The Life and Ministry of Carl McIntire
by Carl McIntire
ED REESE, Psalm 35:28.
BORN: May 17,1906
One of Protestant's most controversial figures, Carl McIntire has been labeled by the liberal left-wing crowd as "the number one hate-monger." None can deny that he has become a most fearsome enemy of compromise. While many fundamentalists would neither have the time, the call, nor the ability to expose and cry out against the evils of our time in his fashion, his voice can be counted on to alert the nation to the socialistic trends in our government and the apostasy creeping into many churches. His deep patriotism is obvious along with his Christian fundamentalism. His rigid leadership, somewhat like that of J. Gresham Machen has caused many co -workers to forsake him. Having the tenacity of a bulldog, McIntire has almost single-handedly opposed everything he feels would corrupt the the churches or the government. "Extreme rightwinger," is another title given him by those who do not understand his heart or motives. He is simply dead serious and unrelenting in his fight for righteousness sake.
Born into a Northern Presbyterian Church background, he was raised in the confines of a southern Presbytery at Durant, Oklahoma, where the family moved when he was a small boy. As a child of a covenant Christian home, he doesn't know exactly when he was converted... but he does know it, and few would dare deny this. His rearing in the true Scottish Presbyterian tradition included much oatmeal and sessions with the Shorter Catechism.
His first three years of college were spent preparing for law at South-Eastern State, at Durant, Okla. He was president of the student body in his last year at State. In his final year at Park College, Parkville, Mo., McIntire felt God's call to the ministry and abandoned his law career. He graduated in 1927 with a degree looking forward to seminary. Four years of college debating, numerous victorious forays into the field of oratory, and extempore speaking had laid the groundwork for his effectiveness as a preacher. He entered Princeton Theological Seminary in the fall of 1928 and was immediately plunged into the heart of the seminary reorganization controversy when he was elected president of the junior class. When Gresham Machen and Robert Dick Wilson withdrew the following year (1929) and organized Westminster Seminary, McIntire with a number of other students went to Philadelphia as well. He was a member of the 1931 graduating class of the new seminary. On June 4th he was ordained by the West Jersey Presbytery of the now United Presbyterian Church USA, in the Chelsea Presbyterian Church, Atlantic City, New Jersey, his first charge. Two and one half years later, in 1933, he went to Collingswood, New Jersey, where he began to pastor a church of 1,000 members with $250,000 worth of property. . . a large order for a youth of 27. He loudly criticized the church's liberal missionaries, protested the discrimination against conservative missionaries, and began to withhold financial support from the national headquarters. His wholehearted support went to a newly formed Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions, founded in 1933. This board was formed to combat liberalism in the foreign missions department of the denomination. In 1935, an ecclesiastical court of the Presbytery found McIntire guilty of sowing dissention within the church and his ministerial credentials were withdrawn. On June 1, 1936, the General Assembly sustained the Presbytery and formally suspended him from the ministry and forbid him to take communion, along with Gresham Machen and Charles Woodbridge. McIntire simply renounced the jurisdiction of the Presbytery and changed the name of the church to the Bible Presbyterian Church of Collingswood. However, the civil courts ruled the property belonged to the denomination. So on March 27, 1937, after preaching, the 30-year old pastor outlined his plans to his congregation (three were converted that evening). The choir sang Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. Then he left the stately, quarter million dollar church to a Chatauqua tent several blocks away, with 1,200 members marching with him -and 75 staying behind. Soon a new tabernacle covering nearly a city block housed a congregation of nearly 1,800!
Also, in 1937, McIntire and twelve other ministers founded the Bible Presbyterian Church. It currently consists of some 55 congregations across the country, About the same time, many of the same men started Faith Theological Seminary first in Wilmington, Delaware, later in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. His church has continued to grow through the years, adding a Sunday school building in 1952 for $210,000. In 1957, a $750,000 colonial brick building was built. His only source of income personally is the $15,000 yearly salary given by the church. But pastoring the church and being the president of the board of Faith Seminary is only a part of all he is involved in.
In February, 1936, he began to launch his views in a scrappy weekly paper called the Christian Beacon. Its circulation currently is about 137,000.
In 1941 he founded the American Council of Christian Churches, an alternative to the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, now the National Council of Churches. This was to attract some fifteen small denominations with a claim of over one million members. Another fellowship, the National Association of Evangelicals, also came into existence one month later as some Christian leaders felt the militant McIntire group was too intolerant in its call for separation from FCCC affiliations. Actually, the ACCC started when the Bible Presbyterians joined another independent group, - the Bible Protestant Church, in planning for a larger national organization. The two groups drew up a constitution by September of 1941 and the result was the ACCC. Other groups were asked to join them in their opposition to modernism, compromise, and apostasy. A gifted speaker and a man of deep convictions, McIntire was a natural to head the new movement. McIntire continued to be its leading light until he was voted off the organizations executive board in 1969 in a major schism discussed later. About this time he also obtained the National Bible Institute of New York, renaming it Shelton College, and moving it to Ringwood and finally to Cape May, New Jersey.
In 1948, the International Council of Christian Churches came into being at Amsterdam, Netherlands, made up of 42 denominations from 43 nations. It was to counter the World Council of Churches which was being organized at the same time in the same city. McIntire was unanimously elected head, and has continued to lead its program. By 1975, the ICCC had grown to 230 denominations in 85 countries and around the world come stories of defection from the WCC. A major international conference has been held periodically bringing delegates from all over the world to discuss mutual problems and blessings. The most recent one in Nairobi, Kenya drew 5,000 delegates. These international gatherings have taken much of McIntire's strength and organizational talents to sustain them. They have been held as follows:
1st Amsterdam, Netherlands August 11 - 19, 1948
2nd Geneva, Switzerland August 16-23, 1950
3rd Philadelphia, Penn., USA August 3-12, 1954
4th Rio-Petropolis, Brazil August 12-21, 1958
5th Amsterdam, Netherlands August 14-20, 1962
6th Geneva, Switzerland August 5 -11, 1965
7th Cape May, NJ, USA August 14-25, 1968
8th Cape May, NJ, USA June 13-24, 1973
9th Nairobi, Kenya July 15-27, 1975
10th USA (proposed) 1979
McIntire has been involved in several breaks and defections with people who have worked closely with him. One such took place in 1954 when a group inside the Bible Presbyterian movement, led by Francis Schaffer and Robert Rayburn of Highland College in California revolted because it claimed that McIntire's separatism was too extreme and that it did not represent the position of many in the group. Both groups used the name "Bible Presbyterian" until the disenting group in 1961 changed its name to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of North America. McIntire denied the charges and continued to expose and condemn apostasy in all forms from his pulpit in Collingswood, New Jersey, from his Christian Beacon publication, from ACCC and ICCC platforms, and from the campuses of Faith Seminary and Shelton College.
However, he was about to unveil a new weapon that would make his former exposure and outreach look quite anemic-radiol It was in 1955 that he began his daily radio program known as the "20th Century Reformation Hour." This nation-wide radio broadcast has frustrated the Federal Communications Commission no end in their efforts to contain McIntire. The broadcast exposes modernism within mainstream Protestant denominations, the lust for power of the Roman Catholic Church, the government control of life in the United States and its attempt to co-exist with Communism, and Communism itself, with its infiltration of churches and schools.
In the late 1950's and early 1960's McIntire devoted much of his energy to combating the influence of Soviet-US relations. In September of 1959, it was a protest to the government's reception for Krushchev; in June, 1960, he participated in a Rio de Janiero, Brazil rally against the inclusion of two Soviet delegates to the 10th International Congress of the World Baptist Alliance; in November, 1961, he challenged the application of the Russian Orthodox Church into the World Council of Churches; and in FebruaryMarch, 1963 he led protest rallies across the country when a delegation of Soviet churchmen visited the United States as a guest of the NCC.
All of this required expansion in Collingswood. A few blocks down Haddon Avenue from his church, a three story building was obtained and renamed the 20th Century Reformation Building. Here is McIntire's office, a reception room, a library, the ICCC office a mail room, computer room and studios where McIntire tapes the daily 30 minute broadcasts for distribution to several hundred radio stations. There is a print shop in the rear of the property where the weekly Christian Beacon is run off along with his tracts and other printed materials.
Across the street are the offices of International Christian Relief, a philanthropic arm of the ICCC, distributing food, clothing and medicine to mission fields of the world. $20,000,000 dollars in relief has gone around the world. Some 100 are employed by McIntire, most of them from his church.
Several other projects have come under his leadership; space hardly allows mentioning. . the Faith Christian High School in Collingswood; for a while, John Knox Bible Presbyterian College of Pasadena, Calif.; and later, the acquiring of Linda Vista Baptist College of El Cajon, California, which has been renamed the Southern California Reformation College.
Again, these were small compared to his expansion in 1963 into Cape May, New Jersey which was widely noted. He purchased the Admiral Hotel, a seaside resort hotel there, and renamed it the Christian Admiral. He turned it into a Bible conference center and vacation hotel for his followers. A short distance down the beach a second hotel, Congress Hall, was purchased for dormitory and additional conference space. Other houses and cottages purchased there brought the assets up to $7,000,000. As many as 25,000 guests a summer have attended Cape May conventions. The summer full moon hymn sing on the lawn of the Congress Hall attracts thousands.
Beginning in 1970, McIntire has led a series of Marches for Victory in Washington, D.C., first in defense of our Vietnam involvement, later in defense of freedom of speech on the radio. On July 4, 1970 he launched 113,000 red, white, and blue balloons from 120 locations throughout the United States to signal a beginning of a spiritual revival - "Victory in the Sky" it was called. His October 3rd, 1970, march was supposed to feature vice-president Ky of South Vietnam. However, Mr. Ky backed down at the last moment, allegedly through a White House maneuver. In July, 197 1, President Nixon gave new reasons for protest demonstrations when he announced his intention to visit Red China.
The largest revolt McIntire faced was in 1968 when several leaders (mainly GARB) of the ACCC openly repudiated his leadership and militant position, and control passed into the hands of such men as R. T. Ketcham, R. F. Hamilton, D. A. Waite, and John E. Milham. In 1969 he was deposed from the executive board. McIntire tried to gain back the control of the Council at its meetings in Pasadena, California, in 1970. Nothing but unresolved - differences came out of the tense sessions of charges and counter-charges.
Problems were mounting from other sources also - the government. McIntire's number one radio station was WXUR. In 1964 Faith Seminary applied to the Federal Communications Commission for transfer of its license; in March, 1965 the FCC approved the license and in April, 1965, Faith Seminary took control of WXUR at a price of $450,000. The station was located in Media, Pa., and McIntire broadcast two programs on it. Major civic and religious groups led by the Greater Philadelphia Council of Churches complained to the FCC "that the station was serving as an outlet for sentiments that were anti-Roman Catholic, anti-Negro, antiSemitic, etc." On October 2, 1967, hearings began on these charges and on June 26, 1968, the hearings ended, with an examiner's decision rendered in favor of the station December 13, 1968. However, on July 2, 1970, the FCC reversed their examiner's decision, and said the station would not be renewed because of violation of the fairness doctrine and personal attack provision of the FCC code. McIntire raised and spent some $450,000 in a legal battle that followed. However, on September 25, 1972, the U.S. Circuit Court decision in Washington ordered the station off the air. The Supreme Court dismissed the case without a hearing in May, 1973 - and so at midnight, July 5, 1973 the station died, perhaps the first martyr for the Christian cause in modem times in America. The case provoked wide interest in Washington. McIntire went to the Atlantic Ocean with a boat to beam his broadcast from international waters. He called it "Radio Free America" but the FCC secured a Federal Court injunction to silence the operation.
Coupled with this, in the summer of 1971, A. A. McRae and four of the faculty of Faith Theological Seminary left to organize the Biblical Theological Seminary near Philadelphia. Faith Seminary has more students now than before.
Blow after blow had come. Now it was the state of New Jersey's turn. In 1971 the New Jersey State Board of Higher Education ordered Shelton College to close its doors because it did not meet accreditation standards of the state. The driving force of this move was a Dr. Ralph Dungan, Chancellor of Higher Education in New Jersey and a former aid to President John F. Kennedy. Shelton was forced to close its doors on May 24, 1971, the night of its last commencement exercises in New Jersey.
However, Carl McIntire was always one step ahead of his foes. In February, 1971, he acquired title to a multi-million dollar real estate package at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The total cost was a staggering $23 million which he obtained for only $54,000 down. Called the Gateway to the Stars, the lease plus purchase was for 300 acres of land at the gate of the Kennedy Space Center, extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Banana River. It included the former Cape Kennedy Hilton, a 200 room convention center which has been renamed the Gateway to the Stars Freedom Center Hotel holding a 2,500 seat conference or convention center and 282 apartments; the Boeing Building which now houses Shelton College; the IBM Building and the Chrysler Complex which house the Jerusalern Museum in its front structure. Like Cape May's complex, the new center has Bible study periods, anti-Communist seminars, and other religious and patriotic services, plus retirement facilities. Shelton College reopened in the fall of 1971, with Hyland Sheperd succeeding McIntire as president in 1972. The local Chamber of Commerce looks upon these developments with a measure of guarded optimism hoping for increased business and spiritual benefit, while others in the community of more liberal persuasion have voiced fears of returning to the "dark ages." Alex Shuford, the man who made the contract with McIntire died. His brother, Harley decided not to carry out the original agreement but intended to sell out and leave. He wanted to be paid in full, or have McIntire's enterprises evicted. This caused great concern in 1974. Finally a contract was signed on September 27, 1974, stating that McIntire could stay if he could produce $1 million cash by December 27, 1974. This was a formidable task even for Carl McIntire, but he did raise it and the facilities remain in his hands!
McIntire made the news again in 1975, but this time the veteran warrior was not intending to make any news. While attending the 9th World Congress of the ICCC in Nairobi, Kenya, he was suddenly expelled by force from the country of Kenya, (July 25), two days before the conference was to end. Attacks against McIntire appeared in leading papers, many of them from WCC leaders. On one television program he was viciously attacked for claiming that Christianity was the only true religion and all others were false. The ICCC was charged as being a part of the CIA. The Vice-president began to attack McIntire before the Parliament and over the radio saying that the preacher was abusing Kenya's hospitality by "dumping his theological garbage" in Nairobi. He called him a hyena and he later stated that he didn't believe McIntire was a Christian. On the morning of the deportation as he was at breakfast, two men sent word that they were from the Immigration Department and wanted to talk with him in their office. McIntire with a lady from the Embassy was pushed into a car. She was jerked out and he was hustled to the airport, and deported by the government. The closing feature of the Congress, the parade of the nations, was cancelled by the Government and the conference ended in somewhat of a shocked condition. Mrs. McIntire flew out several hours later, and reunited with her husband at home in Collingswood.
McIntire travels widely and has met with heads of governments and missionaries in many countries of the world. His Christmas offerings year after year have helped many benighted individuals. His state side travels often find him in the same city where some liberal or compromising conference or convention is being held. Holding an alternate rally has given him a chance to expose the evils of the scheduled main event. He occasionally is the featured speaker at some notable fundamental occasion, as was the case when he was the featured speaker the day the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana had over 10,000 in Sunday School for the first time. Several radio stations have dropped his radio broadcasts, but his challenging "Freedom is Everybodies' business" continues to warn all who hear the broadcasts, or read his journal. Historically men with deep rooted convictions, and dominant personalities have been always in the throes of controversy. Men like Machen, J. Frank Norris, William Booth , George Whitefield and others have all had their share of enemies, both within and without the Christian family.
McIntire married Fairy Eunice Davis on May 27, 1931 and they have lived in the same house in Collingswood for over 35 years. They have three children, two daughters and a son, Marianna Clark, Celeste Bashan, and Carl Thomas. McIntire has received two honorary degrees, one from Bob Jones University and one from Toronto Baptist Theological Seminary. He was a good friend of T. T. Shields, famous fundamentalist leader of Canada, and conducted his funeral in Toronto. He has written scores of books and pamphlets, his first book being A Cloud of Witnesses, an exposition on Hebrews 11.
There is only one Carl McIntire, despised, envied and loved, all depending to whom you are talking. His $3 million annual income from grass roots America suggests that many are listening and believing.
The scores of sources used in obtaining data for this series are too numerous to mention, but the following is a list of some of those most frequently consulted.
Back issues of the following periodicals:
POWER SUNDAY SCHOOL PAPER
SWORD OF THE LORD
Who's Who in America
Encyclopedia American and the American Peoples Encyclopedia
20 Centuries of Great Preaching - Word
Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge - Baker
Who's Who in Church History - (Wm. Barker) Revell
Who Was Who in Church History (Elgin Moyer) - Moody Press
Christian Hall of Fame - (Elmer Towns) Baker
How Great Christians Met Christ - (James Hefley) Moody Press
A History of Fundamentalism - (George Dollar) Bob Jones Press
Spiritual Secrets of Famous Christians - (A. McPherson) Zondervan
Pulpit Giants - (Donald Demaray) Moody Press
Last Words of Saints and Sinners - (H. Lockyer) .... Kregel Publications
A Treasury of Sermon Illustrations - (Charles Wallis) Abingdon
An Encyclopedia of Religion - (Vergilius Ferm) . . Philosophical Library
Handbook of the Bible - (Donald Demaray) Cowman Publishing
The Illustrated Bible & Church Handbook - (Stanley Stuber)Associated Press
Men of Fire (Walter R. Bowie) - Harper and Row
10 Famous Evangelists, Missionaries, Singers - (Series) (Basil Miller) Zondervan
They Found The Secret - (V. Edman) Zondervan
Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians - (James Lawson) Warner Press
Modern Revivalism - (Wm. McLoughlin) Ronald Press
The Sawdust Trail - (Gordon L. Hall) Macrae Smith Company
Plus numerous other books, booklets and items from many sources.
About the Author
Edward Reese graduated from the Moody Bible Institute in 1950. His varied background has included Youth for Christ ministries, service as a pastor, evangelist, musician (Cordovox recording artist), and missionary (Japan and Brazil). He now serves on the faculty of Hyles-Anderson College. He has also served as a researcher and writer for Church League of America as well as a field representative for Second Coming, Inc. He is the founder and head of Fundamental Publishers.
Reese Religious Research provides information and reports on most phases of Christian knowledge. It began many years ago by collecting information on Christian personalities. A library including over 200 biographical volumes and thousands of back issues of Christian publications soon became a workshop. Hundreds of questionnaires were sent out and returned from living Christian leaders to assist in this particular series of concise and accurate biographies.
To the many workers for Christ whose faithfulness and dedication are known only to God ... who will write the last chapter to all biographies. - Matthew 25:21.
To Harold Henniger for sharing The Christian Hall of Fame title, and to Margaret, my wife, for designing, editing and typing.