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J. Gresham Machen

His first book, The Origin of Paul's Religion (1921) was a masterful and forthright defense of the historical truthfulness and supernaturalism of the New Testament. This volume is taken from the James Sprunt Lectures delivered at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia.

Machen is absolutely masterful in dealing with the anti-supernaturalism that was beginning to dominate the church in the early decades of the twentieth century. Although written 85 years ago it remains a model of biblical scholarship and warm piety.

"In an age when the nature and content of Paul's message are once again under scrutiny, evangelical and Reformed readers will benefit immensely from a close reading of Machen's masterwork. This book is an outstanding example of careful, patient scholarship that received high praise when it was first published and continues today to demand attention." - R. Scott Clark

"J. Gresham Machen not only believed, practised, and proclaimed Paul's gospel, he was also able to defend its authenticity at the highest scholarly level. Because 'The Origin of Paul's Religion' penetrates to the heart of the matter it continues to speak to contemporary controversies over the nature of the gospel and the Christian faith." - Sinclair Ferguson

"This is a most important book for our day. The Origin of Paul's Religion is a masterpiece in the defense of epistemological Foundationalism-the belief that there are basic and foundational beliefs upon which man's knowledge should be rightly based. In today's academic circles, this sort of animal is almost extinct. Postmodern Theological Relativists are watching over the zoo. They have no proper foundations.

To have a right understanding of the origin of Paul's Christianity is to have a right understanding of the origins of Christianity and the Church herself and her gospel to be proclaimed int he world. Like a beautiful perfume, if the essence is lost, so is the usefulness. The true origin of Christianity must be revived and taught again. There are foundations with the Lord Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the Word of God being the sure and steady cornerstone. Solid Ground is to be commended for their foresight." - Mike Renihan

"Today questions abound concerning Paul and his relationship to Judaism. Additionally, questions are being raised about the inspiration of Scripture and a non-descript (flash back a hundred years) 'evangelical doctrine of Scripture' is being peddled. In many ways, the current trendy questions reflect the old trends of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, to which Machen was forced to relate (for the welfare of the Church). It is good for us recollect the past and learn from the past and, for both recollection and learning, Machen offers much good to pastors and scholars alike." -C.N. Willborn

The Table of Contents is as follows:

1- Introduction of the Subject on the Origins of the Christian Religion (pp. 1-40)

2- The Early Years (pp. 43-68)

3- The Triumph of Gentile Freedom (pp. 71-113)

4- Paul and Jesus (pp. 117-169)

5- The Jewish Environment (pp. 173-207)

6- The Religion of the Hellenistic Age (pp. 211-251)

7- Redemption in Pagan Religion and in Paul (pp. 255-290)

8- The Lordship of Jesus (pp. 293-317)

INDEX (pp. 320-326)





Machen five

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What This Book Is About (In Machen's Own Words)

What This Book Is About (In Machen's Own Words)

In 1921, I had the honor of delivering the James Sprunt Lectures at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. The resulting book, The Origin of Paul's Religion, 1921, in which the lectures appeared in greatly enlarged form, deals really with the problem of the origin of the Christian religion. It cannot be doubted but that what is commonly known as "historic Christianity"-- Christianity of the main body of the Church--is found in essentials in the Epistles of Paul, whose genuineness is not denied by serious historians, whether they are Christians or not. Paul thought that his religion was based upon Jesus of Nazareth, one of his contemporaries, who had recently died a shameful death. If Paul was wrong in that, how did the religion of Paul actually arise? I attempted to pass in review the various generically different hypotheses which in modern times have been advanced to answer that question; and in doing so I endeavored to exhibit the inadequacy of all naturalistic hypotheses and present reasons to show, instead, that Paul's view of the origin of his religion is correct. In particular, I tried to show (1) that the "Liberal" or Ritschlian historians were right over against Wrede and other radicals in insisting that Paul possessed and cherished a knowledge of the real Jesus, but (2) that the radicals were right over against the "Liberals" in insisting that the Jesus whom Paul's religion presupposes is no mere teacher of righteousness but a supernatural Redeemer come into the world for the salvation of men. The true synthesis, I argued, is found only when that supernatural Redeemer, presupposed in the Epistles of Paul and presented in detail in the Gospels, is held to be the real Jesus who walked upon this earth (From "Christianity in Conflict," an autobiographical essay on Machen's life and works).