My Problem with Machen

March 29, 2006

This is important, I think. I read a little bit about Machen, and I think he’s saying this: “Doctrine is the message of the New Testament”. As the founder of the Orthodox Presbyterian Denomenation, when he says “preaching doctrine”, he probably means “Promoting strict adherence to reformed theology”.

Now, the principal issues he fought for (for instance, attacking the idea that Paul basically invented a different Christianity than Jesus, based on Greek thought) are not ones I would disagree with him on. But when he says, “Doctrine is the message of the New Testament”, I think he’s missing the point. Yes, 1 Corinthians 13 is in the middle of a polemic. But what is the polemic saying? “We are all members of one body, and each is important.” “Don’t say to the foot, ‘I don’t need you.’ ” The message of 1 Corinthians 13, while itself perhaps part of a polemic, is clear: doctrine, discipline, and many other areas that feet or hands or eyes will focus on, are a means and not an end. Can speaking in tongues of men and angels aid us in loving others? Certainly. But mistaking it for more than what it is would be a grave error.

Paul answers the question, “What’s most important?” right there in the passage: love. You can have all the doctrine you want, and without love you are a clanging gong or a crashing cymbal, it is utterly worthless. Jesus polemicized a great deal as well, but what was his main thrust against the Pharisees? “Come back when you have learned the meaning of this: I desire mercy and not sacrifice”.

Advertisements

3 Responses to “My Problem with Machen”

  1. Daniel Slavich Says:

    I think there’s a false dichotomy here. It’s like the old song: “You can’t have one without the other.” Losing either is a false gospel.

  2. Ben Says:

    Well, you’re welcome to present your counter-arguments! 🙂

  3. yappl Says:

    The Lord Holy Spirit spoke through the mouth of Jesus: ‘I desire obedient and not sacrifice.’

    God desires His people to obey His commandment /law of Heaven -1st To love Him with all your heart,mind, soul and strength -meaning to pledge allegiance to God and this pleases Him. To wrest spiritual warfare and battle against Satan in order to set His people free from his evil and wicked work.

    and 2ND To love your neighbor as yourself.
    Today churches emphesis more on the sacrifies -what they like to do mostly to gain man’s glory and fame. Building the biggest old forlk home, children orphage/welfare home, drug cente and anything that can raise fund for charity that promotes their name.

    They labor in vain and bear fruit (soul)that will not last -meaning soul will backslide / returning into the world.
    This is because soul NOT draw by the Father will not last because there were NO spiritual battles fought on the ground of heaven’s legality to WIN the soul for God’s Kingdom.

    thanks for your time


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: