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The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions was formed by seven ministers and members of the PCUSA in 1933 "to carry on truly Biblical and truly Presbyterian Foreign Missionary work." Formation of this board continued a divisive movement in the PCUSA which five years earlier had resulted in establishment of the independent Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. The 146th General Assembly (1934) ordered those members of the PCUSA who had joined the Independent Board to resign from that board and directed their respective presbyteries to take disciplinary action against them if they refused to do so.Those ministers who did not resign from the Independent Board were tried by their presbyteries. On their appeal of the decisions of their presbyteries, hearings by their synods followed, and appeals of those decisions were heard before the Judicial Commission of the General Assembly. In every case the decisions of the lower courts were confirmed unanimously by the Supreme Judicatory of the Church. Each of the courts--Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly-- declared the issue "in no case and in no sense doctrinal." The General Council of the PCUSA stated that the matter was never a controversy between "fundamentalists" and "modernists" as those connected with the Independent Board had contended, and that the decision was "no victory for either but a triumph of constitutional government."
Record Group 20 consists primarily of correspondence of the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, the Reverend Lewis Seymour Mudge, Executive Head of the Office of the General Assembly. Addresses, some on radio, by various individuals, most of them connected with the Independent Board, constitute a rather large body of materials within the record group. The group also includes a transcript of "Complaints and Appeals to the 148th General Assembly" in 1936, and a few miscellaneous items.
The collection is arranged as follows:SERIES 1: CORRESPONDENCE, 1933-1935SERIES 2: TRANSCRIPTS OF ADDRESSES/MISCELLANEOUS, 1935-1936
Collection processed: July 1968 Milton Kenin, Records ResearcherCollection processed and finding aid prepared: 1983Jane M. RamsayFinding aid revised: June 1991Stephanie Muntone, Processing Archivist
Finding Aid to Record Group 20
SERIES 1: CORRESPONDENCE OF THE STATED CLERK, 1933-35
October 1933-May 1934
SERIES 2: TRANSCRIPTS OF ADDRESSES/MISCELLANEOUS, 1935-36
Transcripts of Addresses, February--May 1935
Transcripts of Addresses, May 1935--February 1936
Transcripts of Complaints and Appeals to the 148th General Assembly, May 1936