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J. Gresham Machen

J. Gresham Machen

      Born in Baltimore, Maryland, he came from a wealthy and well-educated background. He studied at John Hopkins University and then went to Princeton Theological Seminary, receiving an M.A. in philosophy. He studied in Germany and returned to teach New Testament at Princeton. He received his B.D. in 1905 and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church.

      In 1929, he left Princeton Seminary when the institution capitulated to the liberal faction, and he, along with others, founded Westminster Theological Seminary. In 1934 he was censured by the Presbyterian Church for his actions in relation to the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, the liberal bias of which he opposed. In 1935 he was defrocked by the Presbyterian Church over major doctrinal issues. Machen then established the Orthodox Presbyterian Church as a reaction to the liberalism of the Presbyterian hierarchy. He died at age 55, of pneumonia.

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For Christians to influence the world with the truth of God's Word requires the recovery of the great Reformation doctrine of vocation. Christians are called to God's service not only in church professions but also in every secular calling. The task of restoring truth to the culture depends largely on our laypeople. To bring back truth, on a practical level, the church must encourage Christians to be not merely consumers of culture but makers of culture. The church needs to cultivate Christian artists, musicians, novelists, filmmakers, journalists, attorneys, teachers, scientists, business executives, and the like, teaching its laypeople the sense in which every secular vocation-including, above all, the callings of husband, wife, and parent--is a sphere of Christian ministry, a way of serving God and neighbor that is grounded in God's truth. Christian laypeople must be encouraged to be leaders in their fields, rather than eager-to-please followers, working from the assumptions of their biblical worldview, not the vapid clichés of pop culture.
The Gospel does not abrogate God's law, but it makes men love it with all of their hearts.
The more we know of God, the more unreservedly we will trust him; the greater our progress in theology, the simpler and more child-like will be our faith
Faith is indeed intellectual; it involves an apprehension of certain things as facts; and vain is the modern effort to divorce faith from knowledge. But although faith is intellectual, it is not only intellectual. You cannot have faith without having knowledge; but you will not have faith if you have only knowledge.
What I need first of all is not exhortation, but a gospel, not directions for saving myself but knowledge of how God has saved me. Have you any good news? That is the question that I ask of you. I know your exhortations will not help me. But if anything has been done to save me, will you not tell me the facts?
topics: christ , good-news , gospel  
What is today a matter of academic speculation begins tomorrow to move armies and pull down empires.
The Church is perishing today through the lack of thinking, not through an excess of it.
A new and more powerful proclamation of the law is perhaps the most pressing need of the hour... A low view of law always brings legalism into religion; a high view of law makes man a seeker after grace. Pray that the high view may prevail.
The true reason why faith is given such an exclusive place by the New Testament, so far as the attainment of salvation is concerned, over against love and over against everything else in that faith means receiving something, not doing something or even being something. To say, therefore, that our faith saves us means that we do not save ourselves even in slightest measure, but that God saves us.
Far more serious still is the division between the Church of Rome and evangelical Protestantism in all its forms. Yet how great is the common heritage which unites the Roman Catholic Church, with its maintenance of the authority of Holy Scripture and with its acceptance of the great early creeds, to devout Protestants today! We would not indeed obscure the difference which divides us from Rome. The gulf is indeed profound. But profound as it is, it seems almost trifling compared to the abyss which stands between us and many ministers of our own Church. The Church of Rome may represent a perversion of the Christian religion; but naturalistic liberalism is not Christianity at all.
There can be no greater mistake than to suppose that Jesus ever separated theology from ethics, or that if you remove His theology - His beliefs about God and judgment, future woe for the wicked and future blessedness for the good - you can leave His ethical teaching intact.
Since true life and sustenance are found in the presence of God, we must regularly drink deeply from the river of his delights. In our weariness, though, we often seek life from entertainment, empty friendships and ceaseless activity, which all fail to bring life. So many of our “recreational” activities fail to re-create the inner resources of our soul to face the challenges of each day. Like the Israelites before us, we forsake the river of God’s presence and hew out empty cisterns that do not hold water to satisfy our thirsts (Jer 2:13). Will we satisfy our soul at the fountain of living waters? Or will we hew out cisterns of putrid water that do not satisfy? The rivers of life flowing from the presence of God in Eden beckon us to the satisfaction and re-creation of these refreshing waters that are only found in the presence of God. We sacrifice for what satisfies. The soul-satisfying riches in the presence of God propel us out of our comfort zones, calling us out of the warm confines of our beds to our knees in early-morning prayer and meditation on God’s Word. Only these soul-satisfying riches can sustain us in the rigors of God’s calling on our lives as we move out to proclaim his name to the nations across the street and across the globe. A heart for mission grows out of a soul that finds satisfaction in God’s presence, the riches of which can be seen in the imagery of Eden.
I can see little consistency in a type of Christian activity which preaches the Gospel on the street corners and at the ends of the Earth, but neglects the children of the covenant by abandoning them to a cold and unbelieving secularism.
If God be for us, who can be against us?" - that does not mean that faith in God will bring us everything that we desire. What it does mean is that if we possess God, then we can meet with equanimity the loss of all besides. Has it never dawned upon us that God is valuable for His own sake, that just as personal communion is the highest thing that we know on earth, so personal communication with God is the sublimest height of all? If we value God for His own sake, then the loss of other things will draw us all the closer to Him; we shall then have recourse to Him in time of trouble as to the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. I do not mean that the Christian need expect always to be poor and sick and lonely and to seek his comfort only in a mystic experience with His God. This universe is God's world; its blessings are showered upon His creatures even now; and in His own good time, when the period of its groaning and travailing is over, He will fashion it as a habitation of glory. But what I do mean is that if here and now we have the one inestimable gift of God's presence and favour, then all the rest can wait till God's good time.
if religion consists merely in feeling the presence of God, it is devoid of any moral quality whatever. Pure feeling, if there be such a thing, is non-moral. What makes affection for a human friend, for example, such an ennobling thing is the knowledge which we possess of the character of our friend. Human affection, apparently so simple, is really just bristling with dogma. It depends upon a host of observations treasured up in the mind with regard to the character of our friend. But if human affection is thus really dependent upon knowledge, why should it be otherwise with that supreme personal relationship which is at the basis of religion? Why should we be indignant against slanders directed against a human friend, while at the same time we are patient about the basest slanders directed against our God? Certainly it does make the greatest possible difference what we think about God.
That view of the Cross, it cannot be denied, runs counter to the mind of the natural man. It is not, indeed, complicated or obscure; on the contrary it is so simple that a child can understand, and what is really obscure is the manifold modern effort to explain the Cross away in such fashion as to make it more agreeable to human pride.
The Christian cannot be satisfied so long as any human activity is either opposed to Christianity or out of all connection with Christianity. Christianity must pervade not merely all nations, but also all of human thought. The Christian cannot therefore be indifferent to any branch of ernest human endeavor. It must all be brought into some relation to the gospel. It must be studied either in order to be demonstrated false or else in order to be made useful to the kingdom of God. The church must not only seek to conquer every man for Christ, but also the whole of the man.
I cannot tell you that the sacrifice will be light: it is a serious thing to stand against the whole current of an age; it is a serious thing to be despised and hated by the generality of one's fellow men. Yet that is increasingly the lot of the truth Christian today. He will not, indeed, be inclined to complain; for he has something with which all that he has lost is not worthy to be compared; and he knows that despite temporary opposition the ultimate future belongs to him and to His Lord. But for the present he is called upon to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. It can hardly be said that unworthy motives of self-interest can lead a man to enter into a calling in which he will win nothing but reproach.
When the protection of God’s word is removed, the temptations of this world grow far stronger. In
The world is lying in misery, we ourselves are sinners, men are perishing in sin every day. The gospel is the sole means of escape; let us preach it to the world while yet we may. So desperate is the need that we have no time to engage in vain babblings or old wives’ fables. While we are discussing the exact location of the churches of Galatia, men are perishing under the curse of the law; while we are settling the date of Jesus’ birth, the world is doing without its Christmas message.

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