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Christianity and Liberalism: The Bible

This is the 100th anniversary of the publication of J. Gresham Machen’s book, Christianity and Liberalism. Danny Olinger and Camden Bucey speak with Alan Strange about the fourth chapter of Machen’s classic, which addresses the Bible.

In this chapter, Machen addresses those who would seek to maintain that what we hold in our hearts about Christ can remain true no matter what the facts of history actually show. These people subjectivize Christianity—making it a function of personal experience. Machen, however, emphasizes the importance of the historical fact of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection and the Bible’s inspired, inerrant, and infallible testimony to this work.

In the course of conversation, the panelists discuss several liberal theologians and the events in American Presbyterianism that led up to 1923, when Christianity and Liberalism was published. These include Friedrich Schleiermacher, Albrecht Ritschl, Wilhelm Herrmann, and the case of Charles Augustus Briggs.

Dr. Alan Strange is Professor of Church History and Theological Librarian at Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana and an associate pastor at First Church (OPC) in South Holland, Illinois.



  • 00:07 Introduction
  • 02:12 Machen on the Bible
  • 05:56 Liberalism and the Bible in 19th and 20th Century Presbyterianism
  • 14:05 The Supernatural in History
  • 17:41 Hodge and Liberalism’s Approach to the Bible
  • 31:13 Machen, Hodge, and the Spirituality of the Church
  • 33:52 Experience, Tradition, and Scripture
  • 38:42 What Jesus Believes about Scripture
  • 41:51 Addressing Liberals within the Church
  • 50:22 Machen Thought the Liberalism Might Leave
  • 52:42 Without the Bible, We are Left with Chaotic Anthropology
  • 57:06 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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