4.02.2011

Mrs. Dr. CHARLES WOODBRIDGE (1923-2011)

Today I had the privilege of preaching the funeral service for Doreen Woodbridge, the widow of the late Dr. Charles Woodbridge. Charles Woodbridge was mentored by J.Gresham Machen and later became a church history professor at Fuller Theological Seminary.  Woodbridge defended Machen at his trial before the New Brunswick Presbytery and would later write “The New Evangelicalism”, a work devoted to the defense of the doctrinal purity of the church.  He left Fuller in 1958 out of conviction that the seminary was becoming apostate.  Woodbridge was also one of the few who confronted Billy Graham for his conduct at his preaching campaigns (Woodbridge, The New Evangelicalism, 1970, p. 44).

I met Doreen Woodbridge some time ago at a Sunday lunch.  There was an immediate connection as I found myself being engaged by an 88-year old woman about the modernist fundamentalist controversy of the twentieth century.  She was sharp, teaching me things I didn’t know. It was at this lunch that I learned that Doreen’s pastor in the UK was Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones and that her late husband was the well-known Charles Woodbridge.  During the course of the conversation, she mentioned that she still had many letters from Machen to her late husband—letters never seen before!  I’m trying to get my hands on those letters.  

I write about Doreen for two reasons.  First, she was a woman who at 88 years old still cared about the truth.  She lamented how far the church has defected from a Biblical and confessional view of worship and Christ-centered preaching.   Her convictions about what worship should be, who Christ is, how he should be honored, deeply mattered to her. All I could think about was, no matter how much we try to make Christianity relevant and hip to the next generation, the wisdom and conviction of Doreen Woodbridge is timeless.  Her convictions defy everything that is temporary and fleshly.  The gospel is the most “authentic” and relevant truth communicated to sinners, why line pure gold with gilded tin?

Second, she was godly.  I’m convinced that behind a man who makes a difference in Christ’s church like Charles Woodbridge is a woman like this.  I have done over twenty funerals now as a pastor.  As I see many of these aged saints die, the more I feel the cry of David, “Help, for the godly man ceases.” Doreen was a godly woman who diffused the fragrance of Christ.  As people like this come and go, we should be perceptive enough to see that no matter how bad things get, Christ will continue to preserve his seed in the earth.  This should be an encouragement to Christians to remember why they are here.

5 comments:

  1. Heb 13:14 "For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come."

    May we likewise age and die with such convictions for Christ and His truth!

    Thank you, Rev Gordon,

    Ian

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  2. such a blessed bio of a godly saint - "precious in the sight of the Lord is the deaths of His saints" PS 116:15- thanks Pastor for this encouragement - Mike

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  3. My wife and I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Woodbridge preach/teach at Immanuel Baptist Church, Richmond, Va. many times during the early 1960's. Great Bible teacher. Also his series of Bible notes and outlines were a outstanding help in Bible study.

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  5. I first heard Dr. Woodbridge at the Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles in the early 1960s. He was a tremendous man of God who, in my opinion, was the best Bible teacher that I had the privilege to have sat under. He was uncompromising and believed strongly in the Word of God....especially on separation. He knew the Bible extremely well and his teachings on prophecy were tremendous and very edifying. I always sat on the edge of my seat taking in every word. I miss him very much!

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