Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen

J. Gresham Machen, at this point in my life, is probably my favorite author. Last year around this time I read his book Christianity and Liberalism. It was great. The purpose of his book was to identify liberalism (Liberal Christianity) and Christianity (Christianity that holds to the historic Christian doctrines) as two distinct religions. At one point in the book he states,

Admitting that scientific objections may arise against the particularities of the Christian religion . . . the liberal theologian seeks to rescue certain of the general principles of religion, of which these particularities are thought to be mere temporary symbols, and these general principles he regards as constituting “the essence of Christianity.” . . . As a matter of fact . . . what the liberal theologian has retained after abandoning to the enemy one Christian doctrine after another is not Christianity at all, but a religion so entirely different as to belong in a distinct category.

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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.