Christian Theology

July 8, 2008

Fighting for Truth in the Church – J. Gresham Machen

Below is a quote by J. Gresham Machen from the 1930’s laying out the battles taking place in the church. In the quote Machen rightly ascribes these battles to the modernists of his day. What is amazing about this quote is that it perfectly captures many of the arguments of the post-moderns in the church today who claim to be in protest of the modernization of Christianity.

“You will have battles when you go forth as minister into the church. The church is now in a period of deadly conflict. The redemptive religion known as Christianity is contending, in our own church and in the all the larger churches of the world, against a totally alien type of religion. As always, the enemy conceals his most dangerous assaults under pious phrases and half-truths. The shibboleths of the adversary have sometimes a very deceptive sound. ‘Let us propagate Christianity,’ the adversary says, ‘but let us not always be engaged in arguing in defense of it; let us make our preaching positive, and not negative; let us avoid controversy; let us hold to a Person and not to a dogma; let us sink small doctrinal differences and seek the unity of the church of Christ; let us drop doctrinal accretions and interpret Christ for ourselves; let us look for our knowledge of Christ, not to ancient books, but to the living Christ in our hearts; let us not impose Western creeds on the Eastern mind; let us be tolerant [think all views are equally correct] of opposing views.’ Such are some of the shibboleths of that agnostic Modernism which is the deadliest enemy of the Christian religion today. They deceive some of God’s people some of the time; they are heard sometimes from the lips of good Christian people, who have not the slightest inkling of what they mean. But their true meaning, to thinking men, is becoming increasingly clear. Increasingly it is becoming necessary for a man to decide whether he is going to stand or not to stand for the Lord Jesus Christ as he is presented to us in the word of God.”

J. Gresham Machen – The Good Fight of Faith (sermon)

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