Machen Day 2011

I am not sure if our favorite PCA blogger had J. Gresham Machen’s birthday in mind when he posted a piece on the fortunes of Machen’s kind of confessionalism within the PCA, but it was good preparation for today’s festivities. The same goes for Westminster Seminary California which has released Scott Clark’s interview with me about Machen’s legacy and the chapter I wrote for W. Robert Godfrey’s festschrift, a recording that may put party-goers quickly to sleep.

But whether these resources were designed to highlight today’s anniversary, the following may provide reasons for donning party hats and blowing horns:

There are entirely too many denominations in this country, says the modern ecclesiastical efficiency expert. Obviously, many of them must be merged. But the trouble is, they have different creeds. Here is one church, for example, that has a clearly Calvinistic creed; here is another whose creed is just as clearly Arminian, let us say, and anti-Calvinistic. How in the world are we going to get the two together? Why, obviously, says the ecclesiastical efficiency expert, the thing to do is to tone down that Calvinistic creed; just smooth off its sharp angles, until Arminians will be able to accept it. Or else we can do something better still. We can write an entirely new creed that will contain only what Arminianism and Calvinism have in common, so that it can serve as the basis for some propose new “United Church.” . . . .

When we pass from these modern statements to the great creeds, what a difference we discover! Instead of wordiness we find conciseness; instead of an unwillingness to offend, clear delimitation of truth from error; instead of obscurity, clearness; instead of vagueness, the utmost definiteness and precision.

All these differences are rooted in a fundamental difference of purpose. These modern statements are intnded to show how little of truth we can get along with and still be Christians, whereas the great creeds of the church are intended to show how much of truth God has revealed to us in His Word. (“Creeds and Doctrinal Advance”)


9 thoughts on “Machen Day 2011

  1. If you go with the “lowest common denominator” denomination, don’t you end up at Unitarianism?

    Anyway, I sure like that last paragraph.


  2. Wait, Machen was against the Calminians? He must hate JOHN 17!!!!!!

    Darryl. Do you think Calvin was in trying to unite the swiss with Bullinger by drafting the Consensus Tigurinus? Didn’t the Westminster Confession get drafted in such a way that it represented the position of all the divines present?

    It seems as though the only way to have a church with more than one person is to at some level make an effort to accommodate differing opinions.


  3. Who is that guy who wrote that Blog on Machen and the PCA. Brilliant! The guy in near infallible. And a nice guy to boot!


  4. Anyone around this blog from WSC should appreciate this. I got an Arrogant Bastard bomber to drink tonight after work in honor of the man. Seemed appropriate. CHEERS!.


  5. John – I hope you’re referring to the proximity of the brewery to the seminary and not to the namesake of the brew!


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