Who says reviews don’t matter? “I could not put Hoffecker’s book down.” Seven simple words uttered by Dr. John Frame prompted me to pick up Charles Hodge: The Pride of Princeton by W. Andrew Hoffecker. The author makes a solid contribution to P & R’s American Reformed Biographies Series.
I first encountered Charles Hodge in Seminary. His piece on the decrees of God made an indelible imprint on my mind and has influenced my thinking since those early days. Hoffecker’s work puts skin on the bones that I was confronted with in my Seminary days. Here we find a man of courage and a man of deep conviction. Charles Hodge was a man willing to put his neck on the line and battle for truth. He laid the groundwork for men who would follow and continue to fight on the theological battlefield; men like B.B. Warfield and Gresham Machen.
A few highlights worth mentioning include Hodges’ faithful fight against liberalism. Like today, the liberalism of the 19th century was popular and would influence young minds if left unchallenged. Hodge was not content to sit by idly. He boldly confronted the pernicious error of 19th-century liberalism (which oddly enough is seeking to permeate the church once again – primarily through many emergent sympathizers).
The second highlight is Hodges’ unwavering commitment to Reformed theology. Call him a guardian, a defender, an apologist – or just a diehard Reformed theologian. Hodge may have been willing to sacrifice certain negotiable doctrinal points. But he drew the line in the sand when it came to the doctrines of grace.
Charles Hodge is a model of teaching excellence. He is a worthy example of what it means to stand for the truth in a dark world. Young pastors and seasoned pastors alike would do well to emulate the courage and conviction of the Pride of Princeton – Charles Hodge.