Relation to the Living God & the Fact of Sin

Unfortunately, as Gresham J. Machen observed;

modern liberalism in the Church, whatever  judgment  may be passed upon it , is at any rate is no longer a matter merely of theological seminaries or universities. On the contrary, its attack upon the fundamentals of the Christian faith is being carried on vigorously by Sunday School “lesson helps,” by the pulpit and by the religious press.”[1]

In other words, the fight for the truth is no longer confined to the Seminaries alone; although, it must be noted that the Seminary remains a vital organ for contending for the faith since one of the objectives of establishing a seminary is to train people for the ministry and the service of the Church. The implication of this is that no one can take a neutral stance. All Christians are expected to identify with what they truly believe. A major issue in the doctrinal debate which was strongly contested by Machen  is the term often used by Liberal theologians that “Christianity is a life, not a doctrine.” Machen was of the view that making such assertions cheaply without considering the fact that it has to be understood that Christianity was based on an historical evidence witnessed, recorded and expected to be lived out. Apostle John wrote,

That which was from the beginning which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness and shew unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;). That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you that ye also may have fellowship us : and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his son Jesus Christ. 1John. 1:1-3.

In the light of this revelation, we have to agree with Machen that the Christian movement at its inception was not just a way of life in the modern sense, but a way of life founded on a message.

In as much as this discourse is not an exposition of the Bible we cannot do without making reference to the book out which the doctrinal controversial issues find its foundation. A systematic approach to the Bible clearly shows that the theme of the Bible is redemption. God’s redemptive purpose is clearly revealed from Genesis to Revelation. Therefore if the doctrinal issues being contended for were placed before the mirror of the word of God, all the controversies would have been laid to rest. Machen expounded further that modern liberalism, has lost sight of the two great presuppositions of the Christian message. This is in relation to the living God, and the fact of sin.


[1] Gresham J.Machen Christianity and Liberalism, (Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, Publishin Company,1923),17.

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