Christianity and Liberalism


by Mike Ratliff

1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 NASB)

I spent the last several days away from email, the Internet, work, et cetera, and simply rested and spent time with family with the intent of taking up right where I left off on our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount when I returned. However, before we get back to that, I would like to share some insights from some time I spent in the solitude of study and quiet I had during my “downtime.” Part of that time was spent in reading J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism, which was published in 1923. I have not quite finished it yet, but I made good progress. Some of you I know have read it because you recommended the book to me. For those who don’t know, Machen’s thesis in the book was to address the encroachment of Liberal theology in his day, which was taking over the Northern Presbyterian Church in the United States to the point that the Seminary at Princeton was preparing to “liberalize.” His thesis for this magnificent book is that “Liberal Christianity” and Christianity are two different religions. Continue reading