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Christianity and Liberalism: Salvation

Danny Olinger and Camden Bucey discuss the sixth chapter of Machen’s classic book, Christianity and Liberalism. In this chapter, J. Gresham Machen explores the differences between the liberal and Christian views of salvation. He argues that liberalism finds salvation in man, while Christianity finds it in an act of God. Machen critiques the moral influence theory of the atonement, which denies the substitutionary character of Christ’s death and the wrath of God. In contrast, he emphasizes the need for a propitiation for sin and the centrality of the cross of Christ in the Christian view of salvation.

Machen concludes that the doctrine of salvation is essential to the Christian faith and that liberalism and Christianity are fundamentally incompatible on this question. The chapter provides a clear and detailed analysis of the theological and biblical foundations of the Christian view of salvation, and highlights the importance of this doctrine for the Christian life.


  • 00:00:07 Introduction
  • 00:05:40 Review of Christianity and Liberalism
  • 00:09:28 The Liberal View of Salvation
  • 00:16:14 Liberalism, Roman Catholicism, and the Atonement
  • 00:26:24 The Significance of What Christ Did
  • 00:31:47 Fundamentalism and Social Progress
  • 00:34:30 Theological Categories
  • 00:40:08 The Goal and Fruit of Liberalism
  • 00:44:45 Machen and Hymns
  • 00:54:09 Heavenly-Mindedness
  • 01:02:11 Conclusion

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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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