Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Notes from Chapter 3 of Machen's "Christianity & Liberalism"


Tim Challies is currently leading an on-line reading group, which is discussing J. Gresham Machen's Christianity & Liberalism. Below are some notes that I've taken from the third chapter.

THESIS: Liberalism is diametrically opposed to Christianity in both its conception of GOD and its conception of MAN;


OBJECTION 1: One does not need a "conception of God," but only to feel a relationship to God.
REPLY 1: Even human friendships are based upon a knowledge of one another, if someone asserts something about a friend contrary to our friend's character, are we not offended?
REPLY 2: Jesus clearly taught that we know God through nature, conscience, and Scripture, if we contradict Jesus' teachings on these points, we cannot claim to follow Him (thus confirming the THESIS).
REPLY 3: As Christianity ascribes deity to Jesus, we must be able to make statements about what proper meaning the word "God" should have attached to it.
REPLY 4: "The relation of Jesus to His heavenly Father was not a relation to a vague and impersonal goodness... it was a relation to a real Person" about whom meaningful statements can be made (statements that can be discovered to be either factual or contrary to fact). "At the very root of Christianity is the belief in the real existence of a personal God."


OBJECTION 2: One does not need a "conception of God" beyond God as "Father" (an affirmation that many liberals claim to share with orthodox Christianity).
REPLY 1: Jesus' teaching on the fatherfood of God is diametrically oppposed to the liberal conception of God's fatherhood.
REPLY 2: The teaching of the entire New Testament on the fatherhood of God is diametrically opposed to the liberal conception of God's fatherhood.
REPLY 3: We may speak of God being the father of all in the sense that He created everyone (see Acts 17:28), but when this teaching "is regarded as a reassuring, all-sufficient thing, it comes into direct opposition to the New Testament... the really distinctive New Testament teaching about the fatherhood of God concerns only those who have been brought into the household of faith.
REPLY 4: More fundamental, in the biblical presentation of God, than God's fatherhood, is God's transcendence, which liberalism breaks down with a "pantheizing" tendency.


[In the rest of the chapter, Machen explores "the consciousness of sin," which liberalism seeks to ignore.]


A final noteworthy quote by Machen:

"There is nothing narrow about such teaching; for the door of the household of faith is open wide to all. The door is the 'new and living way' which Jesus opned by His blood. And if we really love our fellowmen, we shall not go about the world, with the liberal preacher, trying to make men satisfied with the coldness of a vague natural religion. But by the preaching of the gospel we shall invite them into the warmth and joy of the house of God. Christianity offers men all that is offred by the modern liberal teaching about the universal fatherhood of God; but it is Christianity only because it offers also infinitely more."

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