Charles Hodge Online

Charles Hodge has his own website now.

I’m taking a class called “Theology in Service to the Church.” Its subject matter is the practical theology of Charles Hodge, the most influential American theologian of the 19th century, and Karl Barth, the most influential Reformed theologian of the 20th century.

Barth is Barth. (In Freedom.) He’s okay, but he’d be better if an editor had forced him to cut out 75% of the end product.

But I’m warming up to Hodge. His Systematic Theology is available online and is still in print, but honestly I had not been tempted by it.

Apparently, however, the really good stuff by Hodge is in the Biblical Repertoire and Princeton Review. The readings we’ve had certainly bear this out. For example, the last assignment was to read an article he wrote in response to A Plea for Voluntary Societies and a Defense of the Decisions of the General Assembly of 1836 against the Strictures of the Princeton Review and Others. It begins:

We are disposed to think there must be, on an average, at least one misrepresentation for every page on this work.

Tell us what you really think, Chuck.

Bear in mind that he’s lost this argument. The G.A. has decided against him. But his complaints have provoked this response, which he now proceeds to demolish. More or less.

Certainly he isn’t opposed to voluntary societies in general, just not as trainers of missionaries. He only briefly mentions voluntary societies with different concerns like poverty, temperance, abolition, etc., here, because his concern is that missionaries should be educated in the Bible and in doctrine, and that only a denomination can do that properly. He argues for the training more than denominational control, which he simply asserts to be necessary.

Reason and experience alike demonstrate that the perfunctory examination before an ecclesiastical body is altogether inadequate barrier to the admission of improper men into the ministry, and that by far the most important security lies in the education and selection of the ministers themselves.

(I hope he’s wrong, because our denomination has pretty much abandoned the effort to regulate the educational process. Instead we rely on oversight of the product via mechanisms like the ordination exams, which are hopelessly unscientific but far from “perfunctory.”)

Anyway, love Hodge or hate him, you can find every issue of his BRPR from 1830 to 1882 have been put online. So go crazy.

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