08 February 2013

Princeton, Orthodoxy, Calvinism

In the early 1900s theological schools in America were quietly stepping away from the historic reformed convictions on which many of them had been founded. Princeton Theological Seminary, founded in 1812, was in its last years of withstanding this pressure, and in 1912 Princeton's president, Francis Landey Patton, triumphantly declared,
The theological position of Princeton Seminary is exactly the same today that it was a hundred years ago.
The same cannot be said for the school's second century. But before he died, at age 82 in 1924, a year after Machen's Christianity and Liberalism was published and in the rising thick of controversy at the school, Landey was invited to deliver a series of lectures at Princeton. J. Ross Stevenson was now president, under whom the school would take a left-hand turn to become more broad as several faculty left to found Westminster. In a statement that those loyal to Old Princeton enjoyed retelling in later years, Landey remarked of historic Calvinism:
I rejoice that it is a system so coordinated, whose doctrines so concatenated, which has been so logically constructed, that if discovered in some future age by an excavating palaeontologist, he would be forced to remark, "Gentlemen, this belonged to the order of vertebrates."
--Iain H. Murray, The Life of John Murray (Banner of Truth, 1984), 18, 24

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