Category Archives: Theologians

HOW CALVINISM BECAME A GLOBAL FAITH

PMT 2017-024 by David C. Noe (New Horizons)

“In a bold act of defiance, comparable to flag burning today, the assembled ate the sausages served by the host.” This is how D. G. Hart begins Calvinism: A History, his comprehensive social history of the branch of Protestantism most familiar to Orthodox Presbyterians, namely the Reformed faith, which takes the biblical teachings of John Calvin and others like him as its guide. The story recounts an act of Lenten rebellion that broke out in Zurich in 1522. The priest Ulrich Zwingli attended this table of discord, and a month later he preached a sermon with the title “On the Choice and Freedom of Foods.” Continue reading

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SIN AND THE POSTMILLENNIAL HOPE (2)

PMT 2014-093 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.Dark cloud

In my last blog article I began a brief consideration of the challenge: How can postmillennialism have a hope for the future in light of the total depravity of man? This is a reasonable challenge. Our eschatology must be compatible with out theology. One doctrine should not undermine another: “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

Hal Lindsey complains that postmillennialists “rejected much of the Scripture as being literal and believed in the inherent goodness of man” (Lindsey, Late Great Planet Earth, 176). I would note, however, that postmillennialists do not believe in the inherent goodness of man, but Lindsey most definitely believes in the inherent weakness of the gospel. He believes that man’s sin successfully resists the gospel even to the end of history. Jonah also had a concern regarding the power of the gospel: he feared its power to save wicked, powerful Nineveh (Jon 1:2–3, 10; 3:2; 4:1–4). Continue reading

CHARLES HODGE: POSTMILLENNIALIST

PMT 2013-024 by Dennis Swanson

Hodge CharlesCharles Hodge (1797–1878) has been called, “the most prominent American Presbyterian theologian of the nineteenth century” and was clearly one of the most outstanding theologians that America has ever produced. Mark Noll presents this evaluation of Hodge’s contributions:

“[Archibald] Alexander’s student Charles Hodge (1797-1878) extended this theological viewpoint into a powerful system of thought during his fifty-six years as a Princeton professor. Hodge used the same sources that Alexander had employed to defend the glory of God (instead of the happiness of humanity) as the purpose of life, to affirm the power of the Holy Spirit in salvation (against views of human self-determination), and to champion the Scriptures as the proper fount of theology (against either human religious experience or the dictates of formal reason). Hodge once remarked proudly that there had never been a new idea at Princeton, by which he meant that Princeton intended to pass on Reformed faith as it had been defined in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.”

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WARFIELD ON POSTMILLENNIALISM

PMT 2013-022 by Benjamin B. Warfield

WarfieldJesus Christ the Propitiation for the Whole World

Note: Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1851-1921) was perhaps the leading Reformed scholar of his era. He was Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary (1887-1921). He was a strong proponent of postmillenialism. This is an edited form of his article by the same name.

The search for John’s meaning naturally begins with an attempt to ascertain what he intends by “the world.” He sets it in contrast with an “our” by which primarily his readers and himself are designated: “And he is himself a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the whole world.” John’s readers apparently are certain Christian communities in Asia Minor; and it is possible to confine the “our” strictly to them. In that case it is not impossible to interpret “the whole world,” which is brought into contrast with the Christians specifically of Asia Minor, as referring to the whole body of Christians extended throughout the world. Continue reading