Historic Documents in American Presbyterianism
"Why the League?"
by A.A. MacRae
THE greatest need of the world today and of every individual in the world is the religion of Jesus Christ. More important than any social improvement, any economic advancement, any political or moral reform, is the extension of the kingdom of God, through the proclamation of the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. Never did the world need this more than at the present time. Material conditions were never better, political and social advancements never greater, yet the world is not satisfied. Unrest and discontent abound. The only true satisfaction lies in the religion of Jesus Christ. The most real way to obey the second great commandment, "Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself," is through obeying the first commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength."
Strange as it might seem, in this time of all times when Christians should present a united front before the world, and proclaim their God-given Gospel with power and conviction, foes to that Gospel have arisen within the very confines of the Christian Church itself, and many are seeking to dilute it until it loses all that gives it its distinctive power. No wonder scoffers outside the church are saying that the church is dead, when men inside the church are denying or explaining away the foundation stones of the church's gospel.
The League of Evangelical Students is a student movement, originated by students, to declare beforethe world that there are in our educational institutions large bodies of students who believe thoroughly in the evangelical Gospel in all its richness. Radicalism and skepticism is noisy. It quickly makes its presence felt. It spreads rapidly, like the leaven described in Holy Scripture. Reading the accounts of student life in many current publications might lead one to believe that most seekers after learning had gone over to the ranks of Modernism and Infidelity. Attending some student conferences might lead one to a similar conclusion. It behooves the great body of students who accept the "Faith of our Fathers" to band together to witness to their conviction, and to record their opposition to the stealthy progress of religious unbelief.
The enemies of evangelical Christianity claim to represent intellectualism and scholarship. But truth is one, and the truths discovered by human research cannot reasonably contradict the truths revealed by the Maker of the Universe. The highest scholarship cannot discover any facts which contradict the plain teachings of the Bible. As Dr. Keyser declared at the Grand Rapids Conference: "I maintain that the finest shcolarship in the owrld, under the proper conditions, will lead just to the top of Mt. Calvary." In the face of the widespread assertions that modern scholarship has rendered conservative Christianity untenable, the members of the League are witnessing to their conviction that true education is possible only when the facts revealed in God's word are recognized as authoritative.
It is with this spirit that the League has been organized. It desires to include within its membership all who wish to declare with it their adherence to Biblical, supernatural Christianity. The occasion for its formation is plainly stated in the preamble to its constitution. Section I of Article III gives the qualifications for membership:
Qualifications for membership in the League shall be faith in the Bible as the infallible Word of God, and acceptance of the fundamental truths of the Christian Religion, such as: the Trinity, the Virgin Birth of Christ, His Divine and Human Nature, His Substitutionary Atonement, His Resurrection from the Dead, and His Coming Again.
This statement was purposely made very brief and simple, as the League had no intention of promulgating a new creed. It takes its stand upon historic Christianity, the common heritage of all the Evangelical Churches. It is not a movement toward church unity, nor has it a desire in any way to minimize the distinctive doctrines of the various denominations. But it is a movement of studnets who believe in supernaturalistic Christianity, from all the denominations, joining together for the specific purposes outlined in the Constitution of the League. This is very clearly stated in the next section of the Constitution (Art III, Sec. 2):
The above summary is not intended to be regarded as a complete statement, nor as an authoritative definition of the limits of Christian fellowship, but simply as an indication of the class of persons whom the League welcomes as members.
Mutually exclusive conceptions of the nature of the Christian Religion are current today. Every student who calls himself a Christian can easily determine which of these conceptions he holds. The League is a movement of those who hold one of these conceptions--that which regards the Christian Religion as a supernaturally revealed body of facts, showing how man can receive eternal life, through the great act of God who sent His only-begotten Son to die on Calvary's cross for the sins of the world.
Transcribed from The Evangelical Student (Princeton, NJ), Volume I, No. 1, pages 3-4.
©PCA Historical Center, 12330 Conway Road, St. Louis, MO, 2011. All Rights Reserved.