Old Paths in Perilous Times, 2nd Edition. Inter-Varsity Press (1932)





2nd Edition.


I. Evangelical Beginnings in Cambridge.

I.—The Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union.

II.—The Student Christian Movement.

II. Divergent Views.

I.—The C.I.C.C.U. Policy. 

II.—The C.S.M. Policy.

III.—The Intermingling of the two Policies. 

IV.—The Result: Disaffiliation.

III. The Consequences.

I.—The Camp at Keswick.

II.—The Cambridge Volunteer Union re-formed. 

III.—The Institution of Vice-Presidents. 

IV.—The Spiritual Result.

IV. Doctrine. 

V. Activities.




By the Rt. Revd. Handley Moule, D.D., Bishop of Durham.

I have been asked to prefix a few words to the following pages. The request, whose kindness I fully appreciated, presented some difficulties to me. In the first place, after many years' absence from Cambridge, I am conscious of less full and intimate insight than of old into problems of Christian life and work there. Further, on perusing the present extremely interesting narrative, I find myself faced in parts with a record of debate and difference between earnest Christian men, which in itself gives me pain and anxiety, and in which here and there I cannot endorse either side without much reserve.

Nevertheless, I obey the request of my friends, believing that I can do so without adding in the least to the acuteness of divergences, and with the hope that in some measure I may aid the cause of spiritual truth and peace.

In the first place, I am delightfully free to say how warm and affectionate is my memory of the life and activities of the C.I.C.C.U. during the years ranging, with one four years' interval, from 1873 to 1901, when Cambridge was my home and workplace. Many of my dearest memories and closest friendships gather round the Union. Two remarkable periods of spiritual power and progress are vitally linked with it in my memory. One was the year 1874, when the air, so to speak, seemed to be wonderfully full of divine blessing, seen in deep conversions and strong co-operation for good. The other was 1882 and the several following years, notably 1884 and 1885, when first Moody's visit and then the rise of the Keswick influence and the outgoing of the Cambridge Seven, marked a period of the "right hand of the Most High," on which it is a continual help to me to look back. Then arose and developed the great days of Missionary zeal, when, as I well remember, it was constantly my duty at Ridley Hall to press urgently on men the claims of the home field; so almost universal was the longing to serve the Lord in the ends of the unevangelized world. The great spiritual phenomenon of that time was an almost passionate desire for entire deliverance from the power of sin, that sacred impetus took sometimes dangerous directions, and many an anxious hour some of us had to spend in |4 seeking to guide men and to indicate the law of balance and holy soberness. But the main results were pure and noble, and many of the lives then developed were, to my thinking, true approaches to the Christian Student's highest ideal. Many of these, thank God, "remain unto this present." "Some are fallen asleep," but leaving in one heart, at least, an immortal legacy of sacred and uplifting example.

No two generations can be exactly alike, and with the varying incidence of problems there must be varying phases of the outcome and energies of the Christian life. This should be always present to the thoughtful man who, reading about the past, even a recent past, and finding there what his inmost sympathies approve, sees contrasts to it around him. He will ask his Lord for large patience and open-eyed sympathies. He will avoid to the uttermost, abiding in Him, the spirit and accent of mere prejudice and of an unhallowed liking for strife. Taking it as granted of any great given movement or type of opinion that it is in error, the man will remember, what history surely teaches, that no error has ever been really strong without the presence in it of some truth, however deflected or overdrawn.

Meanwhile, with a decision equally calm and equally resolute, he will remember that the Lord and the Apostles have amply warned us that popular drifts of religious opinion are no sure indication of divine leading; that the message of the Gospel absolutely and with divine skill adapted to man's nature is an "offence " to man's fallen will; that human sin is as tremendous a fact as it is a mystery, and that divine salvation is as holy a mystery as it is a supreme and vital fact. He will remember that the Scriptures carry in their very structure the profound evidence of their superhuman causation, calling us evermore to "Study them upon our knees"; and that the winning of the nations to the Lord will assuredly not be done through the modification of the apostolic Gospel, and the belittling of the written word, and an incautious optimism about the non-Christian faiths.

I trust that the perusal of the following narrative may contribute, in both the main directions I have indicated, to the Strength and fruitfulness of many Christian lives in the University so dear to me.




It is not with any idea of publicity that this booklet wings its way from the printers' machine; for the work of the Union does not depend for its success on the praise of men. It is not a complete story of the Union; for the history of the C.I.C.C.U. is the story of the lives of hundreds of men scattered to-day in this mission field and in that sphere of influence.

This little production comes to supply the demand for fails, and fails which many men at Cambridge have hitherto been at a loss to understand. The disaffiliation from the Student Movement was an amicable agreement to differ and not a quarrelsome parting. We hope that no language used here may be considered to convey any ill-feeling for, or harsh criticism of, the movement itself or of any of its members. We have endeavoured as far as possible only to State those fails, the evidence of which is undeniable; this has therefore necessitated the elimination of many things which we firmly believed to be true, but the accuracy of which could not be conclusively proved. All in the Student Movement who are interested in Cambridge may read, and reading will, it is hoped, understand those intensely important principles for the sake of which the disaffiliation was thought not merely worth while, but an inevitable duty.

May God overrule everything to His glory and to the extension of His kingdom. 

June, 1913.

H.F.O.           H.E.S.
H.W.K.M.       E.F.H.
  G.B.S.        G.F.B.M.


It has been a great pleasure to re-edit " Old Paths," the message of which is needed more than ever under the changed conditions accompanying the expansion of work along C.I.C.C.U. lines in other Universities. The first three sections remain substantially the same as in the first edition. The fourth and fifth have been entirely reconstituted and maybe said to be my own, although I have followed the main lines of the framework of these sections in the first edition. My prayer is that this re-issue together with the other publications of the Inter-Varsity Fellowship may be used by God to arouse all those interested in His work in the Universities to the necessity of taking a very definite Stand for holiness in doctrine and practice; and that prayer for revival in all the Universities of the land may be stimulated.





To the appointment of Charles Simeon in 1783 to the ministry of Holy Trinity Church, and to that of Isaac Milner to the Presidency of Queens' College, in 1788, may be traced the dawn of Evangelical religion in Cambridge. These men laboured much for the Undergraduates; and while Milner had been instrumental in making a University education possible at last for avowed Evangelicals, Simeon discharged, with a wonderful combination of wisdom and spirituality, the no less important function of their religious instruction. But they left behind them no permanent society, with fixed programme and principles. However, in 1848, as a sure fruit of their labours came the birth of the Cambridge University Prayer Union, and ten years later the Church Missionary Union was founded.

But the years 1860-1880 were years marked by great religious activity among Evangelicals throughout England. This double decade saw the origination of the Keswick Convention, the China Inland Mission, the Young Men's Christian Association, the Children's Special Service Mission, the Scripture Union, the Church Army, and many other similar societies; and in 1875 Moody arrived from America to hold his evangelistic campaign up and down the country. In the matter of education, too, Evangelicals were realizing their responsibility to the younger generation, and so Trent College, Derby, and the South-Eastern St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate, and the Dean Close Memorial School at Cheltenham were founded; while to provide sound Evangelical training for Ordinands, Wycliffe Hall and Ridley Hall were instituted at Oxford and Cambridge respectively.

We are not, therefore, surprised to find among Undergraduates a religious movement at this time. The origin of the C.I.C.C.U. may be traced to the joint influence of the C.M.U. (Church Missionary Union), the D.P.M. (Daily Prayer Meeting), and the annual evangelistic mission for Undergraduates. It is worth mentioning that in 1879 Stevenson Blackwood, famous for his enthusiasm as a Christian worker no less than for his brilliance as Postmaster-General, conducted the Mission at Cambridge.

But in the year 1877 steps were taken to form a society, and at a conference on Friday, March 9th, 1877 (at which the chief figure was Mr. Sholto Douglas, afterwards Lord Blythswood) followed by a committee meeting on Thursday, March 15th, the C.I.C.C.U., as it now is, came into existence.


It is important to note, as it is frequently not realized, that the C.I.C.C.U. had been in existence for twelve years before the first seeds of the Student Movement were sown. As the outcome of a great missionary revival among students in America, in 1887-8, J. N. Forman, and in 1889, R. P. Wilder, visited England. Cambridge had already been stirred by the influence of the "Cambridge Seven" and their public decision in 1885 to devote their lives to the mission |7 field; and so Mr. Wilder met with a warm welcome at Cambridge. As is well known, Mr. Wilder, in those days no less than at the present day (1913), was in thorough agreement with the principles underlying the Union. As a result of his visit the C. V.U. (The Cambridge Volunteer Union) was founded, and C.I.C.C.U. men who hoped to be missionaries were inspired by the idea and eagerly became members. The C.V.U. quite distinct in purpose and function from the C.M.U., existed solely as a union to enrol and then unite for fellowship and prayer, those whom God was calling to serve Him abroad as missionaries.

But Mr. Wilder's visits to other Student centres were so wonderfully blessed, that at a conference held in Edinburgh in 1892 a new missionary union for Great Britain and Ireland was launched. This was called the S.V.M.U. (the Student Volunteer Missionary Union), to which the members of the C.V.U. at once allied themselves, the latter union assuming the name of its foster-parent.

In 1893 was formed a Still larger union on a more general basis, then called the British College Christian Union (now known as the Student Christian Moveemnt of Great Britain and Ireland). The Movement thus formed consisted of two parts, the S.V.M.U., as mentioned above, and the G.C.D. (General College Department) which confederated Christian Unions of smaller Universities, while the Christian Unions of Oxford and Cambridge, being considered too important to lose their individuality by absorption, were affiliated and retained their old names, O.I.C.C.U. and C.I.C.C.U.

Thus were founded and grew up these two Christian Societies, with their different spheres of influence and potentialities for good. But although the Movement borrowed much of its earliest inspiration and original leadership from the C.I.C.C.U., and though the C.I.C.C.U. had become affiliated to the Movement, it was not long before they unconsciously drifted apart (the reasons for which will be discussed in the next section), and until the year 1904-5 the S.C.M. was little known among Christian men in Cambridge.



We have seen the circumstances which closely preceded and attended the foundation of the C.I.C.C.U.; but it is most essential to note the principles which were meant to govern it.

The Union was founded most definitely to introduce into Cambridge an aggressive Christian evangelism in the face of all unpopularity and academic resentment, but so keen was the desire to win souls that matters of detail in creed and principle were not fixed in tabulated form, but were left to form themselves, as is often the case in spiritual awakenings. There was little controversy and Still less occasion for it; the only discordant voices were those of unbelief, indifference and worldliness; and so it was not until the advent of religious bodies with differing ideals and principles that the necessity for declaring themselves on any particular view, negative or positive, was realized by the members. |8 

Though entirely interdenominational from the beginning until this day, the Union was always associated with a point of view now generally known as the "old-fashioned evangelical," and consequently, since the foundation of Ridley Hall in 1881, we are not surprised to find that the Union profited by much wise guidance from association with Ridley Hall, and by personal contact, in particular, with Dr. Handley Moule. He, in a marked way, helped to shape the policy and mould the character of the C.I.C.C.U., and the Union lost a valuable friend and counsellor when he was appointed to the see of Durham.

But the Evangelical point of view was never popular, and if Simeon met with violent opposition (for ten years, we are told, his congregation had to stand because the churchwardens had locked the pews and hurled the forms into the churchyards), and if he had to live under the influence of a public opinion which described those who worshipped in his Church as "having left common sense, discretion and sobriety"—if Simeon met with opposition of this kind, his spiritual descendants did not hope to find the avowal of the same principles and propaganda attended with opposition less bigoted, though veiled beneath nineteenth century manners.

Their insistence upon the all-embracing sufficiency of the Gospel, their almost rigid intolerance of sacerdotalism, and their uncompromising attitude of separation from the world and worldly religion earned them a reputation which they expected, but which they were proud to bear for the Master. But there were rocks ahead, and it needed all the sufficiency of Divine Grace to steer the barque safely past them all. To illustrate these difficulties, and to make clear the attitude which the leaders took up to meet them, it will be enough to mention the occasion in 1905, when the Sacerdotal party in the Anglican Church sent up a representative to hold a mission in Cambridge. He solicited boldly the support and the confidence of the C.I.C.C.U., but the leaders were warned of what such a step involved, and of the subtle meshes in which they would be in peril of being inextricably entangled, and so his offer was refused. Secondly, in 1908 a proposition was made to weld together into a single organisation the C.I.C.C.U. and the Cambridge Church Society, a step which would only have served to stifle the Union's own individual message and permeate it with ideals, ecclesiastic as well as doctrinal, far removed from being evangelical. The argument that the Union had much to gain by intimate association with the Church Society, and by the additional teaching thereby super-imposed, was met and answered by the underlying principle of the sufficiency of the Gospel. Thirdly, the perpetually recurring attempts to discourage the Sunday evening open-air meetings, on the ground that they made the Union unnecssarily unpopular, were frustrated as often as they were made. From these examples we can see what were those principles which were helping to govern the Union.


On the other hand since its foundation to the present time, the history of the Student Movement has been one of gradual expansion |9 and ever-widening development. The name "Movement" suggests the picture of a river. Beginning as a small stream (yet none the less eager in its course or fertilizing in its effects) it has gradually become a broad and powerful river. Tributaries of youthful activity have poured in and swollen the river to a torrent; and now, irresistible, it is being plunged into the ocean, the confluence of all streams in Christendom. But what have been the undercurrents that have imparted to the movement its momentum?

While its annual summer conference, which has always been the chief feature of its life, was confined within the limitations of the Keswick Convention (the spiritual birthplace of many of its past leaders), it was of necessity cramped in its development. And so, the reins of old-fashioned theology and conservative creed being too tight, in 1897, "Keswick" was deserted and various other places, such as Matlock and Conishead, and Baslow, were used as places for conference, until finally Swanwick was fixed as the conference site.

Secondly, Higher Criticism, with all its ramifications, has played an important part in the development of the Movement. Backed by all the moral support which intellect and erudition, both in Germany and England, were capable of lending, Higher Criticism made possible many changes and made elastic many hitherto rigid principles. It was not long before attempts were made to restate Christian creed in terms of "modern thought," and to secure the Bible on a "rational foundation." Missionary propaganda and methods began to be substantially altered, because the religions of heathendom were considered to form an adequate basis for the super-imposition of Christianity, and the process of "absorption" was in certain cases considered better policy than the task of preaching the undiluted Gospel in all its offending simplicity. Again, by some human nature was thought to be capable of self-reclamation, and so the Gospel was adjusted to suit man in his newly-discovered condition. The whole meaning of salvation was changed, and the need for the Atonement questioned. Again, since certain parts of the Bible were believed to be in error, its infallibility as the index of the Divine Will, and as the paramount authority on all matters of faith and morals, became questioned; and finally, our Lord's alleged ignorance of the authorship of certain books of the Old Testament made his Divinity no longer a matter of accepted faith and firm belief, but rather a problem for debate in certain circles.

Thirdly, the Theological colleges and seminaries, affiliated and united in 1898 under a departmental division of the Movement, contributed still further towards expanding the outlook and broadening the limits of the Movement. Creeds sometimes only slightly, but often even widely divergent in spirit and letter, and points of view almost diametrically opposite to one another became associated with the Movement. The results of these changes were that (a) the Movement enormously increased its influence and membership and that (b) the Evangelical doctrine of its founders was superseded by a multi-lateral theology, the aggregate of many various views, and that (c) at the Summer Conferences, which constitute the mainspring |10 of the Movement's life, and, in addition, at the quadrennial S.V.M.U. Conference, there gradually came a change in the grounds of appeal to devotion and service.


It should be remembered that at the beginning, in 1892, the spirit, principles and methods of the C.I.C.C.U. were practically identical with those of the S.C.M. The Student Movement itself was the practical outcome of the enthusiastic meetings held by the Cambridge Seven in different universities. In fact, the S.C.M. not only allowed itself to be associated with the C.I.C.C.U. as its mouthpiece and representative in Cambridge, but even adopted the basis which the C.I.C.C.U. was using: i.e., "I declare my faith in Jesus Christ as my Saviour, my Lord and my God." Hence the affiliation of the C.I.C.C.U. to the S.C.M. was at once a more natural link and an unquestionable advantage to both societies.

But between the years 1895-1905 the S.C.M. had little vital connection with the C.I.C.C.U. and the C.I.C.C.U. had even less interest in the S.C.M. In fact, so far did these two societies drift apart that in the year 1904 the Student Movement was clearly regarded by Cambridge leaders as an organisation that demanded careful scrutiny before being supported, and the estrangement had become so complete that the ordinary members of the Union knew probably nothing about the Movement whatever; hence there were but few disputes on controversial grounds. However, it was in the academic year 1904-5 that a change began to be in evidence. This year, as was usual, a conference was held between the leaders of the Christian Union at Oxford (O.I.C.C.U.) and the C.I.C.C.U. During the course of conversation with Cambridge men, the leaders at Oxford went even to the extent of proposing to include Unitarians! The O.I.C.C.U. was evidently not keeping to its original paths; and at a later date we know it dropped its original name, assuming the title of "The Student Movement in Oxford."* But Cambridge men were being influenced, unconsciously, perhaps, but none the less really, by contact with men whose ideals were different to their own, and who were consequently using different methods to attain those ideals.

The history of the next few years, 1905-1910, is the record of vacillation from one policy to the other. In one year the president would be anxious to maintain the Union on its old lines. In the next, his successor would strive to lead it back in the opposite direction to a wider policy; then, during the presidency of another, the Union would alternate between both policies. There was no continuity of policy, hence no concentration of aim. This constant change of policy did not produce any other effect than barrenness and sterility in the spiritual soul. |11 

The year 1905-6 was marked by an attempt to enlist the C.I.C.C.U. support for a High Church Mission, which proved abortive. The Union was helped to see its path by some clear words from Mr. G. T. Manley at a Bible reading. Its attitude of firmness served to win for the Union the reputation of being narrow and uncharitable, and, of course, was not regarded with favour by that section of its members which leaned towards a wider policy.

In the year 1906-1907 the Student Movement began to be more generally discussed, and the president made a careful study of the matter, and himself accepted a position on the executive committee of the Movement. Both in this and the following year the Baslow conference became more and more the summer meeting place of Cambridge men.

However, in 1907-1908 the Union appeared to be losing its distinctive Evangelical features. The President was himself a keen member of the Student Movement, and his aim seems to have been to widen the policy of the Union, and establish it on thoroughly S.C.M. lines. In 1908-1909 the president continued the policy of his predecessor.

During both of these years the spiritual life of the Union was in serious danger of being strangled altogether. The Daily Prayer Meetings averaged only from 20-30 in attendance, whereas in past years the presence of 50-60 was a common occurrence. A general secretary had been appointed, who worked hard, but the Union was well-nigh becoming a lifeless organization; it was no longer a living organism.


However, this policy reached its anti-climax in 1909. A clinching dilemma was put forward: either the Union must broaden so as to include any man who wanted to join the Student Movement, whatever his views, or else it must sever its affiliation to the Movement. The decision of this momentous ultimatum lay in the hands of the general committee. The General Secretary of the Movement came up to Cambridge, and in view of the tension of feeling, himself advocated the disaffiliation. Thus the C.I.C.C.U. decided to sever its affiliation, and became free to pursue its own path unfettered.


It seemed indeed presumption for 250 men to differ—and to differ so emphatically—from 152,000 students in the World's Universities; it seemed, indeed, the height of misguided enthusiasm for this handful of young men to isolate themselves from so colossal and inspiring a federation of students. No wonder that on all sides were raised voices of warm entreaty, indignant remonstrance, and even violent protest; and because facts have never been stated clearly, those voices have never been completely hushed. Even to-day fresh voices are echoing the old complaints and repeating the old questions. Hence the purpose of this story is to furnish these interrogants with an adequate answer to their questions. |12 

I.—Among the consequences that attended naturally the disaffiliation was the return to Keswick. On the initiative of the Rev. J. Stuart Holden, a camp was held in 1910, during the days of the great Convention at Keswick. It is now an annual event, and a permanent site for the camp has been fixed. This annual gathering of Cambridge men, associated with the Keswick Convention, should form the rallying ground of all Evangelicals in Cambridge. The whole atmosphere is evangelical and the platform is interdenominational. Every Student of evangelical parentage or inclination should be introduced to the Keswick Convention by means of the advantages afforded by the camp.

II.—Though it did not take place till more than a complete year had elapsed, the "disaffiliation" of the C.I.C.C.U. was destined to be followed by another change, of which many questioned both the wisdom and the necessity. This was the re-formation of the C.V.U. (Cambridge Volunteer Union) as the missionary union of the C.I.C.C.U., in place of the S.V.M.U. (the Missionary branch of the Student Christian Movement). It was not the outburst of any ill-judged animosity, but had been prayerfully talked over in conclave as well as thought over carefully in private; and so fat from being the result of hasty and inconclusive thinking, it was a very deliberate step taken by only four men. Others followed when they had grasped the reason for their action. That the reasonableness of the step may be made clear, it is necessary to trace back the course of events in Cambridge a few months.

The C.I.C.C.U. had severed its connection with the General College Department of the Movement, but CI.C.C.U. members still formed the majority in the S.V. branch in Cambridge. This would doubtless have remained so in the ordinary course of events. But if the Movement at headquarters had been dissatisfied with the management of the C.I.C.C.U., they seemed no less concerned about that of the S.V. band. The accusation of failing to touch a wide enough circle of men was well deserved. "A large section of Nonconformists, Broad Churchmen and High Churchmen were not being tapped."

Hence efforts were made to introduce on the Cambridge committee men of a broader school of thought, and so the committee that met in October, 1910, contained three men who were ardent members of the S.C.M.; two were Oxford men, new to the distinctive evangelical atmosphere of Cambridge.

One result, however, of this alteration of policy was a change in the tone of the weekly prayer meetings. The introduction of certain changes in the conduct of these meetings seemed to have a chilling effect. Many began to lament the absence of the spiritual power and the missionary fervour which had always characterised this meeting above all other meetings for prayer held in Cambridge. Though the theory of touching a wide circle of men seemed excellent, this compromise produced much dissatisfaction, and while approval came from some quarters, remonstrance came from others. From separate sources, too, outside Cambridge came pressure to develop |13 a new policy. Retreats with Oxford men were suggested. Meetings to widen the influence of the Baslow Conference were held. Opportunities for introducing into Cambridge the ideas embodied in the Edinburgh Conference were sought. It was easy to gather that the management of the S.V.M.U. was as yet far from being considered "on the right lines" by the leaders of the Movement. They pointed out that in other universities the Student Volunteers formed the life and backbone of the Movement, and urged that it was the duty of every S.V. to support the new branch of the Movement in Cambridge which had been necessitated by the disaffiliation. But in this they were mistaken, at any rate, as to the incumbent necessity. At their instigation the General Secretary of the Movement was invited to address a meeting of S.V.'s in January, 1911 and to talk over these questions. But in spite of wide differences of conviction, there was as yet no thought of leaving the S.V.M.U. During the Lent vacation came further suggestions to alter the constitution of the S.V.M.U. in order that a more democratic form of election might come into vogue.

But as the result of prayer and thought on the part of certain Volunteers during the vacation, the Cambridge Volunteer Union was re-formed, including in its basis a Bible clause i.e. "I believe the Scriptures as originally given to be the inerrant Word of God" . This was inserted because it emphasized the fundamental cause of disagreement with the Student Movement. It was comprehensive as well as being exclusive.

But there were very strong reasons for resigning the membership of the S.V.M.U. The S.V.M.U. was the missionary department of the Student Movement, and the C.I.C.C.U. men, in so far as they agreed with the disaffiliation of the C.I.C.C.U., regarded their resignation from the S.V.M.U. as the only logical consequence. If it was unwise to be associated with broadness in a Christian Union, it was even more unsound to be allied with a similar spirit in a union of future missionaries. The responsibility upon the Church is greater for her ambassadors abroad than for her ministers at home. The welcome which some Missionary Societies extended to the C.V.U. serves to show that they realized the need for such a position as this.

Again, from an Evangelical point of view, it is a matter of the greatest urgency to send into the mission field as many evangelical missionaries as possible; therefore, it is most desirable that our whole time (for most men only three short years) and influence be undividedly concentrated on the achievement of this object.

Again, there is a certain element (though quite small in the S.V.M.U. of Great Britain), which cannot be regarded by the C.I.C.C.U. in any but a dangerous light. If the S.V.M.U. in any way encourages or fails to rebuke a man who is going abroad to preach any other gospel save that of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and who will substitute in its place the teachings of human wisdom or philosophy, then there is no doubt as to the duty of pointing the finger of warning. The C.V.U. came into being as a union in sympathy with all those principles for which the C.I.C.C.U. stands. |14 

Yet again, however much "Co-operation and Unity" be considered a motto to be studied with all the intensity of Christian love and all the conviction of orthodox theology, yet to universalize the application of "Unity," so as to include the whole of Christendom, is justly regarded by many as an ambition fraught with most perilous consequences. One has but to test the spiritual condition, and to examine the doctrinal position of the churches of the East in order to be convinced of the perils which would result from bonds of unity, even quite slender, between the Protestant and Catholic bodies of Christendom, at any rate in their present state. That the S.V.M.U. of Great Britain should make the presence of a Roman Catholic at its quadrennial conference a subject of triumphant boast is at once a matter of profound regret, and a note of solemn warning to many to reconsider their position in the Union.

And so, after an interval of a few weeks, there were several men who, realizing their position, resigned their membership of the S.V.M.U. Obviously, it was inadvisable and highly inconsistent for men to belong to both unions, if for no other reason than that of limitation of time. Thus they chose the union which was more in accord with true Evangelical Christianity. In February, 1912, the C.V.U. officially became the missionary branch of the C.I.C.C.U.

The C.V.U. has now had an honoured history of nearly twenty years, in which it has been greatly used to keep alive missionary interest in the C.I.C.C.U. and has supplied various missionary societies with some of their best men. With the formation of Evangelical Unions in many other Universities since the Great War, the C.V.U. movement has also spread, and as a result many who owe much in their spiritual lives to one or other of the Unions have given themselves to service in the foreign mission field.

III.—At a general committee meeting on February 28th, 1911, an advisory body of four Honorary Vice-Presidents was instituted. In the past there have been many occasions when the sound advice of an older man, in thorough agreement with the C.I.C.C.U. principles, might have kept the Union from a wavering indecision in a period of crisis; for immature conviction is always liable to temporary deflection; and so, it was thought advisable to form this body in order to maintain a continuity of policy, so that they might have the right to serve on the committee and be consulted before any change of rule or constitution.

At the present moment the following are Hon. Vice-Presidents:—

The Rev. J. STUART HOLDEN, M.A. (Corpus).
Sir THOMAS INSKIP, M.A., C.B.E., K.C. (King's).
W. G. BRADSHAW, Esq., B.A., C.B.E. (Trinity).
The Rev. H. EARNSHAW SMITH, M.A. (Christ's).

IV.—Most important of all, a remarkable change came over the life of the C.I.C.C.U. This was evidenced by the increased attendance of men at the Daily Prayer Meeting, some of whom, when they first came up, knew nothing of, nor cared anything for, the Lord Jesus Christ and for spiritual things. The results of Dr. |15 Torrey's Mission in November, 1911, served to prove that the simple Gospel is still the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.

On the resumption of University life after the interruption caused by the Great War a period of great activity and blessing for the C.I.C.C.U. began and has continued till the present time. The last twelve years have perhaps been the most remarkable in the whole of its history. One outstanding event was the mission conducted in January—February, 1926, by Rev. W. P. Nicholson, when Mr. H. R. Gough was President. This was a time that can never be forgotten by those who had the privilege of sharing in the mission. The Gospel was preached in naked simplicity and with great power. After-meetings were held each evening and during the ten days that the mission lasted, about a hundred men publicly professed their determination to follow Christ. While a proportion of these did not stand, there were many cases in which the Spirit of God did a real and deep work, and there are those preparing for whole-time service to-day who owe their conversion to Mr. Nicholson's ministry at that time. Incidentally, the position of the C.I.C.C.U. in relation to the S.C.M. and other religious bodies was greatly strengthened by this mission, for the missioner did not hesitate to make unmistakably clear the difference between the Gospel that he was preaching and what was preached in other quarters. Some indignation was aroused and a few protests were made, but the C.I.C.C.U. was greatly strengthened and revived, and the influence of that wonderful time has never died out.

In the Lent Term of 1927, the C.I.C.C.U celebrated its jubilee by a series of special meetings held in the Old Combination Room of Trinity College and in Holy Trinity Church, at which Rev. J. Stuart Holden, Rev. G. P. Bassett Kerry and Rev. G. T. Manley were among the speakers; and by a luncheon in the hall of Gonville and Caius College, at which the Public Orator of the University spoke. A great gathering of many generations of C.I.C.C.U. members assembled, including Mr. Mitchell-Carruthers, the founder and first president. Mr. Bassett-Kerry spoke of the times when the members of the Executive used themselves to give the evangelistic addresses on Sunday evening. The Jubilee celebrations strengthened the C.I.C.C.U. in another direction. Its position as a firmly-established University society with an honourable history was confirmed. Though this was in no sense as important as the spiritual strengthening brought about by Mr. Nicholson's mission, yet it was carried out without the slightest compromise of principle and has been used of God to give the C.I.C.C.U. an unassailable freedom in which to carry on its work and witness.

The greatest of all developments during these years has been the formation of the Inter-Varsity Fellowship of Evangelical Unions, the work and witness of the C.I.C.C.U. having spread to other Universities. The first conference was held in December, 1919, on the initiative of Mr. Norman Grubb, then a member of the C.I.C.C.U., at Cambridge. Since then a conference has been held annually, |16 from 1926, at High Leigh, Hoddesdon. In 1922 a constitution was drawn up and adopted in 1923. In 1925 Rev. H. Earnshaw Smith was appointed travelling secretary to the Conference, and visited several Universities in Great Britain and Ireland. In 1927 a similar tour was undertaken by Mr. H. R. Gough. In 1928 the Conference formed itself into the Inter-Varsity Fellowship, and the movement has spread to the Universities of the Dominions; Canada and Australia, as well as the U.S.A., have been visited by Dr. Howard Guinness as official representative of the I.V.P.

Meanwhile Evangelical Unions had been revived or founded in practically all the Universities of the country, delegates from which share the inspiration of the annual Conference. This work seems to be on the way to becoming a channel of world-wide revival, if God so will and if those interested keep faithful in prayer. It is not necessary to go into further particulars about this great work, which has been described fully in various booklets published by the I.V.F.


The Editors of the first edition wisely inserted a section with the above heading, of which they say that it cannot take the form either of a concise compendium of all matters of generally accepted belief in the Union, or of an exhaustive disquisition on any few of them. We shall follow them in trying to point out the most characteristic and distinctive truths for which the C.I.C.C.U. stands.

1.    The first point has to do with the Bible. This may not be the most important point, but it is a fundamental point. The Standpoint of the C.I.C.C.U. is that the whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is the inspired and authoritative Word of God. No one would deny that there are difficulties of interpretation, difficulties intellectual or even in a certain sense, moral difficulties, but we hold that these are not solved by denying the truth or authority of the Book. The C.I.C.C.U. rejects the so-called liberal view of the Scriptures and denies the outlook and results of the higher critics. It believes that all the utterances of out Lord Jesus Christ, including those in which He spoke about the Old Testament, are true. Its view is that it is not only reasonable, but imperative to hold the same view of the Old Testament as Christ Himself held. Experience shows that a wrong attitude towards the Scriptures carries with it a wrong attitude towards the great doctrines revealed in the Scriptures, and if the Holy Spirit works as a rule only along with the Word, this fact is easily explained.

2.    The basic doctrine for which the C.I.C.C.U. stands is that of the expiatory atonement made on the cross by the Lord Jesus Christ for the sins of the whole world. The blood of Jesus is the whole theme of its preaching, the cross and its application the essence of its teaching. It believes and teaches that there is no other way of salvation for a perishing world. In this matter it finds itself in opposition to two tendencies in different directions. It can find nothing in common with sacerdotalism, which appears to it, among other departures from the primitive faith, to place the priest where |17 Christ as Mediator should be found, the sacrifice of the Mass in the place of the sacrifice of Calvary, and the earning of God's favour by religious zeal and good works in place of the Scriptural doctrine of justification by faith. On the other hand it notes with sorrow a widespread tendency to whittle down the meaning of the atonement, to extract the facts of substitution and expiation from the doctrine, and to confuse the issue (as in the case of inspiration) by speaking lightly of theories of the atonement, when the fact, and no theory, is really at issue. The liberalism of to-day refuses to preach the blood of Christ, preferring in its place an emasculated Gospel of a God impotent in the face of sin and having no plan to deal with the moral issues involved. In the S.C.M. the C.I.C.C.U. finds the second of these tendencies prevalent, if not universal, and the first dangerously tolerated. Believing that the scriptural gospel for which it stands is the only gospel that can save men from sin and bring them to God, it is bound to separate itself from those who are preaching other gospels, not only because the Scriptures definitely command such separation, but because by recognising or tolerating such other gospels it would be betraying its trust to those who are perishing by deceiving them as to the necessity of taking the only revealed way back to God.

3.    While the C.I.C.C.U. welcomes all scientific and other knowledge that is based on facts, the more so if it is carried out in the reverent spirit in which the works of God should be investigated, it rejects the psuedo-scientific theories which are in truth human philosophies and which go to make up the shallow and ill-digested beliefs of the present day. It stands for creation and rejects evolution. Its members know the work of God in their own lives and therefore have no difficulty in recognising His power and work as Creator. It believes that the opening chapters of Genesis, rightly understood, agree perfectly with the known facts of science, though not with current erroneous deductions from partially-understood facts. It believes and teaches that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ personally created and now maintains the world and the human race.

4.    The C.I.C.C.U. believes in and looks forward to the personal return of our Lord Jesus Christ to this earth in glory in order to judge the world. The Scriptures clearly teach that this is the right hope of the church. It cannot find any authority for a belief in the success of attempts by social and political action to make the world a better place, and suspects that the unconscious purpose of such efforts is really to make the world a more comfortable place for the human race to go on sinning in. It holds that the commission given by the departing Christ to His Church was to preach the gospel to every creature as a witness to each and all against the coming day of judgment. It believes that the reverent study of Scriptural prophecy is a necessity to the full spiritual life of the believer, and with prophecy in view it cannot lend itself to the idea of a gradual advance in moral progress, of which it sees no evidence either in Scripture or in experience. It humbly believes that it shares this hope of the personal |18 return of the Master with the primitive church, while like them it makes no claim to know the time of this great event, though believing that it is legitimate for each generation to hope that it may occur during its lifetime. The work of members of the C.I.C.C.U. is illuminated with the hope of personal resurrection and rapture, and the essence of its witness is to bring other men face to face with the eternal issues involved.

5.    In the words of the first edition, "The Bible most unmistakably teaches both the existence and the superhuman power of a personal evil agency, whom Christ called Satan and described as the prince of this world." Members of the C.I.C.C.U. not only hold to what the Scriptures reveal in this respect, but know a little of the opposition of this person in their own experience. They know something of his deadly grip on the souls of men, of the power of his temptations, and of the way of victory in prayer. They know also that he sometimes appears as an angel of light, doping men's consciences and holding out for their acceptance religious or moral ideals in place of the Word of God. They know, as the Scripture teaches, that it is he who is responsible for much unbelief or doubt of the Word of God, however subtle be the form that it takes.

6.    Acceptance of the teaching of the Bible with regard to Satan leads to a spirit of watchfulness and a sense of the danger that lurks in any departure from the Word of God. The result is naturally a scriptural recoil from association with those who preach "another gospel"; or fail to make the great scriptural doctrines of the faith the fundamentals of their teaching. Of course this does not mean a shrinking from any personal or friendly association with individuals, but it does mean a separation from formal worship, prayer or teaching. The C.I.C.C.U. is often called narrow because of this lack of association. In this the critics may not be far wrong, because "narrow is the way." In maintaining this attitude it believes it is following the plain commands of Scripture, shielding its members so far as possible from error, and exercising a sacred trust towards those unhappily in error by maintaining unsullied the witness to the truth.

7.    We quote again the words of the first edition:—

"There is a spirit abroad to-day which is prompting men to seek the elevation of the masses by other than truly spiritual means. Our belief is that no amount of reform will raise a man one degree from spiritual blindness and degradation; it may even make harder the humiliation involved in accepting Christianity. The plan which God has ordained is regeneration. No amount of patches on an old garment will make it a new one. It is a 'new life' that must be received from above, and not a 'new leaf turned over from below. That man is spiritually dead beyond all human reclamation is a belief of fundamental importance. The Holy Spirit is alone able to perform this regenerative work. The belief or disbelief of this fact has a powerful effect on the character and tone of the message preached." |19 

While believing that it is always a part of Christian duty to ameloriate distress, the C.I.C.C.U. cannot be enthusiastic about schemes for bringing world peace by means of political bodies such as the League of Nations, or social uplift by methods of reform. It holds that in the Gospel of Christ alone lies the only hope for the world by the regeneration of the individual. All else consists merely of "dead works" without permanent value before God and may be written down as "vanity."

8. The Editors of the first edition left to the last—in order to emphasise it the more—one of the most important points. This is the question of the Deity of Christ. To those who believe in the propitiatory atonement the matter presents no difficulty. But prevalent teaching to-day denies the Deity while subtly paying lip-service to the terms in which the fact is expressed. A great deal of loose thinking has broken down to many minds the definite teaching of Scripture and the creeds on this vital point. It is supposed that Christ shared a spark of divinity that is common to the whole of humanity. The Scripture teaches, and the C.I.C.C.U. believes, that He was and is God the Son, the second Person of the eternal Trinity, incarnate for our salvation. We can admit no view that is derogatory to the Deity and glory of our Lord, or contrary to His own expressed claim and the teaching of Scripture. As the first edition puts it, loyalty to Jesus Christ must not be sacrificed on the altar of charity.

Thus, the C.I.C.C.U. has identified itself with those beliefs and principles which it believes are the true Politics of God, to the exclusion of others which it believes are not, leaving the unknown future to Him Who has promised to be our Guide even unto death.


The spiritual work undertaken by members of the C.I.C.C.U. is enthusiastic and varied, covering every range of Christian activity. Its members, fed on the Word of God, and knowing something of the power of God in their own lives, are naturally anxious to pass on the message and see souls won to God. The Union encourages such service among its members in every possible way.

Pre-eminently there is the personal influence, through friendship, upon the lives of fellow-students in the colleges, and the continuous campaign to win them to a living faith in, and loyal allegiance to, the Person of Christ as Saviour, Lord and God—the battlecry of the Union. The Sunday evening evangelistic sermon, which takes place during the two winter terms, is also a means to this end, and its arrangement requires forethought and prayer. In the summer its place is taken by an open-air meeting in the Market-place, at which as many members of the C.I.C.C.U. as possible, who are willing to do so, are asked to speak.

One of the members of the Executive is Secretary for Local Activities, and through him men find work in various Sunday Schools and Missions in the town, among which may be mentioned, Castle End Mission, River Lane Sunday School, the People's Mission at |20 Barnwell, as well as other Sunday Schools or Young People's meetings in the parishes and churches of the local clergy and ministers who are in sympathy.

Outside Cambridge during the vacations C.I.C.C.U. men are to be found in almost every sphere of Christian work. Foremost ought to be mentioned the Cambridge University Mission in Bermondsey. One or two C.I.C.C.U. men are always in residence there, and all are more than welcome whenever they visit the work. The mission has done great things among the lads of Bermondsey, and has been instrumental in proving that the Gospel is still the power of God unto salvation. Again it is to C.I.C.C.U. men that the Children's Special Service Mission and Crusaders' Union look to carry on their vital work and the response is always forthcoming. When at home during vacations it is seldom that a C.I.C.C.U. man is found who does not lend a hand in the work of the home parish.


List of Presidents

of the C.I.C.C.U.



























Name lost.




Name lost.












Hon. W. G. SCOTT.











































































* It need scarcely be said that the O.I.C.C.U. as at present constituted and affiliated to the I.V.P. stands where the the C.I.CC.U. does in every point.

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