J. Gresham Machen (Christianity and Liberalism)

The following are quotes from Machen’s book Christianity and Liberalism (these quotes should be read in view of what Machen says about Arminians which believe in a god who cannot save):

“Another difference of opinion is that between the Calvinistic or Reformed Theology and the Arminianism which appears in the Methodist church. … A Calvinist is constrained to regard the Arminian theology as a serious impoverishment of the Scripture doctrine of divine grace; and equally serious is the view which the Arminian must hold as to the doctrine of the Reformed Churches. Yet here again, true evangelical fellowship is possible between those who hold, with regard to some exceedingly important matters, sharply opposing views” (Christianity and Liberalism, pp. 51-52).

With the above quote in mind here are some additional Machen quotes:

“Two lines of criticism, then, are possible with respect to the liberal attempt at reconciling science and Christianity. Modern liberalism may be criticized (1) on the ground that it is un-Christian and (2) on the ground that it is unscientific. We shall concern ourselves here chiefly with the former line of criticism; we shall be interested in showing that despite the liberal use of traditional phraseology modern liberalism not only is a different religion from Christianity but belongs in a totally different class of religions” ( p. 7).

In the scholarly mind (according to the flesh) of Machen, modern liberalism is unChristian. And despite its liberal use of “traditional phraseology” it belongs to a “totally different class of religions” than Christianity. Does this necessarily mean that Machen will not fellowship with these “modern liberals”? Will Machen judge them as merely muddled brethren? What Machen HAS made clear is his willingness to fellowship with those who hold to the blood-of-Christ-despising “Arminianism which appears in the Methodist church.”

Machen continues:

“At the outset, we are met with an objection. ‘Teachings,’ it is said, ‘are unimportant; the exposition of the teachings of liberalism and the teachings of Christianity, therefore, can arouse no interest at the present day; creeds are merely the changing expression of a unitary Christian experience, and provided only they express that experience they are all equally good. The teachings of liberalism, therefore, might be as far removed as possible from the teachings of historic Christianity, and yet the two might be at bottom the same.’

Such is the way in which expression is often given to the modern hostility to ‘doctrine.’ But is it really doctrine as such that is objected to, and not rather one particular doctrine in the interests of another? Undoubtedly, in many forms of liberalism it is the latter alternative which fits the case. There are doctrines of modern liberalism, just as tenaciously and intolerantly upheld as any doctrines that find a place in the historic creeds. Such for example are the liberal doctrines of the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man. These doctrines are, as we shall see, contrary to the doctrines of the Christian religion. But doctrines they are all the same, and as such they require intellectual defense. In seeming to object to all theology, the liberal preacher is often merely objecting to one system of theology in the interests of another. And the desired immunity from theological controversy has not yet been attained” (pp. 18-19).

Interesting how similar these modern liberals are to the modern-day Arminians, and ESPECIALLY to Tolerant Calvinists (“TC’s”) who argue EXACTLY like Machen’s liberals in order to defend their speaking peace to themselves while believing a false gospel. It is customary for TC’s to emote:

“What? You mean Christians have to understand everything perfectly from day one?”  “So what you’re saying is grace plus doctrine.”  “You’re adding to the simple message of the gospel.”  “I thought I only had to believe in Jesus. You’re telling me that I have to believe in Jesus plus ‘efficacious atonement.'”

The tenaciously held Tolerant Calvinist doctrine is that an amorphous christ is the way, the truth, and the life, and that a perfect-full-orbed knowledge of this amorphous christ is given to “baby Christians” as an immediate and inevitable fruit of regeneration (1 John 5:20). Apparently Tolerant Calvinists perfectly understand that the “True One” per 1 John 5:20 is another jesus whom the apostles did not preach:

“For if, indeed, the one coming proclaims another Jesus, whom we have not proclaimed…” (2 Corinthians 11:4).

The Arminians and the tolerant Calvinists are proclaiming “another Jesus” whom the Apostles have not proclaimed. And since they are desirous to begin with a faulty foundation of sand, they reject the mighty Cornerstone which God hath laid in Zion. The Jesus whom the Apostles proclaimed is the Chief Cornerstone whom these self-righteous builders reject. They reject this Cornerstone as something of no consequence. It is no big deal to be “a little confused” or “a little bit ignorant” about the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. They are completely and totally oblivious to the Biblical truth that this Stone which they so wickedly reject as nonessential building material, will in fact become the Cornerstone.

Tolerant Calvinists are not hostile towards correct or “perfect” theological doctrine as such. This is not per se their objection. Rather, their objections and hostilities are directed toward the LIGHT of the knowledge of the glory of God seen in the face of Jesus Christ. They are simply objecting to one particular doctrine in the interest of another. They are objecting to the Biblical doctrine of the Person and Work of Christ in the diabolical interests of upholding their own doctrine of the person and work of a false christ. And surely, to hold up the doctrine of a false christ is to hold up the LIE of salvation conditioned on the sinner (e.g., antichrist, 666, etc.).

Many TC’s will defend their false gospel just as tenaciously, and just as intolerantly as we do the true Gospel. They also will judged saved and lost just as tenaciously as we, but by an altogether different standard of judgment.

Think about how this Machen quote applies to ALL the various objections that false religionists (specifically the tolerant Calvinists) put forth:

“In seeming to object to all theology, the liberal preacher is often merely objecting to one system of theology in the interests of another. And the desired immunity from theological controversy has not yet been attained.”

The tolerant Calvinst who calls Arminians his spiritual brethren rejects the system of theology of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone in the interests of receiving and embracing the false gospel of salvation conditioned on the efforts of the sinner (whether “spiritually enabled” or not). Here is Machen confessing that those who malign the blood of Christ are nevertheless his spiritual brothers:

“Another difference of opinion is that between the Calvinistic or Reformed Theology and the Arminianism which appears in the Methodist church. … A Calvinist is constrained to regard the Arminian theology as a serious impoverishment of the Scripture doctrine of divine grace; and equally serious is the view which the Arminian must hold as to the doctrine of the Reformed Churches. Yet here again, true evangelical fellowship is possible between those who hold, with regard to some exceedingly important matters, sharply opposing views” (Christianity and Liberalism, pp. 51-52).

Machen is calling the children of the devil his brothers with whom “true evangelical fellowship is possible”. But Machen is not very consistent. How so? Well, Machen is guilty of a satanic schism since he will be separate from those who in his own satanic estimate are his brethren with whom “true evangelical fellowship is possible.” A little inconsistent don’t you think?

Machen engages in spiritual adultery with those who despise the propitiating blood of Christ. God says to separate and come out from among these sons and daughters of Belial. God is not Machen’s Father since he brazenly refused to come out from among them. Yet another instance of J. Gresham Machen’s promiscuity — this time with the heretic, Billy Sunday:

“His methods are as different as could possibly be imagined from ours, but we support him to a man simply because, in an age of general defection, he is preaching the gospel.” (from Calhoun’s Princeton Seminary: The Majestic Testimony, p. 299)

Sunday preached the gospel? Really? Okay. Whatever you say, J.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what fellowship does light have with darkness? And what agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are a temple of the living God, even as God said, “I will” dwell in them and “walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Because of this, “come out from among them” “and be separated,” says the Lord, “and do not touch the unclean thing,” and I will receive you. “And I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons” and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

There is *no agreement* between the temple of God and idols. But Machen says that despite sharply opposing views, there should be sufficient agreement between the temple of God and the idols to have “true evangelical fellowship.” Why “true evangelical fellowship”? Because Machen believes that he and Billy Sunday despite “different methods” are both preaching the same gospel.

Dr. Walter Martin, concerning the Virgin Birth, says that

“…it is a definite sin to disbelieve or question this teaching, because it is so closely related to the Incarnation of our Lord Himself. On this issue Dr. J.G. Machen wisely sums up our thinking” (Walter Martin, Essential Christianity, p. 51).

Walter Martin quoting Machen:

“What then is our conclusion? Is belief in the virgin birth necessary to every man if he is to be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ? The question is wrongly put when it is put in that way. Who can tell exactly how much knowledge of the facts about Christ is necessary if a man is to have saving faith? None but God can tell. Some knowledge is certainly required, but how much is required we cannot say. ‘Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief’ said a man in the Gospel who was saved. Though today there are many men of little faith, many who are troubled by the voices that are heard on all sides…What right have we to say that full knowledge and full conviction are necessary before a man can put his trust in the crucified and risen Lord? What right have we to say that no man can be saved before he has come to a full conviction regarding the stupendous miracle narrated in the first chapters of Mathew and Luke?…

One thing at least is clear: even if the belief in the virgin birth is not necessary to every Christian, it is necessary to Christianity. And it is necessary to the corporate witness of the Church….Let it never be forgotten that the virgin birth is an integral part of the New Testament witness about Christ, and that that witness is strongest when it is taken as it stands….1

1. J. Gresham Machen, The Virgin Birth of Christ (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1930), pp. 395-396.

Gresham Machen reminds me a bit of N.T. Wright. Wright similarly emulates Machen in what he said about Marcus Borg who denies the historical fact of Christ’s Resurrection. N.T. Wright wrote a large book “defending” the resurrection, but completely vitiates it as essential to the gospel by judging Borg to be a true Christian.

What Wright does to the Resurrection of Christ, Machen does to the Virgin Birth. They both make diabolical distinctions between what is necessary for a Christian to believe as a part, and what is necessary for Christianity to affirm as a whole. It is par for the pernicious course for professing Christian authors — especially among Calvinists — to “defend” an essential gospel doctrine by spreading their spiritual legs to God-haters:

“We are not dealing here with delicate personal questions; we are not presuming to say whether such and such an individual man is a Christian or not. God only can decide such questions; no man can say with assurance whether the attitude of certain individual ‘liberals’ toward Christ is saving faith or not. But one thing is perfectly plain — whether or no liberals are Christians, it is at any rate perfectly clear that liberalism is not Christianity”(Christianity and Liberalism, p. 160).

Machen pulled a similar stunt on page 75 of the same book. Machen did not believe that all who reject plenary inspiration (those who believe that the Bible contains many errors) were necessarily unregenerate:

“It must be admitted that there are many Christians who do not accept the doctrine of plenary inspiration. That doctrine is denied not only by liberal opponents of Christianity, but also by many true Christian men. There are many Christian men in the modern Church who find in the origin of Christianity no mere product of evolution but a real entrance of the creative power of God, who depend for their salvation, not at all upon their own efforts to lead the Christ life, but upon the atoning blood of Christ — there are many men in the modern Church who thus accept the central message of the Bible and yet believe that the message has come to us merely on the authority of trustworthy witnesses unaided in their literary work by any supernatural guidance of the Spirit of God. There are many who believe that the Bible is right at the central point, in its account of the redeeming work of Christ, and yet believe that it contains many errors. Such men are not really liberals, but Christians; because they have accepted as true the message upon which Christianity depends. A great gulf separates them from those who reject the supernatural act of God with which Christianity stands or falls” (Christianity and Liberalism, p. 75).

These liberals whom Machen judged as “true Christian men” blasphemously assert that the Bible was not the Word of God, but merely the word of “trustworthy witnesses.” They accepted it not as the word of God, but as the word of men (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Christianity “stands or falls” on the the doctrine of plenary inspiration, not on any message of Christ’s redeeming work contained therein. Machen is cohort to those who undermine the Scriptures:

“For if you were believing Moses, you would then believe Me; for that one wrote concerning Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My Words?” (John 5:46-47)

If the liberals do not believe that the Bible as a whole is true, then how will they believe that the Bible in its parts are true? Jesus says they CANNOT. They have a different standard by which they judge what is true and what is false. They are like those whom Jesus addresses in John 5:46-47.

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church was founded by the Tolerant Calvinist heretic, J. Gresham Machen. Thus, the OPC was never a true Church. It began as a Synagogue of Satan and it remains a Synagogue of Satan.

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