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A. A. Hodge

Pastor, preacher, missionary, theologian, educator, and churchman, Archibald Alexander Hodge (1823 – 1886) was the first-born son of Charles and Sarah Hodge. Born and raised in the pleasant and intellectually stimulating environment of Princeton, New Jersey, the young Hodge enjoyed the inestimable privilege of being nurtured in the home of Presbyterianism’s greatest biblical scholar and theologian in mid-nineteenth century America. Charles Hodge was a devoted husband and loving father to his children. The loving atmosphere that characterized the Hodge family home bore a rich spiritual harvest in the life of A. A. Hodge. Named after his father’s spiritual mentor and surrogate father, Archibald Alexander, A. A.’s life was embedded in the rich spiritual soil of the Calvinistic orthodoxy and redolent piety for which Princeton Theological Seminary was so well known.

A. A. Hodge graduated from Princeton College in 1841 and Princeton Theological Seminary in 1846. Having developed a love for missions, he and his young bride set sail to serve as Presbyterian missionaries in Allahabad, India. The couple ministered in India for only a few short years; health-related complications necessitated their return to the United States, whereupon A. A. served as a pastor in rural congregations in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

During these years A. A. began writing his major work, Outlines of Theology, which was first published in 1860 and later in a revised and enlarged edition in 1879. He was an emotional and captivating preacher whose popularity grew during the years of his pastoral charges. His gifts as a preacher, teacher, pastor, and author led to his receiving a call, in 1864, to serve as Professor of Systematic Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

In 1878 he returned to Princeton Theological Seminary as Professor of Didactic and Exegetical Theology. A beloved professor, he continued the theological legacy begun by Archibald Alexander and perpetuated by his father. His publications on The Atonement, a popular series of talks published as Lectures on Theology, and A Commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith, all demonstrate his self-conscious commitment to the Reformed confessional heritage, as well as the purposeful integration of piety and learning that Princeton Theological Seminary was founded upon. He also co-authored with B. B. Warfield an important article on the inspiration of the Scriptures that remains a classic statement on the subject.

An active spokesman against the dangers of nationalized government-sponsored public education based upon a foundation of scientific naturalism, A. A. Hodge supported an amendment to the United States Constitution that would affirm recognition of the lordship of Jesus Christ over the United States government. His outlook predates modern evangelicalism’s interest in the integration of faith with learning and the development of a Christian worldview which seeks to integrate all aspects of the created order under Christ’s lordship.

Additional publications by A. A. Hodge include an important intellectual and spiritual biography of his father, The Life of Charles Hodge. A compassionate man with a burden for the lost, Archibald Alexander Hodge’s life-long passion for missions and earnest preaching of the gospel — often with tears streaming down his cheeks — endeared him to his students, congregations, and community. He lived as a man who walked with God and whose life was spent bringing others into the same true and living way.

[James M. Garretson in Princeton and the Work of the Christian Ministry, Volume 2 (Banner of Truth, 2012)]

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