Christianity and Liberalism (Revised Edition)

Christianity and Liberalism (Revised Edition)
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Machen, J. Gresham

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Recommended by K. Scott Oliphint of Westminster Theological Seminary. See all of Dr. Oliphint's recommendations.

Listen to an episode of Christ the Center entitled Liberalism, the Different Religion. (Reformed Forum)


Publisher's Description

J. Gresham Machen was a famed Christian scholar about whom Moody Monthly said this: "Machen's lifelong plea for holding forth the Word of God and the Christ of the Bible must be the watchword for every pastor and layman who wants to climb the heights of spiritual power and pass on to succeeding generations a Christian faith that will stand."

This book, written in response to the liberalism that arose in the early 1900s, is a classic defense of orthodox Christianity. To expose the fallacies of liberalism and strengthen the orthodox position, Machen establishes the importance of scriptural doctrine and contrasts the teachings of liberalism and orthodoxy on God, humanity, the Bible, Christ, salvation, and the church. these issues remain in conflict today, testifying to the continuing relevance of this important work.

Includes a Foreword by Carl R. Truman.

Christianity and Liberalism has received the following awards:

  • World Magazine, One of the top 100 books of the Millennium (1999)
  • Christianity Today, Top 100 Books of the 20th Century (2000)

About the Author

J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937) was professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His other books include Christian Faith in the Modern World, What is Faith?, and The Origin of Paul's Religion.

Browse other titles by J. Gresham Machen.

Book Details

176 Pages
Publisher: Eerdmans Publishing Company
Publication Date: 1923; 2nd Edition June 2009
ISBN 10: 0802864996
ISBN 13: 9780802864994

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.”
- Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of 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.”
- David B. Garner, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary

“The widespread dissolution of Christian doctrine in the 20th century highlights how easily Christian charity slides into fuzzy thinking. The same lures to theological indifference persist today, to which a few pages of Machen serve as an able antidote.”
- Matthew Harmon, Westminster Bookstore Staff, August 2006

World Magazine: One of the Centuries Top 100 Books (1999)

Christianity Today: Top 100 Books of the 20th Century (2000)

“This is an admirable book . . . a cool and stringent defense of orthodox Protestantism.”
- Walter Lippmann