The PCA's Conservative Roots

[I]t is fair to say that the southern Presbyterian conservatives who formed the PCA bore some similarities with other fundamentalists: emphasis on key doctrinal issues, such as biblical inerrancy and the exclusive nature of salvation in Jesus Christ, a demand for evangelism as the primary mission of the church, and a willingness to separate from those deemed apostate.

– SEAN MICHAEL LUCAS 

Christianity and Liberalism

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Excerpts by J. Gresham Machen:

 
“A terrible crisis unquestionably has arisen in the Church. In the ministry of evangelical churches are to be found hosts of those who reject the gospel of Christ. By the equivocal use of traditional phrases, by the representation of differences of opinion as though they were only differences about the interpretation of the Bible, entrance into the Church was secured for those who are hostile to the very foundations of the faith.”
 
“The narration of the facts is history; the narration of the facts with the meaning of the facts is doctrine. ‘Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried’–that is history. ‘He loved me and gave Himself for me’–that is doctrine. Such was the Christianity of the primitive Church.”
 
“Without the consciousness of sin, the whole of the gospel will seem to be an idle tale. But how can the consciousness of sin be revived? Something no doubt, can be accomplished by the proclamation of the law of God, for the law reveals transgressions. The whole of the law, moreover, should be proclaimed.”
 

“In trying to remove from Christianity everything that could possibly be objected to in the name of science, in trying to bribe off the enemy by those concessions which the enemy most desires, the apologist has really abandoned what he started out to defend.”

 

“But if any one fact is clear, on the basis of this evidence, it is that the Christian movement at its inception was not just a way of life in the modern sense, but a way of life founded upon a message. It was based, not upon mere feeling, not upon a mere program of work, but upon an account of facts. In other words it was based upon doctrine.”

 
“At any rate, an attack upon Calvin or Turrettin or the Westminster divines does not seem to the modern churchgoer to be a very dangerous thing. In point of fact, however, the attack upon doctrine is not nearly so innocent a matter as our simple churchgoer supposes; for the things objected to in the theology of the Church are also at the very heart of the New Testament. Ultimately the attack is not against the seventeenth century, but against the Bible and against Jesus Himself.”

Recommended Reading

For a Continuing Church

For a Continuing Church: The Roots of the Presbyterian Church in America

By Sean Michael Lucas

“This is about far more than the PCA. This book is nothing less than a history of Presbyterianism in the twentieth century, with all its theological wrangling, all its political maneuvering, all its failings, and all its faithfulness. This is certainly a story worth telling, and Sean tells it very well.”  – Kevin DeYoung