Machen Week 6

In chapter 5 of Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism, Christ is the topic of discussion. The chapter attempts to answer the question of who Christ is to each Christianity and to Liberalism, and what exactly does Christ mean to each.

A Christian view of Christ cannot ignore the New Testament. Machen says that understanding who Christ is to the Christian is found in that New Testament, where the passages of the most significant value are found in the Gospel and the Pauline Epistles.

On the opposing hand, Liberalism attempts to make Christ a sort of example of faith. They attempt to follow Christ as an exalted first Christian that they should emulate in every possible way.

Machen argues against this.

“According to modern liberalism, in other words, Jesus was the Founder of Christianity because He was the first Christian, and Christianity consists in maintenance of the religious life in which Jesus instituted.

But was Jesus really a Christian? Or, to put the same question in another way, are we able or ought we as Christians to enter in every aspect into the experience of Jesus and make Him in every respect our example? Certain difficulties arise with regard to this question.”

Machen goes on to explain that Christ was not exactly a Christian as we know it. Machen explains the Christ had a religion of paradise, whereas the Christian has a religion that gets rid of sin. Machen says “The religion of Jesus was a religion of untroubled sonship; Christianity is a religion of the attainment of sonship by the redeeming work of Christ.”

I found this segment to be the most educational part of Machen’s chapter 5 on Christ. I never encountered this prior to the reading. To consider Christ as an example of the Christian Faith would undermine the religion of Paradise that he experienced.

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