to listen to an audio file of this interview (46 minutes)
This is a complete and accurate transcript of an oral history interview of Rev. Bruce Finley Hunt (Collection 104, #T2) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words which were recorded were omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English. The narrator in this interview speaks slowly and pauses frequently. Only unusually long pauses have been noted.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments made by the transcriber.
This transcription was made by Janyce H. Nasgowitz and T. Pokela and was completed in May 1991.
Collection 104, #T2. Interview of Bruce Finley Hunt by Robert Shuster, March 22, 1980.
SHUSTER: This is a continuation of the interview with Rev. Hunt on March 22, 1980. And you were talking, Rev. Hunt [microphone bumped], about when you arrived in the United States, you had a...a little time period of adjusting to Americans?
HUNT: Yes. In Korea I was always a stranger. Though I was familiar with the country, I was still a stranger because of the color of my hair and my...the looks of my nose and everything else. I came to America and that...on the surface I wasn't so much a stranger, but underneath I felt very much a stranger. I didn't know what the rules were and I didn't know what the other kids knew and all the things they knew about cars and things they knew about everything. And I just was so amazed about these....
SHUSTER: About baseball and football....
HUNT: Yes. Baseball. Who were the star players? And football and all this. Who were the movie heroes? And so on. But when...as I said, when somebody asked me where you were born and I said Korea, he said, "What state is that in," then I knew I had finally become an American [chuckle]. I wasn't that strange. But when I became a Christian and came to know the Savior for myself, I had no ideas of what I thought I could be and so I just said, "Well, if I do nothing but dig ditches (like on my uncle's farm I was kinda hired hand; he told me what to do), working in the restaurant, wash dishes, alright, it...it was one way of making a living without having to beg, and...but now I'll do it for the Lord" [coughs]. And I had no...I had no idea that I could be a minister or a teacher or anything. I was very...very low idea of myself. And...but gradually I then went on to finish college. I transferred to Rutgers [microphone bumped] for my senior year because my folks were on furlough that year and it would be the only chance to be with them. We're separated from them during their time on the field and I...my being over here. So I transferred to Rutgers and finished my college that one year at Rutgers. But while there I got involved in the First Church of Princeton, teaching a boys' Sunday school class. And I found that now that I knew Jesus, that when I taught a Sunday school class, the boys were interested. Before I'd taught Sunday school classes and...because I just felt I ought to but I didn't find the...I didn't really have something to feed them. Now I had something to feed them and the boys, even mischievous boys, they were interested in what I had to say.
SHUSTER: You said that when you were at Wheaton one of the main things that brought you to the Lord was the...seeing the Christians....
HUNT: The other.... Yes.
SHUSTER: What was the spiritual atmosphere like on campus?
HUNT: Well, I thought it was very fine, and the....
SHUSTER: Besides chapel, what kind of outreach was there?
HUNT: Well, the...the Tuesday night meetings and the [pauses]...and then the students would go to nearby colleges...or nearby places for...and gospel teams. I went with them, though I wasn't a Christian. I went to Chicago for street preaching and things like that, but I didn't really know the Lord myself. I believed I ought to do these things, but some of them seemed to do it with such joy. I think specially of Harry Stam, who later went to Africa as a missionary, and...but they seemed to just do it with such joy and it was this.... They had something I didn't have; that was the thing, and it was that that really made a big impression on me when I was there. It was the other...other Christians and their fellowship and they.... We also had a...every morning before school there was a prayer meeting that some came to and I used to go to that.
SHUSTER: When you went into Chicago to do street preaching, you'd just pick a street corner and stand on the box and start preaching?
HUNT: Yes, that's right. Yeah. One thing that I...two things that I got at....oh, there's lots of things I got at...at Wheaton, I'm sure. But one thing, Dr. Blanchard (he was white-haired in those days, an old gentleman)...but I heard that he was against masons, the...and that he...and for that reason he didn't take the money from masons who might have helped his school a lot. Instead of that, he'd traveled over the country and you...you'd think about this white-haired old gentleman traveling all over America or to the little group of praying Christians here and there to raise money for the College. And I used to...couldn't help but admire the convictions and the...of a man who would not take money from the people who would like to give him money nearer Chicago, build up a college, and all of that, who would like to give him money, but he wouldn't take it because of masonry and he was fighting masonry. That was one thing that I learned and admired. I wished that I had taken my senior year at Wheaton because I noticed that a lot of the people, students, in their senior year, when they had Dr. Blanchard's course on ethics, I think it was, they seemed to be very much impressed and helped. Even boys that...on the football team. You kind of wondered, some of them, if they were Christians or not, kind of rough fellows. But even boys like that. That...that course of Dr. Blanchard's seemed to have a wonderful effect on them. But I didn't go...I didn't have my senior year at Princeton, or at Wheaton, and I regretted it.
SHUSTER: Did you have any personal contact with Dr. Blanchard?
HUNT: Yes, I remember one specially. It was the way he used to do to the students, but one time [chuckles] I remember meeting him in the hall and he said to me, "Young man, are you growing in grace?" And, boy, with his kindly yet searching eyes, he looked at me. "Are you growing in grace?" And, boy, I trembled. I didn't think I was growing in grace but it made me do some deep thinking [chuckles].
SHUSTER: What kind of preacher was he?
HUNT: Well, I don't remember too much about it. I don't know that I was...listened critically, but I always enjoyed his chapel talks. I liked it when he was leading chapel, but I don't remember much about it.
SHUSTER: But...so you never had him as a teacher, right?
HUNT: No, no.
SHUSTER: Were there...are there teachers from Wheaton who stick out in your mind as being particularly helpful to you or particularly rememberable?
HUNT: Well, I [pauses]...helpful. Dr. Smith...I...strangely, though I didn't...wasn't yet a Christian, I decided to take a Greek major because I thought I ought to know the original language of the Bible. I don't like grammar and I don't like languages and [chuckle] yet I did take the course, and just his kindliness. He also used to be interested in the boys playing football and I remember that.
SHUSTER: Were you on the football team?
HUNT: Yeah, [chuckles] but the year that I...I made it the last...I went out for three years and finally made it the third year...the third year I was there. But that year, as I remember it, we didn't sing...win a single game, but Eddie Coray in his book says that we won a couple. I...I don't remember winning any, but [chuckles] in my third year I finally made the team as a guard, a hundred and fifty pound guard. You can imagine what a big team [Shuster laughs] we had. But then Professor Straw, I enjoyed him, and.... I wasn't enough of a literature...I didn't read enough literature and so on to enjoy Miss Dow. I guess those who a read literature, they enjoyed her. And I studied French under Miss Blaine and I enjoyed that. And professor Bole gave me enough in biology so that I wasn't cowed when I went to Rutgers. We had a professor of philosophy (that's where I studied philosophy) and, oh, he used to make me so angry because he ran down the beliefs that my folks had and that I had. And he just ridiculed them so, but I remember just using some of Professor Bole's arguments in questioning evolution, and it was interesting to see the students surprised that anybody would even question that. And it used to upset my philosophy professor that I would ask some of these questions. And so Professor Bole did give me just enough to help me so that I wouldn't be steam-rollered by [chuckles] people who believed in evolution.
SHUSTER: Did any of the professors or staff at the College take a personal interest in you?
HUNT: I don't know especially that way. Oh, they were all friendly and I enjoyed..., but no.
SHUSTER: Who was your coach? You were on track as well as football....
HUNT: Yeah, track and football. Let me see. That's funny. I had two, but I...I can see them, but I can't remember their names now. [Pauses.] Gary...Gary was my first coach. And then who was the one that followed him? I don't remember his name now. Gary taught me to hit the dummy, I mean, leave my feet and [chuckles]....
SHUSTER: Was...were the teams you were on...was that a learning experience, a pleasant experience for you?
HUNT: Well, I didn't enjoy the roughness, but it was good for me. I was...I had grown up without playing like little kids in America play football; in fact, in Korea I'd never seen a regular football. But my father had been a very good football player, both in college and in seminary. They...they liked to talk about it. They got up a team of boys that'd played in college, who'd played Princeton University and beat the University. After that, the University didn't want to play against the seminary, but.... [Both chuckle.] But though he had played football, and I knew this, why I felt, oh, Dad had played football; now I must learn. But I had never seen a...a football or handled a football until I came back to America, sixteen years old. And I saw my first game in Saint Louis, a high school game, and I couldn't make anything out of it. But, because Dad had gone out, why I had to go out...I felt I ought to go out for football. And so I learned all about handling it, and throwing it, and catching it, and hitting the dummy, and everything. I had to work to...well, a lot of kids would get [?] it from their kids, but having to take roughness was good for me and then it was good to learn team work from a football team [coughs].
SHUSTER: What was the academic atmosphere like at Wheaton? We've talked a little about the spiritual atmosphere.
HUNT: Well, I don't know. [Pauses.] I wasn't that much...I wasn't that fond of studies myself, that I worried about that. And I suppose I wasn't in a position to be critical. I know that Enock Dyrness, who was just a year ahead of me, he was very ambitious to raise Wheaton's [pauses] position....
HUNT: Pardon me....?
HUNT: Scholastically, I think. I used to kind of look down on, specially my courses in education (what do you call them), [pauses] so much talk, but I took...under Rice, and so on. But Enock Dyrness, he was very ambitious to raise the scholastical...scholastic level. Maybe I was a little cynical about things like that, but man-made standards....
SHUSTER: But you did not find it particularly difficult, or did you?
HUNT: Well, I was no "A" student. I just enjoyed my football and [chuckle] track and working at the restaurant and so on. I was just interested in life too much, friends.
SHUSTER: Had you at Wheaton felt that you wanted to be a missionary, wanted to return to...?
HUNT: No. I mean, I wasn't against it. I had no....
SHUSTER: No call.
HUNT: I just didn't feel I had the qualifications, that I had the....
SHUSTER: Well, looking back on the fact that you eventually did become a missionary [pauses].... First of all, what things at Wheaton do you think were helpful to you. Or were there things at Wheaton that were helpful to you in later work in Korea?
HUNT: Well, mostly it just...I became a Christian, a real Christian and it's.... I think when you...when you become a Christian, then you become a missionary, too. Just...I mean, you may not be a foreign missionary, but when you become a Christian you begin working for the Lord and...genuinely. And my Christian faith became genuine, and that was the one thing..... They were always interested in missions and naturally.... But we had people from South America and my Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Ekvall, she had been in Tibet and I liked her very much....
SHUSTER: Yes, I've...I interviewed Robert Ekvall.
HUNT: Oh, did you? Uh-huh.
SHUSTER: He's her husband. Were there things that you think could have been taught at Wheaton that would have been beneficial to missionaries [pauses] or to people preparing to be missionaries?
HUNT: I don't know. With me, a missionary just...ev...everyone of us is different, too, but a missionary just needs to be as well-qualified to be a Christian as he can be. It's not anything special for the mission field. I think that you become a good Christian and you can work, and.... To me, the foreign mission field.... I guess it's because I grew up on the mission field [coughs], it really isn't a different thing from the home field. It's all one...it's all one to me and you.... A Christian ought be a good Christian here and, if you're a good Christian here, you can be a good missionary. And I think the questions you face on the mission field: theology, doctrine, everything, [are] questions you face here.
SHUSTER: When you came to the U.S., did you find that Americans knew much about Korea?
HUNT: No. They didn't know where it was. In fact, when Father went out it was the same thing. But it wasn't until the...really the Second World War, when American soldiers went out and so many died there, that...I mean that we got to know about Korea. And now, if a person wants to write a novel, why generally he has to put the word Korea in somewhere. But in those days, why, Korea was just unknown.
SHUSTER: It was totally...they had no conceptions of it at all.
SHUSTER: What about American Christians? How did they feel about missions to Korea?
HUNT: Well, I met very few Christians that knew too much about Korea. For one thing, very few denominations had work in Korea. When we were out there, there were only about ten all together. There was a northern Pres...northern Methodist and a southern Methodist and there were four different Presbyterian denominations: one from Canada, one from Australia, northern Presbyterian, and southern Presbyterian. And so those were about the only.... Salvation Army had work there, and Holiness was a rather new work. They called it the Oriental Missionary Society; that's a kind of non...[coughs]...nondenominational kind of over here. And so very few people...the churches.... The Methodists knew something about it and the Presbyterians knew something about it, but outside of that, why, very few people even through the church knew very much about Korea. Yeah.
SHUSTER: You were mentioning a little while ago how you thought that there's no real difference between the foreign mission field and the home mission field. Had you noticed when you came back for your schooling that Christians in the U.S. had a special attitude towards missionaries or towards the mission field?
HUNT: Well, its...to me it's that strangeness that I wish they didn't have. I mean, that they think the missionaries a queer thing, the mission field is a queer thing, and that's what I kind of object to. A lot of the modern talk about missions is that we have to worry about contextualization, we have to worry about culture, we have to worry about language. And they stress all this so much and I think that if we'll just be real Christians that that solves it all and God has already contextualized it through the Bi...He's written it for the whole world, not just for us and I...I.... It bothers me that you'd have to have certain preparation before you can go. And I meet seminary students: "Well, I don't have the gift," and "I don't have the language," or this or that or the other thing. God said to Moses, when he tried to complain about that, He said, "Well who made your tongue; get going." And [coughs]...and I've seen some missionaries who were not especially good at language, but they did a very good work because they loved the people. And they tried to get the...they loved the Lord, and they tried to get the message across, and I think that's the main thing.
SHUSTER: When you were at Wheaton, were you a member of the Beltonian's?
SHUSTER: What was the purpose of the Beltonian's? What was their activity?
HUNT: Well, I didn't know their purpose when I got into it, I suppose. Just liter...a literary society, but I learned to...I learned something about running a...a meeting. Used to have these practices and that was helpful to me. And I was...they had these [pauses] contests and I represented the Belts a couple of times, I think, at short story contests. If I remember right, I...I think I won the school contest one year. Maybe another year came in second or something like that, but at least I represented the Belts, I think, two different years.
SHUSTER: Do you remember what you wrote about?
HUNT: No. Well, I have a vague recollection about one of the stories, but.... It was about Korea, about some miners and different troubles like this. Brought in the political a little bit, the Korean desire for independence, but I really.... I'm afraid we've had fires and we've moved around so much that I'm afraid I've lost the...the story, but....
SHUSTER: But you say it gave you help learning how to run the parliamentary...parliamentary procedure?
HUNT: Yes, yes.
SHUSTER: Well, let's see. We've talked about Beltonians and the athletics. Were there any other extracurricular activities at Wheaton that were an advantage to you?
HUNT: No. I don't know. I.... [Unclear.]
SHUSTER: I think that you were part of the year book [Tower].
HUNT: Pardon me?
SHUSTER: I noticed, looking through some old year books, it mentioned you on the staff for the year book and the Record [student newspaper].
HUNT: I'm not sure I did much on the year book or the Record. What was it I was writing some.... This morning I jotted some down that I thought.... Do you see your letter? [Paper rustles.]
SHUSTER: Well, let's see. Maybe it's.... Here it is. Yes, here it is....
HUNT: Let's see. Well, here's a...well I don't know.... [Mutters to himself; unclear. Pauses.] So much.... We used to have some of these extramural sports between the missionary home's fourth floor and...Daddy's Invincibles, we called them....
SHUSTER: [Snorts.] Daddy's Invincibles?
HUNT: Yes. [Chuckles] Eddie Coray and Henry Coray and Shorty Sagar and Enock Dyrness, they all lived upstairs in Hiatts [Drug Store] (I think it was a department store downtown). They had a great big room and they lived together in this; they called them Daddy's Invincibles. And then the fourth floor (that's where [pauses]...the fellow we mentioned a while ago; went to Africa as a missionary....)
HUNT: Stam. He was up on the fourth floor, and I think Bob Graham maybe would've been on the fourth floor. I made up a cheer at that time.... Oh, yes, I was cheer leader for...they...college. Not like they do these days. Just mostly trying to stir up enthusiasm, but I made up a...a little thing. "Weeny, wheatie, weaky, the fourth floor team is squeaky; [Shuster chuckles] and they can't oil up their hinges because their oil can's leaky." [Both chuckle.] But I [pauses].... Let me see. [Pauses.] Cross-country.... I just about...I was telling Eddie about it the other day. (I wrote to him about it.) But...one time that I might have won, but I wasn't familiar with the course and I was ahead of the runner...Naperville runner. And just at the end there was a high hill and so I said, "Boy, I've got to pull in my strength to make that hill." And this fellow from behind, the Naperville [runner], who knew the course, he didn't go up the hill. He just turned on the level and...
SHUSTER: Oh, gee....
HUNT: ...to the finish. I didn't know it was that near, so I lost to him. It was very disappointing, 'cause I didn't know the course. And the Washington Banquet. I don't know why they asked me to give the speech one year, but I was asked to give a speech representing, I thought it was the freshmen. But would they have a freshman give a speech? I can't quite figure. But anyway, one year at the Washington Banquet I was told, "Give a speech on freedom through law." But then another year, I just....
SHUSTER: They must have started having the Washington Banquet again; it was canceled....
HUNT: What was that?
SHUSTER: It was forgotten for a while, but they'd started up again.
HUNT: Yeah. So I gave a speech on freedom through law. But one time we were getting ready for the Washington Banquet and I got hijacked by the upper-classmen. They took me out in the country and...and dumped me beside the road and came back. And...but I had been going out for cross-country, so I took off my coat and left it at the farm house. And I ran in and I...I guess they'd just served the order. What is it, the first...?
SHUSTER: The first course?
HUNT: I was leading the cheers that night, so [it was] very...very exciting when I got back to lead the cheers. And then working in Rodin's [?] Cafe, and.... Classmates Mason Richmond, Bill Harper, Alice Howard, Dorothy and Marjorie Miles, Gladys Wright, Martha Parks [sic; Park], Alice Winsor, Paul Stough, and Egg [?; Lillian] Wightman (that's Eddie Coray's wife), and Joe Hammond, and so on. I mentioned Mrs. Ekvall's class, Tuesday prayer meetings, special meeting, conversion, also short story, then the...just...interests. I don't know; nothing special that...I don't know. I just enjoyed college. I would've graduated from there if my folks hadn't come on fur...at least, that's where I would have sought to graduate, [if] my folks hadn't come on furlough that year. And I mentioned that I was...regretted that I didn't get into Dr. Blanchard's class.
SHUSTER: You...you were in class with Paul Stough, as well?
SHUSTER: He, of course, went out with Africa Inland Mission...
HUNT: Yes, I knew that.
SHUSTER: ...to.... We have an interview with him as well. Two interviews, in fact.
HUNT: Oh. Uh-huh.
SHUSTER: [Pauses.] Well, what was your education in the U.S. then after you left Wheaton? You graduated from Rutgers.
HUNT: I graduated from Rutgers and....
SHUSTER: Did you go on to seminary, or was....?
HUNT: Yes, Princeton Seminary and I was there during the struggle, Dr. [J. Gresham] Machen, and so on.
HUNT: I graduated from Princeton the year before Dr. Machen pulled out of Princeton and went down to Westminster. And, during that year, I attended the church...during one year, I attended the church where he was temporary pastor. And I taught Sunday school there under him and I...the session asked me to start a young people's society. And we got in some of the university students and so on. And [coughs] (excuse me)...but [rustles papers] I did seminary work, the...the one very interesting bit of preparation for the mission field (it was the year I graduated from Rutgers). The folks went back to Korea, I had no special job and...but I...we'd been living near the seminary in the town of Princeton. The U.S.A. Board [Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.) had apartments for missionaries and the folks were living in those apartments and I lived with them, computed...commuted to Rutgers. But at the end of that year when they went back, I had no job, no place to live and.... But the seminary students (some of them) were going out to do Sunday school work in the summer under the U.P....U.S.A.'s Board of [intermittently rustles paper] Sun...Missions and some of my friends suggested that I apply. And I hadn't had seminary, just had college, but I'd been teaching a class and I'd also been trying to lead this young people's society, so I'd started doing a little work for the Lord like that. And so I went up to Maine...they sent me up to Maine and Mr. McGilvory [?], the elderly gentleman who had this work, he took us out and he just gave us a territory. "This is your territory," and "This is your territory," and just left us alone. [Shuster chuckles.] I had a bicycle. We had a little book which we were supposed to report in every day: how many people we'd contacted, how many tracts we'd given out, how many messages we'd given, and so on. And I just had to start on my own, but it was the best experience. I wish every missionary could have an experience like that to see that you can do it on your own, to have to start from scratch.
SHUSTER: It helped build your confidence.
HUNT: Yes, and I had about thirteen summer Bible schools that summer. I think I averaged about twenty-five miles a day on my bicycle and it...it...it taught me that I could take the Gospel out and that's all I needed: just the Gospel itself. You don't need money, you don't need buildings, you don't need anything to do the Lord's work and I wish almost every missionary would have an experience like I had up...during that summer. Then I went back to Princeton. My last year at Princeton I had a little church in northern Jersey where I preached. And they wanted me to stay as a regular pastor, but the reason I went to the mission field.... It was while I was in seminary...I didn't even go to seminary because I had a special call to be a preacher or to be a missionary, but while the folks were there I got near there and I found something I needed and know the Lord better and...but actually I began working for the Lord while I...just before I entered seminary and then while I was in seminary. And then I saw that there weren't so many people volunteering to go to the mission field. And that wasn't so strange to me, so I thought, "Well, I'll volunteer. If the Lord sends me, all right. If they don't want to send me, well, there's work to do here." So I didn't have even that special call to the mission field and I didn't...the Board would ask you what country you want to go to, and I didn't even put Korea first, though I knew the language. I thought of...that many had to go where it was difficult and so why shouldn't I? And I forget what country I put down. Japan may have been one of them, or...there the work is very difficult. The church hasn't grown so rapidly and so...and...a need there. But anyway the Board itself sent me to Korea.
SHUSTER: When you were at Princeton, did you get to know Dr. Machen personally?
HUNT: Yes...yes. I was...I was on the same floor with him in one of the dormitories.
SHUSTER: How did he impress you as a man?
HUNT: I was....[?] Well, I admired him. I was...admired him very much.
SHUSTER: [Pauses.] Was he.... Did you have him as a teacher as well?
HUNT: Pardon me?
SHUSTER: Did you have him as a teacher ?
HUNT: Yes, yes.
SHUSTER: What kind of a teacher was he? Was he effective in classroom?
HUNT: Well, I...I thought he was very...very effective as a teacher. Just...the man was just able and sincere and I mean you didn't feel any special trying to push his sincere...sincerity across. You just felt that, with his ability, he just was sincere about what he was saying. And he didn't even...he wasn't what you would call charismatic in the way he spoke. Almost like a drone, but every word counted and his very...every word counted.
SHUSTER: How did...what impression did you have of his scholarship?
HUNT: Well, I just felt...I felt it was tops and I felt about his...and I took a course, the Origin of Paul's Religion, under him. And I guess I took the Virgin Birth under him too. But to me, I...I felt the Origin of Paul's Religion just...not liberalism [pauses]...out...he'd go...went back to the origin. I...I got to appreciate him even more after I came back on my first furlough. The old board had a rule that we had to study our first furlough and I hadn't yet left the Board. It was during the furlough that the split with the...over the Independent Board [Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions] came and our church split. But I took courses under him then and I...as I've said several times, I'm not a man who loves to study, and I'm not great at grammar, and this and that. But he would...I think we took James under him then. But he would first say, "Read the passage in Greek." He was very insistent we try to get back to the original. And his first question after you read it is, "What does it say. What does the passage say. Just put it in your own language, what it says." Secondly, he'd say, "Wha...is there a problem in the passage? What is the problem?" And the third point I thought was very important: "State the problem." Often we can, at least with me, we kind of feel there's a problem there, but we can't really put it into what would...what's bothering us. "State the problem." And then he would say, "Now go to the commentaries; Catholic commentary, liberal commentary, anything. Go to the commentaries and see how this person solves that problem that you've stated. And then make your...draw your conclusions." And it was of...that's what Machen seems to have done in...in all his writings. He tries to get at the problem, state it, and then see what people have said about it, and draw your own conclusion. And I feel that...this whole...perspicuous....
SHUSTER: Of course, you were there just...as you say, just before the split that split up the seminary.
HUNT: Yeah, I was the last cla...the clas...the one class before. The split came in '29 and I graduated in '28.
SHUSTER: Were you aware of the tensions at the seminary that would result in...? [?]
HUNT: Yes. Oh yes, yes.
SHUSTER: What...what impressions did the student body have of the problem?
HUNT: Well [coughs], the student body began to kind of side with one or the other. They...there're professors that they might like, but "he's not taking the stand we'd like to see him take. Dr. Machen's taking the stand we'd like to take." When I applied to the mission board, there was a real question because they had...an Auburn Affirmationist was the candidate secretary. And so when I applied, why he would have to see me every once in a while and his question often would be, "Well, if you're sent out, can you work with a liberal?" And my answer was, "Well, why should I? I hope that every Presbyterian minister is honestly agreed to the confession of faith and the catechisms and so on and if he's honestly done so, why then I can work with him, but why...?" "Oh, well, you know, their interpretation is different. People have different views of these things." Well, I said, "Language means...language to me and...." But we'd go round and round on this. And I really wondered if they'd appoint me because of it, but they did eventually appoint me.
SHUSTER: Were there...were the tensions at the seminary, as well as being theological, personal as well, or was there...people still able to work together well?
HUNT: Oh, they're working together all right. I don't know whether [pauses]...it's hard to know whether they're personal or theological. Sometimes it's a little difficult [pounding in background] to know. But they were working together, but they were taking definite stands on this or the other. For instance, the students...the YMCA tried to encourage...well, tried to get the students of various seminaries together. [Pauses.] They began to, I felt, put their fingers into the...the students...the [pauses] student volunteers. I was in the student volunteers. It seemed like the YMCA wanted to kind of control this. And then they wanted to have a...s...some kind of a gathering of s...theological seminary students. Well, the year before I entered Princeton, I think, they had a gathering of theological seminary students and the Princeton boys, some of them at least, came back very much upset because of the liberalism that was taught. The speakers gave liberal talks and so on and they..."We've got to pull out of that; we can't go to that." This was the year before I entered seminary, but I was just off campus where my folks were living so I'd hear all of this. And so they [pauses] said, "We've got to pull out. But we...should we pull out, and then we not get together...the conservatives get together?" So then they formed what they called the League of Evangelical Students and Ed Jones, a...a [pauses] Wheaton graduate, was the second (I'd known him at Wheaton)...he was the second secretary and my brother-in-law (he wasn't my brother-in-law at that time, [drops papers] but became my brother-in-law), he was the first secretary of the League of Evangelical Students. But the students...some of the professors, of course, didn't approve of this, didn't like it, but other [coughs] professors did [coughs] and so...but things went on...they...though they didn't agree with each other always.
SHUSTER: I think Carl McIntire was at the seminary about that same time...
SHUSTER: Did you have any...did you know him personally, or...?
HUNT: Yes, I knew him personally, but I didn't know him as well in seminary. He was behind me a year or two, I think, and...didn't he come down to Westminster Seminary? I think he did....
SHUSTER: He did.
HUNT: I think he finished at Westminster. And, see, I graduated before Westminster even started, a year before and so on. But...but I went out under the Independent Board because at that time there was no...well, when we split from the U.S.A. Board, really the issue wasn't the seminary. When the split came, the church split. The seminary split happened in l929, the church split happened in l936, seven years later. And that was partly over the seminary in that the seminary students would apply to Presbyteries to be ordained and presbyteries began to say, "Oh, if he's from Westminster Seminary we...we'd ordain him." And now Dr. Machen had formed the Independent Board, and that was separate from the seminary. And that was started, as I remember.... Wheaton graduate Henry Coray, Eddie Coray's brother, he had graduated from Westminster and he'd wanted to go to the mission field and the presbytery wouldn't accept him. And whether he was the beginning of the thing or not.... Dr. Machen felt that here the old board...well, independent of these seminary students, too, he was fighting the liberalism in the church, the Auburn Affirmation, and so on. And on the Board of Foreign Missions, they were all Auburn Affirmationists and Dr. Machen objected to this. And at the general assembly they tried to keep from allowing...or electing Auburn Affirmationists, that is, Dr. Machen and [Clarence E.] Macartney's side, and so on. And so he was pointing out the liberalism of missionaries under the Board: Pearl Buck and others like that, and they...he had some clear cases, especially some of the teachers of seminary in China and other countries, but the Board just white-washed it. And so Dr. Machen said, "Well, we can't give our money to the Board, or our money is preaching liberalism and we're taking part in that. We can't do that." And so he organized the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. We still believe in the reformed faith and believe in the Presbyterian form of government and we feel that that's a good thing. And so we don't believe in just some general fundamental churches, or the Baptist church, or the Congregational church. He was a believer in the Presbyterian doctrine and the form of government and so he organized what he calls the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. Well, that was criticized by even his friends. Dr. Allis [Oswald T.], he felt, "Well, the seminary...now we've taken a stand [?], and why drag this in." And the other Board were saying, "By your doing that, you're drawing money away from the existing work, and so you're hurting the existing work." Well, that year on furlough I wrote a paper for myself on that and I said, " Well, can't we stay within the church" (and Dr. Machen was still within the church; he hadn't been disciplined)..."can't we stay within the church and still get the right kind of missionaries on the field? And maybe have a committee that will clear people and say, 'Well, this man is...we think is a good man,' and if necessary even raise funds to send that kind of man. Then go to the Board and say, 'Look, we have a man that we believe is the kind of man should go and we're willing to support him. How about you taking him?' Then you can't say we're trying...we're taking money away the Board."
SHUSTER: Right, right.
HUNT: But, Dr. Macartney...I showed it to him and he said, "Well, that'll split a church." Well, I felt when he said that that's the finish of Dr. Macarthy...Dr. Macartney and he never did come out. And Dr. Allis, he was just so involved over The Guardian, the paper, at that time and he and Dr. Machen couldn't see eye-to-eye about that. And so while he said he kind of agreed with what I said, he wasn't in a place to push it. And so I just wrote it and then dropped it. I said I believed the Independent Board had a right to exist, but ideally to me missions...I'm not strong for parachurch missions. I believe that it should be denominational.
SHUSTER: Part of the church.
HUNT: Pardon me?
SHUSTER: Part of the church.
HUNT: Yeah, part of the church and that's what I was trying to say. But when there was...and then when Dr. Machen was put out, I, well, I'd suggested this and we.... When the general assembly of the O.P.C. [Orthodox Presbyterian Church] started, I think I suggested that we should have a foreign missions committee of the O.P.C. Dr. Machen said, "Well, we've got the Independent Board already. Why have that?" And it was over the Independent Board that he was disciplined. "You've got to get off the Independent Board or we will discipline you." But, well, with the Independent Board.... But because I was so strong for believing that it should be part of the church I said, "I'm not against it." I believe that parachurch groups have a right to do it if the church isn't doing what it ought to do. Other people can preach out. I'm not against them to that extent. But I believe the church is the ideal place to do it. And so I said, "Even if we're working though an independent organization, we ought to have a committee of the church to do this. I feel the same about the seminary. Westminster Seminary is independent. I think that training in the ministry ought to be a work of the church and the...the missions ought to be a work of the church." And so...but they didn't have it and I did get a...the general assembly to appoint a committee, and I said...the committee couldn't decide..."Well, let's use West...let's use the Independent Board, let's work through the Independent Board. That's perfectly all right with me if the church decides to do it that way." Anyway, they did form a committee and we went out under the Independent Board. Then later, when Machen and...and McIntire separated, partly over the millennial question and partly I guess over the idea...there were some that, well they came out of the U.S.A. church that didn't want to be necessarily Presbyterian; they wanted to be independent and so different things. I...I wasn't in the country at the time, but when the split came, why I didn't hurry to get on the foreign missions committee...under the foreign missions committee of our church, but I did indicate that I believed in it. By those days we had to...fun...our funds...we would write back to the committee here to please send so-and-so so much money. Even buying a pair of shoes, we asked the committee to send to a certain company to buy us a pair of shoes and stuff like that. And so I sent some of my tithe to the committee of the church. Well, Holdcroft [?] and especially Griffiths...Hal [McAllister] Griffiths [?] they..."You're being disloyal to the Independent Board in sending money to the O.P. Church." Well, I didn't feel I was because I'd been a member of the O.P. Church before I was under the Independent Board. And I wrote back and I said, "If you consider this disloyalty, then I'll have to resign." I didn't resign; I put an "if" there. I got an answer back, "Your resignation has been accepted." So [laughs] that was settled for me.
SHUSTER: Yes. But you say you were at seminary with Mark...McIntire; he was a year behind you.
HUNT: I think he was already at Princeton when I was there. I think he was one year or two years....
SHUSTER: Did you know him at all personally or have any...
SHUSTER: ...memories of him.
HUNT: Oh, I've known him since, but...'cause he's come to Korea quite a few times [unclear].
SHUSTER: Well, that might be a good point to stop.
SHUSTER: Thank you very much for...this has been ver...most interesting.
HUNT: Well, I gabbed and gabbed and gabbed [laughs] [coughs].
SHUSTER: Well, it was very worthwhile.
END OF TAPE