Born in Baltimore, Maryland, he came from a wealthy and well-educated background. He studied at John Hopkins University and then went to Princeton Theological Seminary, receiving an M.A. in philosophy. He studied in Germany and returned to teach New Testament at Princeton. He received his B.D. in 1905 and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church.
In 1929, he left Princeton Seminary when the institution capitulated to the liberal faction, and he, along with others, founded Westminster Theological Seminary. In 1934 he was censured by the Presbyterian Church for his actions in relation to the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, the liberal bias of which he opposed. In 1935 he was defrocked by the Presbyterian Church over major doctrinal issues. Machen then established the Orthodox Presbyterian Church as a reaction to the liberalism of the Presbyterian hierarchy. He died at age 55, of pneumonia.
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Christianity & Culture
One of the greatest of the problems that have agitated the Church is the problem of the relation between knowledge and piety, between culture and Christianity. This problem has appeared first of all in the presence of two tendencies in the Church--the scientific or academic tendency, and what may be called the practical tendency. Some men have devo ...read
Christianity and Liberalism - Table of Contents
The purpose of this book is not to decide the religious issue of the present day, but merely to present the issue as sharply and clearly as possible, in order that the reader may be aided in deciding it for himself. Presenting an issue sharply is indeed by no means a popular business at the present time; there are many who prefer to fight their int ...read
"For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." (2 Cor. 5:14-15)
In these great verses Paul speaks of love as a constraining force. Love, he ...read
Faith and the Gospel
If what we have said so far be correct, there is now living a Saviour who is worthy of our trust, even Christ Jesus the Lord, and a deadly need of our souls for which we come to Him, namely, the curse of God's law, the terrible guilt of sin. But these things are not all that is needed in order that we may have faith. It is also necessary that there ...read
Faith and Works
Because of the fundamental nature of faith, as it has been set forth, on the basis of the New Testament teaching, in the last chapter, it is natural to find that in the New Testament faith, as the reception of a free gift, is placed in sharpest contrast with any intrusion of human merit; it is natural to find that faith is sharply contrasted with w ...read
History & Faith
The student of the New Testament should be primarily an historian. The centre and core of all the Bible is history. Everything else that the Bible contains is fitted into an historical framework and leads up to an historical climax. The Bible is primarily a record of events.
That assertion will not pass unchallenged. The modern Church is impatie ...read
J. Gresham Machen on Public Education
Recognizing that "like it or not" we live in a society which is constitutionally committed to pluralism, J. Gresham Machen referred to public education as a necessary evil. As a Christian people, we must be committed to Christian Education. Yet state-run education in a pluralistic society cannot be specifically Christian (much less specifically ref ...read
Jesus & Paul
The Apostle Paul is the greatest teacher of the Christian Church. True, he has not always been fully understood. The legalism that he combatted during his lifetime soon established itself among his converts, and finally celebrated a triumph in the formation of the Catholic Church. The keen edge of his dialectic was soon blunted. But however his ide ...read
Liberalism or Christianity?
The attack upon the fundamentals of the Christian faith is not a matter merely of theological seminaries and universities. It is being carried on vigorously by Sunday School "lesson-helps," by the pulpit, and by the religious press. The remedy, therefore, is not to be found in the abolition of theological seminaries, or the abandonment of scientifi ...read
New Testament Greek: A Brief Introduction
During the classical period, the Greek language was divided into a number of dialects, of which there were three great families--the Doric, the Aeolic, and the Ionic. In the fifth century before Christ, one branch of the Ionic family, the Attic, attained the supremacy, especially as the language of prose literature. The Attic dialect was the langua ...read
On the Deity of Christ - Table of Contents
WE have been talking about the great mystery of the Trinity. We have seen that according to the Bible there is but one God but that that one God is in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. There are some places in the New Testament where all three persons of the Godhead are mentioned in the same verse. But much the more important o ...read
The Active Obedience of Christ
Last Sunday afternoon, in outlining the Biblical teaching about the work of Christ in satisfying for us the claims of God's law, I said nothing about one very important part of that work. I pointed out that Christ by His death in our stead on the cross paid the just penalty of our sin, but I said nothing of another thing that He did for us. I said ...read
"For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse; for It Is written, 'Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all the things written in the book of the law to do them.' But that in the law no one is justified with God is clear, because 'the just shall live by faith'; but the law is not of faith but 'he who has done them shall live in ...read
The Bible and the Cross
Having observed last week what are the leading views that have been held regarding the cross of Christ, we turn now to the Bible in order to discover which of these views is right.
Did Jesus on the cross really take our place, paying the penalty of God's law which justly rested upon us? That is the orthodox or substitutionary view of the atoneme ...read
The Christian Faith in the Modern World - Table of Contents
DURING the first four months of the year 1935, the writer of this book delivered over Station WIP a course of radio addresses, for which the arrangements were made by the Rev. Edwin H. Rian, on behalf of Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. The addresses are now published in a form very similar to that in which they were delivered. The r ...read
The Creeds and Doctrinal Advance
LAST Sunday afternoon, in the first of our talks of this winter, I spoke to you in a summary sort of way about the progress of Christian doctrine in the church. I showed how the church advanced from the very meagre statement which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, on through the great early ecumenical creeds, setting forth the doctrines of th ...read
The Doctrine of the Atonement
The priestly work of Christ, or at least that part of it in which He offered Himself up as a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice and reconcile us to God, is commonly called the atonement, and the doctrine which sets it forth is commonly called the doctrine of the atonement. That doctrine is at the very heart of what is taught in the Word of God.
The Fear of God
'And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him, which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell' [Matt 10.28].
These words were not spoken by Jonathan Edwards. They were not spoken by Cotton Mather. They were not spoken by Calvin, or Augustine, or by Paul. But these words were spoken by Jesus ...read
The Importance of Christian Scholarship in The Defense of The Faith
This Address was originally delivered in London on June 17, 1932.
There are, indeed, those who tell us that no defense of the faith is necessary. "The Bible needs no defense," they say; "let us not be forever defending Christianity, but instead let us go forth joyously to propagate Christianity." But I have observed one curious fact-- when men ...read