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The Origin of Paul's Religion (Machen)

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Solid Ground Christian Books


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.

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction of the Subject on the Origins of the Christian Religion
  2. The Early Years
  3. The Triumph of Gentile Freedom
  4. Paul and Jesus
  5. The Jewish Environment
  6. The Religion of the Hellenistic Age
  7. Redemption in Pagan Religion and in Paul
  8. The Lordship of Jesus


"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


J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937) was professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1936 Machen was instrumental with others in founding what became the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and was its first Moderator.