The Work of Christ is a New Man

by Frank Jones

"But how is the redeeming work of Christ applied to the individual Christian man? The answer of the New Testament is plain. According to the New Testament the work of Christ is applied to the individual Christian man by the Holy Spirit. And this work of the Holy Spirit is part of the creative work of God. It is not accomplished by the ordinary use of means; it is not accomplished merely by using the good that is already in man. On the contrary, it is something new. It is not an influence upon the life, but the beginning of a new life; it is not development of what we had already, but a new birth. At the very centre of Christianity are the words, “Ye must be born again.” These words are despised to-day." (Machen, Christianity & Liberalism, 136.)

Misunderstanding the Cross

by Frank Jones

"The modern liberal teachers persist in speaking of the sacrifice of Christ as though it were a sacrifice made by some one other than God. They speak of it as though it meant that God waits coldly until a price is paid to Him before He forgives sin. As a matter of fact, it means nothing of the kind; the objection ignores that which is absolutely fundamental in the Christian doctrine of the Cross. The fundamental thing is that God Himself, and not another, makes the sacrifice for sin--God Himself in the person of the Son who assumed our nature and died for us, God Himself in the Person of the Father who spared not His own Son but offered Him up for us all." (Machen, Christianity & Liberalism, 132.)

Atonement Deficiencies

by Frank Jones

"Modern liberal preachers do indeed sometimes speak of the “atonement.” But they speak of it just as seldom as they possibly can, and one can see plainly that their hearts are elsewhere than at the foot of the Cross. Indeed, at this point, as at many others, one has the feeling that traditional language is being strained to become the expression of totally alien ideas. And when the traditional phraseology has been stripped away, the essence of the modern conception of the death of Christ, though that conception appears in many forms, is fairly plain. The essence of it is that the death of Christ had an effect not upon God but only upon man. Sometimes the effect upon man is conceived of in a very simple way, Christ’s death being regarded merely as an example of self-sacrifice for us to emulate. The uniqueness of this particular example, then, can be found only in the fact that Christian sentiment, gathering around it, has made it a convenient symbol for all self-sacrifice; it puts in concrete form what would otherwise have to be expressed in colder general terms. Sometimes, again, the effect of Christ’s death upon us is conceived of in subtler ways; the death of Christ, it is said, shows how much God hates sin—since sin brought even the Holy One to the dreadful Cross—and we too, therefore, ought to hate sin, as God hates it, and repent. Sometimes, still again, the death of Christ is thought of as displaying the love of God; it exhibits God’s own Son as given up for us all. These modern “theories of the atonement” are not all to be placed upon the same plane; the   p 101  last of them, in particular, may be joined with a high view of Jesus’ Person. But they err in that they ignore the dreadful reality of guilt, and make a mere persuasion of the human will all that is needed for salvation. They do indeed all contain an element of truth: it is true that the death of Christ is an example of self-sacrifice which may inspire self-sacrifice in others; it is true that the death of Christ shows how much God hates sin; it is true that the death of Christ displays the love of God. All of these truths are found plainly in the New Testament. But they are swallowed up in a far greater truth—that Christ died instead of us to present us faultless before the throne of God. Without that central truth, all the rest is devoid of real meaning: an example of self-sacrifice is useless to those who are under both the guilt and thralldom of sin; the knowledge of God’s hatred of sin can in itself bring only despair; an exhibition of the love of God is a mere display unless there was some underlying reason for the sacrifice. If the Cross is to be restored to its rightful place in Christian life, we shall have to penetrate far beneath the modern theories to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us." (Machen, Christianity & Liberalism, 118-119.)

The Offense of Jesus Alone

by Frank Jones

"What struck the early observers of Christianity most forcibly was not merely that salvation was offered by means of the Christian gospel, but that all other means were resolutely rejected. The early Christian missionaries demanded an absolutely exclusive devotion to Christ. Such exclusiveness ran directly counter to the prevailing syncretism of the Hellenistic age. In that day, many saviours were offered by many religions to the attention of men, but the various pagan religions could live together in perfect harmony; when a man became a devotee of one god, he did not have to give up the others. But Christianity would have nothing to do with these “courtly polygamies of the soul”; it demanded an absolutely exclusive devotion; all other Saviours, it insisted, must be deserted for the one Lord. Salvation, in other words, was not merely through Christ, but it was only through Christ. In that little word “only” lay all the offence. Without that word there would have been no persecutions; the cultured men of the day would probably have been willing to give Jesus a place, and an honorable place, among the saviours of mankind." (Machen, Christianity & Liberalism, 123.)

Machen's Prayer

by Frank Jones

"God send us ministers who, instead of merely avoiding denial of the Cross shall be on fire with the Cross, whose whole life shall be one burning sacrifice of gratitude to the blessed Savior who loved them and gave Himself for them!" (Machen, Christianity & Liberalism, 176.)

Well-Dressed Wolves Among Us

by Frank Jones

"The new barbarians do not look very threatening, at least from the outside. They do not wear animal skins or bang on the cultural gates with wooden clubs; instead, they talk on their cell phones and drink designer coffee. And, of course, they would not think of themselves as barbarians. But what is on their minds and in their hearts? Whether they admit it or not, their minds reject absolute truth, and in their hearts they love themselves more than anyone else, especially God. To use more precise terms, these post-Christian times are characterized by relativism and narcissism. And this is barbaric to the extent that it signals the death of a culture based on objective truth and civic virtue." (Philip Ryken, City on a Hill (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2003), 17-18.)

Failure in Our Pulpit

by Frank Jones

“The fundamental fault of the modern Church is that she is busily engaged in an absolutely impossible task—she is busily engaged in calling the righteous to repentance. Modern preachers are trying to bring men into the Church without requiring them to relinquish their pride; they are trying to help men avoid the conviction of sin. The preacher gets up into the pulpit, opens the Bible, and addresses the congregation somewhat as follows: “You people are very good,” he says; “you respond to every appeal that looks toward the welfare of the community. Now we have in the Bible—especially in the life of Jesus—something so good that we believe it is good enough even for you good people.” Such is modern preaching. It is heard every Sunday in thousands of pulpits. But it is entirely futile. Even our Lord did not call the righteous to repentance, and probably we shall be no more successful than He.” (Machen, Christianity & Liberalism, 68.)

Predominantly American Paganism in 1923

by Frank Jones

“Nevertheless, despite all superficial continuity, a remarkable change has come about within the last seventy-five years. The change is nothing less than the substitution of paganism for Christianity as the dominant view of life. Seventy-five years ago, Westren civilization, despite inconsistentencies, was still predominantly Christian; to-day it is predominantly pagan.

In speaking of “paganism,” we are not using a term of reproach. Ancient Greece was pagan, but it was glorious, and the modern world has not even begun to equal its achievements. What, then, is paganism? The answer is not really difficult. Paganism is that view of life which finds the highest goal of human existence in the healthy and harmonious and joyous development of existing human faculties. Very different is the Christian ideal. Paganism is optimistic with regard to unaided human nature, whereas Christianity is the religion of the broken heart.” (Machen, Christianity & Liberalism, 65.)

Spiraling to Death by Love of Self

by Frank Jones

For men will be lovers of self, ... (2 Tim 3:2)

"Ever since the cosmic catastrophe in the Garden of Eden, humankind has been infected with narcissism, which is a terrible infatuation with the self. But for more than half-a-century we have been experiencing an era of radical and unbridled self-centeredness. What is new in our day is that self-love or being self-focused is now considered a virtue not a vice. ... 

According to Scripture, "love of self" is our first and most basic sin, the fount from which all other evil flows. This was precisely the offense of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They failed to love God supremely (with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength), and chose to love self above all else, including even their Creator. Love of God has now been displaced by love of self. Christ's Great Commandment (Mark 12:29-31) has been turned upside down and inside out in the hearts of all self-lovers. The motto becomes "Glory to Me in the Highest!" when "the self" becomes the epicenter of life.

When this happens, wherever it happens (including inside the body of Christ), divine and human relationships disintegrate and obedience to God and service to others become impossible. This is so because authentic biblical love, love as defined by God, demands a radical change from self to unself! And that is the unthinkable thing for Narcissus." (McLachlan, Douglas. Thirsting for Authenticity: Calling the Church to Robust Christianity, 22-23.)

Our Nation's Truth Journey

by Frank Jones

"It is possible to view the history of the twentieth century as the story of the battle for truth. The chronicling of its history is in a very real sense the chronicling of its truth journey. A number of years ago Steve Haynes defined this journey as unfolding in three critical stages:

There was the traditional era where truth as defined by God was mediated to the culture by the clergy who spoke from the Bible.

There was the modern era where truth as defined by man was mediated to the culture by the scientist and validated by this research.

There was the postmodern era where truth is now considered indefinable, and all that is left for humankind is "raw feeling," symbolized by the passion of the rock musician.

This transition from "true truth" (as defined by God) to "tainted truth" (as defined by modern man) to no truth" (as indefinable by postmodern man) has left humankind in a state of intellectual, moral, and spiritual freefall. We seem to have lost our internal, moral gyroscope. The moral certainty of divine revelation has been reduced to moral and intellectual chaos." (McLachlan, Douglas. Thirsting for Authenticity: Calling the Church to Robust Christianity. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018, 3.)

J. Gresham Machen on Recognized or Not Religious Bodies

by Frank Jones

"When one considers what the public schools of America in many places already are—their materialism, their discouragement of any sustained intellectual effort, their encouragement of the dangerous pseudo-scientific fads of experimental psychology—one can only be appalled by the thought of a commonwealth in which there is no escape from such a soul-killing system. But the principle of such laws and their ultimate tendency are far worse than the immediate results."5 (J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, New Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009), 11..)

5The evil principle is seen with special clearness in the so-called “Lusk Laws” in the state of New York. One of these refers to teachers in the public schools. The other provides that “No person, firm, corporation or society shall conduct, maintain or operate any school, institute, class or course of instruction in any subjects whatever without making application for and being granted a license from the university of the state of New York to so conduct, maintain or operate such institute, school, class or course.” It is further provided that “A school, institute, class or course licensed as provided in this section shall be subject to visitation by officers and employees of the university of the state of New York.” See Laws of the State of New York, 1921, Vol. III, Chapter 667, pp. 2049–2051. This law is so broadly worded that it could not possibly be enforced, even by the whole German army in its pre-war efficiency or by all the espionage system of the Czar. The exact measure of enforcement is left to the discretion of officials, and the citizens are placed in constant danger of that intolerable interference with private life which a real enforcement of the provision about “courses of instruction in any subjects whatever” would mean. One of the exemptions is in principle particularly bad. “Nor shall such license be required,” the law provides, “by schools now or hereafter established and maintained by a religious denomination or sect well recognized as such at the time this section takes effect.” One can certainly rejoice that the existing churches are freed, for the time being, from the menace involved in the law. But in principle the limitation of the exemption to the existing churches really runs counter to the fundamental idea of religious liberty; for it sets up a distinction between established religions and those that are not established. There was always tolerance for established religious bodies, even in the Roman Empire; but religious liberty consists in equal rights for religious bodies that are new. The other exemptions do not remove in the slightest the oppressive character of the law. Bad as the law must be in its immediate effects, it is far more alarming in what it reveals about the temper of the people. A people which tolerates such preposterous legislation upon the statute books is a people that has wandered far away from the principles of American liberty. True patriotism will not conceal the menace, but will rather seek to recall the citizens to those great principles for which our fathers, in America and in England, were willing to bleed and die. There are some encouraging indications that the Lusk Laws may soon be repealed. If they are repealed, they will still serve as a warning that only by constant watchfulness can liberty be preserved.

A Prophetic J. Gresham Machen from 1923

by Frank Jones

"The dominant tendency, even in a country like America, which formerly prided itself on its freedom from bureaucratic regulation of the details of life, is toward a drab utilitarianism in which all higher aspirations are to be lost.

Manifestations of such a tendency can easily be seen. In the state of Nebraska, for example, a law is now in force according to which no instruction in any school in the state, public or private, is to be given through the medium of a language other than English, and no language other than English is to be studied even as a language until the child has passed an examination before the county superintendent of education showing that the eighth grade has been passed. In other words, no foreign language, apparently not even Latin or Greek, is to be studied until the child is too old to learn it well. It is in this way that modern collectivism deals with a kind of study which is absolutely essential to all genuine mental advance. The minds of the people of Nebraska, and of any other states where similar laws prevail, are to be kept by the power of the state in a permanent condition of arrested development.

It might seem as though with such laws obscurantism had reached its lowest possible depths. But there are depths lower still. In the state of Oregon, on Election Day, 1922, a law was passed by a referendum vote in accordance with which all children in the state are required to attend the public schools. Christian schools and private schools, at least in the all-important lower grades, are thus wiped out of existence. Such laws, which if the present temper of the people prevails will probably soon be extended far beyond the bounds of one state, mean of course the ultimate destruction of all real education. When one considers what the public schools of America in many places already are—their materialism, their discouragement of any sustained intellectual effort, their encouragement of the dangerous pseudo-scientific fads of experimental psychology—one can only be appalled by the thought of a commonwealth in which there is no escape from such a soul-killing system. But the principle of such laws and their ultimate tendency are far worse than the immediate results. A public-school system, in itself, is indeed of enormous benefit to the race. But it is of benefit only if it is kept healthy at every moment by the absolutely free possibility of the competition of private schools. A public-school system, if it means the providing of free education for those who desire it, is a noteworthy and beneficent achievement of modern times; but when once it becomes monopolistic it is the most perfect instrument of tyranny which has yet been devised. Freedom of thought in the middle ages was combated by the Inquisition, but the modern method is far more effective. Place the lives of children in their formative years, despite the convictions of their parents, under the intimate control of experts appointed by the state, force them then to attend schools where the higher aspirations of humanity are crushed out, and where the mind is filled with the materialism of the day, and it is difficult to see how even the remnants of liberty can subsist. Such a tyranny, supported as it is by a perverse technique used as the instrument in destroying human souls, is certainly far more dangerous than the crude tyrannies of the past, which despite their weapons of fire and sword permitted thought at least to be free.

The truth is that the materialistic paternalism of the present day, if allowed to go on unchecked, will rapidly make of America one huge “Main Street,” where spiritual adventure will be discouraged and democracy will be regarded as consisting in the reduction of all mankind to the proportions of the narrowest and least gifted of the citizens." (J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, New Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009), 10–12.)

And thus we arrive today. Growing generations of Americans desiring Socialistic totalitarianism.