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Machen and the Era of Tragedy

In 1992, Charles G. Dennison published three articles in the Mid-America Journal of Theology. These were based upon a series he delivered at Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Dennison identifies three eras between 1936 and 1962—tragedy, hope, and ambivalence. The era of tragedy is focused on the figure of J. Gresham Machen. Cornelius Van Til and Ned B. Stonehouse represent the eras of hope and ambivalence, respectively.

In this episode, Danny Olinger and Camden Bucey discuss this first article in the series while considering broader questions about the identity of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and its relation to other Reformed and Presbyterian churches and evangelicalism. Rev. Olinger serves as General Secretary of the Committee on Christian Education for the OPC.


  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 5:40 Ned Stonehouse
  • 11:37 Machen and the Church’s Identity
  • 30:16 The OPC and the CRC
  • 37:51 Divisions among Fundamentalists
  • 45:01 Ecumenical Relations with the CRC
  • 56:25 The Church as a Pilgrim People
  • 1:00:40 Machen, Culture, and the Church
  • 1:15:52 Conclusion

Participants: ,

Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.


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