What is the proper place of symbolism and ritual in the Church? What is the role of the clergy? According to the Plymouth Brethren in the nineteenth century, ritual has no place in the church, and the very notion of clergy—in the words of John Darby, one of the movement’s founders—is heretical. Their skeptical assessment of scripture and tradition raised the ire of not a few church leaders, among them A. H. Strong. After Strong penned a damning indictment of the Plymouth Brethren movement, H. A. Ironside weighed in on the controversy at the request of a congregant, and, in doing so, brought needed clarity to a hotly debated topic.
In this volume, Ironside examines each of Strong’s sixteen objections to the Plymouth Brethren movement, using Scripture as his model and tradition as his guide. Although the controversy has subsided—thanks, in part, to Ironside’s thoughtful engagement—the core issues still remain, and the relevance of Ironside’s analysis continues to address issues the modern church faces. Decades later, this important book still has the capacity to teach, guide, and inspire.
H. A. Ironside, one of the twentieth century’s greatest preachers, was born in Toronto, Canada on October 14, 1876. Though his education stopped with grammar school, his fondness for reading and a retentive memory put his learning to use. His scholarship was recognized in academic circles when he received honorary degrees from Wheaton College and Bob Jones University and was invited as frequent lecturer at Dallas Theological Seminary. Dr. Ironside was appointed to the boards of numerous Bible institutes, seminaries, and Christian organizations. He also served as director of the Africa Inland Mission. Ironside preached widely throughout the United States and abroad. He served as pastor of Moody Memorial Church from 1930 to 1948, and during his lifetime, he preached more than 7,000 sermons to over 1.25 million listeners.