The Ghost of Presbyterians Past

On a regular basis, an allegedly “Christian” leader engages in some form of theological and moral blasphemy. The result is always predictable, and follows a well-known pattern:

  1. Conservatives murmur about theological betrayal in tense, anxious tones, with nervous glances over their shoulders – fearful of an avalanche of leftist outrage,
  2. A “progressive Christian” from an apostate mainline denomination or seminary is trotted out, issues vague platitudes about unconditional love and forgiveness, provides an out of context quote from Jesus, and exits stage right.

Of course, this is not a matter of “conservative Christians” vs. “liberal” or “progressive Christians.” It is a matter of Christianity vs. paganism. It is a matter of two entirely different religions, which just happen to share the same vocabulary.

This is where J. Gresham Machen comes in. In 1923, he published his little book Christianity and Liberalism. It is a powerful book, and so little has changed since his day. Harken to this faithful Presbyterian who, though being dead, yet speaketh:

It is no wonder, then, that liberalism is totally different from Christianity, for the foundation is different. Christianity is founded upon the Bible. It bases upon the Bible both its thinking and its life. Liberalism on the other hand is founded upon the shifting emotions of sinful men.[1]


[1] J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (New York, NY: Loiseaux Bros., 1923; reprint, CrossReach Publications, n.d.; Kindle ed.), KL 1030-1032.


Can’t We All Just Get Along?

What a stupid question . . .

Ponder this bit of wisdom from J. Gresham Machen:

Clear-cut definition of terms in religious matters, bold facing of the logical implications of religious views, is by many persons regarded as an impious proceeding. May it not discourage contribution to mission boards? May it not hinder the progress of consolidation, and produce a poor showing in columns of Church statistics? But with such persons we cannot possibly bring ourselves to agree. Light may seem at times to be an impertinent intruder, but it is always beneficial in the end.

The type of religion which rejoices in the pious sound of traditional phrases, regardless of their meanings, or shrinks from “controversial” matters, will never stand amid the shocks of life. In the sphere of religion, as in other spheres, 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, Christianity & Liberalism (New York, NY: Loiseaux Bros., 1923; reprint; CrossReach Publications, n.d., Kindle ed.), KL 41-47.