Monthly Archives: July 2015

Spiritual Calling

“Apropos of Berlin’s emphasis on the professionalization of the ministry, Hodge clearly differed in his view of the task of the pastorate. Whereas the new model focused on the minister’s sociological mission, Hodge and his fellow Princetonians maintained the traditional view of the ministry as a spiritual calling and not a profession” (W. Andrew Hoffecker, Charles Hodge, 109).

Athens vs. Berlin

“Hodge’s astonishment at the preparation and practice of German pastors brings into focus perhaps the most significant impact of his European sojourn [Hodge’s two year hiatus, 1826-1827, to Europe for additional theological studies] . He witnessed firsthand the radical differences between Princeton as an exemplar of the traditional Athens model of theological education in America and the new German model that emerged in the early nineteenth century. . . .

“Berlin replaced Athens’ paideia with two distinct and potentially disparate functions: “Wissenschaft or orderly, disciplined critical research” on the one hand and “professional” education for the ministry on the other. Such a paradigm shift signaled the emergence of scholarly research as virtually an end in itself instead of a means to shape the spiritual life of the student. The only degree that Berlin offered, for example, was the doctorate. Instead of studying texts that exemplified a received and authoritative body of truth, the new curriculum treated all knowledge not as something fixed and established but as in the process of being developed. The operative term describing Wissenschaft was critical. Authority as something absolute and unchanging gave way to authority as the product of continuing research” (W. Andrew Hoffecker, Charles Hodge, 105-107).

Princeton & Paideia

“Another influential element in establishing Hodge’s lifelong practices came through his three years at Princeton Seminary. This influence resulted from the charter of the school, “Plan of the Seminary,” which mandated in detail not only the theological identity of the school, but also how it would in turn mold the lives of its students. The Plan, a remarkably detailed charter, consisted of eight articles outlining structure and governance, role of faculty, curriculum, and character and piety of students….

“Even a casual perusal of the Plan reveals the seriousness with which Princetonians undertook their mission. The Plan proved consistent with the college and seminary’s New Side heritage. Princeton therefore exemplified what David H. Kelsey has called the “Athens” model of theological education. The Athens approach, the oldest ideal of education in Christianity, held paideia, instruction, to include not only teaching theological content but also “culturing the soul.” “Schooling as character formation” stood foremost in pastoral training” (W. Andrew Hoffecker, Charles Hodge, 50 & 53).

Charles Hodge

“The thesis of this study is that Charles Hodge manifested the attributes associated with Calvinistic confessionalism (strong adherence to creedal religion, liturgical forms, and corporate worship) as well as the characteristics of evangelical pietism (the necessity of vital religion marked by conversion, moral activism, and individual pious practices)” (W. Andrew Hoffecker, Charles Hodge, 32).

“While the term New Side–Old Side Presbyterian might seem a contradiction if not an impossibility in principle, Charles Hodge managed to exhibit the best that each faction could offer in its heyday. Unabashed in his enthusiasm for sound orthodoxy coupled with Reformed piety, as churchman, theologian, controversialist, and writer on all matters of interest, he lived and worked as one of the nineteenth century’s most influential Presbyterians” (W. Andrew Hoffecker, Charles Hodge, 360).

American Presbyterianism: Old Side – New Side

“The Hodge family had a history of pietist activity within the church. They remained active in Second Church through successive generations down to Charles’s elder brother Dr. Hugh Lenox Hodge, who served as ruling elder. Thus Hodge grew up an heir of evangelical piety, familiar with its religious enthusiasm and activism. Hodge, however, also recounted other practices reflecting that in addition to pietism, his family retained important elements of Old Side confessionalism, an alternative and somewhat antagonistic expression of religious experience from that of New Side evangelicalism. Confessionalist Presbyterians, like their counterparts in Lutheran and Episcopalian denominations, explained religious experience primarily in terms of doctrinal faithfulness to church confessions and participation in the sacraments and corporate worship over against revivalist-inspired piety that characterized the Great Awakening. They stressed catechetical instruction and participation in congregational life under careful oversight of the clergy, which stood in contrast to the privatism and individualism of revivalism. Charles Hodge’s theological perspective and deepest religious convictions as well as his teaching, publishing, and participation in denominational affairs mirrored his family’s background in the internecine quarrels of these two rival traditions that competed in forming the identity of American Presbyterianism from mid- to late eighteenth century” (W. Andrew Hoffecker, Charles Hodge, 31).


“The conductor of a great symphony orchestra was once asked which was the most difficult instrument to play. ‘The second violin,’ he answered. ‘I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play second violin with enthusiasm–that is a problem. And if we have no second violin, we have no harmony'” (Kent & Barbara Hughes, Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome, 46).

New Music: Die Old by Mantric

Die Old

Artists all around. Work so hard to avoid happiness.
Oh, how deep you sound. But I’m not impressed.
What’s so wise about narcissistic whimpering, nihilistic failure?
It sure beats me.
But you won’t wipe this smile off my face.
I’ll think of sun when days are cloudy.
I’ll squeeze as much joy out of every given day
that I am man for, don’t get in my way.
‘Cause you won’t wipe this smile off my face.
Won’t close my eyes to the deeds of cruelty.
But what I’ll choose to embrace is beauty.
And I’ll stick to my plan – to die old with a smile upon my lips.

Hard Work is Fun Work

“Henry W. Coray, one of Machen’s students at Princeton and Westminster, recalled that Machen often said, ‘Boys, there are two things wrong with this institution: you’re not working hard enough and you’re not having enough fun.’ ‘You can’t be a good theologian,’ another oft-repeated admonition, ‘unless your a good stunter'” (Stephen J. Nichols, J. Gresham Machen, 187).

On Teaching

“‘Modern pedagogy has emancipated us, whether we be in the pulpit or in the professor’s chair or in the pew, from anything so irksome as earnest labour in the acquisition of knowledge.’ [Machen] then refers to the ascendancy of methodology, observing, ‘It never seems to occur to many modern teachers that the primary business of the teacher is to study the subject that he is going to teach. Instead of studying the subject that he is going to teach, he studies ‘education’; a knowledge of the methodology of teaching takes the place of the particular branch of literature, history, or science to which a man has devoted his life'” (Stephen J. Nichols, J. Gresham Machen, 179).