Reading certain books changed me. Russell Moore has written an essay about seven books that he says changed his life. I’ve only read one he mentions, C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity (which is also one of my choices). I agree with his caveat: “Note, these are not (necessarily) the best books I’ve ever read. They are books that came around at just the right time to change things for me.”
I have read other books or essays by several other authors on his list, but none by Machen. This passage sounds so current and makes me want to read the book:
Machen showed that “liberalism” isn’t just what we think of as “progressive.” It is any movement that uses Christianity as a means to an end—whether that end is “conservative” or “liberal.” Machen’s defense of the supernatural vision of the Bible gave me confidence in the gospel that I had first received., and made me wary of “Christian America” sloganeering.
And this assures I will read Machen:
“The truly penitent man longs to wipe out the effects of sin, not merely to forget sin. But who can wipe out the effects of sin? Others are suffering because of our past sins; and we can attain no real peace until we suffer in their stead. We long to go back into the tangle of our life, and make right the things that are wrong—or at least to suffer where we have caused others to suffer.” I’ve found this to be true, and increasingly true over the span of my life. Where does Machen point me? He points to the cross. I need that word, over and over again.
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism