Christianity and Liberalism

Christianity and Liberalism

Christianity and Liberalism

Christianity and Liberalism

Synopsis

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. John Gresham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism has remained relevant through the years ever since its original publication in 1923. It was named one of the top 100 books of the millennium by World magazine and one of the top 100 books of the twentieth century by Christianity Today. / "An admirable book. For its acumen, for its saliency, and for its wit, this cool and stringent defense of orthodox Protestantism is, I think, the best popular argument produced [in the controversy between Christianity and liberalism]." / -- Walter Lippmann in A Preface to Morals / "It is my conviction that Machen's book can still speak today.... Even for those who do not agree with his central thesis, Christianity and Liberalism can still be understood as representing one of the literary artifacts of a generation that had come to see liberalism as leading inexorably to a sentimentalized religion that had nothing to do with the God of the Bible or, indeed, with real life." / -- Carl R. Trueman (from the foreword) / Westminster Theological Seminary

Excerpt

Those few people today who have heard of the name J. Gresham Machen (1881–1937) almost certainly know him as the author of the book that is reprinted here, Christianity and Liberalism. in his own time, he had a somewhat broader reputation: as a controversial Presbyterian churchman; as a New Testament scholar (whose Greek primer is still in print); as a Princeton Theological Seminary professor; as a thorn in the flesh of both the seminary board and his denomination; as the opponent of the Nobel Laureate, Pearl Buck; as a libertarian litigant on the issue of jay walking; and as the founder of two institutions that survive to this day, Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

The context of Christianity and Liberalism (the so-called modernist-fundamentalist battles of the early twentieth century) and its central thesis (that liberalism is not a legitimate form of historic Christianity but rather a different religion entirely) meant ix

1. Machen summed up his thesis in a letter to The British Weekly, September 11, 1924: “The truth is that the manifold religious life of the present day, despite interlocking of the branches and much interaction, does not spring from one root but from two. One root is Christianity; the other is a naturalistic or agnostic modernism which, despite Christian influences in detail, is fundamentally hostile to the Christian faith.”

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