A Less Famous Hero

The Rev Mr Arthur Kuschke is not the most well-known hero of Reformed theology, piety, and practice. There’s a high probability that you have never heard of him but despite his relative anonymity (some in the OPC and WTS will know his name) he was a hero nonetheless. Arthur Kuschke was one of the fellows who understood what Norman Shepherd was saying at a time when many others either did not understand, could not understand, or perhaps would not understand. He opposed Shepherd’s doctrine of justification by grace through faith and cooperation with grace (“faithfulness”) vigorously and consistently and he opposed it when it reappeared years later in the second phase of the controversy when an OPC ruling elder was teaching that God justifies (not vindicates!) at the last day not solely on the basis of the righteousness of Christ imputed but also on the basis of “Spirit-wrought sanctity.”

After 96 years Arthur Kuschke is with the Savior who loved him (and loves him now!), who came for him, obeyed for him, died for him, was raised for him, and interceded for him.

Today is a good day to remember a faithful pastor who did his best to protect the flock and to give thanks for those faithful, often lonely, anonymous pastors who, by God’s grace, do the same every day.

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  1. Mr. Kuschke was a familiar figure at WTS in my student days. He was the only person I know of to pray before giving us new students a tour of the library and an introduction to its riches.

  2. Yes, Arthur was a real hero!

    Arne and I spent many hours speaking with him in preparation for the Kinnaird trial when he was “only” in his 80’s. Since Arthur didn’t use a computer, my husband volunteered to spend a day with him so he could type Arthur’s trial presentation directly into his laptop. Arthur could then revise and edit easily in comparison to his normal way of doing everything by hand. My husband later related to me how when Arthur would come to place where he would cite a Scripture, he would first read directly from the Greek New Testament, translating into English as he went. Their day became a wonderful time of fellowship as they both repeatedly came to tears as the truth of the Gospel was made plain to them as they studied the Scriptures together.

    During the long hours of the trial, he suffered with almost crippling fatigue that made it difficult for him to concentrate later in the day. (He learned later his glucose meter was faulty, so he had been experiencing low blood sugar for many months without realizing it.) Yet through it all, he never expressed any discouragement and bore every infirmity with amazing good humor. We will always treasure our memories of him.

  3. Scott

    I can speak to the blessing of having known Rev. Kuschke. When I came into the OPC he was a real encouragement. He will be missed.

  4. According to “A Ministerial and Congregational Register of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 1936-2001” (pp. 86-87), the Rev. Kuschke was: Assistant to the Field Secretary at WTS in Philadelphia (1940-1944), librarian at WTS (1945 to 1979), Secretary of the Committee on the Trinity Hymnal (1949-1964), and Chairman of the Committee on Candidates for the Presbytery of Philadelphia of the OPC (1951-1979). Interestingly, according to the “Register,” he never pastored a church or even served as an assistant or associate pastor.

  5. Thanks, Dr. Clark. Many of the Lord’s most faithful serve “behind the scenes.”

  6. If I’m not mistaken, Mr Arthur Kuschke was also one of the two dissenting minority in the Clark-Van Til controversy on the free offer of the gospel.

    • You are mistaken. Mr. Kuschke’s name appears on the majority report on the Free offer of the Gospel. The minority was submitted by Messrs. Young and Hamilton.

  7. Kuschke taught beginning Greek for many years at WTS. When I arrived in 1978 the Shepherd controversy was in high gear and Kuschke along with Robert Knudsen, Palmer Robertson, Meredith Kline, Bob Godfrey and Standford Reid were the most vocal in their opposition to Shepherd.

  8. I remember meeting Mr. Kuschke at church while in seminary. He was always encouraging to me and my family (we had four small children at the time) and even allowed me to interview him for a research paper I was writing on the controversy of the OPC during the 1940s. I will not forget the short time we spent together. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).

    Arthur will be missed by all who knew him.

  9. God bless his memory. May there be more like him in the OPC in opposing the heresies of Shepherd, Lillback, etc.

  10. Mr. Kuschke could at times seem an intimidating figure to a 1st-year seminarian, he was a humble servant. During the “Shepherd Controversy” there were some who seemed more concerned for the institution of WTS than for the truth of the issues at stake. No one ever doubted that Mr. Kuschke’s concerns were properly motivated out of love for, and concern for the truths of God’s Word.

    After many years out of the OPC, I again crossed paths with Mr. Kuschke at Presbytery of Philadelphia (2008 ?). To me he looked almost unchanged from the early 1980’s.

    WTS[East] from 1977-1982+

  11. Matt,

    My simple definition of heresy is that it is any teaching which directly *or* indirectly contradicts the *Gospel* not only as *theology* but also *proclamation* (orally and sacramentally).

  12. Jason

    Could you provide additional details on what heresy you believe Lillback is spreading?

    Thank you

  13. Dean,

    Lillback is a heretic because in his book, The Binding of God, he applies the same theology as Auburn Avenue to a Calvin’s conception of the covenant. The covenant is conditional and breachable. Lillback confuses mutuality of the covenant that is between two parties, divine and human with conditionality, that conditions to be fulfilled by both parties for the covenant to be executed. This contradicts Romans 9 (scripture), the core of Reformed Faith (systematic theology) and the the nature of the Gospel.

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