After refusing to accept a retirement request, 92-year-old Carl McIntire has left the Bible Presbyterian Church and is holding Sunday services at his Collingswood, New Jersey, home.
The departure comes after more than two years of tumult in the Collingswood church. In 1996, Collingswood Bible Presbyterian Church elders concluded that McIntire could no longer fulfill the tasks of senior pastor, his role since 1933. When McIntire refused retirement, the session took the issue to the Presbytery of New Jersey.
In response, McIntire withdrew, intending to form his own presbytery. Eventually, the presbytery determined that McIntire had left the denomination and declared the Collingswood pulpit vacant.
McIntire says he is fit to continue as senior pastor and that he has been illegally tossed out of the Bible Presbyterian church. He promises legal action.
A major figure in fundamentalist circles since the 1930s, McIntire founded the American Council of Christian Churches in 1941 and the International Council of Christian Churches in 1948 as counterweights to the National and World Council of Churches. In the 1960s, his weekly Christian Beacon newspaper had thousands of subscribers, and his 20th Century Reformation radio program was broadcast on 600 stations.
McIntire was at the center of splits in the Bible Presbyterian Church in 1956 and 1984. The latter conflict reduced McIntire's following to a handful of congregations. Prior to his departure, Sunday attendance at the Collingswood church averaged 50 people, although 1,400 are listed on the official membership roll.1