Thursday, February 02, 2006

Christianity and Liberalism

In the sphere of religion, in particular, the present time is a time of conflict; the great redemptive religion which has always been known as Christianity is battling against a totally diverse type of religious belief, which is only the more destructive of the Christian faith because it makes use of traditional Christian terminology. This modern non-redemptive religion is called "modernism" or "liberalism." Both names are unsatisfactory; the latter, in particular, is question-begging. The movement designated as "liberalism" is regarded as "liberal" only by its friends; to its opponents it seems to involve a narrow ignoring of many relevant facts. And indeed the movement is so various in its manifestations that one may almost despair of finding any common name which will apply to all its forms. But manifold as are the forms in which the movement appears, the root of the movement is one; the many varieties of modern liberal religion are rooted in naturalism—that is, in the denial of any entrance of the creative power of God (as distinguished from the ordinary course of nature) in connection with the origin of Christianity. The word "naturalism" is here used in a sense somewhat different from its philosophical meaning. In this non-philosophical sense it describes with fair accuracy the real root of what is called, by what may turn out to be a degradation of an originally noble word, "liberal" religion.- Machen

The Jesus Seminar, the Da Vinci Code, Bart Ehrman, even Muslim apologists... One does not have to look far to see the truthfulness of the Bible doubted, its reliability questioned, and its historicity denied. But this is certainly not new! In the 1920s, J. Gresham Machen wrote a book exposing the dangers of liberalism. He had seen what it was doing to his beloved PCUSA and to its seminaries, and today we can see how far the denominiation has fallen into heresy and moral confusion. Sadly, what once were seminaries are now "cemetaries"!

You can read it online here, but buying it here of course would be a better choice.

The liberal Jesus, despite all the efforts of modern psychological reconstruction to galvanize Him into life, remains a manufactured figure of the stage. Very different is the Jesus of the New Testament and of the great Scriptural creeds. That Jesus is indeed mysterious. Who can fathom the mystery of His Person? But the mystery is a mystery in which a man can rest. The Jesus of the New Testament has at least one advantage over the Jesus of modern reconstruction—He is real. He is not a manufactured figure suitable as a point of support for ethical maxims, but a genuine Person whom a man can love. Men have loved Him through all the Christian centuries. And the strange thing is that despite all the efforts to remove Him from the pages of history, there are those who love Him still.- Machen


At 2/03/2006 02:26:00 PM , Blogger David B. Hewitt said...

Thanks for posting that, Marie.

Perhaps I'll have to get that book at some point. :) I have a few others that I need to read first, but you've whetted my appetite.


At 2/06/2006 04:41:00 PM , Blogger thebluefish said...

Just reading the book for the first time. Superb.


At 2/09/2006 08:48:00 AM , Blogger Carla said...

Well, I just want to say 1 thing.





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