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‘This splendid, thoroughly researched, two-volume history of Princeton Seminary reads like a novel. It tells the story of one of the key institutions that shaped the transformation of post-colonial, adolescent America into a world power, and that for the first time made the Christian faith global, carrying it literally to the uttermost ends of the earth. Calhoun has ‘the gift’, he makes historical characters spring to life. His story is more than the story of a theological seminary, it captures the essence of a whole century and a quarter (1812-1929) of the coming of age of America.’– SAMUEL HUGH MOFFET
‘What a blessing for mind and heart!’, ROBERT PETERSON, PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY, COVENANT SEMINARY
From modest beginnings in 1812, Princeton Seminary soon became an intellectual and theological school of great importance. Long before the death of its first professors its name was almost synonymous with erudite biblical exposition, carefully worked-out reformed theology and deep spirituality. Hundreds of ministers (Baptist as well as Presbyterian) and many outstanding missionaries passed through its lecture rooms, chapel services and communal fellowship to leave a permanent spiritual mark on the people whom they later served in the advance of the gospel. These
were men who believed that ‘preaching Christ is the best, hardest, sweetest work, on this side of beholding him.’ In this, the first of two volumes, we have the story with a wealth of detail and colour down to the year 1868. While the history of an institution, it is also a record of thought and action, trends and personalities. Backed by years of careful research, by his own long experience in the training of men for the ministry, David Calhoun has produced a work which must find a permanent place in the Christian literature of the English-speaking world.
Here we encounter the great Hodge lineage, the broad scholarship of B. B. Warfield, the brilliance of Geerhardus Vos, the emergence of the young J. Gresham Machen. And through them we are introduced to the army of men they taught, loved, and sent through-out the world to serve Jesus Christ. It is a story which enables us to catch a glimpse of what, under God, scholarship, seminary life and Christian fellowship can be.
But faithfulness to Christ and Scripture may well lead to conflict, as the Princetonians often stressed. One such conflict would eventually divide the faculty itself and cause the loss of some of its brightest stars, as Dr. Calhoun records. He has given us a narrative of joy and sorrow, surprise and disappointment, triumph and sometimes tears. All this and more lies in the story of Princeton Seminary between 1869 and 1929.
This is indeed a ‘majestic testimony’ and it leaves upon us the same conviction that Archibald Alexander’s grandson expressed at the Seminary’s centenary in 1912, ‘If the sort of theology which is taught here should die, and its enemies should grant it a decent burial, like the Lord of Life Himself, it will have a triumphant resurrection. For the Gospel which it teaches is an unconquerable forc