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Christianity and Liberalism

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,311 Ratings  ·  195 Reviews
This classic defense of orthodox Christianity, written to counter the liberalism that arose in the early 1900s, establishes the importance of scriptural doctrine and contrasts the teachings of liberalism and orthodoxy on God and man, the Bible, Christ, salvation, and the church. J.Gresham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism has remained relevant through the years ever sin ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Eerdmans (first published November 30th 1922)
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Mark Dunn I found the book somewhat difficult to read because of older style of writing not because of the content. margin notes and underlining of key…moreI found the book somewhat difficult to read because of older style of writing not because of the content. margin notes and underlining of key passages. About half way through the book ,I found it a little easier to take. I guess one can get use to anything.(less)
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David Westerfield
Written in 1923, Machen addresses a system of theology encroaching upon the church that would bring about the sure eclipse of the very Gospel itself within the 20th century. It is important to note from the outset that this liberalism is not at all the same as modern political liberalism (though there are likely some fundamental philosophical similarities), but is rather theological liberalism. (In fact, Machen was strongly opposed to entering World War I and fought vigorously at the Congression ...more
Adam T Calvert
Oct 09, 2010 Adam T Calvert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
If you enjoy underlining or highlighting important, insightful, or otherwise noteworthy passages in books, then just forget about with this one, because the entire piece from beginning to end will be marked.

The book is simple in its organization and is laid out as follows:

I. Introduction
II. Doctrine
III. God and Man
IV. The Bible
V. Christ
VI. Salvation
VII. The Church

From the beginning of the book to the end, J. Gresham Machen, a true hero of the faith, pits the Christianity of historical orthodoxy
Mark Sylvester
Mar 29, 2015 Mark Sylvester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, audiobooks
Valuable analysis of modern liberal theology and its departure from the Christian faith. It struck me that, originally written in 1923, so many arguments put forth in this book are still arguments heard from liberal scholars today: primarily, the denial of all that remains fundamentally 'Christian' (the necessary substitutionary atonement of Christ, deity of Christ, salvation through Jesus alone, etc.) and yet still holding to the belief that one is a Christian. Machen shows how liberal proponen ...more
Nov 13, 2011 Adam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: essentials
”I have just read my way through this, with distaste and discomfort but with reluctant and growing admiration for Machen's mind. I have never seen a stronger case made for the argument that institutional Christianity must regard cultural liberalism an enemy of faith.” -Harold Bloom, The American Religion

Bloom’s comment on this--Machen’s best-known book--will likely resonate quite pleasantly in Reformed circles for years to come. It’s easy to see why the book is a modern touchstone for the Refo
May 16, 2012 Henry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Machen does an excellent job of showing that anti-supernatural liberalism deserves to be considered a different religion from Christianity, rather than a respectable variant of it, and hence that it should be viewed as destructive to souls.
Justin Andrusk
Jul 13, 2009 Justin Andrusk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes, that's right I did give this book 5 stars. It was both simple to read and rich in content for the grave consequences for abandoning orthodox Christianity and that liberalism is completely different religion and is NOT Christianity.
Aug 14, 2014 mpsiple rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is anyone writing this powerfully and persuasively (at the same time) today?
Mark Ward
May 02, 2016 Mark Ward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2016
I apologize to the internet for not giving this classic five stars, but it simply didn't quite reach the level of incisiveness and helpfulness for me in my situation that Packer's analysis in "Fundamentalism" and the Word of God reached. It was, nonetheless, excellent. It was sad to see that we are facing some of the very same issues today, and in exactly the same way, that he faced in the early 20th century. This could have been written yesterday:

Religion, it is said, is so entirely separate fr
Rick Davis
Dec 25, 2010 Rick Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bible-theology
Several years ago, coming fresh from the cloister of Liberty University and looking for a career in the real world, I had a surreal experience during a job interview. The boss who was interviewing me noticed that I was a religion major and asked what I thought about all the people out there who still believed that Jesus was actually God. I was a bit taken aback by this question. I knew the man’s church to be a conservative, Bible-believing church, and I personally knew the man’s pastor likewise ...more
Joseph Rizzo
Jul 31, 2013 Joseph Rizzo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was compelled to read this book finally because of my observation that this is a battle that is fought and is being re-fought again and again.

Machen argues that liberalism is not Christianity but that it utilizes much of the Christian terminology so as to appear that it is somewhat orthodox.

The book draws the lines in the sand on the things that cannot be compromised, one by one. Machen also gives the definitions that the liberals mean when they use some of the Christian words.

First it is doc
Chet Duke
Feb 11, 2016 Chet Duke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
This was a really enjoyable read for my Historical Theology course. It took courage for Machen to articulate these ideas in the midst of Liberal theology.
Jan 16, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps more relevant today than when Machen wrote it. This is one that I plan to return to often.
Nov 18, 2015 Corey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Essential reading.
Brittany Kauflin
Stunningly relevant, though written almost 100 years ago, Machen boldly and compassionately addresses the difference between Christianity and Liberalism. I appreciated how Christ-centered he is in his arguments, making a case that it all comes down to whether or not one believes in and celebrates the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. The chapter on "Salvation" towards the end is stellar. So grateful.
May 17, 2016 Hopson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Christianity & Liberalism" is a classic work 20th century Princeton professor J. Gresham Machen. This work is a well-reasoned dismantling of liberalism masquerading as Christianity. In short, Machen argues that liberal "Christianity" is not a tribe within Christianity, but an entirely different religion. Reading his work nearly 100 years after its composition, I was astonished by its continued relevance today. Machen wields logical brilliance with the poise of a gentleman as he lovingly dis ...more
Justin Rose
Nov 05, 2015 Justin Rose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, which came or in 1923, proves that truth is timeless. Machen teaches evangelicals how to stand up to the theological liberalism which was already infesting churches 95 years ago. (Today we can see how this was successfully accomplished by the Southern Baptists.) He also encourages church members to be ready to abandon their association, even thought the financial and fellowship losses might be costly. (This would later be exemplified by the Presbyterian Church of America.) I also took ...more
Tony Beard
Jan 24, 2016 Tony Beard rated it it was amazing
It's rather remarkable that a book written largely for its own day can be full so of relevant truth 90+ years later. "Christianity & Liberalism" by J. Gresham Machen fought the erosion of doctrine and Biblical Truth when it was published in 1923. Now in 2016, its fight for Truth remains just as important. Machen walks his reader through the sharp divides found between doctrinal Christianity and its false shadow, liberal Christianity. He covers ares of doctrine, our relationship with God, the ...more
James Smith
While I demur on certain trajectories in this book, I think Machen's opening diagnosis of "liberalism" is both prescient and germane to contemporary debates. I recommend reading alongside Cardinal Newman's famous appendix to Apologia Pro Vita Sua, "On Liberalism."
Dec 16, 2015 Bruno rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tom F
Jan 26, 2012 Tom F rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most important books in modern Christianity. Machen showed the difference between Christianity and "liberal Christianity" then, and the truths in the book still hold out against the emergent church movement today.
Sep 04, 2012 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, non-fiction
I read this because of Tim Challies's "Reading the Classics Together" program. One of the biggest takeaways was Machen's insistence that liberalism was not simply a different version of orthodox Christianity—it wasn't Christianity.
Casey Taylor
Apr 28, 2016 Casey Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Machen offered a clear distinction between classical, orthodox Christian theology and Liberal Protestant theology. In the 1920s, he saw the divide as urgently in need of honest address. It is no less now a century later.
Tyson Froment
Jun 22, 2013 Tyson Froment rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such an absolutely astonishing work with timeless poignance. He systematically uncovers the truth of liberal Christianity, or unorthodox Christianity. And the verdict is eternally condemning.
Erik Spohr
Simply excellent! A must-read for every Christian. I had to limit my underlining for fear of underlining the entire book.
W. Littlejohn
He's got some good points, but this guy was way too much of a warrior-theologian.
Benjamin Thompson
Feb 19, 2016 Benjamin Thompson rated it it was amazing
An excellent analysis of Liberalism! Machen's plain and fair approach is compelling and cannot be ignored. This is a must read for any student of theology, regardless of their convictions. Machen warns us that if we are more concerned with making Jesus palatable to the modern ear and modern sentiment, it is not Jesus who is our savior, but modernism. Jesus is merely an offering to the gods of reason, science and progressivism. If we truly take Jesus to be our Lord and savior, we must be willing ...more
Judah Ivy
Jul 06, 2009 Judah Ivy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
They have never answered Machen.
Douglas Wilson
May 03, 2009 Douglas Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Michael Hicks
Feb 15, 2016 Michael Hicks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Simply outstanding.

The theological controversies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries sundered the church, in many ways irreparably. Just as it has been noted that Western Philosophy is merely a series of footnotes on Plato, it could well be said that the history of the American church in the 20th and early 21st centuries is but a series of footnotes on the Modernism/Christianity debate.

The main question of Modernism/Liberalism is this: How can Christianity continue in the face of the des
Jacob O'connor
Still the same. Christianity, you're so unhip. Won't you ever get with the times? Or so say Christianity's left-leaners. Machen takes on those who seek to soften the Christian message or compatibilize it's message. He takes a conversational tone that makes this a lighter read than it might have been.

Some notes:

--So many convictions have had to be abandoned that some feel all convictions must be abandoned.

--Liberalism seeks to rescue the church from the implications of progress

--Told in a very p
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John Gresham Machen was an influential American Presbyterian theologian in the early 20th century. He was the Professor of New Testament at Princeton Seminary between 1915 and 1929, and led a conservative revolt against modernist theology at Princeton and formed Westminster Seminary as a more orthodox alternative. This split was irreconcilable, and Machen led others to form the Orthodox Presbyteri ...more
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