Monthly Archives: August 2011

  • Christianity and Liberalism, part 4

    In the last chapter Machen showed how liberalism departs from important presupposition about the message of the gospel and thus from the message itself. It’s because of this that he can make the claim that liberalism, more foundationally, departs from the Bible because the “message has come to us through the Bible” (p. 59). Here the author exposes two of liberalism’s important departures from the Christian faith. First, liberalism rejects the “plenary inspiration” of the Bible. Plenary means, “full, complete, entire.” Hence a “plenary session” at a conference is one in which all participants are in attendance. Inspiration means

    …that the Bible not only is an account of important things, but that the account itself is true, the writers having been so preserved from error, despite a full maintenance of their habits of thought and expression, that the resulting Book is … Read More »

  • Christianity and Liberalism, part 3

    By the end of chapter two of Christianity and Liberalism the reader is not left wondering what the author really thinks of liberalism. “The chief modern rival of Christianity is “liberalism.”” (p. 45). Perhaps even more striking is not what the author deduces the enemy of true Christianity to be, but its friends. This chapter is on doctrine, so its first part is about what doctrine is and why it is important. We will get to that. Toward the end, though, he takes up what he doesn’t mean in this insistence. One of the things that he doesn’t mean is that “all points of doctrine are equally important” (pp. 40-41). Examples are always helpful so he offers five here. The first is of the difference between reformed theology and those who hold to pre-millennialism or chiliasm (p. 42). While an … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog
  • Christianity and Liberalism, part 2

    Writing during the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the 1920’s, Machen said the purpose of his book was not to “decide the religious issues of the present day, but merely to present the issue as sharply and clearly as possible” (p. 1). Already on this first page of the book the author is signaling the polemic waters ahead. And, like in our day,

    “…the things about which men are agreed are apt to be the things that are least worth holding; the really important things are the things about which men will fight”.J. Gresham Machen

    such polemics would not be eagerly received, most preferring to fight their battles in a “condition of low visibility” (p.1). Not Machen, though. For Machen, “the type of religion which rejoices in the pious sound of traditional phrases, regardless of their meanings, or shrinks from “controversial” matters, will … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog