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Christianity and Liberalism: Doctrine

This is the 100th anniversary of the publication of J. Gresham Machen’s book, Christianity and Liberalism. Danny Olinger and Camden Bucey welcome D. G. Hart to discuss the second chapter of Machen’s classic, which addresses doctrine. The heart of the matter is that Christianity is a supernatural religion built on the fact that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, accomplished redemption for his people in history. Machen understood that both are essential: the supernatural and the fact that it occurs in history. Machen wrote:

But if any one fact is clear, on the basis of this evidence, it is that the Christian movement at its inception was not just a way of life in the modern sense, but a way of life founded upon a message. It was based, not upon mere feeling, not upon a mere program of work, but upon an account of facts. In other words it was based upon doctrine (Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, 20).

And from the beginning, the meaning of the happening was set forth; and when the meaning of the happening was set forth then there was Christian doctrine. “Christ died”—that is history; “Christ died for our sins”—that is doctrine. Without these two elements, joined in an absolutely indissoluble union, there is no Christianity (Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, 27).

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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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