Christianity and Liberalism Podcast
Watch the first episode here.
Arrested Development. In the 1990s, it was a hip hop group. In the early 2000s, it was a sitcom. But it’s a real psychological phenomenon that happens when, due to a variety of causes, a person or institution stops growing and ceases to thrive. And it’s a phrase J. Gresham Machen uses in his book Christianity & Liberalism to describe the consequences of a liberal theology.In the book, Machen is describing liberals who ridicule Christians for defending a defenseless cause. It’s like defending the belief that the earth is flat, they say, or that miracles happen, or that sins need to be forgiven. What’s the point, says the Liberal. Everyone knows those things are impossible, so why bother defending them?If that sounds familiar, it’s because we hear similar arguments from within the church today. Many are calling for a reevaluation of biblical views on sexual attraction, the sanctity of life, ethnic diversity, or even what it means to be a man or a woman. Although the topics have changed, the motivation for liberalism today isn’t all that different from that scathing critique of the church Machen confronted 100 years ago. Back then, the American church tried to compromise essential tenets of orthodox Christianity in order “to make it work.” And, as Machen predicted, it resulted in arrested development. In the years after Machen’s book, liberal protestant mainline liberal churches folded, thousands made a shipwreck of their faith, denominations split, and scores of ministries succumbed to the trajectory of theological compromise and, ultimately, to decline into the outward appearance of faithfulness—beautiful buildings and good deeds on the outside, but without a genuine saving faith in Jesus within.So, what should we do?