The Rev. John P. Galbraith was born on this day in 1913. A 1935 graduate of Muskingum College, he enrolled at Westminster Seminary where he took classes under and became friends with J. Gresham Machen, even travelling to be present at Machen's trial in Trenton, New Jersey, and Machen's appeal at the General Assembly in Syracuse. When Machen died suddenly on January 1, 1937, the Machen family asked Galbraith to serve as a pallbearer.
Following his graduation from Westminster, Galbraith pastored OPC congregations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for eleven years. In 1948, he was appointed General Secretary for both the Home Missions and Foreign Missions Committees. He continued until 1961, when he began to serve full time as General Secretary for Foreign Missions, a post he would hold until his retirement in 1978. In retirement, he remained active serving on various committees for over twenty-five years.
For those who attended the seventy-fifth anniversary of the OPC at the 2011 General Assembly, a highlight of that week was a stirring address by the then 98-year old Galbraith during the report of the Committee on Christian Education. The eyewitness to the first OPC General Assembly in 1936 began his remarks by reminding commissioners and guests that “whatever we have done to land here seventy-five years later, holding to the same faith, has been by the grace of the Spirit of the living God.”
Galbraith ended with this challenge:
I say to you, “Keep standing fast.” That doesn’t need any exegesis. You know exactly what it means. Stand fast in the faith once delivered to the saints. Stand fast on the Word of God, and then get going on the things that God has given us to do. Teach our people well. Teach them to do their job, and to do it well. And to that I think I can say only my own amen and say also, to God be the glory.
Mr. Galbraith went to be with the Lord on June 30, 2016.
Picture: John Galbraith and Eritrean believers in 1961.