We should trust the Bible, says Timothy Paul Jones, because it is ‘grounded in the words of a man who died and rose again’ (p.111). Jones’s basic presupposition is this: ‘If we live in a world where it is possible…
- Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust
- ISBN: 978-1-84871-161-7
- Pages: 574
- Price: 17.00
Pastor – Teachers of Old Princeton
Banner of Truth Trust
Star Rating: 3
This book contains an interesting collection of articles (mostly funeral addresses) recounting the lives of the leading teachers at Princeton Theological Seminary in the 19th and early 20th Century, beginning with Archibald Alexander and ending with B B Warfield. It provides an insight into the piety of the Seminary throughout that period as evidenced in the lives of its leaders, and shows that their often profound learning was combined with child-like faith. In the course of these cameos, the reader is provided with good devotional material (for example, the opening paragraphs of Charles Hodge’s sermon “He preached Christ”, preached on the occasion of the death of J W Alexander).
As is perhaps inevitable in a work of this sort, with many authors, the quality is somewhat variable, and the 19th century style makes for heavy going in some places. Also, for most of the men more than one address or article is provided, with the result that there is some overlap and also some imbalance in the amount of space given to each man (from 16 pages in the case of Alexander M’Gill to over 90 pages on Charles Hodge).
Perhaps the occasion for most of the addresses explains their biggest weakness. Notwithstanding James Garretson’s defence in his introduction, many of the articles’ authors fall into the trap of religious hagiography. For example, it does not seem appropriate to say that Archibald Alexander “came nearer to being infallibly right than any Pope” (p.24) – even if that is not saying very much! There is also the repeated breach, particularly in the earlier pieces, of our Lord’s instructions to call no man our father (Matt.23.9). The constant eulogising does grate somewhat.
Nevertheless, subject to this caveat, this volume contains much that is heart-warming and edifying, and is a telling demonstration of the truth of Proverbs 10.7, “The memory of the just is blessed”.