Schaeffer on Machen

Francis A. Schaeffer, in his book “The Great Evangelical Disaster” (1984) writes:

“By 1936 the liberals were so in control of the Northern Presbyterian Church that they were able to defrock Dr. J. Gresham Machen. Machen, as I mentioned, had been a brilliant defender of Bible-believing Christianity, as can be seen, for example, in his book entitled Christianity and Liberalism published in 1924. Machen’s defrocking and the resulting division of the Northern Presbyterian Church was front-page news in the secular news media in much of the country. (I would just comment that this is something we know nothing about today. In the 1930s religious events were still considered important enough to be front-page news.)” (Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, pp. 34-35).

Brilliant defender of Bible-believing Christianity, eh Schaeffer? Well, what did Machen say about some who were not a part of Bible-believing Christianity? Let’s see:

“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).

So, how does the brilliant defender of Bible-believing Christianity defend the truth of plenary inspiration against those who would say that the God-breathed Word “contains many errors”? He embraces them as his spiritual brethren. Jesus Christ said he who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters. Machen sides with those who would assert that God is in error. And thus Machen is not with Christ, but against Him. The apostle Paul had said, let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4). In stark contrast, Machen says in effect, let man be a true Christian even though he denies the Word of God.

“The greatest menace to the Christian Church today comes not from the enemies outside, but from the enemies within; it comes from the presence within the Church of a type of faith and practice that is anti-Christian to the core. 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, pp. 159-160).

Machen in wickedly false and rebellious piety says “God only can decide such questions.” And whether any antichristian attitude (1 John 4:1-3) is saving faith or not…well, God only can decide such questions apparently even though He has clearly revealed to us the answer. What a mutinous moron is Machen.

“Upon the Christian doctrine of the cross, modern liberals are never weary of pouring out the vials of their hatred and scorn” (Christianity and Liberalism, p. 119).

To use a phrase by some fellow: “It’s all billows of bombastic bluster with no backbone.” Machen is spineless. He talks big and uses strong language to describe those who hold to the doctrine of Liberalism. This doctrine, as Machen had said, pours out vials of hatred and scorn upon the cross of Christ and is “anti-Christian to the core.” To the core? Yes. To the core. It must be that Machen thinks that both liberals and liberalism would necessarily fall under the anathema of Galatians 1:8-9. But of course, one would be wrong to think that Machen necessarily thinks this. For it just may be that liberalism would fall under the anathema of Galatians 1:8-9 (as all false gospels do), but for Machen he will not presume to say whether any particular liberals would fall under this anathema. Instead, he presumes to play the anti-Biblical role of separating the damnable heretics from the damnable heresies that they believe. It should be clear what these maneuvers of Machen would make Galatians 1:8-9 look like. We would see Paul anathematizing damnable “ISMS” while calling the adherents of these damnable ISMS his spiritually inconsistent brethren.

“…there was Dr. J. Gresham Machen, the distinguished professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary. In 1923 Machen published Christianity and Liberalism. In this brilliant defense of Christian truth Machen argued that liberalism was really a new religion and not Christianity at all. Since liberalism did not believe in the fact that Christ died in history to atone for the sins of men and women, and that this was the only basis for salvation, liberalism was really religious faith in man dressed up in Christian language and symbols” (Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, p. 73).

And we just witnessed Machen’s “brilliant defense” above.