Tuesday, December 12

Systematic Theology (3 Volume Set) by Charles Hodge

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Welcome to the Still Waters Revival Books video book summary for “Systematic Theology” (3 Volume Set) by Charles Hodge

“Charles Hodge was the principal of Princeton Theological Seminary between 1851 and 1878. He was one of the greatest exponents and defenders of historical Calvinism in America during the 19th century…. Dr. Hodge was a voluminous writer, and from the beginning to the end of his theological career his pen was never idle…. His magnum opus is the Systematic Theology (1871-1873), of 3 volumes and extending to 2,260 pages…. it must be remembered that 3,000 ministers of the Gospel passed under his instruction, and that to him was accorded the rare privilege, during the course of a long life, of achieving distinction as a teacher, exegete, preacher, controversialist, ecclesiastic, and systematic theologian…. He was conservative by nature, and his life was spent in defending the Reformed theology as set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Larger and Westminster Shorter Catechisms. He was fond of saying that Princeton had never originated a new idea; but this meant no more than that Princeton was the advocate of historical Calvinism in opposition to the modified and provincial Calvinism of a later day. And it is true that Dr. Hodge must be classed among the great defenders of the faith, rather than among the great constructive minds of the Church. He had no ambition to be epoch-making by marking the era of a new departure. But he earned a higher title to fame in that he was the champion of his Church’s faith during a long and active life, her trusted leader in time of trial, and for more than half a century the most conspicuous teacher of her ministry. The garnered wisdom of his life is given in his Systematic Theology, the greatest system of dogmatics in our language.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Hodge

Here is a sample of Hodge’s writing, “It may be naturally asked, why not take the truths as God has seen fit to reveal them, and thus save ourselves the trouble of showing their relation and harmony? “The answer to this question is, in the first place, that it cannot be done. Such is the constitution of the human mind that it cannot help endeavouring to systematize and reconcile the facts which it admits to be true. In no department of knowledge have men been satisfied with the possession of a mass of undigested facts. And the students of the Bible can as little be expected to be thus satisfied. There is a necessity, therefore, for the construction of systems of theology. Of this the history of the Church affords abundant proof. In all ages and among all denominations, such systems have been produced.

“Second, a much higher kind of knowledge is thus obtained, than by the mere accumulation of isolated facts. It is one thing, for example, to know that oceans, continents, islands, mountains, and rivers exist on the face of the earth; but it is a much higherthing to know the causes which have determined the distribution of the land and water on the surface of the globe; the configuration of the earth; the effects of that configuration upon climate, on the races of plants and animals, on commerce, civilization, and the destiny of nations. It is by determining these causes that geography has been raised from a collection of facts to a highly important and elevated science. What is true of other sciences is true of theology. We cannot know what God has revealed in his Word unless we understand, at least in some good measure, the relation in which the separate truths therein contained stand to each other. It cost the Church centuries of study and controversy to solve the problem concerning the person of Christ; that is, to adjust and bring into harmonious arrangement all the facts which the Bible teaches on that subject.

“Third, We have no choice in the matter. If we would discharge our duty as teachers and defenders of the truth, we must endeavour to bring all the facts of revelation into systematic order and mutual relation. It is only thus that we can satisfactorily exhibit their truth, vindicate them from objections, or bring them to bear in their full force on the mind of men. “Fourth, Such is evidently the will of God. He does not teach men astronomy or chemistry, but He gives them the facts out of which those sciences are constructed. Neither does He teach us systematic theology, but He gives us in the Bible the truths which, properly understood and arranged, constitute the science of theology. As the facts of nature are all related and determined by physical laws, so the facts of the Bible are all related and determined by the nature of God and of his creatures. And as He wills that men and women should study his works and discover their wonderful organic relation and harmonious combination, so it is his will that we should study his Word, and learn that, like the stars, its truths are not isolated points, but systems, cycles, and epicycles, in unending harmony and grandeur.”

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