Thursday, October 12, 2006

Machen Said it First

C.S. Lewis is often credited with the development of the "Liar, Lunatic, or Lord" argument concerning the divinity of Jesus. The Argument goes as follows:

Since Jesus confessed to be the Son of God, divine and human, then there are only three options for belief in who He is: (1) He is a liar, for He knew He was not the Son of God and professed to be so anyways. (2) He is a lunatic, in which case He truly believed He was the Son of God, but really wasn't. Or (3) He is Lord, that is Jesus is exactly who He says He was. If either of the first two option is true that Jesus is not only not God, but He's not even the "good moral teacher" that most would like to acknowledge Him as. For what good moral teacher is ever decietful or crazy? But if the third be true then we must bow our knees and worship Him.

This is a great argument and was developed and proposed by Lewis in his work Mere Christianity. But, as I have discovered recently, J. Gresham Machen, the 20th Century Princenton Theologian, suggested this line of argument prior to Lewis. The following is a quote from Machen's book Christianity and Liberalism:

The real trouble is that the lofty claim of Jesus, if, as modern liberalism is constrained to believe, the claim was unjustified, places a moral strain upon Jesus' character. What shall be thought of a human being who lapsed so far from the path of humility and sanity as to believe that the eternal destinies of the world were committed into His hands? The truth is that if Jesus be merely an example, He is not a worthy example; for He claimed to be far more (86).


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