Just finished Christianity and Liberalism, by Machen. Written in 1923. Note that, as you read. 1923. Hot stuff. Here are some gems as I wrapped up:
On staying or leaving a liberal church:
"Whether or no liberals are Christians, it is at any rate perfectly clear that liberalism is not Christianity. And that being the case, it is highly undesirable that liberalism and Christianity should continue to be propagated within the bounds of the same organization. A separation between the two parties in the Church is the crying need of the hour." (160).
To the cry of "what about unity? and Why let trivial matters separate us?" he brilliantly responds that such objections beg the question of whether such matters ARE trivial. With the substitutionary atonement, salvation in Christ alone and other issues "in play" these days, that is hardly a clear-cut question.
"Another course of action is perfectly open to the man who desires to propogate 'liberal Christianity....' He may either unite himself with some other existing body or else found a new body to suit himself." (162)
"If there ought to be a separation between liberals and conservatives in the church why should not the conservatives be the ones to withdraw? Certainly it may come to that. If the liberal party really obtains full control of the councils of the church, then no evangelical Christian can continue to support the church's work" (166).
"Nothing engenders strife so much as a forced unity, within the same organization, of those who disagree fundamentally in aim" (167).
Then a great illustration at this point of how liberals contradict the beliefs of the church in which they teach. Republicans have their own party to combat Democrats, but the liberal method of "infiltration" is, by analogy, to have Republicans join the Democratic party, claiming to have Democrat beliefs, but then working against the sytem. Machen's main argument against this is that it is dishonest. I agree, but my rejoinder to Machen would be - all's fair in love and war. How can we expect the enemy to fight fair? He is the father of lies, after all...
Then a great section on ensuring ministers are on the right side of the battle, not sparing their feelings in examination before the Church: "it is strange how in the interest of an utterly false kindness to men, Christians are sometimes willing to relinquish their loyalty to the crucified Lord" (175).
"Every man who has been truly redeemed from sin longs to carry to others the same blessed gospel through which he himself has been saved" (170).
"In countless cases, Christianity is rejected simply becuause men have not the slightest notion of what Christianity is" (176). The problem is that in the system, there is "an exaggerated emphasis on methodology at the expense of content and on what is materially useful at the expense of the high spiritual heritage of mankind" (176).
"One hears much, it is true, about Christian union and harmony and co-operation. But the union that is meant is often a union with the world against the Lord, or at best a forced union of machinery and tyrannical committees. How different is the true unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace! (179)"