History is Not Rocket Science (but it requires some accuracy)

A piece at Reformation 21 (the publication of the Alliance before THE Alliance) on Billy Graham took me by surprise, and it wasn’t the name dropping that went with the article:

The founder of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Donald Grey Barnhouse, had a friendship with Dr. Graham. In a 1977 interview with Christianity Today, Graham said, “One of my great regrets is that I have not studied enough. I wish I had studied more and preached less. People have pressured me into speaking to groups when I should have been studying and preparing. Donald Barnhouse said that if he knew the Lord was coming in three years he would spend two of them studying and one preaching. I’m trying to make it up.”1 At another point in his ministry, Graham said of Barnhouse, “He knew the Scriptures better than any man I ever knew.”

Here’s a (not the) thing. The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals did not start until 36 years after Barnhouse’s death:

In April 1996, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals held its first major meeting of evangelical scholars. The Cambridge Declaration, first presented at this meeting, is a call to the evangelical church to turn away from the worldly methods it has come to embrace, and to recover the Biblical doctrines of the Reformation. The Cambridge Declaration explains the importance of regaining adherence to the five “solas” of the Reformation.

Maybe the explanation is this:

The Alliance’s history stretches back a half century. The Alliance began as Evangelical Ministries in 1949, which broadcasted Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse via The Bible Study Hour, and also published Eternity magazine.

But in the end, I go with Wikipedia:

The Alliance was formed in 1994 out of what was known as Evangelical Ministries when James Boice, then senior pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and teacher on The Bible Study Hour radio program, called together a group of like-minded pastors and theologians from a variety of denominations to unite in a common cause to help revive a passion “for the truth of the Gospel” within the church.

On April 17– 20, 1996, the Alliance came together in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to draw up a statement that would be called the Cambridge Declaration. Signatories included R. C. Sproul, David F. Wells, and Michael Horton.

Or is this what happens when you have four gospels?


One thought on “History is Not Rocket Science (but it requires some accuracy)

  1. Robert Godfrey—“The early Reformers such as John Calvin did not identify discipline as a mark of the church. Calvin certainly recognized the vital importance of discipline and even called it ‘the sinew of the church.’ Perhaps he felt that discipline was too subjective to function well as a mark. How faithful must a church be in discipline to qualify as a true church?”

    1996 or 1980 or 1930 But surely the crisis of identity for those who resist mere biblicism follows the trail of parachurches in Philadelphia–

    Twenty years after Banhouse died, Tenth Presbyterian left the UPCUSA in 1980, aligning itself with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod.

    Machen,–Everywhere we find centralization of power under an arbitrary bureaucracy; the idea of liberty is slowly but very surely being reduced. Solemn contracts …. The Church, bearing the sacred name of Christ, is standing on a lower ethical plane than that which prevails in the world outside—than that which prevails among people who make no profession of religion at all.

    DGH– Donald Grey Barnhouse, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church, only a few blocks from Westminster’s original center-city Philadelphia campus, n 1930 had begun a series of Sunday evening services in an area theater that drew people away from their own services and caused ministers in the vicinity to object. Especially offensive was Barnhouse’s declaration that he would sooner die than allow a liberal minister to preach in his pulpit. Liberals within the Presbytery of Philadelphia eventually brought Barnhouse to trial for breach of the ninth commandment and violation of his ordination vows. He was found guilty and was admonished by his predominantly conservative presbytery, the lightest punishment under Presbyterian law.


    Mohler–When I became president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1993, I told Dr. Graham, who had an out-sized influence in the Southern Baptist Convention as well as American evangelicalism, that he could help me by coming to speak at my inauguration as President. He delivered an address downtown at Freedom Hall, then the largest auditorium in the city of Louisville. He preached on the question, “Can revival come?”


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