February 10, 2014

J. Gresham Machen on the Individual

By In C.Jay Engel

Here is Machen on the individual vs. modern collectivism:

“It is true that historic Christianity is in conflict at many points with the collectivism of the present day; it does emphasize, against the claims of society, the worth of the individual soul. It provides for the individual a refuge from all the fluctuating currents of human opinion, a secret place of meditation where a man can come alone into the presence of God. It does give a man courage to stand, if need be, against the world; it resolutely refuses to make of the individual a mere means to an end, a mere element in the composition of society. It rejects altogether any means of salvation which deals with men in a mass; it brings the individual face to face with his God.”


Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com
  • RA Jameson

    I love Machen and this quote is spot on. I just finished Mill’s “On Liberty” and though he wasn’t a Christian (at least not in an evangelical sense), he expressed similar sentiment. Democracy has done much to absorb the individual into the collective–yet one more reason to hate democracy.