Section navigation

‘Pleading for a Reformation Vision’ – A Review by Stephen Westcott

Category Book Reviews
Date March 31, 2014

This interesting volume, Pleading for a Reformation Vision: The Life and Selected Writings of William Childs Robinson (1897-1982),1 is what a Christian biography should be; not just a laudatory ‘life’ (for we should guard against the tendency to a ‘Protestant hagiography’) but a work in two halves: firstly a detailed life of the subject, and then extracts from his writings, allowing the reader to both judge the man for himself, and benefit from his teaching. This is a difficult balance but one that David Calhoun achieves excellently, leaving the reader feeling that he has met William C. Robinson – and been blessed by the contact!

Robinson is little known in Britain, but his influence for good was widespread. Born into a Christian family in North Carolina in 1897 Robinson was converted early, and after training at Columbia Theological Seminary entered the ministry of the Southern Presbyterian Church in 1920. His pastoral experience was short, as his gifts as an inspiring teacher were recognised and he was called to a Professorship at Columbia Seminary in 1926: a position he held until his home-call in 1982! In this situation Robinson may be seen as the last in a distinguished line of famous Southern pastor-professors including J. H. Thornwell, B. M. Palmer, J. L. Girardeau and R. L. Dabney.

Robinson, however, was called to teach and train men to preach the everlasting gospel in a time and situation of ever increasing apostasy, as higher criticism, evolutionism, and ecumenicalism made their inroads, finally impacting the conservative ‘Bible Belt’ the US South and its theological Seminaries. Over the years Robinson became increasingly isolated from younger and more liberal colleagues and modernist students, although others made great sacrifices to sit under his teaching. It was these who Robinson saw as the real fruit of his calling – men who would go on to preach an uncompromised gospel to a needy world.

The second half of this book presents fine essays on the fundamentals of the faith and its practical application including: ‘The Trinity’, ‘The Meaning of Grace’, ‘The Saviour of Sinners’, ‘The Blessings of Worshipping Jesus’ ‘Predestination’, ‘God Incarnate for Suffering Men’, ‘The Joy of the Lord’, ‘Under His Wings’, ‘The Lamb in the Midst of the Throne’, plus extracts from ‘The Christian Faith According to the Shorter Catechism’, and others of more Southern Presbyterian interest, twenty-three in total (pps. 129-308). All are rich in content, relevant to contemporary issues, and of lasting value. In our present situation we are left wishing that the Lord had granted more W. C. Robinsons to his church!

As the book is published by ‘Banner’ it goes without saying that it is excellently produced and presented.

Notes

    •    

      Pleading for a Reformation Vision

      The Life and Selected Writings of William Childs Robinson

      by David Calhoun


      price $25.20
      Avg. Rating

      Description

      This interesting volume, Pleading for a Reformation Vision: The Life and Selected Writings of William Childs Robinson (1897-1982),1 is what a Christian biography should be; not just a laudatory ‘life’ (for we should guard against the tendency to a ‘Protestant hagiography’) but a work in two halves: firstly a detailed life of the subject, and […]

From the British Church Newspaper, March 2014.

Latest Articles

In Defense of Patriarchy February 19, 2024

The following post was published on the Reformation21 Blog, and is reproduced here by their kind permission. Last week I noticed that Ryan Gosling was nominated for an Oscar for playing Ken alongside Margot Robbie’s Barbie in last summer’s hit by the same name. Robbie, incidentally, was not so nominated. I won’t watch the film, but I […]

Ecclesiastical Suicide January 26, 2024

The following article first appeared here on October 26, 2006. In the light of recent developments across many denominations, most notably the Church of England, it remains a most necessary and timely piece. ‘The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.’ Proverbs 14:1 The mainline Protestant denominations […]