January 23: Pearl Buck’s Admiration for Dr. Machen

Having previously reminded our readers of H.L. Mencken’s eulogy for Dr. J. Gresham Machen, here is another, from an opponent, as printed on the pages of THE PRESBYTERIAN, vol. 107, no. 3 (January 1937), page 4—published not long after Dr. Machen’s unexpected death on 1 January 1937, 


In the last issue of The New Republic, Pearl S. Buck has an editorial article, entitled “A Tribute to Dr. Machen.” She says of him : “In the days when he was hot upon the trail of my own too liberal soul, I received from him, in the midst of his public protestations, a private letter saying that he hoped I would not misunderstand his denunciations or in any way interpret them as being at all personal to me. He had, he said, the utmost respect for me as a person, but no respect at all for my views. I replied that I perfectly understood, inasmuch as this was exactly the way I felt about him, the only difference being that he had the same right to his views that I had to my own. He wrote again to say very courteously that I was completely mistaken, since views were either right or wrong, and his were right.” This testimony draws attention to the great courtesy which marked Dr. Machen’s attitude towards those who were at opposite poles from him. It is to be seen in his books when he crossed swords with some destructive critic.

[The Presbyterian 107.3 (21 January 1937): 4.]

Words to Live By:
Note Dr. Machen’s gracious note, sent privately. No Christian should ever strike out in anger against another human being. We can and must oppose all that error which is contrary to the Scriptures, but our criticisms need not be personal. We have every reason to extend a hand of grace and mercy, even while standing firmly for the truth.



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