Church History Study Notes
(Major Q headings taken from Prep. for Licensure and Ordination, by Chapell & Meeks)
What is the value of studying church history?
A: The Covenant Community of the people of God not restricted to one era; we are not merely connected to Christians in our day... but God has given to the church the entire body throughout history. He raised up men in other eras to face problems and controversies and heresy, and we can learn from their writings and debates and decisions.
Briefly trace the spread of Christianity through the centuries.
1st - 2nd Centuries... Christianity spreads throughout the Roman Empire, also Ethiopia.
4th century... becomes legal in Roman Empire (Christianity even goes to British Celts)
4th century ... Ulfilas converts to Arian Christianity... goes to Germanic tribes, many become Arian Christians (and later on when in contact with Empire more readily accept orthodox Christianity)
Frankish king becomes Christian (AD 474-545) Clotilde the queen leads her husband King Clovis to become a Christian
Patrick missionary to Ireland (b. 389 AD, q5th Century ... 400s)
Columba (AD 521-597) Irish missionary founds monastery on Iona, evangelizes Scotland.
Augustine of Canterbury evangelizes Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Kent (A.D. 599)
Charlemagne (AD 780) begins a campaign of forced conversions.... of conquered Germanic tribes.
Nestorian monks take gospel to India, Turkestan, China, Persia and Syria (AD 780-823)
Anskar (AD 801 - 865) "The Apostle of the North" Missionary to Sweden & Denmark
Cyril and successors (invent alphabet, translate Moravian Bible and also Bulgarian bible) (900 A.D. begin evangelism of Bulgaria)
Also Hungary and Poland embrace Christianity in the 10th century
Czar Vladimir of Kiev turns to Eastern Orthodox Christianity AD 988
1492 Columbus reaches Carribean, brings missionaries, but many successive Spanish have a forced conversion campaign.
Francis Xavier preaches in India and Japan (after 1540)
1500's Christianity reaches Japan but strongly persecuted 1597 Japanese gov't persecuted 26 native Christians.
Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) Jesuit missionary to China
1600's African slaves in New World evangelized by Jesuits.
1600's Puritans in New England, some missionaries to Northeastern Indian tribes.
In the 1600's the Dutch Reformed Church sent missionaries to its territories of the Dutch East India Company. Evangelism was carried out even in its colony in Formosa (now Called Taiwan) where over thirty ordained Dutch Reformed missionaries were sent.
1700's David Brainerd missionary to Indian tribes in Northeast. Edward's Life of David Brainerd brings many people towards interest in missions.
mid-late 1700's over 300 Moravian missionaries sent around the world.
Early 1800s William Carey changes Particularist Baptists view... to bring them toward missions... goes to India, translates NT into 24 Indian languages.
1860 Hudson Taylor founds China Inland Mission
What were the "sola's" of the Reformation?
Sola gratia (grace alone)
Sola fide (faith alone)
Sola scriptura (scripture alone)
Briefly discuss the development of 'covenant theology'.
Augustine of Hippo understood and propounded in the
City of God the covenant of works and of grace, though it was largely lost
to the Medieval Church and then recovered in the reformation.
In Medieval theology William of Ockham (1285-1347) and later Gabriel Biel (1420-95) proposed that God says people are just because they have met the terms of the covenant to cooperate with God, in that God overlooks their sin if they try their best. These Franciscans drew people's thinking in the Middle Ages away from the idea of covenant.
During the Reformation, Luther taught Paul's doctrine of original sin, divine sovereignty in salvation, the imputation of our sin to Christ and his righteousness to us by faith alone. Zwingli taught a covenant of works before the fall and of grace after the fall.
Other reformers began to teach the covenant of redemption. Calvin taught the substance of federal theology. He taught the covenant of redemption in eternity, the covenant of works before the fall and the covenant of grace after the fall.
The covenant is more prominent in the Heidelberg Catechism because it is presenting it in response to Lutheran teaching.
Coecceius (d. 1669) is noted as writing the most comprehensive account of the Biblical covenants. He wrote Summary of the Doctrine Concerning the Covenant and Testament in 1648.
Princeton theologians Charles Hodge (d. 1878), B.B.Warfield (d. 1921), G. Vos (d. 1941) and J. G. Machen (d. 1936) and in the Netherlands H. Bavinck (d. 1921) followed the main lines of the classical view.
Karl Barth (d. 1968) rejected genuine historicity of the Bible in favor of a theology of a personal encounter with the Word. He rejected much of classic Reformed covenant theology as "scholastic" and unbiblical. He rejected the covenant of redemption and the classic distinction between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace as "legalistic." G. C. Berkouwer followed this critique of reformed theology.
Heresies (src: Berkhof, Manual on Christian Doctrine; Grudem Systematic Theol.)
Motanists 2nd Century
Donatist 4th century
1. Deny divinity of Christ
Ebionites - early church
Socinians - in days of reformation
Unitarians & Modern Liberal Theologians - Present Day
2. Deny Humanity of Christ
Gnosticism - 2nd Century (deny humanity of Christ; Christ either only spiritual body or divine Christ only connected temporally with human Jesus)
Sabellians - 4th century (Christ merely a mode of God manifesting himself)
3. Deny Integrity of 2 natures
Arians - Christ created being "demigod" neither God nor man
Arius, Bishop of Alexandria... teaching condemned at Nicea in A.D. 325.
Appolinaris (bishop of Laodicea A.D. 361) - trichotomy... soul + body human... but spirit is divine Logos [Answered by Constantinople AD 381]
4. Deny the Unity of the Person of Christ
Nestorians - (Christ... two persons (human and divine) morally agreed in actions)
Nestorius (A.D. 428 Bishop of Constantinople) removed from office... (but question to whether he really taught what those named after him believed.
[Answered by Chalcedon A.D. 451]
5. Denial of Two Natures of Christ
Eutychianism (Monophysite 5th & 6th centuries) - two natures fused into third nature neither human nor divine... or human nature absorbed by divine (some Lutherans also hold this...) Eutyches (A.D. 378-454). [Answered by Chalcedon A.D. 451]
What are the historical origins and distinctives of the following:
Developed in England out of the Anglican Church. In 1729, men at Oxford including John Wesley, Charles Wesley, and others began meeting together reading the Greek New Testament. George Whitfield joined this group. They were very methodical/regular in their lives, and focused on holiness. Whitfield finally had to separate from them because of Wesley's teaching on general (as opposed to particular atonement), etc. Both, however were great revival preachers during the Great Awakening.
Established church of the Church of England.
English puritans, exiled in Amsterdam lead by John Smyth. Embraced believer's baptism and rebaptized himself. Also embraced Arminianism + universal atonement. Called General Baptists. Returned to England and began Baptist congregations.
mid 1600's Bedford Baptist Church, in London begins baptizing by immersion instead of pouring.
Teach immersion only proper mode of water baptism. Only adult, professing believers have a right to baptism; infant children may not be baptized.
After heavy persecution of the Anabaptists, and arising of heresies, Menno Simons (1534) joined the Anabaptists, and solidified the two beliefs 1) church should only baptize believers and 2) no gov't should enforce religious beliefs... and very literal observance of NT patterns... died in 1561. His followers became Mennonites.
In 1700s, Jakob Ammann led a group to separate from Mennonites, more strict rules... became the Amish.
They do not accept Justification by Faith Alone because they thought it tended toward antinomianism.
Focus on 1. Reality of spiritual experience, 2. Demonstration of spiritual power, 3. Joy in worship. Continuation of signs, wonders and miracles.
Their origin traces back to Calvin's Geneva. John Knox learned from Calvin there. He returned to Scotland in 1555. He launched a reformation in the land, and brought it out of Roman Catholicism. The Church of Scotland was officially established in 1560 after a brief civil war. His successor Andrew Melville established presbyterian church order in Scotland. They adopted the Westminster Standards.
A. D. 1054, the Eastern church broke away from the Western Church, because the pope changed the Nicene Creed on his own authority in a regional church council in Toledo (adding the term filioque) that God the Spirit proceeds from God the Father and God the Son. Orthodox churches maintain that the Spirit proceeds only from the Father.
Briefly identify and give dates for the following:
Muratorian Canon recognizes books of NT (except Hebrews, James and 2 Peter) before AD 190
Council of Nicea (325 A.D.)
The Nicene Creed originated; formulated against heresies that denied the biblical doctrine of the Trinity and of the person of Christ. (source: Trinity Hymnal)
Council of Chalcedon (451)
The Nicene Creed (reaffirmed in Council of Constantinople) expanded; formulated against heresies that denied the biblical doctrine of the Trinity and of the person of Christ. (source: Trinity Hymnal) Clear definition of full deity and full humanity of Christ combined in one person.
Council of Trent (1545-1563)
Authored by two men in 1563 in Heidelberg that was Calvinist rather than Lutheran. It is known for its devotional value more than its doctrinal precision.
Authored by a Dutch Reformed Minister in 1561 while hiding in an attic from the Spanish Inquisition. It was partly based on a confession authored by John Calvin. At the Synod of Dordt, the confession was adopted by the Dutch Reformed Church.
Synod of Dordt (1618)
Response to Arminians: (from Christian History Made Easy, Timothy Paul Jones)
1. Human beings are bay nature spiritually dead. Non one naturally desires to seek Christ (Romans 3:10-12, Ephesians 2:1-3). Total depravity
2. If someone trusts Christ, it is because God chose to regenerate that person. God's choice is unconditional; it is not based on any human decisions (John 6:44, Romans 9:10-16). Unconditional elections
3. Christ's death atoned for only those who would believe in him (John 3:16). Limited (or particular) Atonement
4. When God regenerates someone, that person will neither resist nor reject God's grace (John 6:37, 44). Irrestistable grace
5. Every Christian will persevere in faith until the end (John 10:27-28; Romans 8:29-39). Perseverance (or presevervation) of the saints
Convened by English Parliament in 1643,
Completed the Confession of Faith, the Shorter Catechism and the Larger Catechism in 1647. These documents have served as the doctrinal standards, subordinate to the Word of God, for Presbyterian and other churches around the world. (source: Trinity Hymnal)
The text of WCF adopted by OPC in 1936 and by PCA in 1973. It is derived from the 1646 Manuscript but incorporates revisions of American Presbyterians as early as 1789.
Original text of the Shorter Catechism adopted by OPC in 1936 and PCA in 1973
Late 1600's through 1700's.
Count Zinzendorf (1700-1760) receives Moravian brethren refuges
Stressed the importance of personal faith, no state-church. Reaction against nominal Lutheranism. Large-scale missionary work. Shifted the focus from controversy to pastoral care.
1730's-40's. Commenced in 1730 in Freehold, NJ in the congregation of John Tennant. John Wesley, George Whitefield, George Tennant, Jonathan Edwards. Methodist and Wesleyan revivals were aslo going on in England and also revivals in Scotland. It started off as a genuine revival, but counterfeits came in with it.
Camp/Tent revivals on the frontier - Charles Finney (almost had a system of creating revival/response)
Old School/New School:
1. Subscriptionism: OS wanted strict subscription, and enforcement w/ church discipline. NS tolerated more errors deemed not to be essential.
2. Presbyterian polity: OS wanted to enforce presbyterian principles of government. They wanted careful church courts. NS were committed to cooperation with all evangelicals, even allowing for mixed church courts.
3. Evangelical United Front: OS concerned that missions were being controlled by non-presbyterian agencies. E.g. Sunday School literature controlled by American Sunday School Union, etc. NS believed in it, and were committed to supporting it.
4. Revivalism: OS concerned for false teaching. NS concerned doctrinal precision would hinder spread of the gospel.
5. Theology: OS concerned about doctrinal errors of Hopkinsianism and Taylorism. NS generally opposed but did not think it threatening.
Auburn Declaration of 1837
Statement of the New School doctrine. It was relatively orthodox and rejected the New England theology, especially the New Haven theology of Nathaniel Taylor. They were mostly moderates, but tolerated unorthodox men.
Auburn Affirmation of 1923
E.g. Peter Abelard, Peter Lombard of 12th Century. Adopted method of discovering and defending philosophical or theological truth by means of Aristotelian logic or dialectic. The 13th Century - higher scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas.
During the thirteenth century, the papacy was virtually imprisoned by the King of France in Avignon. 1304-1377.
But this is also the title of a pamphlet by Martin Luther called The Babylonian Captivity of the Church in which he argued that the Roman Catholic sacramental system was holding captive the Christians from salvation by grace through faith.
Erasmus (1456-1536) advocated Humanism to reform the Roman Catholic Church.
Describes the Anabaptists... in their various sects. (Radical... meaning returning to roots.) emphasized return to primitive "Apostolic" church.
Origin of the word... congregations of Anabaptists in London (1568) calling themselves the "unspotted lambs of the Lord." During the Elizabethan period (1558-1603) the Puritans grew increasingly as a distinct brotherhood of pastors who emphasized the great centralities of Christianity: faithfulness to Scripture, expository preaching, pastoral care, personal holiness, and practical godliness applied to every area of life.
Thinking of the 19th and 20th centuries that was shaped by the Enlightenment with its emphasis on human reason and its optimism about human ability and human achievement. Thinks God and his "revelation" irrelevant or reduces it to human-derived ideas. (src. Erroll Hulse, Intro. to Puritans)
Movement of 1920's and 30's. Reaction against modernist theology. Drew up a basic list of truths designed to keep intact doctrines which were denied or undermined by liberals. Some add tenant of premil/dispensationalism... others add bans on alcohol, dancing, tobacco, theater, etc. (src. Hulse)
Karl Barth (1886-1968). Attempt to philosophically redefine religion in a way that would bring liberals back to orthodoxy, but in so doing, the inerrancy of Scripture is unclear.
Supralapsarianim: God first decreed to glorify himself, then decreed to create elect and reprobate, then decreed to permit fall of man, then decreed to open way of salvation for elect, and to pass over the others (ideal focus)
Infralapsarianism: God decrees to create man, then decrees to permit man to fall, then decrees to elect some of the fallen and pass over others, he decreed to provide a way of salvation (historical focus... this is the order adopted in the Canons of Dordt)
Briefly identify the following people with date (century) and their significance:
1. Polycarp of Smyrna (A.D. 69-155) an "Apostolic Father"
2nd - 3rd Century Disciple of the Apostle John, defended faith in Asia Minor, combatted Marcion heresy (Docetism... Jesus only seemed to be human). Martyred.
1st Century - Clement of Rome ... wrote letters to Corinthians (possibly mentioned in Philippians 4:3)
2nd - 3rd Century Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150 - 215), apologist uses Plato to support Christianity... helps establish allegorical method of interpreting Scripture
3. Ignatius (AD 35-107) and "Apostolic Father"
1st Century pastor in Syrian Antioch, martyred in Rome. Wrote many important letters to churches and to Polycarp.
4. Marcion (died AD 160)
2nd Century - Rejected OT, excommunicated in 144, taught Docetism (Christ only seemed to be human). Caused the church to want to clarify the canon.
5. Justin (AD 100-165)
2nd Century - Apologist, used Greek philosophical arguments, martyred by Marcus Aurelius.
6. Eusebius of Caesarea (AD 263-339)
3rd - 4th Century - Wrote Ecclesiastical History.
7. Tertullian (AD 160-225)
2nd - 3rd Century - rejected use of pagan philosophy to defend Christianity. Attacked modalism. Became a Montanist late in life. His writings, though, helped the church understand the Trinity.
Emperor of the West (AD 312), issued Edict of Milan (313) making Christianity legal. Calls Council of Nicaea (AD 325) to deal with Arian contoversy.
9 Chrysostom (AD 345- 407)
4th Century - used Historical-grammatical method of exegesis (as opposed to the allegorical interpretations of Origin and Clement of Alexandria). Eventually he was made Bishop of Constantinople. He was a great reformer, focused on holy life. Exiled in 403 AD for criticizing the sensual lifestyle of the Empress.
10. Jerome (AD 347-420)
4th-5th century - Great Bible scholar, translator of the vulgate (compiled from earlier Latin translations compared with Hebrew and Greek) Also supported the view that Mary remained a virgin.
11. Pelagius (AD died 420)
4th-5th Century - Taught there is no original sin, people in state of moral neutrality, will of man is perfectly free to choose good or bad. Anathematized by local Council of Carthage (AD 418) and then by Council of Ephesus.
12. Augustine (AD 354-430)
4th-5th Century - converted in 386, baptized by Ambrose of Milan in 387, Bishop of Hippo in 395, 411-430 anti-Pelagian writings. Augustine insists that we all sin in Adam, and spiritual death, guilt, and our diseased nature is the result. God's grace is necessary not only to be able to choose to obey God's commands, but to be able to choose to turn to god initially for salvation. (much cited by John Calvin, and the reformers)
13. Bernard of Clairvaux (AD 1093-1153)
11th-12th century Helped reform monasteries. Allegorical Exegesis but great preacher. Augustinian in doctrine of grace, which later ... quoted by Calvin)
14. Gregory the Great (AD 540-604)
6th century - developed doctrine of purgatory. Defends Rome for Lombards. Converts Lombards from Arianism. Sends missionaries to Anglo-Saxons. Also taught pennance.
15. Francis of Assisi (AD 1181-1226)
Founded a monastic order, the Franciscans, wandering preachers, life of poverty...
16. Anselm (AD 1033-1109)
Father of Scholasticism. Proposed ontological argument for God's existence. Argued for the necessity of the Incarnation and Redemption of Christ.
17. Aquinas (AD 1224-
Wrote Summa Theologica the primary theological book for the Middle Ages. Was a scholastic and applied Aristotle's methods.
18. Wycliffe (1330-1384)
Oxford professor, sent out traveling preachers, the "Lollards," preached relying on Christ's righteousness and sufferings rather than our own works... They translate the vulgate into English.
19. Hus (1371-1415 burned by Council of Constance)
Bohemian pre-reformer. Influence by Wycliffe. He rejected indulgences and said Christ is the head of the church.
20. Tyndale (1494 - 1536)
Translates the English Bible from the original languages. (Basis of the later King James Version). Burned at the stake.
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Begins the reformation in Germany.
Philip Melanchthon (1497-Professor of Greek at Whittenberg ... strong Lutheran...
Ulrich Zwingli ( - 1531)
John Calvin (1509-1564)
John Knox (1514-1572) Studies in Geneva under Calvin. Reforms Scotland, institutes presbyterianism.
Jacob Arminius (1560-1609) Dutch theologian.
The position of his followers led to the reformed answer in the Canons of Dordt and the five points of Calvinism.
Arminians teach universal atonement; Christ made salvation possible, but man's salvation dependent on his own free choice. God gives common grace to enable men to do some spiritual good, to repent and even turn to Christ of their own. Work of man is prior to God... to resist or yield to H.S. regeneration. It is possible to fall from grace and loose one's salvation. (src. Berkhof, Manual on Christian Doctrine)
28. Amyraut and the School of Saumur
17th Century - Amyraldianism... developed a system of covenant theology alternate to the twofold covenant of works/grace. His... Covenant of Nature, Law, Grace. And he divided covenant of grace into two... universal conditional covenant and particular unconditional coovenant... resulted in Doctrine of Hypothetical Universal Predestination. Jesus died for all men sufficiently, but only for the elect efficiently. Charles Hodge and B.B. Warfield rejected this teaching. Amyraut claimed to be restoring true Calvinism hijacked by the Synod of Dordt. At its heart is a conception of a double will of God, one of irreconcilable contradiction... basically it is arminian... conditional election.
29. Jonathan Edwards (1703-
30. Richard Baxter (1651-1691)
Wrote the Reformed Pastor. Vicar of Kidderminster. Pastor, Evangelist and Author.
31. Count Zinzendorf
Hosted Moravian brethren. He himself becomes a leader of the Pietists and the Moravians send out many missionaries. (1727) Revivals among the Moravians.
32. George Whitfield (1714-1770)
33. John Wesley
In 1734, John Wesley splits from the Church of England.
34. Marrow controversy
In a reaction against Antinominanism, Richard Baxter and others had developed Neonominism... Salvation by the particular work of faith. A book called The Marrow of Modern Divinity was written in answer... to teach that good works are a fruit of faith. The people who supported the Marrow book were involved in a Succession from the church of Scotland when the GA condemned the book.
35. William Carey (1761-
Preaches against the Particularist Baptists... brings them into world missions. Goes himself to India.
36. George Muller
37. Charles Spurgeon
38. Charles Hodge (1797-1878)
Founds Princeton Review , teacher of reformed orthodoxy to a generation of pastors...
39. B. B. Warfield (1851-
Princeton theologian who defends inerrancy.
40. Charles Finney (1792-1875)
41. D. L. Moody
D. L. Moody (1837-1899)
(Of more limited educational background; "unschooled and ordinary".) Stimulated establishment of Y.M.C.A., American Tract Society, American Bible Society, Moody Bible Institute, etc. Sought to unify different denominations in evangelism efforts. Held that Baptism w/Spirit was a post-conversion empowerment for service.
Athanasius defended against Arianism (4th century).
F. Study questions on the history of the PCA
Briefly trace the history of Presbyterianism in the United States. Include in your answer Francis Makemie, the first American Presbytery, the formation of the first synod, the Adopting Act, the Old Side/New Side division, the first General Assembly, the Plan of Union, the Old School/New School division, the division and reunion of the Northern and Southern branches of the Presbyterian church.
Rev. Francis Makemie, a Scots-Irish (arrived in US from Ireland in 1683) helped to organize the first American Presbytery at Philadelphia in 1706. Makemie worked on behalf of presbyterians in an established Episcopal church in Virginia, and himself got a license to preach there. He recruited more workers from Scotland and Ireland and England. He worked to establish and strengthen Presbyterian congregations in Maryland, Virginia and Deleware. The presbytery consisted of Makemie, together with six other ministers. By 1716 there were four presbyteries. In 1717 these four presbyteries united to form the Synod of Philadelphia. In 1727 the Newcastle Presbytery petitioned the Synod for general subscription to the WCF for all Synod members. In 1729, the synod passed the Adopting Act which received the WCF and Catechisms as the doctrinal standards of the church to which all members had to conform. They, however held scruples to the confession's statements and church/state issues.
In 1788 the Synod met in Philadelphia to form the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Chruch in the United States of America. It held its first meeting in 1789.
During the First Great Awakening, those who supported the revival were called New Side, those who opposed it (or at least opposed the revivalists), the Old Side. Congregations were split. New Siders sometimes denounced the Old Side preachers. The New Side generated ministerial candidates in Tennant's Log College that became Princeton University. The Synod of 1741 resulted in a split with the New Siders withdrawing to form their own presbytery. Both groups were subscriptionists... but disagreed over both ministerial training and revival. It ended in the formation of two Synods, the Synod of Philadelphia and the Synod of New York. In 1758 the Synods finally reunited. In the 1801 Plan of Union, accommodations were made for frontier struggling Congregationalist churches to allow them to be in a sense cooperating with the Presbyterian church, and be able to call either congregationalist or presbyterian pastors. It caused a lack of ability for church discipline from higher courts and even allowed delegates to vote in the higher courts who were not subject to their discipline. As the New Divinity (New Haven theology) out of New England grew, it let to a new division. It was basically Pelagian free will. At the General Assembly there were annual conflicts between the Old School (Calvinist) and New School (New Haven/Hopkins) Theology. In 1837 there was a division.
The New School and Old School communions split into Northern and Southern churches in 1861. It now made four Presbyterian churches. But in the North, in 1869, the OS/NS schism was healed. In 1861, the OS/NS split in the South was healed, because the NS people were so few and they were generally doctrinally sound. The Southern Presbyterian Church remained sound until a steady decline in the 20th Century that lead to its 1983 joining the PCUSA. The northern reunited church still had a NS contingent too soft on heresy and so it was not able to deal with the onslaught of evolutionary science and German rationalism.
Briefly outline some of the distinctives of Southern branches of the Presbyterian tradition. Identify in your answer James Henley Thornwell, Robert Lewis Dabney, Benjamin Morgan Palmer and John L. Girardeau.
Robert Lewis Dabney presented the most thorough defense of the South by defending slavery but denouncing the slave trade.
Robert L. Dabney was professor of theology at Union T.S. in Virginia (1890-1883) and wrote a theory of eldership: one class of presbyter acting in two orders, preaching and ruling.
Discuss the controversy between modernism and fundamentalism. Be sure in your answer to identify and explain the significance of the Auburn Affirmation (who signed it? Why? When?), the "five fundamentals", Harry Emerson Fosdick and J. Gresham Machen.
Harry Emerson Fosdick was a liberal, modernist, Baptist minister called to be an Associate Pastor of New York's First Presbyterian Church in 1918. He did not transfer his membership to the PCUSA. In 1922 he preached a sermon, "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" in which he defended liberalism and demanded toleration.
In 1924, 1274 ministers of the PCUSA signed the Auburn Affirmation rejecting the GA's resolutions declaring five specific doctrines to be essential and necessary. [i.e. 1. the Inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, 2. The virgin birth of Jesus, 3. The substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, 4. The bodily resurrection of Christ, 5. The reality of Christ's miracles.] In rejecting this they even failed to accept basic Christianity let alone reformed doctrine. J. Gresham Machen had written Christianity and Liberalism to intervene and show that liberals were not even Christians, but it did not convince the majority in the PCUSA.
Trace the historical roots of the RPCES. From which major branch of Presbyterianism did the RPCES come? Why is the RPCES important for PCA history? Be sure in your answer to identify and explain the significance of the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions, J. Oliver Buswell, Robert Rayburn, Francis Schaeffer, and Carl McIntire.
The RPCES was formed by the union of the RPCNA, General Synod and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The former had shed their Covenanter distinctives. They later joined the PCA. Covenant College and Covenant Seminary and Francis Schaeffer's minsitery were part of this church.
In 1929, the GA forced the majority of the Princeton Faculty to resign... and so the faculty formed Westminster Seminary. In 1933, the Independent Board of Foreign Missions was organized, in response to ongoing concerns about the orthodoxy of some of the church's missionaries. On issue was "Rethinking Missions" report that questions the superiority of Christianity over other religions. The other issue was Pearl S. Buck's writing as a missionary in China. The GA ordered the independent mission board disbanded and the organizers including Dr. Machen tried. So in 1936, they were forced to form a new denomination, the Presbyterian Church of America. Within one year this split into the Bible Presbyterian Church (more fundamentalist leaning), lead by Dr. Carl McIntire and the more traditional group led by Dr. Machen which became the OPC in 1939. Carl McIntire founded the American Council of Christian churches and also the ICC. trying to confront liberals worldwide with their apostasy. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church came out of the Bible Presbyterian Church in 1956. They then united with the RPCNA and became the RPCES. This then united with the PCA.
Trace the history of the formation of the PCA. When, where and why did the PCA begin? From what major branch of Presbyterianism did early members of the PCA come? Be sure in your answer to identify and explain the significance of the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship, Concerned Presbyterians, the Presbyterian Journal, Morton H. Smith, W. Jack Williamson, Ken Keyes, and G. Aiken Taylor.
Presb. Evangelistic Fellowship founded by Rev. Bill Hill when it became clear that those in control of the PCUS at the national level were no longer interested in evangelism. Later on, they became a sending agency for missionaries when the conservative churches had to stop giving to the Board of World Missionaries.
Morton H. Smith
Jack Williamson, from Greenville, Alabama, Moderator of the First GA of the PCA. Scripture forbids women preaching.
Ken Keyes, R.E., leader of Concern Presbyterians, formed to combat a group of Southern Presbyterian liberals who had gained control of the Nominating committee of the PCUS GA who were systematically trying to force the PCUS into joining the liberal PCUSA.
G. Aikin Taylor, editor of the Presbyterian Journal, or Southern Presbyterian Journal organized to inform the PCUS members of the plots of the liberal group.
See: PCA history
What are some distinctives of the PCA?
Verbal and plenary inspiration of the Bible.
Presbyterian form of church government.
Local congregation owning own property and free to leave PCA under specific conditions.
Covenant Theology History
American Presbyterian Church History