What is it that forms the content of that primitive teaching? Is it a general principle of the fatherliness of God or the brotherliness of man? Is it a vague admiration for the character of Jesus such as that which prevails in the modern Church? Nothing could be further from the fact. “Christ died for our sins,” said the primitive disciples, “according to the Scriptures; he was buried; he has been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” From the beginning, the Christian gospel, as indeed the name “gospel” or “good news” implies, consisted in an account of something that had happened. And from the beginning, the meaning of the happening was set forth; and when the meaning of the happening was set forth then there was Christian doctrine. “Christ died”–that is history; “Christ died for our sins” — that is doctrine. Without these two elements, joined in an absolutely indissoluble union, there is no Christianity.
–J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, original 1923, republished 2009), 23