CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
BIBLE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH of EAST CAMDEN
823-825 Elm Street and 733 North 27th Street
These two affiliated churches, BIBLE PRESBYTERIAN and BIBLE PRESBYTERIAN OF EAST CAMDEN, operated in Camden beginning in the late 1930s and probably were still meeting into the 1950s and possibly later, at 823-825 Elm Street in North Camden and at 733 North 27th Street in Cramer Hill. Both buildings are still standing and are being used as churches in the mid-2010s. The building on Elm Street had been the First Wesleyan Church from 1931 through February of 1938, but was a Bible Presbyterian building by 1940. 733 North 27th Street, originally built as the home of Dr. William Kensinger in the 1890s, was still a private residence in 1931, that of Irving Gehret. The 1940 Directory shows the building to be vacant, the 1943 and 1947 Directories show the Bible Presbyterian Church of East Camden at the North 27th Street address. A news clipping from 1941 indicates that the East Camden church was already active.
The Bible Presbyterian Church denomination was formed in 1937, predominantly through the efforts of such conservative Presbyterian clergymen as Carl McIntire, J. Oliver Buswell and Allan MacRae. Francis Schaeffer was the first minister to be ordained in the new denomination. The First General Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church was held in 1938 in Collingswood, New Jersey.
The Bible Presbyterian Church broke from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1937, the latter formed slightly earlier in 1936 and a continuation of the Presbyterian Church of America (not to be confused with the similar but later Presbyterian Church in America). The name had to be changed because of a successful lawsuit in civil court by the mainline denomination regarding name infringement – a trademark-violation issue. After the conservative faction had left the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA), considerable dissension became apparent among the conservatives themselves, and it became evident that there were two groups within the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The first group was more closely bound to traditional modes of worship, theological formulations, and the like. This group held to the classic formulations of Reformed theology (as mediated through the Westminster Confession and the Catechisms) and piety, thus forming an "orthodox" faction.
The other faction espoused a conservatism that showed a more keen interest in cultural and political matters, and saw the actions of the PCUSA as symptomatic of a rejection of long-held principles of conservative Christianity by much of the larger American society. This group was essentially fundamentalist in nature, and became associated with the "Bible" faction. McIntire laid the basis for much of what was to come.
July 26, 1941
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