Since our Editor has been criticizing the Complaint against Dr. Gordon H. Clark of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church we thought it might be interesting to inform our readers concerning both Dr. Clark and the disposal of the case.

In 1936 Dr. Clark was invited to become Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Wheaton College. At that time Dr. Clark was a member and ruling elder of the Redeemer Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia. After a year’s probation at Wheaton College, Dr. Clark was elected Associate Professor of Philosophy and made a permanent member of the faculty. In June, 1942, a committee of the Board of Trustees of Wheaton was appointed to investigate certain questions which had arisen regarding Dr. Clark’s teaching. This committee later reported its findings and came with several recommendations which were adopted by the Board. Conditions were laid down which attempted to bind and limit Dr. Clark in his teaching. To these Dr. Clark replied: “On the ground of religious and moral convictions. . . .I am unable to comply with the requirements recently enacted by the Trustees, and I hereby present my resignation from the Faculty of Wheaton College”. (Those interested may find a complete discussion of the case in the Presbyterian Guardian: March 25 and April 25, issues of 1943).

Subsequently, Dr. Clark applied to the Presbytery of Philadelphia of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, to be examined with a view to ordination. At a special meeting of the Presbytery (comparable to our Oasis is) in July, 1944, Dr. Clark was licensed and in August of that same year was ordained to the ministry. At that time Dr. Clark planned to teach at the Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphia for one year. At present, to the best of our knowledge, he is teaching in Butler University.

Against this action of ordaining Dr. Clark, 13 members of the Presbytery of Philadelphia brought the complaint being discussed by our Editor. This complaint was first treated at the regular meeting of the Presbytery in March, 1945. The result was, as stated by the Presbyterian Guardian: “The presbytery clearly demonstrated to the complainants that even their mildest request would be refused and that there was, in effect, no use in making further attempts to gain recognition for their position.” This was evident from the final action of the Presbytery. A motion “That the presbytery acknowledge that various views of Dr. Clark as set forth in the meeting of July 7, 1944, are in error and that therefore the decision to sustain his theological examination, the decision to waive two years of study in a theological seminary, the decision to proceed to license Dr. Clark and the action of licensing him, the decision to deem the examination for licensure sufficient for ordination and the decision to ordain Dr. Clark were in error” was defeated by a roll call vote of 16 to 20. Actually, therefore, the Presbytery upheld and approved all the actions set forth in this motion. The complainants, thereupon, appealed their case to the General Assembly. (Comparable to our Synod).

The General Assembly met in June, 1945, and spent a great deal of its time on the Dr. Clark case. You will recall, from the discussion by our Editor, that three main questions were involved. Two of these were of a Church political nature while the last concerned the doctrinal issues. Concerning these the General Assembly made the following decisions: 1. “That the action of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, in denying that its meeting of July 7, 1944, was illegal and its action thus null and void, be sustained.” 2. “That the portion of the complaint which requests the General Assembly to ask the Presbytery of Philadelphia to declare null and void the actions of the meetings of the Presbytery of Philadelphia of July 7, 1944, re Gordon H. Clark, Pm. D., be declared unconstitutional because it seeks in effect to depose or to unfrock a minister of the Church in good and regular standing without filing charges or without due process of a trial.” The third decision was the only concession to the complainants, and even this was limited for it makes no mention of Dr. Clark. It was decided that “a committee of five, none of whom are members of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, be elected by this assembly to study the doctrinal parts of the complaint. . . .and report to the Thirteenth General Assembly.” We look forward with interest to the Committee’s report; especially in view of the thorough and exhaustive criticism of the complaint by the Editor of the Standard Bearer. Watch for it—you may find evidence of—“The Standard Bearer as a Witness”!