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more from Machen

Here are some quotes from three works by J. Gresham Machen (1881--1937)... 

From The Origin of Paul's Religion (1921)...
16th cent. Russian icon
of the Apostle Paul

"What is really most significant in the Pauline Epistles therefore, is the complete absence of any defense of the Pauline doctrine of Christ, the complete absence, indeed, of any systematic presentation of that doctrine. The Pauline view of Christ is everywhere presupposed, but nowhere defended. The phenomenon is very strange if the modern naturalistic account of Jesus be correct. According to that account, the historical Jesus, a great and good man, came after His death to be regarded as a divine Redeemer; one conception of Jesus gave place to a very different conception."

"Yet the surprising thing is that the mighty transition has left not the slightest trace in the primary sources of information. The chief witness to the transcendent conception of Jesus as divine Redeemer is quite unconscious of introducing anything new; indeed he expressly calls attention to the harmony of his proclamation with that of the intimate friends of Jesus. There is only one possible conclusion—the heavenly Christ of Paul was also the Christ of those who had lived with Jesus of Nazareth."

"They [the disciples] had seen Jesus subject to all the petty limitations of human life; they had seen Him hungry and thirsty and weary; they had toiled with Him over the hills of Galilee; yet they gave the right hand of fellowship to one who regarded Him as the divine Redeemer seated on the throne of all being, and they were quite unconscious of any conflict between their view and his [Paul's]."

From Christianity and Liberalism (1923)... 

“In trying to remove from Christianity everything that could possibly be objected to in the name of science, in trying to bribe off the enemy by those concessions which the enemy most desires, the apologist has really abandoned what he started out to defend.” 

“Paganism is that view of life which finds the highest goal of human existence in the healthy and harmonious and joyous development of existing human faculties. Very different is the Christian ideal. Paganism is optimistic with regard to unaided human nature, whereas Christianity is the religion of the broken heart.” 

“Place the lives of children in their formative years, despite the convictions of their parents, under the intimate control of experts appointed by the state, force them to attend schools where the higher aspirations of humanity are crushed out, and where the mind is filled with the materialism of the day, and it is difficult to see how even the remnants of liberty can subsist.” 

"Religion cannot be made joyful simply by looking on the bright side of God. For a one-sided God is not a real God, and it is the real God alone who can satisfy the longing of the soul. God is love, but is he only love? God is love, but is love God? Seek joy alone, then, seek joy at any cost, and you will not find it."  

“Indifferentism about doctrine makes no heroes of the faith.” 

From The Gospel And The Modern World: And Other Short Writings (1929-31)...
St. Matthew, Lindisfarne Gospels
"Read the Gospels for yourselves, my friends. Do not study them this time. Just read them; just let the stupendous figure of Jesus stand before your  eyes.  Has not that figure the marks of truth? Could that figure ever have been produced in impersonal fashion to satisfy the needs of the primitive church? No, the figure of Jesus in the Gospels possesses an individuality that is irreducible, a shining, startling vividness against which criticism ultimately will fail. Yet criticism has had its beneficent results; it has shown with increasing plainness that the picture of Jesus in the New Testament is essentially one. Gone is the day when a few miracles could he removed in order to leave a supposed historical account of a founder of a new religious life or a preacher of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Recent criticism has carried us far beyond all such easy solutions of the problem as that. The Jesus of the New Testament is an organic whole; the New Testament writers are dominated one and all by the conviction that Jesus was it supernatural Redeemer come into this world for the salvation of men. Increasingly the great alternative is becoming clear: give Jesus up, confess that his portrait is forever hidden in the mists of pragmatic legend; or else accept him essentially as he is presented to us by the Evangelists and by Paul."

[Emphasis and underlining added by me.]


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