Chapter 1 from Machen

Brett Bechler
3 min readSep 13, 2020

This week I read and annotated chapter 1 of, Christianity & Liberalism, by Machen. I really enjoyed this week’s reading. Before, I had thought that this reading would be a drag quite honestly and wasn’t expecting much out of it, but I was wrong. After just reading one just one chapter I think that I will be able to get a lot out of this book. I have had a little experience with annotating back in high school, but I forgot the effects of it. When you annotate you force yourself to really think about what you are reading. You can’t just skim and fly by like you might in a text book or other reading for school. This helps me tremendously as I tend to rush when I do things, but when I annotate it makes me slow down and I just get a lot better grasp on what is being said. Another thing that annotating does is help you can go back and find your thoughts on a chapter just by flipping through the pages. You don’t need to reread everything to find out what was happening or how you felt, because if done effectively that should be shown in your annotations.

While I was reading and annotating there were a couple of main things that stuck out to me. One was on the very first page. Machen explains right away that he is not trying to decide the issue in the church or as he puts it “the religious issue”, he is just trying to bring light to it and help people understand what the two sides and arguments are. I think that this is so important especially in today’s world. Too often we have people trying to tell us what to believe and what not to believe and that doesn’t allow people to truly think about what they believe. Someone could just read the headline that their party posts and believe it and go all in without even knowing the details or the truth behind the story. So, the fact that Machen starts off by saying he is just going to present the issue makes me, as a reader, feel good about this book already and will allow me to draw my own opinions on the issue based on my personal beliefs and the facts provided.

Another thing that stuck out to me is the whole idea of science and religion. On page 4 Machen says “ Religion, it is said, is so entirely separate from science, that the two righty defined, cannot possibly come into conflict” and then goes on to say on page 5 “may Christianity be maintained in a scientific age?”, when posing one of the main issues in the Church today. This is something that I have had a lot of discussion about with teachers, friends and family. No matter how much we talk it still never becomes easy. This is a big issue, I fully believe as so many people are trying to find facts to prove Christianity wrong. Then people, who I talked about in the previous paragraph, see those so called facts and go all in on it and say it must not be true or possible, in regard to God being real. This is where they need to see the whole picture before they make their decision. I wholeheartedly believe that if pastors, or bible professors got even close to the same media, attention or even respect from the outside world there would be vastly more Christians today, and the devil knows that. That is why he is working so hard to promote the false media. This is something we need to be aware of as Christians and work hard to fight against and put out the truth.