What We Believe

Faith and Learning: The Heritage of J. Gresham Machen

J. Gresham Machen was raised with the values of honest scholarship and confessional Reformed Christianity. That made him well suited for his studies and his later teaching career. These values were long held on both sides of his family. Machen attributed his exceptional knowledge of Scripture and his love for Reformed Christianity to his parents’ example and instruction. In this article, I will bring out some relatively unknown facets of his heritage. Machen received an essential element of his intellectual and religious foundation from his father, Arthur Machen. Arthur was confident that honest inquiry was useful, rather than dangerous, to the Christian faith—so long as reason never superseded the authority of Scripture. He viewed reason as a gift from God and free inquiry, “pursued in a reverent spirit,” to be “our vocation as rational beings.” While living and working in Washington, D.C., Arthur’s father, Lewis, chose churches based on conservative confessional principles, either ... Read more

The Personal Side of Charles Hodge

Charles Hodge (1797–1878) embodied the ethos of Old Princeton, whose two hundredth anniversary we celebrate this year. Hodge was not the passionate pulpiteer that Princeton’s first professor, Archibald Alexander, was. Nor did he enjoy the sheer brilliance of his celebrated pupil and successor, Benjamin B. Warfield. In the fifty-eight years that Hodge taught at Princeton Theological Seminary, however, he shaped more lives with his gentle good humor and unflappable fidelity to God’s Word than any other professor who taught there. He modeled for his students a learned piety that marked nineteenth-century Old School Presbyterianism at its finest. Princeton was appreciated by many, and despised by others, for its moderation with respect to many of the issues of the day, and Hodge embodied that moderation. He was, as Andrew Hoffecker has written in his new biography (reviewed in this issue of New Horizons ), an Old School Presbyterian with New Side sympathies. He reflected, for some of us, the best of ... Read more

The Legacy of Geerhardus Vos

“He was probably the best exegete Princeton ever had,” Benjamin B. Warfield once told Louis Berkhof. Abraham Kuyper was so taken with his academic acumen that Kuyper offered him the chair of Old Testament studies at the Free University of Amsterdam when he was only twenty-four years old. J. Gresham Machen commented that if he knew as much as he did, he would be writing all the time. Cornelius Van Til considered him the most erudite man he had ever known. Testimonies like these abound concerning Geerhardus Vos (1862–1949), professor of biblical theology at Princeton Seminary from 1893 to 1932. Possessing the rare combination of first-rate exegetical, philosophical, and linguistic ability, Vos produced books and articles that remain standard reading today in Reformed theology. Although he never joined the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Vos befriended many of his former Princeton students who did, and his theological influence remains in the church to this day. And yet, few men ever avoided the ... Read more

Planning for a Minister's Retirement

“Oh no! He’s talking about retirement again—funds, investments ... blah, blah, blah ... finance, hocus pocus, blah, blah, blah....” Before your eyes glaze over, read on. “I’m a minister, not a financier. Why should I be distracted from the work of ministry?” Don’t turn that page; read on. “We have a retirement allowance in our pastor’s salary package. He can take care of his retirement however he wants. That’s his business.” Elders and sessions, don’t tune out; read on. Find out why churches and their ministers should plan for their minister’s retirement, how the church at large can help, the good it can do for the church, and the relief from distraction it provides. So read on. [1] Biblical Underpinnings In the Old Testament, there are three principles that bear on the matter of retirement planning for the church’s ministers. One, the church was to provide for the present and future support and care of God’s ministers, as seen in the priests and ... Read more


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