Machen's 'Christianity & Liberalism'

June 03, 2010

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"Christianity and Liberalism is a masterpiece and without doubt the single most important book ever written by a Westminster professor. In this work, J Gresham Machen lays out in simple terms all that is at stake in the struggle between those who build their theology on an acceptance of the Bible as God's holy and inerrant word and those who do not. It is not a struggle between siblings; it is not a struggle between two equally legitimate visions of biblical Christianity; rather, it is a struggle between Christianity and a variety of impostors to that title.

"This small book is a veritable treasure trove of giant truths. I would urge all Christians to read it every year, not simply to remind themselves of why Westminster came into existence, but to see why it is crucial that institutions such as Westminster remain faithful to their calling. Above all, this work serves as a reminder of what is really at stake in the struggle for biblical authority, for theological truth-claims, for supernaturalism, and for the exclusivity of Christ: nothing less than the soul of Christianity itself."

- Rev. Dr. Carl R. Trueman, vice president for academics and professor of historical theology church history, Westminster Theological Seminary


"There exists a penetrating timelessness to the truth of the Gospel; it addresses every culture and every situation transcendently. Simultaneously a discernible strain of continuity exists in the methods of those who seek to undermine the authority, uniqueness, and power of this Gospel. Indeed the modus operandi of 20th century liberalism remains in vogue in the 21st, and while dressed in garments styled according to each contemporary culture, the epistemological and theological commitments that drive Gospel opposition are as old as the great Deceiver himself. Frankly, polemical theology is a redundant matter, because the enemies of the Gospel are boringly repetitious with their philosophical ploys and their methodological toys. Sadly though, the monotony of methods is rivaled only by the perennial success of such false gospels in blinding and binding the masses. In the positive proclamation of the Gospel, the associated task of combating false religion irrevocably remains part of the Church’s privilege and obligation.

"This offensive and defensive mission found exquisite exposition at the hand of J. Gresham Machen in 1923, when he penned Christianity and Liberalism. Now in 2009, with renewed vigor, Westminster perpetuates Machen’s incisive vision: 'We are animated... by no merely negative or polemic purpose; on the contrary, by showing what Christianity is not we hope to be able to show what Christianity is, in order that men may be led to turn from the weak and beggarly elements and have recourse again to the grace of God' (Christianity and Liberalism, p. 16). For the glory of Christ and his Church, we are not ashamed of this pure, pertinent, and powerful Gospel of grace. To preach it loudly and boldly is our calling, and to that end, we are delighted to present this classic work which remains as relevant today as it was over eighty-five years ago."

- Rev. Dr. David B. Garner, associate professor of systematic theology and vice president for advancement

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