Machen's Memo to Christians in the Mainline

“Get out.” If things were bad enough to warrant separation from the mainline in 1935 how much more do circumstances warrant separation? Has the PCUSA become more or less faithful to the Word and to the Westminster Standards since 1935? To ask that question is to answer it. Remarkably, mainliners continue to give the same reasons for staying in as folk were giving in 1935.

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  1. Any thoughts on the New Wineskins movement? How about Parker T. Williamson? I know he was interviewed on the WHI a while back. Maybe you already wrote about this and I missed it.

    • Hi Ben,

      I’ve met some of the NW folk. I’m grateful for what they’re trying to do but my impression from what I’ve read and from what they’ve said to me is that they aren’t really much oriented around the WCF. They tend to accept the ordination of females. I get the impression that they accept the sort “evangelical Barthianism” that seems to be widespread in evangelicalism. My impression is that elements of the NW movement are seeking to leave the PCUSA which has provoked a property battle and threats by the powers that be in the PCUSA of court action. It looks like a replay of the 30s and 40s, in some respects.

      If I’m wrong, I’m happy to be corrected. I haven’t had much contact with the movement for a few years so I might be behind the curve.

      I had a small hope that RRC might find an audience in the NW movement but I don’t know if it has.

  2. This might sound like an obvious question to some, but coming as an outsider to Reformed denominations, which contemporary Presbyterian organizations in the US are at the more “conservative” (confessional) end of the spectrum and which are out on the “liberal” (ecumenical) end nowadays? I did do some research on the Web about what went on in Machen’s day, but I suspect that things have changed quite a bit since then. An information source would be great.

    Curious George

  3. Hi George,

    Three resources:

    1. Recovering the Reformed Confession


    3. Seeking a Better Country: 300 Years of Presbyterianism

    From the mid-30’s to 1973 there were a series of splits from the mainline Presbyterian bodies (which became the PCUSA). Those groups together with immigrant groups who were never part of the mainline form NAPARC as an alternative to the NCC and WCC.

    The three largest NAPARC groups are the Presbyterian Church in America (1973 – from the Southern Presbyterian tradition), the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (1936) from the Northern Presbyterian tradition and the United Reformed Churches in North America (split from the Christian Reformed Churches – Dutch Reformed — c. 1995).

    Each of these groups has its own website which you can find at the NAPARC site. My congregation is in the URCs:



    These things

  4. any ideas on how to find out if a particular PCUSA congregation is a NW church? awhile back there was a directory (I think) on their website (, but last time I looked for it I couldn’t find it. Their new website has too many stinkin bells and whistles!

  5. The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is larger than the URCNA in both number of congregations and total members by a little over 2:1.

    • Hi Ben,

      Thanks for this. That’s very helpful! That’s the problem with never having lived in the SE of the USA. I’ve not had much contact with the ARPs (though the contact I’ve had has been very positive).

  6. No problem Dr. Clark. Though just as an FYI there is an ARP congregation in Irvine, CA (the only Anglo ARP in CA, all the rest are ethnic Korean).


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