Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Faith with Conviction

"If we are really convinced of the truth of our message, then we can proclaim it before a world of enemies, then the very difficulty of our task, the very scarcity of our allies becomes an inspiration, then we can even rejoice that God did not place us in an easy age, but in a time of doubt and perplexity and battle. Then, too, we shall not be afraid to call forth other soldiers into the conflict. Instead of making our theological seminaries merely centres of religious emotion, we shall make them battle-grounds of the faith, where, helped a little by the experience of Christian teachers, men are taught to fight their own battle, where they come to appreciate the real strength of the adversary and in the hard school of intellectual struggle learn to substitute for the unthinking faith of childhood the profound convictions of full-grown men."

-J. Gresham Machen, "Christianity and Culture," 1912

The essay in its entirety can be found here: http://www.marshillaudio.org/pdf/documents/ChristianityCulture.pdf

11 comments:

David Strunk said...

And I would add to Machen- "women" too. :)

Sarah Geis said...

Yes, there is a glaring lack of gender-neutral language here! ;)

Tim said...

Loved it! And there are more men [the usage is generic, whatever contemporary feminists may say] like that in the history of apologetics, too.

Sarah Geis said...

Very true, Tim. Thanks!

Daniel said...

But wouldn't adding anything like 'and women too' to a quote given in a time period of yesteryear take away from the quote and the respect of the author of the quote?

I think we should preserve quotations for what they are actually saying and deal with the consequences, not try to rewrite them. And I'm sure Machen "men" as in the neutral sense to include all people.

Sarah Geis said...

Daniel,

Agreed. I was actually being a bit sarcastic in my first comment, given Denver Seminary's gender-neutral policy. Unfortunately, sarcasm is difficult to detect in this medium! (Personally, I see the need for it in some cases, but I think that gender-neutrality can tend to read more awkwardly than non.)

Sarah Geis said...

To add one more thing: If I may speak for Dave, I don't think that he was arguing for a literal change of wording.

Daniel said...

I know. I just like to push his buttons on the issues I disagree with him about. It's reciprocal. :)

Sarah Geis said...

Ok. We're clear. ;)

David Strunk said...

Oh that's funny- didn't mean to set off a whole thing. Yes, as Sarah suggested, I wasn't trying to change the quote. I was only trying to extend it's logical conclusions. While it was mostly men (except the holiness movement and other charismatic enterprises) that engaged in direct church ministry in Machen's age, I think his quote can now extend to women of any stripe in any ministerial or lay function.

Daniel said...

Except Senior Pastor. :)