Machen, John Gresham
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Time Period
7/28/1881  - 1/1/1937
John Gresham Machen was a strong defender of traditional Christian beliefs within the Presbyterian religious body. Machen received his bachelor’s of divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1905 and returned a year later to Princeton as a New Testament instructor. He produced scholarly works like The Origins of Paul’s Religion (1921) and The Virgin Birth of Christ (1930). However, it was his book entitled Christianity and Liberalism (1923) that sparked controversy when he denounced modernist ("liberal") interpretations of the Bible and questioned whether modernists should even call themselves Christian. Machen later withdrew from Princeton Seminary in 1929 and formed Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

Machen’s conflict with modernists continued as he charged the Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions of straying from teaching Christ as the exclusive means to salvation. After arguments persisted, Machen and other upset Presbyterians left the Presbyterian Church to form the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1936.

On January 1, 1937, Machen caught pneumonia and died.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Presbyterian Religious Events and People in American History
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Presbyterian Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Presbyterian-Reformed Family: Other ARDA Links

Publication of Shailer Mathews's The Faith of Modernism
Orthodox Presbyterian Church Founded
Christianity and Liberalism Published
Christian Fundamentalism

J Gresham Machen portrait- Wikimedia Commons

J Gresham Machen portrait- Internet Archive- from A Brief History of the Bible Presbyterian Church and its Agencies by Margaret G. Harden

J Gresham Machen portrait- Internet Archive- from Carl McIntire's 50-year ministry in the Bible Presbyterian Church of Collingswood, New Jersey
Book/Journal Source(s)
Queen, Edward, Stephen Prothero and Gardiner Shattuck, 1996. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. New York: Facts on File.
Reid, Daniel, Robert Linder, Bruce Shelley, and Harry Stout, 1990. Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL.
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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