Christianity and Liberalism by Machen (Chapter 1 Journal)
Machen says, “In the sphere of religion, as in other spheres, the things about which men are agreed are apt to be the things that are least worth holding; the really important things are the things about which men will fight” (2). I think Machen summed this up perfectly. He thinks that the really important things which people disagree about are not being talked about. They are being kept silent in order to avoid conflict between people. People need to fight to talk about these things in society. We are afraid to talk about so many topics, issues, and things because people are so sensitive. It seems like the Church as a whole is shying away from the topics that need to be most talked about. It seems like a lot of the things that are happening in our culture and world around us today should be discussed in the Church, but I don’t see that happening. The Church should be at the center of what is happening as people should be prepared to view these issues from a biblical standpoint. If the church isn’t preparing believers to go out and interact with people in our culture, then I think they are missing something. Machen also uses the example of how God is love. Some churches only like to emphasize that God is love and not include anything on the sin and judgement aspect. No one wants to talk about their sin and judgement because it is uncomfortable, and people become very sensitive to that. Based off of all of this, I think that believers need to be more engaged with the culture and with the people that are around them. While engaging culture, it is important that we live in but not of the world. The world will know that we are disciples of Jesus by the way that we love. John 13:34–35 says, “A new command I give you; love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love another” (NIV). We cannot engage with the people around us unless we have the Holy Spirit at work within us.
Toward the beginning of the introduction chapter Machen sums up the entire book with the question, “What is the relation between Christianity and modern culture; may Christianity be maintained in a scientific age?” (5). He then goes on to say that modern liberalism attempts to solve that problem. As previously stated, this problem between Christianity and liberalism is one of the things that the church needs to be talking about. How can the church better engage with the culture that is around them?
Machen, J. Gresham. Christianity and Liberalism. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009.
The Holy Bible: New International Version. Zondervan, 2005.