Skip to main content

Letter from N.D. Pendleton to Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, 1930-07-19

Identifier: RG.004.01

Scope and Contents

Typed letter from N.D. Pendleton to Rev. Theodore Pitcairn at Chateau de la Motte, Thoury-Ferrottes, Seine-et-Marne, France. Pendleton discusses Pitcairn’s future as a minister and teacher within the General Church given his recent change in belief. Pendleton does not agree with the doctrinal ideas being developed by Pfeiffer in the Hague, and he believes the fallout from this doctrinal disturbance could “break the internal unity” of the Church. He writes, “As to the ultimate practical situation, you are one of the pastors of the Bryn Athyn Society, and a teacher in the Academy Schools. You are, of course, free to return to your work here, and as a friend who has always held you in affection, I would gladly see you do so; but owing to the responsibilities of my office, I could not do otherwise than warn you of the state here, when you said you must teach the truth in accord with your understanding of it. I felt that an open and aggressive propaganda of Mr. Pfeiffer’s ideas, from the pulpit here, and in the schools would lead to a disturbance more or less serious. However, it has seemed to me that you could, if you desired, work with us in a way not to disturb the Society, and thereby allowing both us and yourself time to give further and more mature consideration to Mr. Pfeiffer’s teaching. If we have misunderstood him, time will make this fact evident, and the same may be said if in Providence we are to be converted to his position. On the other hand, you would be giving yourself the opportunity of reconsidering, if possibly you became convinced that you had been hasty in coming to your present conclusions.” Ultimately, Pendleton leaves it to Pitcairn to decide whether to return to his work with the Academy. In the latter part of the letter, Pendleton considers several statements made by Pitcairn in his last letter. Responding to Pitcairn’s accusation that the Consistory plans to remove Pfeiffer as Pastor of the Hague Society, Pendleton writes, “Certainly we have discussed what has appeared as a notable but as yet interior differentiation between the Academy position and that held by Mr. Pfeiffer, and we have been aware of the possibility that this difference might lead to trouble in the future; but we have agreed not to attempt to forestall the future by determining such trouble before its time.” Pendleton concludes the letter stating, “Well, Theo, I know the difficulty of conveying exact meanings by means of written words. I can only hope that here is nothing in this letter which will give you a mistaken impression.” Names mentioned: Mr. (Ernst) Pfeiffer


  • 1930-07-19


From the Collection: 368.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials