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Defending the Faith: J. Gresham Machen and the Crisis of Conservative Protestantism in Modern America
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Defending the Faith: J. Gresham Machen and the Crisis of Conservative Protestantism in Modern America

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  73 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews

"One of the great achievements of Hart's biography is his contextualization of Machen, in which these anomalies resolve themselves into a coherent if not always attractive personality... What makes Hart's achievement remarkable is the skill with which he has synthesized these interpretive pieces into a readable and compelling narrative."--Allen C. Guelzo, Christianity Toda

Paperback, 227 pages
Published March 1st 2003 by P & R Publishing (first published 1994)
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Jacob Aitken
A decent biography, and my differences with Hart aside, probably one of the more readable ones. I think Hart overreads his own "spirituality of the church" into Machen. Yes, Machen probably wouldn't attend Falwell rallies, but Machen did press his faith on the floor of the United States Senate. The Two Kingdom guys have never really gotten around that.
Feb 12, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
This is the biography of a very important man, who very few people know of today. Machen was born into a privileged life, and established himself comfortably at Princeton, where he enjoyed living among the intelligentsia, teaching and training the country's best. This suited him well, and it was a life he loved and would not have left behind lightly. But for some people, study goes beyond the mind and settles in the heart... and this was true of Machen. This is a story of one man's growth from h ...more
Chris Hansen
Apr 07, 2012 Chris Hansen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
Defending the Faith is a fascinating portrayal of one of the most important figures in American Christianity during the last century--J. Gresham Machen. Machen was perhaps the last of the great confessional Presbyterian scholars at Princeton Seminary and was perhaps the central figure in the fundamentalist controversy in the early 20th century. He was a man of immense learning and intellect, whose work was greatly respected by conservatives, liberals, and secularists alike.

Machen was the most f
Feb 16, 2008 BJ rated it it was amazing
Fascinating biography of J. Gresham Machen by D.G. Hart. Hart's understanding of Machen and the surrounding religious, political, denominational, and cultural landscape is a pleasure to read.

Machen is a very complicated figure, and one of great conviction. He is a single man, a momma's boy, a brilliant scholar, a theological conservative, a political libertarian, a wealthy man, a controversial man, a conservative man, a very clear and pointed man who did not put up with "slippery" language, a w
Oct 24, 2007 Tony rated it really liked it
Hart writes from a position of sympathy with Machen (he attended Westminster Seminary) but his affection for many of Machen's position does not cloud his judgment or ability to present Machen as he was - warts and all.

I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting when I began reading this book but I soon realized that this was not it. That is not a bad thing. I tremondously enjoyed Hart's academic style and colorful presentation of what most people would find incredibly boring information. Oftentim
Matt Pitts
Oct 07, 2014 Matt Pitts rated it really liked it
An intellectual biography of one of the greatest Christian thinkers of the 20th century. Worth reading.
Andy Smith
Jan 17, 2014 Andy Smith rated it liked it
An excellent book of information, if not as well written as one would have hoped. The introduction to Machen's life as well as the feeling of the modernist controversy of the 20s is excellent, and Hart's astute observations on Machen's odd role as enemy and friend of both moderns and fundamentalists are brilliant. However, the book is weighed down by Hart's dense writing style and poor organization at points. Still, a very worthwhile read.
Lance Kinzer
Sep 13, 2013 Lance Kinzer rated it really liked it
An extremely readable, careful and balanced consideration of a fascinating man who played a vital role in the modernist vs. fundamentalist debates of the 1920's and 30'. Valuable not just for what it has to say about those times, but for its cautionary note regarding the impact on conservative Protestantism when it ignores Machen's warnings about the dangers inherent in conflating the Gospel of Christ with programs for social reform.
Apr 07, 2014 LJ rated it really liked it
A good biographical sketch of a man whose later life was almost tragic: He seemed to have suffered a lot of defeats in his professional work, though he managed to rack up a lot of accomplishments throughout his life. Some of the material presented here is more scintillating than others. The chapters on science and Machen's scholarly methodology were very good; the chapter on Presbyterian missions less so.
Dec 15, 2013 JM rated it liked it
If you're looking for a good overview of J. Gresham Machen's life, this is not the book for you; but if you want to get into the head of Machen and understand what drove his thinking to separate from his denomination, found a separate missions agency and seminary, and start a new denomination, then this book will satisfy that desire.
Mike Awtry
Jan 13, 2014 Mike Awtry rated it really liked it
A pretty interesting read of a fascinating figure (more so than I initially thought). Hart goes into a lot of the contexts and complexities of Machen and his situations.
Jeff Rottman
Jul 18, 2009 Jeff Rottman rated it really liked it
Intriguing exposition of the life of Machen
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Darryl G. Hart (Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University) directs the honors programs and faculty development at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and serves Westminster Seminary California as adjunct professor of church history. He has written or edited more than fifteen books, including Defending the Faith, a biography of J. Gresham Machen. He is coeditor of the American Reformed Biographies series.
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