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Letter from N.D. Pendleton to Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, 1930-08-25

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. Typed by Miss Campbell dring Mrs. Rennels' summer vacation. Pendleton acknowledges Pitcairn’s previous cablegram and letter of August 9th in which Pitcairn communicates his decision not to return to his teaching position at the Academy. Pendleton responds, “I quite understand your concern with reference to possible complications in Bryn Athyn if you resumed your work at this time. Yet I regret your decision.” Pendleton agrees with Pitcairn’s statement that a minister has the right to look to the Lord while preparing his sermons and express the truth as he understands it. The General Church does not impose restrictions on its ministers in this regard, Pendleton esplains, but this is because the Church makes certain “presumptions” of its ministers. He writes, “It (the Church) presumes that those who receive ordination, and a commission at its hands accept the Writings as a Divine Revelation and as the Word of the Lord to His New Church. It also presumes that its ministers are in accord with the principles that have entered into and made the organization of the General Church what it is at this time, and that in their freedom they will impose upon themselves any necessary limitations, or prudential observances in the event of a prompting on their part to propagate other doctrines differing from those received and acknowledged by the General Church.” He continues, “However, I quite realize that if we center our thought upon this institutional obligation, and bear upon it too heavily, we may interfere with a useful and needful advance in our progressive understanding of the Writings as the Divine Doctrine.” Pendleton explains that this is why the Church does not place external restrictions upon its ministers, but instead “leaves each one free to observe for himself what may be regarded as the ecclesiastical proprieties.” Ultimately, Pendleton does recognize Pitcairn’s right to right to follow his conscience, and he hopes that somehow things may still be resolved amicably. He writes, “Of courses I had hoped that contrary to the appearance, you had not reached finality in your acceptance of Mr. Pfeiffer’s teaching, since in my view his thought seemed to be leading to conclusions strange to the Academy. I still have the hope that providence will lead us safely through the present confused state, and that in the end we shall find ourselves together.” Pendleton looks forward to Pitcairn’s return to Bryn Athyn at a later date. Names mentioned: Mr. (Ernst) Pfeiffer


  • 1930-08-25


From the Collection: 368.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials