The first critical biography of J. Gresham Machen, examining the full arc of his intellectual career
J. Gresham Machen is known as a conservative hero of the fundamentalist-modernist controversy. But was he always so staunchly antimodernist?
In this sweeping new biography, Richard E. Burnett examines the whole of Machen’s life and career—from his early years at Princeton, to his experience in the First World War, to his founding of Westminster Theological Seminary . Burnett pays special attention to topics that have received little attention from biographers, like Machen’s crisis of faith and his support for historical criticism of Scripture.
Incorporating all of Machen’s major works as well as his previously unpublished private correspondence, Burnett crafts a nuanced narrative of Machen’s intellectual journey from enthusiastic modernist to stalwart conservative. Nuanced and thorough, Machen’s Hope will challenge scholars’ assumptions about Machen and his dynamic era.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Mark A. Noll Preface List of Abbreviations 1. The Early Life of J. Gresham Machen Family Home Church Congregation 2. Student Years in Baltimore and Princeton Johns Hopkins University The Religion of Daniel Coit Gilman Princeton Theological Seminary Princeton University The Religion of Woodrow Wilson 3. Student Year in Germany, 1905–1906 The University of Marburg Die Verbindung Franconia Academic Life Social Life The University of Göttingen Die Verbindung Germania Academic Life Social Life The Universities of the United States The Battle for Intellectual Independence The Religious Situation Machen’s Hope 4. Inner Doubts and Vocational Struggles The Impossibility of Entering the Ministry Familial Encouragement and Advice Persuading Parents of His Plan Confronting Fears and Maternal Opposition Faith, Facts, and Free Investigation 5. The Rise of New Princeton and Decline of Old Princeton The Triumph of the New Princeton The Eclipse of Old Princeton Life as an Instructor of New Testament Key Friends and Supporters Raising Standards at Princeton Seminary 6. Awakening to a Tremendous Defection A Deeper Intellectual Challenge: Lucius Miller The Collapsing Lines of Higher and Lower Criticism: Benjamin Warfield The Student Rebellion of 1909: William Armstrong A Good Old-Fashioned Fight: Harris Kirk The Divided Minds of 1910 Presbyterian Church USA Princeton University Reckonings Old and New 7. Scientific Preparation and Centennial Celebration The Scientific Preparation of the Minister Three Ways of Relating Knowledge and Piety Assimilation Isolation Consecration Modernism Princeton Seminary’s Centennial Celebration Supernatural Christianity Francis Patton’s Titanic Struggle Jesus and Paul 8. The Road to Ordination Broker within the Brotherhood Ecclesial Service Academic Politics Ordination 9. Wars and Rumors of War The European Front: Sympathy for the Unpopular Side The University Front: John Hibben’s Spiritual Philosophy The Emerging Fundamentalist-Modernist Front The Popular-Piety Front: Billy Sunday and Albert Fitch The Intellectual Front: History and Faith 10. The Battle Lines at Home and Abroad Standing in the Breach The Triumph of Religion The Blood of Martyrs The Roots of Religionism and Its Fruit at Princeton Civic Duty and Religious Work 11. The End and Beginning of War Postwar Perspectives A New Passion for a Good Church The Origin of Paul’s Religion The Battle is Now On The Death of Warfield Babylonian Captivity 12. Conclusion The Transformation of Machen’s Hope The Terms of Hope Supernatural Christianity Religion A Phenomenon of History The Substance of Hope The Resurrection of Hope The Queen of the Sciences Appendix: J. Gresham Machen, “The Universities of the United States” Works Cited
Richard E. Burnett is executive director and managing editor of Theology Matters. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) and was formerly professor of systematic theology at Erskine Theological Seminary. His previous books include Karl Barth's Theological Exegesis: The Hermeneutical Principles of the Römerbrief Period.
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