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Charles Hodge - Bitesize Biographies (Fortson III)

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Evangelical Press

In 1872 Professor Charles Hodge celebrated fifty years of teaching at Princeton Seminary in New Jersey. For a half century, Dr Hodge had trained almost three thousand ministers, missionaries, and professors who had carried the gospel message throughout the United States and many parts of the globe. During this period Princeton had been the premier seminary in the country, and no other teacher in America had come even close to instructing this many ministers during his career. Hodge shaped not only Presbyterianism and evangelical Christianity in his generation but would have a lasting impact upon generations of clergy in America who devoured his writings and found in them a source of great intellectual and spiritual nourishment.

Hodge lived during an era of great crisis in the United States. Living for most of the nineteenth century, he would witness the abolition tumult of ante-bellum America, the bloody War Between the States, and the ongoing struggle of Reconstruction. His own Presbyterian Church would experience its greatest division during his lifetime. In the midst of these national and ecclesiastical calamities, the pen of Charles Hodge was active, constantly seeking to build bridges between adversaries. Though a peacemaker by demeanor, he understood that there was also a time to take a stand. And stand he did against the early waves of liberal theology that invaded America in the nineteenth century. Widely hailed as a defender of truth, Hodge battled a rising tide that was beginning to erode the sacred shorelines of historic Christianity.

Table of Contents:

  1. Family and education
  2. The professor
  3. The great schism
  4. Seminary life
  5. The church question
  6. War and reunion
  7. Legacy
  8. The impact of Charles Hodge’s life



S. Donald Fortson,III: D. Min., PH.D.: Professor of Church History and Practical Theology. Director,D. Min. Program at Reformed Theological Seminary.



"Charles Hodge was one of the most learned and influential of Presbyterian in an era when Presbyterianism in America was known for its learning and influence. He remains important because his theology became the norm for much of later conservative Presbyterianism. Donald Forton's brief biography provides a nice window into Hodge's life and thought." - George Marsden, Author of Jonathan Edwards: A Life

"Don Fortson combines the virtues of conciseness and compelling detail in his biography of Old Princeton theologian Charles Hodge. Especially helpful are the carefully nuanced account of the Presbyterian schism of 1837 and appreciation of Hodge's breadth of interests taht spanned from Calvinism to American social, cultural and scientific developments. Fortson not only makes the gifted Princetonian accessible to a wide audience, but he admirably demonstrates the important legacy that he bequeathed American evangelicalism." - Andrew Hoffecker, Emeritus Professor of Church History, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, MS