March 17 : Machen’s Profession of Faith

This Day in Presbyterian History:

A Stirring Confession of Faith

On Sunday evening, March 17, 1935, Dr. J. Gresham Machen filled the pulpit of the  First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  This time period was in the framework of being under indictment for refusing to cease and desist from the support of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Mission, as the Mandate from the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA, had stated  in 1934.  His ordination was thus at stake.  His standing in that denomination was at stake. Listen to his profession of faith given on that evening.

“My profession of faith is simply that I know nothing of the Christ proclaimed, through the Auburn Affirmation.  I know nothing of a Christ who is presented to us in a human book containing errors, but know only a Christ presented in a divine book, the Bible which is true from beginning to end.  I know nothing of a Christ who possibly was and possibly was not born of a virgin, but know only a Christ who was truly conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary.  I know nothing of a Christ who possibly did and possibly did not work miracles, but know only a Christ who said to the winds and the waves, with the sovereign voice of the Maker and Ruler of all nature, ‘Peace be still.’  I know nothing of a Christ who possible  did and possibly did not come out of the tomb on the first Easter morning, but know only a Christ who triumphed over sin and the grave and is living now in His glorified body until He shall come again and I shall see Him with my very eyes.  I know nothing of a Christ who possibly did and possibly did not die as my substitute on the cross, but know only a Christ who took upon Himself the just punishment of my sins and died there in my stead to make it right with the holy God.”

Despite what the ecclesiastical machinery of the Presbyterian Church would do, Dr. Machen’s conviction was settled.  He ended it all by stating that he would “rather be condemned for an honest adherence to the Bible and to my solemn ordination pledge than enjoy the highest ecclesiastical honors and emoluments as the reward of dishonesty.”

Words to Live By: Can you echo the words of J. Gresham Machen today?  Today the attacks continue upon both the written and living Word.  Let us affirm this confession today, until God takes us home.

For further study:
To read the full message delivered by Dr. J. Gresham Machen that Sunday evening, March 17, 1935, click here.

Through the Scriptures:Joshua 19 – 21

Through the Standards:  The Humiliation of Christ, according to the Confession

WCF 8:4a – 4i
“This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which that He might discharge, He was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it; endured the most grievous torments immediately in His soul, and most painful sufferings in His body; was crucified, and died, was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption . . . .”

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  1. Mary Peterman’s avatar

    This account thrilled my soul. Thank you for your deep commitment to truth and faithfulness to God’s Word.

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