Theology v. Unity: Some Thoughts on Unity

Some recent events in the “world of Christianity” have provoked some thoughts in my mind. I will get to those thoughts in a moment, but first allow me to give some background.

Growing up I always felt that there was way too much division in the church. Now by “division” I mean both in local churches and the universal Church. I grew up with a very interesting “religious” background. Growing up I was shifted through vatrious denominations as I had parents who were really trying to figure things out for themselves. Experiencing so many “flavors” of Christianity (besides making me very discerning) made me very anti-denominationalistic. Further, my senior year of high school the church I was attended, a church my family was heavily involved in, had a split, a breakup, or whatever else you’d like to call it. This was a devastating time for me but also a time that God used for extreme spiritual growth in my life. I was very upset at the adults of that church for acting so unbiblical and immature (especially since the split wasn’t even over some doctrinal issue). But this frustration sparked in me a desire to search the scriptures to discover for myself what the church was really all about and what the church should look like biblically. I’ll stop there, because this is not intended to be a biography in anyway; but those two factors, my encounters with various denominations and beliefs growing up as well as the church split, had an extreme effect on my view of unity.

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The Presbyterian Seperatist: J. Gresham Machen

This is a paper I wrote my Junior year, spring semester of 2011, at Maranatha Baptist Bible College for a class entitled “Fundamentalism.” This is a narrowly focused biography of one of my heroes, J. Gresham Machen, specifically on how his actions made him a leader in the separatist movements during his day.

Machen was definitely a leader in Fundamentalism’s separatist withdrawal from liberal and modernistic ecclesiastical institutions in the 1930’s. His militancy against liberalism and those who made friends with liberals characterized the latter half of his life. He split from the Presbyterian Church to establish a pure Presbyterian denomination. He faced the difficulties of beginning a new mission board after condemning the Presbyterian board of its liberalism. He made an exodus from the moderate infested Princeton to found Westminster Theological Seminary. And lastly, his writing of Christianity and Liberalism set the doctrinal foundation for his separation. He chose the difficult path of honest devotion to the purity of orthodox doctrine by rejecting the popular path of what appeared to be unity but was truly dishonest partnership. He was certainly a man whom many found themselves able to follow in Fundamentalism’s fight of separation, and is an exemplary role model for separatists today.

PDF of Paper

Originally posted on former blog, I’m Calling Us Out.