J. Gresham Machen

Edwin H. Rian

One year has elapsed since Dr. Machen entered into his reward. On January 1, 1937, the Lord took him and he rests from his labors. As we look back it does not seem possible that twelve months have passed since our beloved leader departed to be with the Lord. Westminster Seminary, The Presbyterian Church of America and THE PRESBYTERIAN GUARDIAN have occupied the time with intense activity in order to entrench the work which Dr. Machen so ably began.

The Lord has honored those labors. Westminster Seminary now has one of the most beautiful campuses in America, made possible by contributions to the Machen Memorial Fund. The Presbyterian Church of America has increased its area of influence. And THE PRESBYTERIAN GUARDIAN is carrying the message of salvation to the far corners of the earth.

Dr. Machen’s contributions to Westminster Seminary and to The Presbyterian Church of America, and his hopes for these two institutions, have been much discussed. But very little has been written about his relationship to THE PRESBYTERIAN GUARDIAN and of his aspirations for that journal. It is altogether proper that something be stated about his aims for this paper.

First and foremost Dr. Machen was thoroughly convinced that a Christian cause could not prosper without a religious journal. When Westminster Seminary was founded and Dr. Samuel G. Craig was forced out as editor of The Presbyterian, Dr. Machen was insistent that another paper be launched at once. And so Christianity Today was begun. When that magazine changed its policies and altered its vigorous attack upon Modernism in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., in fact, when Christianity Today fell behind the vanguard of the struggle and began to vacillate, immediately Dr Machen urged the issuance of THE PRESBYTERIAN GUARDIAN. How farsighted he was can be appreciated by everyone. Westminster Seminary and The Presbyterian Church of America would be seriously handicapped without THE PRESBYTERIAN GUARDIAN. How could their work be efficiently promoted without it? So with his inspiration and by his generous financial support THE PRESBYTERIAN GUARDIAN was launched.

What were his ideals for THE PRESBYTERlAN GUARDIAN? Above all he wanted it to propagate, state and defend Biblical Christianity, that is, the Reformed Faith, simply because he believed with all his soul that this was and is the most consistent, full and logical exposition of the Bible. It alone will give men that full-orbed gospel of the Word of God.

He desired that the paper exhibit a certain dignity and excellence which would commend it to intelligent readers in all the world. While he asked for dignity he also felt the need of a flare for popular exposition of the truth. He combined these two qualities of dignity and clear, simple statement to a marked degree.

But beyond all of these he had a great ambition for THE PRESBYTERIAN GUARDIAN. He prayed for and dreamed of the time when it would be one of the most, if not the most, influential religious journals in America expounding the Reformed Faith. His eminence as a theological writer helped to speed THE PRESBYTERIAN GUARDIAN toward that goal. Under God we pray that it may be worthy to assume such a position in the future.

We feel, therefore, that THE PRESBYTERIAN GUARDIAN is so unmistakably bound up with Dr. Machen that it is proper for his name to appear on the masthead as long as the paper continues-which we hope will be for many years to come.

Reprinted from The Presbyterian Guardian, Volume 5, No 1, January 1, 1938. The OPC Committee for the Historian has made the archives of the Presbyterian Guardian available online!

Note: At the time of this publication, the name of our denomination was the Presbyterian Church of America. It was soon changed to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church as a result of legal action from the mainline Presbyterian church.


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