Street barricades. Alternate singing of the Internationale and the Marseillaise on the Champs-Élysees. Near-total paralysis of the economy. Near-anarchy everywhere. This was Paris during the already historic “days of May.”

For church history, a Paris Congress of Evangelical Theology attended by 140 theologically sophisticated persons from the French-speaking areas of Europe may be no less significant. The meeting, projected in February by a committee of stellar French theologians and pastors, was providentially scheduled for the days immediately following the end of the three-week general strike that reduced transportation and communication to zero.

Organizers made the aim clear: to affirm to Christians and the general public “the sovereign authority of the Bible as the Word of God. After the assaults of Modernism at the end of the last century and the early part of the present century, currents of still another New Theology are now disturbing the minds of many. The Congress will be a reminder that there is only one Gospel, and that to believe it and to preach it does not presuppose either ignorance or obscurantism.”

The three intensive days focused on the necessity of an unadulterated biblical theology and the relevance to the problems of our day that results only when such a message is proclaimed. The Paris congress came like a fresh breeze in a Europe where for a century theology has been characterized by rationalistic dogmatism and the changing fashions of the German professorial caste. It was as if the spirit of the Monods, d’Aubigné, and Gaussen—those firebrands of early nineteenth-century orthodoxy—was once again animating the life of the Church.

In the opening address, General Secretary Pierre Marcel of the French Bible ...

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