What is the Difference Between the Bible Presbyterian Church and the United Presbyterian Church?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
THE BIBLE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
THE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH?
The momentous issues facing individual Christians in the twentieth century may be seen in the history and struggle involving these two churches.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church is, in the main, a break from the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.; and the United Presbyterian Church represents a union between the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the United Presbyterian Church. The names are indicative of the positions held.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church introduced the word "Bible" before "Presbyterian" because the modernist fundamentalist controversy that brought the church into existence centered around the Word of God. The United Presbyterian Church has introduced and accepted the word "united" because it is indicative of the ecumenical movement's emphasis upon the ultimate union of all churches.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church is a confessional church, accepting the historic Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms and seeking to maintain the integrity of the confession. The United Presbyterian Church accepted the inclusivist principle and has broadened itself to include in its leadership in the ministry men who reject the most fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church consists of congregations, many of which have withdrawn from the United Presbyterian Church, giving up their proper-ties and sacrificing all to be loyal to the faith once delivered unto the saints. The United Presbyterian Church has laid claim to all properties, has called various congregations into civil court, and, without the approval of the congregations, included in their new constitution the stipulation that no church could sell its property without the consent of the presbytery.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church preaches the Gospel of salvation with its emphasis upon winning men to Christ. It does not believe in the social gospel. The United Presbyterian Church places emphasis upon the social gospel and a variety of gospels and has given active sup-port to the sit-in movement in the South, has endorsed the recognition of Red China, and has gone so far as to declare that peaceful coexistence with Communism is not contrary to Christian principles.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church works entirely through independent agencies and in its constitution adopted the principle of states' rights and decentralization, believing that presbyteries and synods should have no power unless it is specifically granted in the constitution. The United Presbyterian Church has developed an elaborate system of implied powers and has established a powerful, bureaucratic system, with the denomination's highest court owning, directing, and controlling all the agencies.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church places its emphasis upon a spiritual fellowship, co-operation among the churches in accordance with the Word of God. The United Presbyterian Church, because of its powerful system of boards and agencies and the control which these agencies have over the life of the church, has become frankly a powerful, promotional organization to support the agencies.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church is a missionary church and in its activity is seeking to maintain a consistent, separatist position on the mission fields. It co-operates with the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions and has joined the issue against the ecumenical missions program of the United Presbyterian Church on mission field after mission field. The United Presbyterian Church is using its "ecumenical missions" to help build the one-world church.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church is in fellowship with the American Council of Christian Churches and was- one of the two denominations that helped found it. The United Presbyterian Church is a member of the National Council of Churches and gives heavy financial support to the National Council in all of its activities.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church is in fellowship with the, International Council of Christian Churches and has cooperated in the world-wide conflict which the International Council of Christian Churches has led in behalf of the Christian faith. The United Presbyterian Church is a member of the World Council of Churches and its prominent leaders exercise great influence -upon the ecumenical movement throughout the world.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church uses the International Evangelical Sunday School Lessons in its Sunday school teachings. The United Presbyterian Church uses what it calls "The New Curriculum," which maintains the position of neoorthodox and liberalism rather than that known as fundamentalist or conservative.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church provides that local congregations may call their own pastors without interference, that they are free and may withdraw from the church at any time, for reasons sufficient to themselves. The United Presbyterian Church prohibits a congregation's withdrawing. Furthermore, no congregation may call a pastor without first consultation and approval of a committee set up by the presbytery. The denomination has increased its control over local pulpits in the Church. This has taken from the ministers their freedom and from the local congregation their independence of action, but it has been done in order to guarantee a ministry that will support the program endorsed and approved by the ecumenical leaders.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church is distinct from other groups, including the Orthodox Presbyterian and what is called the Columbus Synod, which have refused to carry on a vigorous, militant battle in behalf of the historic Christian faith and the preservation of a Presbyterian ministry and church in this country which will be in keeping with the Presbyterian heritage. The United Presbyterian Church is finding that an increasing number of people within its boundaries are refusing to support it financially and are looking elsewhere for Christian fellowship.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church is in a definite sense a leader in the historic separatist movement of the 20th century. The United Presbyterian Church is in a definite sense a leader in the ecumenical movement of the 20th century.
Involved in these differences is, of course, the demands of the Word of God.
- The Bible Presbyterians have taken their stand in refusing to have fellowship with that which compromises and which represents unbelief, while the United Presbyterian Church has appealed to what it calls the demands of God against the sin of disunity, and, ignoring the sin of unbelief, and the opening of their churches to those who do not believe or accept such doctrines as the verbal inspiration, the virgin birth, the blood -atonement, and the bodily resurrection of Christ, it has created a Laodicean church.
- The Bible Presbyterians believe that their Synod church and churches must preach the Bible to the people and teach them the love of God as presented in the Word of God. The United Presbyterian Church is shifting its emphasis more to include tradition, and in the proposal for a union of four major Protestant bodies made by the present stated clerk, Dr. Eugene Carson Blake, has indicated that it would be necessary to give up the historic position of sola scriptura and to give a more prominent place to tradition if a union were going to be consummated between the Protestant and Catholic groups.
- The Bible Presbyterian Church has indeed a distinctive, a historic, and a glorious witness to the Word of God. Its theme text has been, "For -the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."
Prepared and distributed by
20TH CENTURY REFORMATION HOUR
Rev. Carl McIntire, D.D., Director
COLLINGSWOOD, NEW JERSEY