The abiding value of Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism will be lost on those who fail to give his last chapter a careful study. A church that locates its calling in the flourishing of an individual’s personal religious experience is one that has succumbed to worldliness. Machen directs us instead to see the church’s calling as stewarding the doctrine found in the Word of God and summarized in its confessional standards.
Contrary to the claim of modernists, the historic Christianity that J. Gresham Machen defended was not individualistic. Christianity “fully provides for the social needs of man,” he wrote in chapter 5 of Christianity and Liberalism, and he ended that chapter with reflections on the social consequences of salvation: the gospel transforms human institutions, including families, communities, the workplace, and even government.