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Bible Presbyterian Church

Bible Presbyterian Church
Classification Protestant
Orientation Presbyterian, Reformed, Fundamentalist
Governance Presbyterian
Origin 1937
Collingswood, New Jersey
Separated from Orthodox Presbyterian Church
Separations Evangelical Presbyterian Church, American Presbyterian Church, Faith Presbytery, Bible Presbyterian Church
Congregations under 30
Members 3,500

The Bible Presbyterian Church is an American Protestant denomination.


  • History 1
    • Origin 1.1
    • First split 1.2
    • Second split 1.3
    • Third split 1.4
    • Recent history 1.5
  • Doctrine 2
  • Demographics 3
  • General Synod 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6



The Bible Presbyterian Church was formed in 1937, predominantly through the efforts of such conservative Presbyterian clergymen as Carl McIntire, J. Oliver Buswell and Allan MacRae. Francis Schaeffer was the first minister to be ordained in the new denomination. The First General Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church was held in 1938 in Collingswood, New Jersey.

The Bible Presbyterian Church broke from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1937, the latter formed slightly earlier in 1936 and a continuation of the Presbyterian Church of America (not to be confused with the similar but later Presbyterian Church in America). The name had to be changed because of a successful lawsuit in civil court by the mainline denomination regarding name infringement – a trademark-violation issue. After the conservative faction had left the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA), considerable dissension became apparent among the conservatives themselves, and it became evident that there were two groups within the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The first group was more closely bound to traditional modes of worship, theological formulations, and the like. This group held to the classic formulations of Reformed theology (as mediated through the Westminster Confession and the Catechisms) and piety, thus forming an "orthodox" faction.

The other faction espoused a conservatism that showed a more keen interest in cultural and political matters, and saw the actions of the PCUSA as symptomatic of a rejection of long-held principles of conservative Christianity by much of the larger American society. This group was essentially fundamentalist in nature, and became associated with the "Bible" faction. McIntire laid the basis for much of what was to come to be called the "Christian right" in American religion and politics.

Two main issues made the existence of these factions within the Orthodox Presbyterian Church evident. The first had to do with a classic Reformed piety over against a piety of fundamentalism. It came down to a conflict of the use of alcoholic beverages. The "orthodox" side condemned drunkenness, but nevertheless did not agree that Scripture prescribed Christians to totally abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages, while the "Bible" side asserted that the Bible prohibited the consumption of alcohol entirely (see also Christianity and alcohol).

The second issue was over faithfulness to Covenant Theology versus the toleration of Dispensationalism. Those on the "Bible" side had come to tolerate, and even use, the popular Scofield Reference Bible whose notes taught the theological system called Dispensationalism, rather than the Covenant Theology historically held by many Reformed churches. Scofield's notes were under considerable criticism by faculty members of Westminster Theological Seminary, who led the "orthodox" faction. Historic premillennialism was tolerated within the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, yet the Dispensational form of premillennialism was considered to be serious error. Those who came to call themselves "Bible Presbyterians" saw the serious criticisms against Scofield's notes as a swipe against historic premillennialism itself, rather than merely the Dispensational form of premillennialism, and wanted the freedom to use the Scofield Reference Bible. The formal exodus of Bible Presbyterian churches came about in 1938, only two years after the forming of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, immediately after the failure of Rev. Milo F. Jamison, a Dispensationalist, to be elected Moderator of the General Assembly. The split was not on unkind terms, as was the case with the original split with the PCUSA. The Bible Presbyterian Church has always maintained the unity of the covenant of grace (a decidedly non-dispensational position), and, in later years, passed resolutions against dispensationalism in its annual Synod meetings.

First split

In 1955–1956, an fairly acrimonious split occurred in the Bible Presbyterian Church, resulting in the Bible Presbyterian Church Collingswood Synod and the Bible Presbyterian Church Columbus Synod.

While the Bible Presbyterian Church Collingswood Synod remained under the influence of McIntire, the BPC Columbus Synod, which included such men as Francis Schaeffer and Jay E. Adams would eventually move beyond its Bible Presbyterian Church heritage and eventually would take the name the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in 1961 (which is not to be confused with the current denomination of the same name, founded in 1981). In 1965, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church merged with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod, a denomination of "new light" Covenanter descent, to form the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES). The RPCES would eventually merge with the Presbyterian Church in America in 1982.

Shortly before the split, the Bible Presbyterian Church had established Covenant College and Covenant Theological Seminary, both of which would be supported by the BPC Columbus Synod/Evangelical Presbyterian Church and both would follow the Evangelical Presbyterian Church into first the RPCES and then the PCA.

Second split

The remaining synod retained the name Bible Presbyterian Church. The group experienced another split in 1979; the American Presbyterian Church left the BPC over roughly the same concerns that led to the original OPC/BPC split decades earlier.

Third split

On March 28, 2008, the South Atlantic Presbytery voted by a wide margin to disassociate from the Bible Presbyterian Synod, in opposition to formal relations recently established between the Synod and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The presbytery took the name Faith Presbytery, Bible Presbyterian Church.

Recent history

Today the North American body has fewer than thirty congregations. Bible Presbyterians do not have synod-controlled boards for missions and education, but annually approve independent agencies for mission work, as well as colleges and seminaries.


The Westminster Confession of Faith, Larger Catechism and Shorter Catechism was adopted in the first Bible Presbyterian Synod in 1938. It agrees with the original manuscript of the Confession. The denomination describes itself a confessional church, which believes in the historic Reformed Christianity. [1]


The denomination comprises approximately 20 churches mostly in the United States and 1 church in Alberta, Canada and 4 presbyteries. These presbyteries are the Great Western Presbytery the South Atlantic Presbytery the Great Lakes Presbytery and the Florida Presbytery. The highest governing body is the Synod.

General Synod

No Year Date City Venue Moderator Stated Clerk Assistant Stated Clerk
1st 1938 Sep 6-8 Collingswood, NJ Rev J U Selwyn Toms Rev Dr H McAllister Griffiths
2nd 1939 Nov 14-16 Collingswood, NJ Rev Dr Harold S Laird Rev G Douglas Young
3rd 1940 Oct 22-24 Chester, PA Rev Dr Allan A MacRae Rev G Douglas Young
4th 1941 Oct 14-16 Charlotte, NC Rev Edgar A Dillard Rev G Douglas Young
5th 1942 Nov 5-10 St Louis, MO Rev J Gordon Holdcroft Rev Stanley P Allen
6th 1943 Oct 14-19 Wilmington, DE Eld Roland K Armes Rev Stanley P Allen
7th 1944 Oct 12-17 Greenville, SC Rev Dr J Oliver Buswell, Jr Rev Stanley P Allen
8th 1945 May 24-29 Harvey Cedars, NJ Harvey Cedars Bible Presbyterian Conference Rev Flournoy Shepperson, Sr Rev Stanley P Allen
9th 1946 May 23-28 Collingswood, NJ Bible Presbyterian Church of Collingswood Rev Dr Carl McIntire Rev Robert Hastings
10th 1947 Jul 17-22 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Bible Presbyterian Church Rev Dr Roy T Brumbaugh Rev Robert Hastings
11th 1948 May 13-19 Nashville, TN Bible Presbyterian Church of Nashville Rev Francis A Schaeffer Rev Robert Hastings
12th 1949 May 16-31 Baltimore, MD Bible Presbyterian Church of Baltimore Eld Dr Peter Stam, Jr Rev Robert Hastings
13th 1950 Jun 1-6 St Louis, MO First Bible Presbyterian Church of St Louis Rev G Douglas Young Rev Robert Hastings
14th 1951 May 31 - Jun 5 New York, NY Shelton College Rev John W Sanderson, Jr Rev Robert Hastings
15th 1952 Aug 21-26 Pasadena, CA Highland College Rev Dr Robert G Rayburn Rev Robert Hastings
16th 1953 Jun 4-9 Elkins Park, PA Faith Theological Seminary Rev William A Mahlow Rev Robert Hastings
17th 1954 Jun 3-9 Greenville, SC Bible Presbyterian Church of Greenville Rev Dr Linwood G Gebb Rev Robert Hastings
18th 1955 Jun 2-8 St Louis, MO Rev Dr J Oliver Buswell, Jr Rev Robert Hastings
19th 1956 Apr 5-11 St Louis, MO Rev Dr R Laird Harris Rev W Harold Mare
20th 1956 Nov 23-27 Collingswood, NJ Rev Dr Carl McIntire Rev A Franklin Faucette Rev Emanuel Peters
21st 1957 Nov 2-6 Collingswood, NJ Rev Dr Clyde J Kennedy Rev A Franklin Faucette Rev John E Janbaz
22nd 1958 Oct 22-27 Collingswood, NJ Rev Dr Charles E Richter Rev A Franklin Faucette Rev John E Janbaz
23rd 1959 Oct 21-26 Collingswood, NJ Rev Dr Arthur G Slaght Rev A Franklin Faucette Rev Robert B Vandermey
24th 1960 Oct 19-24 Collingswood, NJ Rev John E Janbaz Rev A Franklin Faucette Rev Robert B Vandermey
25th 1961 Oct 19-24 Collingswood, NJ Rev Dr J Philip Clark Rev A Franklin Faucette Rev Robert B Vandermey
26th 1962 Oct 17-22 Collingswood, NJ Rev Dr Albert B Dodd Rev A Franklin Faucette Rev Robert B Vandermey
27th 1963 Oct 16-22 Cape May, NJ Christian Admiral Rev Dr George W Fincke, Jr Rev A Franklin Faucette Rev James Blizzard
28th 1964 Oct 14-20 Cape May, NJ Christian Admiral Rev Dr Lynn Gray Gordon Rev A Franklin Faucette Rev James Blizzard
29th 1965 Oct 19-25 Cape May, NJ Christian Admiral Rev Dr Carl McIntire Rev A Franklin Faucette Rev James Blizzard
30th 1966 May 18-23 Boston, MA Statler Hilton Hotel


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External links

  • Bible Presbyterian Church
  • Far Eastern Bible College
  • Western Reformed Seminary
  • "Machen’s Warrior Children" by John Frame
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