The Doctrine of the Spirituality of the Church in the Ecclesiology of Charles Hodge
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Charles Hodge (1797–1878) was arguably the leading Old School Presbyterian of the nineteenth century. He was involved with all the great ecclesiastical controversies of his day, including the question of the spirituality of the church. In Hodge's hands the spirituality of the church functioned as a complex and subtle doctrine, not serving, as it did with some, as a “muzzle” for the prophetic voice of the church into society, but as a means of keeping its ecclesiastical focus from being swallowed by the political. For Hodge, the spirituality of the church meant that the primary calling of the church was not, first of all, temporal but spiritual, especially in its carrying out the Great Commission. Hodge believed, however, that even in carrying out its essentially spiritual duties, the scope of the church's concern was broader temporally than some partisans of the spirituality of the church constructed it.
“Carefully researched, copiously annotated, and enthusiastically written, these pages provide a vibrant and fascinating account . . . of issues that are still profoundly relevant to the church today.”
—Sinclair B. Ferguson, Teaching Fellow, Ligonier Ministries
“Strange’s analysis is well researched, balanced, and enlightening.”
—J. V. Fesko, Academic Dean and Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Westminster Seminary California
“Alan Strange gives Charles Hodge, arguably the leading nineteenth-century American Calvinist, the attention he rightly deserves.”
—D. G. Hart, Distinguished Associate Professor of History, Hillsdale College
“Essential background reading for Reformed thinkers who have an interest in cultural engagement.”
—Paul Kjoss Helseth, Author, “Right Reason” and the Princeton Mind: An Unorthodox Proposal
“Strange weaves thorough documentation into a riveting narrative.”
—Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California
“What should be the role of the church in the affairs of the state? . . . Provides helpful insight for the church today faced with the same difficult question.”
—Richard B. Gaffin Jr., Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary