Presbyterians and Nonverts: 100 Years after Christianity and Liberalism

People who once identified with a Christian religious tradition but now identify with none are the fastest growing group in America today. Sociologist Stephen Bullivant labels these individuals “nonverts” and argues in his book of the same title that these individuals have had a profound effect on the changing relationship of Christianity to American culture. [1] Christianity is no longer the default setting in America. Christianity is now in a minor key; nonverts set the tone, and their music is secular. Surveys today place those who cite “no religion” as their personal religious preference as fifty-nine million people. Bullivant’s interest, however, is in trying to understand the forty-one million people who say that they were brought up in the church or belonged to the church but now are non-religious. One of his primary findings through extensive interviews and research is that nonverts are often antagonistic to what they perceive to be the injustices associated with the Christian tradition. ... Read more

What Machen Learned From the Classics

Historians have struggled to make sense of J. Gresham Machen. The earliest interpretations of conservative opposition to liberalism (in the church) looked to region and economics. Conservative Protestants were supposed to be rural, economically backward, and poorly educated. That outlook might have looked sensible to people who viewed conservative Protestantism through the lens of the Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee. But it made it very hard to understand Machen who was urban, wealthy—and especially well educated. He attended private schools in Baltimore before going to Johns Hopkins University where he majored in Classics. His mentor, Basil L. Gildersleeve, one of the most preeminent classicists of his day, was also an elder at the Machens’ home congregation, Franklin Street Presbyterian Church. Machen stayed at Johns Hopkins to complete a master’s degree in ancient Greek literature before he attended Princeton Seminary, where he found New Testament studies a congenial outlet for his academic ... Read more

Machen and Modern Mythology

This year marks a significant milestone in theological scholarship—the centennial of the publication of J. Gresham Machen’s seminal work, Christianity and Liberalism . Over the past century, this book has profoundly shaped discussions about the essence of Christian faith in relation to the modern world. At the heart of Machen’s book is the affirmation that Christianity is not merely a way of life; it is a doctrine. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, assumed our nature and accomplished redemption for us in history. This makes the Christian message categorically distinct from all other narratives. However, for classical liberalism, the Christian story is just one among many. In fact, the details of the story do not matter that much. What really matters for modern theologians are the ethical teachings the biblical story conveys. From those, we may seek to love our neighbor and strive for self-realization and a transcendent life. To the liberal theological mind, Jesus Christ of the Bible is ... Read more


+1 215 830 0900

Contact Form

Find a Church