J. Gresham Machen and the PCA
J. Gresham Machen, were he alive today, would not be leader in the PCA.
I say this after reflecting on one chapter (A Question of Character) in D. G. Hart’s, Defending the Faith: J. Gresham Machen and the Crisis of Conservative Protestantism in Modern America. For my part I find eerie parallels between Hart’s description of the crisis at Princeton in the 1920’s and the tensions faced within the Presbyterian Church in America in the first decade of the 21st century.
J. Gresham Machen would not have been well received among some conservatives in the PCA.. Machen was representative of the confessional orthodoxy associated with old Princeton Seminary. His views were on a compatible continuum with those of the Hodges and Warfield. These men were, to cite one example, much too open to the findings of science and to the harmonization of Biblical material with the tentative findings of science, for the comfort of some of my brothers. (The chapter, Salvation and Science, demonstrates this clearly.) He would not want to put one of the greatest defenders of Biblical inspiration and inerrancy out of the Church. But we need not devote much labor to Machen and the right which is a pimple on the rather ample backside to the PCA.
It is the relationship of Machen to the broad middle and left of the PCA that interests me. Consider these observations: