Separatism 1929 -1932 -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 08:2 (Summer 1965)
Article: Separatism 1929 -1932
Author: Anonymous


Separatism 1929 -1932

The collapse of Des Moines University, with the flood of lurid publicity, ruined the Baptist Bible Union. There was little for the leaders to do but go back to their churches. On the other hand, the Des Moines venture had drawn off energies that might have been applied to the actual movement of the Bible Union. The movement had begun with protest and had developed to boycott and to the endorsement of other agencies. In Canada, Michigan, and Ohio, the Bible Union organizations had taken the next step, that of separatism and the establishment of new organizations. The Bible Union in 1928 had made a distinctly separatist resolution. What remained was to bring about a separatist organization on a national scale, composed of churches rather than individuals, in a word, a separate convention.

It should be noted here that another matter had hurt the Bible Union during the years before the Des Moines fiasco. The fact of individual membership made it possible for almost anyone to join; all one had to do was send in his name and subscribe to the confession of faith. The efficient secretary-treasurer would send him a membership card. The result was that any number of irresponsible individuals could hold evangelistic meetings under the name of the Baptist Bible Union, with no real authorization at all. Many meetings-were held in the name of the Bible Union which brought great discredit on the name. Yet the Baptist Bible Union was powerless to curb such men, their statements, or their methods.

Following the events of the summer of 1929, the Bible Union seems to have been wholly inactive for several months. The blow had been too great. That winter Shields wrote, “As to the future, there never was greater need of the Baptist Bible Union than there is today. Like all other organizations, it will learn from its mistakes, for everything human is faulty. We are of the opinion that if the Baptist Bible Union had been an organization of churches instead of individuals, and if it had boldly called the churches out from association with the Unitarian Northern Baptist Convention, to the formation of another Convention, in the beginning, it might by this time be as large as the Northern Baptist Convention. In this connection we remember our faults this day. We ourselves did not know that Modernism was so deeply rooted. We hoped that both in Canada and the United States existing conventions could be purged from their infidelities, but of this we have how abandoned hope. In Canada, we have had to form a new Convention, with a new Seminary. We believe evangelicals will have to do the same thing all over England.”

There follows a paragraph praising Van Osdel as the one man who had from the beginning seen farther than...

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