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Christianity and Liberalism Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen
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“Place the lives of children in their formative years, despite the convictions of their parents, under the intimate control of experts appointed by the state, force them to attend schools where the higher aspirations of humanity are crushed out, and where the mind is filled with the materialism of the day, and it is difficult to see how even the remnants of liberty can subsist.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“A public-school system, if it means the providing of free education for those who desire it, is a noteworthy and beneficent achievement of modern times; but when once it becomes monopolistic it is the most perfect instrument for tyranny which has yet been devised. Freedom of thought in the middle ages was combated by the Inquisition, but the modern method is far more effective.’ (1923)”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“Christ died"--that is history; "Christ died for our sins"--that is doctrine. Without these two elements, joined in an absolutely indissoluble union, there is no Christianity.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“Paganism is that view of life which finds the highest goal of human existence in the healthy and harmonious and joyous development of existing human faculties. Very different is the Christian ideal. Paganism is optimistic with regard to unaided human nature, whereas Christianity is the religion of the broken heart.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“It is true that historic Christianity is in conflict at many points with the collectivism of the present day; it does emphasize, against the claims of society, the worth of the individual soul. It provides for the individual a refuge from all the fluctuating currents of human opinion, a secret place of meditation where a man can come alone into the presence of God. It does give a man courage to stand, if need be, against the world; it resolutely refuses to make of the individual a mere means to an end, a mere element in the composition of society. It rejects altogether any means of salvation which deals with men in a mass; it brings the individual face to face with his God.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“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 and Liberalism
“It is usually considered good practice to examine a thing for one's self before echoing the vulgar ridicule of it.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“The narration of the facts is history; the narration of the facts with the meaning of the facts is doctrine. "Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried"--that is history. "He loved me and gave Himself for me"--that is doctrine. Such was the Christianity of the primitive Church.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“The strange thing about Christianity was that it adopted an entirely different method. It transformed the lives of men not by appealing to the human will, but by telling a story; not by exhortation, but by the narration of an event.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“A terrible crisis unquestionably has arisen in the Church. In the ministry of evangelical churches are to be found hosts of those who reject the gospel of Christ. By the equivocal use of traditional phrases, by the representation of differences of opinion as though they were only differences about the interpretation of the Bible, entrance into the Church was secured for those who are hostile to the very foundations of the faith.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“The truth is that the life-purpose of Jesus discovered by modern liberalism is not the life purpose of the real Jesus, but merely represents those elements in the teaching of Jesus--isolated and misinterpreted--which happen to agree with the modern program. It is not Jesus, then, who is the real authority, but the modern principle by which the selection within Jesus' recorded teaching has been made. Certain isolated ethical principles of the Sermon on the Mount are accepted, not at all because they are teachings of Jesus, but because they agree with modern ideas.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“Involuntary organizations ought to be tolerant, but voluntary organizations, so far as the fundamental purpose of their existence is concerned, must be intolerant or else cease to exist.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“Why should we be indignant about slanders directed against a human friend, while at the same time we are patient about the basest slanders directed against our God?”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“Christianity cannot subsist unless men know what Christianity is; and the fair and logical thing is to learn what Christianity is, not from its opponents, but from those who themselves are Christians. That method of procedure would be the only fair method in the case of any movement. [...] Men have abundant opportunity today to learn what can be said against Christianity, and it is only fair that they should also learn something about the thing that is being attacked.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“Jesus was certainly not a mere enunciator of permanent truths, like the modern liberal preacher; on the contrary He was conscious of standing at the turning-point of the ages, when what had never been was now to come to be.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“Christian experience is rightly used when it helps to convince us that the events narrated in the New Testament actually did occur; but it can never enable us to be Christians whether the events occurred or not. It is a fair flower, and should be prized as a gift of God. But cut it from its root in the blessed Book, and it soon withers away and dies.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“Without the consciousness of sin, the whole of the gospel will seem to be an idle tale. But how can the consciousness of sin be revived? Something no doubt, can be accomplished by the proclamation of the law of God, for the law reveals transgressions. The whole of the law, moreover, should be proclaimed.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“It is usually considered good practice to examine a thing for one's self before echoing the vulgar ridicule of it. But in connection with the Bible, such scholarly restraints are somehow regarded as out of place.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“The sage of Nazareth may satisfy those who have never faced the problem of evil in their own lives; but to talk about an ideal to those who are under the thralldom of sin is a cruel mockery. Yet if Jesus was merely a man like the rest of men, then an ideal is all that we have in Him. Far more is needed by a sinful world. It is small comfort to be told that there was goodness in the world, when what we need is goodness triumphant over sin. But goodness triumphant over sin involves an entrance of the creative power of God, and that creative power of God is manifested by the miracles. Without the miracles, the New Testament might be easier to believe. But the thing that would be believed would be entirely different from that which presents itself to us now. Without the miracles we should have a teacher; with the miracles we have a Savior.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“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 and Liberalism
“It is often said that the divided condition of Christendom is an evil, and so it is. But the evil consists in the existence of the errors which cause the divisions and not at all in the recognition of those errors when once they exist.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“For us Jesus does not merely place His fingers in the ears and say, “Be opened”; for us He does not merely say “Arise and walk.” For us He has done a greater thing–for us He died.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“In trying to remove from Christianity everything that could possibly be objected to in the name of science, in trying to bribe off the enemy by those concessions which the enemy most desires, the apologist has really abandoned what he started out to defend.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“It will hardly be wise to adopt the suggestion… that we must stop treating the little sins as though they were big sins. That suggestion means apparently, that we must not worry too much about the little sins, but must let them remain unmolested. With regard to such an expedient, it may be suggested that in the moral battle: we are fighting against a very resourceful enemy, who does not reveal the position of his guns by desultory (lacking purpose) artillery actions when he plans a great attack. In the moral battle, as in the Great European War, the quiet sectors are usually the most dangerous. It’s through the “little sins” that Satan gains an entrance into our lives. Probably, therefore, it will be prudent to watch all sectors of the front and lose no time about introducing the unity of command.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“The religion of Paul did not consist in having faith in God like the faith which Jesus had in God; it consisted rather in having faith in Jesus.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“In time of war, our attention is called so exclusively to the sins of other people that we are sometimes inclined to forget our own sins. Attention to the sins of other people is, indeed, sometimes necessary. It is quite right to be indignant against any oppression of the weak which is being carried on by the strong. But such a habit of mind, if made permanent, if carried over into the days of peace, has its dangers. It joins forces with the collectivism of the modern state to obscure the individual, personal character of guilt. If John Smith beats his wife nowadays, no one is so old-fashioned as to blame John Smith for it. On the contrary, it is said, John Smith is evidently the victim of some more of that Bolshevistic propaganda; Congress ought to be called in extra session in order to take up the case of John Smith in an alien and sedition law.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“When it is once admitted that a body of facts lies at the basis of the Christian religion, the efforts which past generations have made toward the classification of the facts will have to be treated with respect. In no branch of science would there be any real advance if every generation started fresh with no dependence upon what past generations have achieved. Yet in theology, vituperation of the past seems to be thought essential to progress. And upon what base slanders the vituperation is based! After listening to modern tirades against the great creeds of the Church, one receives rather a shock when one turns to the Westminster Confession, for example, or to that tenderest and most theological of books, the "Pilgrim's Progress" of John Bunyan, and discovers that in doing so one has turned from shallow modern phrases to a "dead orthodoxy" that is pulsating with life in every word. In such orthodoxy there is life enough to set the whole world aglow with Christian love.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“From every point of view, therefore, the problem in question is the most serious concern of the Church. What is the relation between Christianity and modern culture; may Christianity be maintained in a scientific age?”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“Indifferentism about doctrine makes no heroes of the faith.”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
“that it is not the Christianity of the New Testament which is in conflict with science, but the supposed Christianity of the modern liberal Church, and that the real city of God, and that city alone, has defences which are capable of warding off the assaults of modern unbelief. However,”
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism

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