Monday, December 12, 2011

Machen Foresaw Dawkins Clearly in 1923

J. G. Machen's little book, Christianity and Liberalism, written in 1923, was prophetic in that it predicted accurately the course liberalism would take in the future. It ends with Richard Dawkins wanting to make belief in God illegal - or at least handing on that faith to the children of believers.

Here is Machen:
"Admitting that scientific objections may arise against the particularities of the Christian religion - against the Christian doctrines of the person of Christ, and of redemption through his death and resurrection - the liberal theologian seeks to rescue certain of the general principles of religion, of which these particularities are thought to be mere temporary symbols, and these general principles he regards as constituting 'the essence of Christianity.'

It may well be questioned, however, whether this method of defence will really prove to be efficacious; for after the apologist has abandoned his outer defences to the enemy and withdrawn into some inner citidal, he will probably discover that the enemy pursues him even there. Modern materialism . . . is not content with occupying the lower quarters of the Christian city, but pushes its way into all the higher reaches of life; it is just as much opposed to the philosophical idealism of the liberal preacher as to the Biblical doctrines that the liberal preacher has abandoned in the interests of peace. Mere concessiveness, therefore, will never succeed in avoiding the intellectual conflict. In the intellectual battle of the present day there can be no 'peace without victory;' one side or the other must win. (p. 6)
How can anyone deny that things have played out just as Machen predicted in the 90 or so years since he wrote this book?

Islam and Communism are great threats to the survival of our culture, yet the materialism of a Dawkins is a greater threat still - mainly because it emanates from within the heart of the culture rather than from the outside. And if Machen is right, only one side will emerge victorious in the culture wars. If the conservative side loses - as it very well might - then the bright flame of liberty and justice that has flashed across the sky in the West will dim and burn out.

In that case, God and His Church will stand forever, but in Africa and Asia, not in the West.

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