

Symbol, a, 26 

See Scriptures 

Bible Presbyterian Church, 7 
Bishop, office in the Church, 76 
Boards, reorganization of, 130-133 
Book of Common Worship, 94, 95 
Brief History of the Presbyterians, 

Brown, Dr. Arthur Judson, 9 

Calvin, John, 42, 43 
Catechism, Larger and Shorter, 45, 

Heidelberg, 55 

Intermediate, 71 

Shorter quoted, 59 

Chaplains, 128 
Charles I, King, 53 

Mediator, the, 61 

Only-begotten Son of God, 61 

Second Person of the Trinity, 61 
Christian Education, Board of, 

107-114, 179-189 

Apostolic, 37, 38, 39 

Apostles, after the, 39, 40 

courts of, 69, 77, 78, 79 

discipline in, 69 

defined, 75, 76 

fallibility, 67 

free in free State, 46, 69 

government of, 69, 72-89 

Holy Spirit, and, 37 

Invisible, the, 66 

Middle Ages, in, 40 

organized, 38, 39 

particular or local, 78 

spread of, 37-39 

supervision of, 38 

teaching in, 107-114 

Visible, 66 
Clark, Dr. Walter, 8 
Colleges, development of, 113, 114, 

Colored Cumberland Presbyterian 

Church, 7 

Commandments, the Ten, 64 
Confession, First Gallican, 55 
Confession of Faith, Westminster, 

45, 51, 53, 56, 66, 68, 69 
Confession of sins, 63 
Congregational Church and Plan 

of Union, 48 
Constitution, adopted, 35 




Cooperation, interdenominational, 


of works, 60 
of Grace, 60 
Cromwell, Oliver, 53 
Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 


reunion with U.S.A., 49 
separated from, U.S.A., 47, 48, 
120, 125 

Deacons, origin of, 47 

Death, man after, 69 

Declaratory Statement, 59, 62 

Decrees of God, 58 

Department of History, 8 

Deposition, 104 

Desegregation, 137-139 

Directory of Worship, 79, 91, 94, 95 

Discipline, 98-106 

Divisions in Presbyterian Church, 
Cumberland Church, 47 
Old Side and New Side, 46 
Old School and New School, 48, 

U.S.A. and U.S., 49 

Drury, Dr. Clifford Merrill, 9 

Education, program of, 107-114 
Elders, 71-74 

Evangelism, Committee on, 87 
in Board of National Missions, 


Evans, Dr. Louis H., 147 
Excommunication, 104 

Faith, 62 

saved by, 63 

Finance, Committee on, 87 
Foreign Missions, Board of, 86 

new policy of, 123-125 

work of, 153-178 

Forman, Dr., 119 
Freewill, 61 

Galilean Confession, First, 55 
General Assembly, the, 47, 80, 81, 

committees of, 85-87 

meeting of described, 81-88 

Office of, 83, 84 
General Council, 84 

Creator, 59 

decrees of, 58 

definition of, 58 

grace of, 61 

Holy Trinity, the, 58 

love of, 59, 70 

providence of, 60 

revealed in Scripture, 56 

sovereignty of, 58 
Good works, 63 
Government, of the Church, 72-89 

preliminary principles of, 74, 75 

representative, 74 

Harmelink, Dr. Ray J., 8 
Henry VIII, King, 53 
Holy Land, the, 25, 26 
Holy Spirit, the, 32, 35, 36, 70 
Huss, John, 41 
Hymnals, 95-97 

James I, King, 53 
Judgment, the Last, 69 
Judicial Commission, 84, 85, 106 
Justification, 62 

Klett, Guy S., 8 
Knox, John, 43, 44 
Kugler, Walter, 26 




ceremonial, 64 

judicial, 64 

moral, 64 

of God, 64 

Leadership Training, 112, 113 
Leave of Absence, Committee on, 


Liberty that Christ brings, 64, 65 
Loetscher, Dr. Frederick W., 56 
Loetscher, Dr. Lefferts A., 8 
Lord's Day, the, 65, 94 
Lord's Supper, the, 67, 68, 94 
Luther, Martin, 41 

Magistrates, civil, 66 
Major, John, 43 
Makemie, Francis, 44, 45 
Man, liberty of, 59 

fall of, 60 

Marriage and Divorce, 66 
Martyn, Henry, 117 
Men, National Council of Presby- 
terian, 88 

Middle Ages, Church in, 40 
Mileage, Committee on, 87 
Miller, Fred S., 121 
Ministers, New Testament names 
for, 76 

aid to, 190-193 

Missions, Board of Foreign, 153- 

Board of National, 134-152 

Development of, 115-133 
Mormons, 128 
Morse, Dr. Hermann N., 8 
Munro, Dr. George D., 8 

Oaths, 65 

Offering, in worship, 92 
Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 
the, 7 

Papacy, rise of, 30, 40 
Parvin, Theophilus, 120 
Pensions, Board of, 86, 190-195 
Perkins, Rev. and Mrs. Judson, 118 
Perry, Commodore, 119 
Perseverance of the saints, 63 
Polity, Committee on, 86 
Philadelphia, Church of the Evan- 
gel, 26 

Plan of Union, 48 
Prayer, 65, 92 

not to be made for the dead, 65 
Preaching, 65, 93 
Predestination, 58, 59 
Preliminary Principles of the Form 
of Government, 28, 74, 75, 107 
Presbyterian, meaning of name, 38, 


Presbyterian Board of Publication 

and Sabbath School Work, 26 

Presbyterian Church in the U.S., 7, 

9, 35 

Annuities and Relief, 195 
educational program, 189 
Missions Abroad, 178 
Missions in America, 151, 152 
separation from Presbyterian 

Church, U.S.A., 49 
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. 
Congregational Church and, 48 
cooperation with other denom- 
inations, 51 
divisions in, 46, 47 
Old School and New School, 48 
organized, 36, 46, 47 
union with Cumberland Church, 


women in, 116 
Presbyterians come to America, 44, 


Presbyterians in Scotland, 44 
Presbyterian Life, 87 
Presbytery, the, 79 
Providence of God, 60 



Purgatory denied, 89 
Puritans, 53 

Rebuke, 104 

Reformed Presbyterian Church in 

North America (General Sy- 
nod), 8 
Reformed Presbyterian Church of 

North America (Old School), 

Relief and Sustentation, Board of, 


Repentance, 63 
Resolutions of Thanks, Committee 

on, 87 
Revised Standard Version of the 

Bible, 33 
Riddle, Dr. Matthew B., 33 

Theological seminaries, 113, 130 

Western, 24, 33 
They Seek a Country, 120 
Trinity, the Holy, 32 
Trumbull, David, 120 

Union of Churches proposed, 51 
Union town, Pa., First Presbyterian 

Church, 24 
United Presbyterian Church of 

North America, 8, 9, 36 
educational program of, 189 
General Assembly of, 88, 89 
missions in America, 151 
organized, 49, 50 
steps toward union with the 
Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., 
World Missions of, 177, 178 


The Lord's Day, 65, 94 

Sacraments, the, 38, 65, 93, 94 

Saints, perseverance of, 63, 64, 67 

Salvation, three results of, 62 

Sanctification, 62 

Scriptures, the Holy, 28, 29, 30, 31, 
32, 33, 34, 35, 41, 55, 56, 57, 65 

Session, responsibility of, 78 

Social Education and Action, Com- 
mittee on, 87 

St. Louis, Mo., 26 

State, separate from Church, 69, 

Suspension, 104 

Synod, the, 79, 80 

of New York and Pennsylvania, 
35, 115 

Synod Records, Committee on, 87 

Taylor, Dr. Mills J., 8 
Theological Education, Committee 
on, 86, 87 

Vows, 65 
Vulgate, the, 28 

Western Foreign Missionary So- 
ciety, 118, 119 

Westminster Assembly, 53, 54, 55 
Western University of Pennsyl- 
vania, 23 

Whitman, Marcus, 127 
Women, in early Church, 116 
Worship, 90-97 

a Christian duty, 65 

"Directory of," 94 

hymnals for, 95, 96, 97 

offering in, 92 

praise in, 92 

prayer in, 92 
Wyclif, John, 40, 41 
Wysham, Dr. William N., 8 

Zwingli, Ulrich, 41, 42