J. GRESHAM MACHEN was a U.S. Presbyterian theologian and one of the most eloquent spokesmen for the evangelical position in the fundamentalist v liberal controversies of the 1920s and 1930s. He fought the good fight against the inroads of liberal theology and the hypocrisy of those Presbyterian ministers who vowed on their ordination to uphold the divine authority of the Word of God in Holy Scripture, and then spent the rest of their lives preaching doctrines contrary to the Word of God.
J. Gresham Machen was born at Baltimore on July 28, 1881. Educated at Johns Hopkins and Princeton universities, Princeton Theological seminary and the Universities of Marburg and Göttingen. He taught at Princeton seminary from 1906 until its reorganisation in 1929. Then he left to help found Westminster Theological seminary in Philadelphia, where he served as professor of New Testament until his death on Jan. 1, 1937.
J. Gresham Machen's place within the history of our times, and especially of the twenties and thirties, has been so conspicuous that his life will continue to be of interest so long as men reflect upon the religious and ecclesiastical developments of the first half of the twentieth century. Even writers whose viewpoints were antithetical to his own—including the caustic sceptic H. L. Mencken, the idealistic but agnostic Pearl Buck and the penetrating Unitarian Albert C. Dieffenbach—acknowledged that he towered above his contemporaries in strength of character and fidelity to principle. There were also those who could mark the deeper channel of his life such as Caspar Wistar Hodge, his colleague and friend at Princeton, who characterized him at the time of his death as “the greatest theologian in the English-speaking world” and “the greatest leader of the whole cause of evangelical Christianity.” Machen will continue to attract attention, however, not only because of his place in the history of recent decades. For by his deeds and words he set in motion spiritual forces which have not spent their strength. And if, as one observer who is to speak forth in these pages said, he was “a saint of God who loves truth, seeks truth, finds truth, and upholds truth against all adversaries, however mighty,” his witness cannot perish. As a testimony to the truth it may still serve to arouse the consciences of men of this day and may break forth with fresh intensity and power in the future.
[by Ned B Stonehouse from his biography
[J. Gresham Machen, A Biographical Memoir”.]
Liberalism or Christianity?
(219k) from the Princeton Theological Review, vol. 20, 1922AD.