Christianity and Liberalism and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading Christianity and Liberalism on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Christianity and Liberalism [Paperback]

John Gresham Machen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 0.77  
Hardcover --  
Paperback 11.43  
Paperback, Dec 1923 --  
Audio, CD, Audiobook --  
Unknown Binding --  
Audio Download, Unabridged 10.05 or Free with Audible.co.uk 30-day free trial

Book Description

Dec 1923
This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co; Reprint edition (Dec 1923)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802811213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802811219
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,425,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

J. Gresham Machen (18811937) was professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He was also the author of Christian Faith in the Modern World, What Is Faith? and The Origin of Pauls Religion. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The purpose of this book is not to decide the religious issue of the present day, but merely to present the issue as sharply and clearly as possible, in order that the reader may be aided in deciding it for himself. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christianity & Liberalism: A Modern Classic 12 May 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
J. Gresham Machen's magnum opus, Christianity & Liberalism, is a book that everyone concerned about the demise of American Christianity should read. At first one might not find the title of his book all that striking, but in its day (1923), it had a little more punch. Machen was trying to show that Christianity and liberalism were two separate plans of salvation, two separate faiths--in short, two entirely different religious systems. In his day, it was thought that liberalism was a fresh new approach to Christianity, a way of practicing the faith in the modern context. But in Machen's thinking, however, liberalism had "relinquished everything distinctive of Christianity, so that what remains is in essentials only that same indefinite type of religious aspiration which was in the world before Christianity came upon the scene." Machen set out therefore to bring all the issues out into the open and make clear-cut distinctions between the two faiths: "What that message is can be made clear, as is the case with all definition, only by way of exclusion, by way of contrast." But this approach wasn't always well received:
"Presenting an issue sharply is indeed by no means a popular business at the present time....Clear-cut definition of terms in religious matters, bold facing of the logical implications of religious views, is by many persons regarded as an impious proceeding...But with such persons we cannot possibly bring ourselves to agree. Light may seem at times to be an impertinent intruder, but it is always beneficial in the end. The type of religion which rejoices in the pious sound of traditional phrases, regardless of their meanings, or shrinks from "controversial" matters, will never stand amid the shocks of life.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read 12 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very help evangelical look at liberal theology worth a read in the turmoil of the modern church. Worth the money
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
enjoyed it, but hard to understand
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  74 reviews
131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vital Christian Classic, More Relevant By The Day 27 Jun 2000
By Rod D. Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Few books have had as pivotal a role in the battle of ideas as J. Gresham
Machen's Christianity and Liberalism. Machen's classic was written in the
height of the battle for control over the Presbyterian Church USA (the most
prominent of the "mainline denominations"), and defines with brilliance the
battle lines between liberal (so-called) Christianity and the orthodox
faith. Moreover, it points out exactly what is at stake: the true faith, as
opposed to a perverse shadow of that faith, a shadow based on subjectivism
which elevates man's sovereignty over God's and ends in believing nothing at
all.

It is important to understand that the liberalism Machen castigates is not
political but theological (although many if not most of the liberals of the
latter camp fell also in the former, numerous prominent political liberals
-- such as three-time Democrat Presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan
-- fought alongside Machen). This theological liberalism manifests itself in
many ways, but is chiefly characterized by a rejection of Scripture as
infallibly inspired, a denial of the doctrines of the Fall and of Hell, and
a belief in man's evolutionary self-perfection (process theology, with
progress guided by an "enlightened" elite). Machen correctly asserts that
this is not merely a different approach to the Gospel, but is in fact a
different gospel: an exchange of God's sovereignty for man's, God's law-word
for man's, God's eternal, unchanging standards for man's evolving, situation
ethics. For this reason, Machen contends that liberalism and Christianity
are separate things: rival religions, permanently at war.

The one problem with this book (a fault which made good rhetorical sense at
the time, but which is somewhat misleading concerning the true nature of the
struggle) is Machen's choice of categories. Machen deals with theological
conservatives and liberals (legitimate in terms of the Bible's own dichotomy
between saved and lost), but misses the inescapable fact that there was a
third faction at work in the church (a fact which eventually resulted in his
defrocking). That third faction was the great mushy evanjellyfish middle, a
pietistic/mystical majority which was neither willing to accept the liberal
position nor fight for the conservative cause. As Machen had rightly pointed
out two years earlier in his address to incoming students at Princeton (and
again, much later, in the last two years of the struggle), these were the
Christians who said "'Peace, peace', when there was no peace", and elevated
that "peace" over truth. As in all other endeavors, "peace at any price"
resulted in defeat, and in the end, it was that great mushy middle which
delivered the PCUSA to the left (and over the cliff).

Even so, it is important to note when examining this struggle that the
conservatives largely threw the game away. I strongly recommend North's
Crossed Fingers, the only definitive history of this fight and a masterful
analysis of the tactics and mistakes of both sides.

Yet at the end of the day, you must read Machen. This book is vital for
Christians defending their churches and denominations against increasing
liberal encroachment, and indeed more so by the day. It is as groundbreaking
as it is timeless.
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of utterly undiminished contemporary relevance. 17 Oct 2005
By Nicola Gibson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Christianity and liberalism is perhaps the best-known book length treatise against early 20th century theological liberalism in America. It was published as the famous "Fundamentalist-Modernist" controversy was heating up, and has since been one of the clearest contrasting descriptions of the heart of the difference between modernist liberal Christianity and historical Christian orthodoxy.

The major thesis of the book is that Liberalism (modernist theology) and Christianity are diametrically opposed religions that unfortunately use the same language to describe their opposite views of things. He states, "the great redemptive religion which has always been known as Christianity is battling against a totally diverse type of religious belief, which is only more destructive of the Christian faith because it makes use of Christian terminology." Later he states in his thesis, "...we shall be interested in showing that despite the liberal use of traditional phraseology modern liberalism is not only a different religion from Christianity, but belongs to a totally different class of religions."

Machen is interested not in necessarily proving that Liberalism is wrong as he is in explaining that it is not Christian. His burden is not to disprove the tenants of Liberalism (although he speaks some to that end), but to simply describe each clearly and make obvious the huge divergence of thinking in the two groups.

Although Machen is perhaps "the" great Fundamentalists, on must keep in mind this was before Fundamentalist meant: narrow, reactionary, separatist, nationalistic, literalist, ignorant, and the like. Whether or not those descriptions have ever been fair of Fundamentalism, if one presently maintains those stereotypes the honest maintenance of them requires not reading this volume. In 1923 Fundamentalist simply meant one not willing to relinquish the fundamental tenants of Christianity. In fact Machen's overwhelming descriptive word of self identification is "evangelical"- another word quickly loosing its meaning.

In terms of the place of this book now, I consider it utterly contemporary. The fact that it is more than 80 years old and still so incisive simply reveals the depth of understanding Machen had.

I would then wholeheartedly recommend the book for three reasons:

1. It is an important document in understanding the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy of American Christianity which is still being fought everywhere.

2. It is among the best and most direct contrast of two very different views of what the Christian faith is.

3. It is a scholarly and thoughtful work written in the proper spirit of Christian disagreement. I was moved by Machen's clear desire to stand directly and forcefully against what he saw to be the greatest danger to the church he loved so much and yet to do so with a great deal of humble restraint. This book should be read as an example of Machen's vision of what the doctrinal "fights" over liberalism should have looked like. His excellence in merging orthodoxy with erudition with crystal clear argumentation creates an example of Christian polemical writing that is not often surpassed.

Finally, due to the permutations in liberalism and its incorporation of postmodern language and categories I think this book is all the more critical for contemporary Christians. It's hard to properly enter a conversation, or fight, that is a century old without knowing something about how it got going.
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christianity & Liberalism: A Modern Classic 12 May 1998
By Shane Rosenthal (Reformation Ink: srose@igateway.net) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
J. Gresham Machen's magnum opus, Christianity & Liberalism, is a book that everyone concerned about the demise of American Christianity should read. At first one might not find the title of his book all that striking, but in its day (1923), it had a little more punch. Machen was trying to show that Christianity and liberalism were two separate plans of salvation, two separate faiths--in short, two entirely different religious systems. In his day, it was thought that liberalism was a fresh new approach to Christianity, a way of practicing the faith in the modern context. But in Machen's thinking, however, liberalism had "relinquished everything distinctive of Christianity, so that what remains is in essentials only that same indefinite type of religious aspiration which was in the world before Christianity came upon the scene." Machen set out therefore to bring all the issues out into the open and make clear-cut distinctions between the two faiths: "What that message is can be made clear, as is the case with all definition, only by way of exclusion, by way of contrast." But this approach wasn't always well received:
"Presenting an issue sharply is indeed by no means a popular business at the present time....Clear-cut definition of terms in religious matters, bold facing of the logical implications of religious views, is by many persons regarded as an impious proceeding...But with such persons we cannot possibly bring ourselves to agree. Light may seem at times to be an impertinent intruder, but it is always beneficial in the end. The type of religion which rejoices in the pious sound of traditional phrases, regardless of their meanings, or shrinks from "controversial" matters, will never stand amid the shocks of life. In the sphere of religion, as in other spheres, the things about which men are agreed are apt to be the things that are least worth holding; the really important things are the things about which men will fight."
Machen was an extremely clear writer! and thinker. His insight with regard to the battle of orthodox Christianity in the liberal context of the 20's is of tremendous relevance for modern Christians of all stripes concerned about the loss of substance, meaning, theology, etc, in the contemporary church. After reading Christianity & Liberalism, you'll definately want to order his other classic, What Is Faith (1925).
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More relevant now than a century ago 18 Feb 2010
By B. C. Richards - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The message of this famous classic of the Christian faith is more desperately needed in the 21st century than it was in the early 20th century. Since Machen wrote, the philosophical and theological trends that generated the issues he was addressing have become more firmly entrenched in the consciousness not only of the culture at large, but of evangelical Christianity in particular. The major thesis of this books is not that theological liberalism is bad, although Machen leaves little doubt of his opinion of it. Rather, the major thesis is that theologically liberal Christianity is not Christianity at all, and that toward every one of the most fundamental teachings of historic Christianity, theological liberalism takes an antithetical stance. These fundamental teachings are expounded in seven brief chapters, covering an introduction, doctrine in general, God & man, the Bible, the person of Jesus Christ, salvation, and the church.

The position of the liberal church toward doctrine is that Christianity should be an undogmatic religion, unconcerned with theological subtleties. Christianity should be a life, not a system of doctrine. Certainly at this point, liberalism could not possibly be more firmly allied with contemporary mainstream evangelicalism. Anti-doctrinalism goes hand in hand with the two most pervasive philosophical currents of our age, postmodernism with its radical relativism, and existentialism, with its radical subjectivism and distrust of objective systems in general. Machen shows that the religion of both the apostle Paul and Jesus Christ himself was as dogmatic as possible. For example, even in the Sermon on the Mount, a favorite passage among theological liberals, "Jesus represents Himself as seated on the judgment seat of all the earth . . . Could anything be further removed than such a Jesus from the humble teacher of righteousness appealed to by modern liberalism?"

Concerning God and Man, Machen emphasizes the liberal tendency to break down the separateness between God and Man and to take an optimistic view of human goodness. One of the most penetrating insights in the book is that "modern liberalism, even when it is not consistently pantheistic, is at any rate pantheizing." This is in opposition to the orthodox teaching of the absoluteness of the Creator-creature distinction, and also of the absolute moral gulf between God and Man as a result of sin, hopelessly unbridgeable apart from the work of Jesus Christ.

Related to the aversion of liberalism to doctrine, or an objective summary of truth, is a corresponding mistrust of the Bible, and the rejection of the Bible's authority as God's Word. Liberalism claims to replace the authority of the Bible with the authority of Jesus Himself, but having rejected the teachings of Jesus in the Bible and through the apostles, this authority amounts to nothing more than the authority of personally selected isolated instances of Jesus' words, interpreted to conform to the liberal religion.

In the person of Jesus Christ, liberalism sees an example for faith, but not an object of faith. This is because the driving principle of liberalism, anti-supernaturalism, cannot admit the historical teaching of who Jesus Christ really was. For liberalism "Jesus differs from the rest of men only in degree, and not in kind: He can be divine only if all men are divine."

Concerning salvation, liberalism sees the source of salvation in man; Christianity sees it in God. Machen also shows that what distinguished early Christianity from the pagan religions of the time was specifically its exclusiveness. Paganism, like modern liberalism, had no problem with many roads to God and many gods, but it has a very deep problem with the exclusivity of Christianity. Finally, the very concept of salvation in Christianity is concerned with heaven, or the future world and life, while modern liberalism is concerned only with this world. This is in my estimation the area in which the majority of Reformed Christians have in fact followed liberalism, specifically with the contemporary preoccupation with cultural transformation as the means to institute God's kingdom on this earth. This is precisely the idea that unambiguously characterizes unbelieving thought, from the rebellious nation of Israel, through the Pharisees, and into the Enlightenment and modern liberalism. Until the European Enlightenment, the true church had consistently affirmed that the world is not our home.

The final chapter on the church is where we have the best glimpse of Machen himself. What Machen could not understand was that if liberalism was so clearly another religion, why it insisted on calling itself Christianity. As far as he was concerned, this was just plain dishonesty. It is in this chapter that he says that he has no problem with liberalism establishing itself as a separate religion competing with Christianity. But calling itself Christianity when it was clearly not, spreading its non-Christian teachings to Christians, and with liberal ministers taking ordination vows to historic confessions of faith which could not possibly be sincere, this was the liberalism against which Machen fought for his whole life, a battle which in the mainline Presbyterian church he ultimately lost. This book clearly and powerfully sets forth what was at stake in the battle, which was and remains nothing other than Christianity itself. The book is well worth reading for all Christians who are committed to their faith. It is not a difficult book to read, and the fundamental issues have changed very little in one hundred years.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing New Under the Sun 27 Nov 2001
By Steve Jackson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There are a great many books one can read explaining traditional Christian theology, but if you are looking for a book that explains why traditional doctrine matters, then there is no better place to start than this gem by J. Gresham Machen, published in 1923.
Machen, then professor at Princeton Seminary, was writing at a time when liberalism was making headway into traditional Protestant churches. This liberalism denied the historical accuracy of the Scriptures and the Divinity of Christ, among other things. Of course, it did that while at the same time saying that it "really" believed these things, but just expressed in a different way. Machen exposes the agenda of liberalism quite brilliantly.
What is funny is that this liberalism isn't much different than that advocated today. For example, Machen said that it tended toward pantheism. "In modern liberalism, on the other hand, this sharp distinction between God and the world is broken down, and the name `God' is applied to the mighty world process itself. . . . It is strange how such a representation can be regarded as anything new, for as a matter of fact, pantheism is a very ancient phenomenon." [p. 63.] This was years before "process theology" became the vogue.
A particularly interesting part of this work are Machen's political insights. He saw clearly the dangers of democratic conformism and brilliantly applied it to contemporary trends to exalt public education. "The truth is that the materialistic paternalism . . . if allowed to go unchecked, will rapidly make of America one huge `Main Street,' where spiritual adventure will be discouraged and democracy will be regarded as consisting in the reduction of all mankind to the proportions of the narrowest and least gifted of the citizens." [pp. 14-15.]
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback