Much is being spoken and written about the present bourgeois, “one class” character of the Church, and biblical Christianity’s problem of reaching intellectuals and workers. To understand the relevant issues, I think, we must constantly be aware of four events in the 1930s, and their continuing results.
THE EVANGELICAL DRIFT
In the 1930s liberalism in the United States reached a point where it led to a division among the evangelicals. One group followed a historic emphasis, especially in Reformed churches, and separated when the liberals came into control in most of the major denominations. The other group did not separate. This event of the 1930s is still with us, and it seems to me one can find reason for sadness in what has happened to both groups.
In surveying the first group, one must distinguish between a strong acceptance of the principle of the commanded purity of the visible church and what has happened in the intervening 30 years among those who have separated. There is cause for sadness in the results of the separated movement. While the criticism does not apply to everyone who took this position, yet the organized leadership of “the separated movement” largely developed an expertness in preparing a kind of lawyer’s brief which has the end of “winning one’s case at any cost” by choosing that portion of the facts which is convenient to this end, and in using this lawyer-brief mentality against liberals and true Christians equally.
In surveying the second group, one must distinguish between staying in an ecclesiastical unit at any one specific point of history, and the surrender of church purity as a principle. There is cause for sadness in the historical results of the action of this second group of evangelicals. For ...1
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