The church today is facing something similar to what Machen faced less than 100 years ago: Jesus divorced from Scripture, history, and the church. We saw it a few days back in Deepak Chopra’s “third Jesus.” Deepak’s jesus used scented lotions and came so we could realize our inner potential, so we might find self-actualization and inner tranquility. The Christ of Scripture, history, and the church is God in the flesh who came to save people from sinful self-actualization by becoming a bloody curse on the cross, by destroying death in his resurrection, and by ascending into glory where he now lives to protect his church. This is the gospel truth that Machen so ably defended.
“I do not think that what the New Testament says about the cross of Christ is particularly intricate. It is, indeed, profound, but it can be put in simple language. We deserved eternal death; the Lord Jesus, because he loved us, died in our stead upon the cross. It is a mystery, but it is not intricate. What is really intricate and subtle is the manifold modern attempt to get rid of the simple doctrine of the cross of Christ in the interests of human pride. Of course there are objections to the cross of Christ, and men in the pulpits of the present day pour out upon that blessed doctrine the vials of their scorn; but when a man has come under the consciousness of sin, then as he comes into the presence of the cross, he says with tears of gratitude and joy, ‘He loved me and gave himself for me.”
From “What the Bible Teaches ABout Jesus” in J. Gresham Machen, Selected Shorter Writings, edited by D. G. Hart (Phillipsburg: P&R, 2004), 30.