In recent days, I have been reading a biography of Dr. Carl McIntire entitled McIntire: Defender of Faith and Freedom. He was one of the founders of the Bible Presbyterian Church in America, and President of the International Council of Christian Churches from 1948-2002. This biography was started by Gladys Titzck Rhoads and completed by her daughter Nancy following her passing away. The authors desired to set the record straight concerning the life of Carl McIntire, for they were “appalled at how the media and careless historians often twisted his words and scorned his life.” (p. xi)

Throughout the book, Gladys and Nancy endeavoured to present McIntire as a fundamentalist preacher who took God at His Word and defended the hon-our of Christ and His Church. He spent a whole lifetime alerting people to the danger of false religion in the church, as well as compromise among professing Bible believers.

By the grace of God, I have completed reading two chapters of this book. Here are some of the lessons I have gleaned from my reading:

Carl’s Godly Mother

Carl McIntire was blessed with a godly mother named Hettie. Hettie sought to bring up the family in the way of the Holy Scriptures. She would often teach them the Proverbs, and did her best by God’s grace to be a faithful mother and housekeeper. Two lessons taught to her children stood out for me:

1. A Commitment to Tithing. Carl’s first employment as a young man was to pick cotton for a salary of $1.00 per day. Hettie reminded her son that everything he earned was given to him by God, and that God only asked one-tenth back in return as “acknowledgement of His sovereignty”. God would make nine-tenths go as far as the ten-tenths if Carl would trust in God and give cheerfully unto Him. Here is a woman of the Scripture who understood the meaning of the tithe! The tithe is a privilege for believers, and serves to teach us trust in our Heavenly Father for our daily provision.

With regards to those who started working, they should set in their heart to give their first earnings entirely unto the Lord. “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10) When a child of God returns his tithe and offerings unto the Lord in faith, his faith in Christ will mature as He will experience how God will use the rest to provide for him. God is our true paymaster!

2. An Abhorrence of Hypocritical Religion. Hettie often led the children in the reading of the Bible, and stressed the importance of a sincere faith that is founded upon the Word. One of her favourite quotes was, “O what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.” This teaching impacted Carl McIntire greatly, leading him to dedicate his life in denouncing false religion and apostasy.

What about us? Do we come to church only as a superficial show of obedience, but with a heart of rebellion and sin? Let us take heed to Jeremiah 17:10 – “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Love God fervently, in sincerity and in truth.

Standing for the Faith

As Carl McIntire was studying in Princeton Seminary in 1929, the governing board of the seminary was taken over by liberals and modernists. These were academicians who denied the fundamentals of the faith including the inerrancy of the Bible and the reality of miracles. His teacher, the godly Dr. J. Gresham Machen had no choice but to leave Princeton Seminary and start a new seminary.

What should Carl McIntire do? It was a long-time desire of Carl to graduate from the prestigious Princeton Seminary. He was then the president of the student body, making it difficult for him to leave the institution. If he would to leave Princeton Seminary halfway through his studies, he would have got his degree, and many of the churches would not receive him into the pastorate. Would that not affect his career ?

To complicate matters, Princeton’s President, Dr. J. Ross Stevenson, attempted to persuade Carl to stay in Princeton. Stevenson was a good friend of Carl’s father. He said, “You’re going to come out on the little end by following Machen. You could be in a large church. You could become Moderator!”

Thankfully, God granted Carl McIntire the courage to overcome the temptation of fame and fortune. He also did not allow a family friend in the form of Ross Stevenson to stop him from standing for Christ. Carl abided by one principle – “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” (2 Corinthians 13:8) Our actions should always be dictated by the truth, and not by fame or relationships!

Sadly, many of Carl’s classmates did not take a similar stand despite professing to be believers in the Bible. Princeton Seminary went the way of compromise and apostasy as predicted by her alumni A.A. Hodge – “It is natural that every institution which has attained to a history should possess away back in its past . . . a golden age, when the remote forefathers dwelt in a world of love and purity, not known to their degenerate sons.”

Will the same happen to the Bible-Presbyterian movement in Singapore? Will history repeat itself in Tabernacle BPC? We pray not! Let the coming generation take heed. May the Lord grant us grace and courage to be unflinching in our fight for the truth. We need more Carl McIntires today. Will you be a modern McIntire for Christ?

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew

“O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” by Hettie McIntire (Carl McIntire’s mother)