Modern liberalism in the church, whatever judgment may be passed upon it is, at any rate, no longer merely an academic matter.  It is no longer a matter merely of theological seminaries or universities.  On the contrary, its attack upon the fundamentals of the Christian faith is being carried on vigorously by Sunday School “lesson helps,” by the pulpit, and by the religious press.  If such an attack be unjustified, the remedy is not to be found, as some devout persons have suggested, in the abolition of theological seminaries or the abandonment of scientific theology but, rather, in a more earnest search after truth and a more loyal devotion to it, when once it is found.

At the theological seminaries and universities, however, the roots of the great issue are more clearly seen than in the world at large.  Among students, the reassuring employment of traditional phrases is often abandoned and the advocates of a new religion are not at pains, as they are in the church at large, to maintain an appearance of conformity with the past.  But, such frankness, we are convinced, ought to be extended to the people as a whole.  Few desires on the part of religious teachers have been more harmfully exaggerated than the desire to “avoid giving offense.”  Only too often, that desire has come perilously near dishonesty.  The religious teacher, in his heart of hearts, is well-aware of the radicalism of his views but is unwilling to relinquish his place in the hallowed atmosphere of the church by speaking his whole mind.  Against all such policy of concealment or palliation, our sympathies are altogether with those men, whether radicals or conservatives, who have a passion for light.

From: Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen (New York: Macmillan, 1923), pp. 17-18.


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