"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I like this though I'm pretty sure only another "theological nerd" would find it of interest. But this is my blog so.....

J. Gresham Machen was once speaking with B.B. Warfield about whether the mainstream Presbyterian church (at the beginning of the twentieth century) was going to split over the issue of liberalism. Warfield said that it was not possible, and his reason for this is that "you can't split rotten wood." Machen was to go on to win renown for his great battle with liberalism, and in my view, his greatest contribution on that front was his book Christianity and Liberalism. In that book, Machen argues that liberalism is another faith altogether; it is not a variant form of the Christian faith. It does not involve minor doctrinal adjustments here or there, it is rather the result of global assumptions that affect every doctrine. This is why liberalism has afflicted every kind of denomination -- as liberalism has done its work, it has functioned as a universal corrosive. This rot of unbelief cannot be said to be a peculiar unfolding of, say, Reformed presuppositions, or Free Methodist presuppositions, or Roman Catholic presuppositions. Liberalism is a parasite that has been able to function within any number of host bodies. Roman Catholics used to say that liberalism was a "logical consequence" of Protestantism, but now liberalism has shown its ability to flourish within the confines of Rome as well. (Here's the whole article)

As a point of interest, Machen and B.B. Warfield were theological superstars. However, due to Machen's unwillingness to bend about the authority of Scripture - the United Presbyterian Church under the leadership of it's liberals and moderates managed to have him defrocked. Machen's fame and influence only increased. The people who had him defrocked are buried and unremembered. They faded into oblivion - of course.

(Off topic but perhaps relevant: Who will have the most pages in the history books in the years to come. George Bush Sr. or George W. Bush. My prediction: GWB will have 4 pages for every 1 of his Dad. The son clearly trumps the old man. GWB forges ahead and doesn't listen to the naysayers. George Sr. was overly concerned about the naysayers; pundits, columnists and opposition. If it wasn't for GWB, George Sr. wouldn't be remembered today!)

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