Published on January 5, 2015 by Fred Zaspel

P&R, 2014 | 321 pages

What God did at Old Princeton in assembling such a stellar cast of devout, informed, world-class scholars for more than a century was unique. The depth of their learning, the fervency of their piety, and the breadth of their influence constitute a high water mark in theological higher education. And we all the better for it still today. Names such as Archibald Alexander, Samuel Miller, Charles Hodge, J.A. Alexander, J.W. Alexander, and A.A. Hodge were in their own day held in high esteem – and they continue to be so in ours – for the work they accomplished for Christ.

You’ve heard of these stalwarts of Old Princeton, and you may have dabbled here or there in their works. But are you familiar with the men themselves? Gary Steward, a very well informed enthusiast of Old Princetonia, wants to help. His new Princeton Seminary (1812-1929): Its Leaders’ Lives and Works is written to introduce these luminaries to a new generation. Each of the Princetonians listed above is presented to us, along with a selected survey-analysis of their work – a most enjoyable mix of history, biography, and theology. Interest in all things Old Princeton continues to rise, and Steward’s new book takes its place as the best first introduction to this important chapter of American church history.

Here is the endorsement I gave the book:

The giants of Old Princeton, marked by that marvelous combination of learning and piety, have left an impact for the gospel of Christ that only eternity will be able to measure. Their story is one that deserves to be retold, and we are indebted to Gary Steward for capturing its essence and telling it so well. For anyone interested in Old Princeton, this is a must read.

Here are some of the others:

David Calhoun, Professor Emeritus of Church History, Covenant Theological Seminary

“Many have found in Old Princeton Seminary an example of biblical faithfulness, sound theology, and missionary vision. Gary Steward has written an excellent introduction to Old Princeton, telling the story of its major teachers from Alexander to Machen and describing some of their most important writings. Read this book. You will be informed and blessed, and you will want to learn more about Old Princeton.”

James M. Garretson, Ministry Director, Christian Union at Harvard Law School

“While publications on the history, theology, and model of ministerial instruction propagated at Old Princeton Seminary continue to flourish, until now readers interested in learning about the spiritual convictions and theological commitments of its leading faculty during its first century of operation have had to rely on specialized studies on these topics. Gary Steward’s new work fills the publishing lacunae with an outstanding introductory study on the men and theology that shaped the institutional identity of the school from its founding in 1812 through the early decades of the twentieth century. Marked by the same interest in piety and learning that characterized the faculty of whom Steward has written, his volume is an exceptional combination of biographical, historical, and theological analysis well suited to serve as a gateway text to the rich spiritual history and literary legacy that Old Princeton Seminary has bequeathed to the church today.”

W. Andrew Hoffecker, Emeritus Professor of Church History, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi

“Gary Steward’s Princeton Seminary (1812–1929): Its Leaders’ Lives and Works contributes significantly to the renaissance of interest in Old Princeton. The sustained combination of scholarship and piety for over a century serves as Steward’s leitmotif. What emerges is the Princetonians’ breadth of vision that explored not only biblical and theological studies but all of life. Whether probing Archibald Alexander as the quintessential pastor, Charles Hodge’s editorship of the Princeton Review as ‘the true voice of the seminary,’ James Alexander’s call for a ‘Novum Organum of Christian philanthropy,’ or A. A. Hodge’s incisive wit and power of illustration, Steward’s lucid portrayal will incite readers to explore more of Old Princeton.”

J. I. Packer, Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia

“The quality and achievement of Princeton Seminary’s leaders for its first hundred years was outstanding, and Steward tells their story well. Reading this book does the heart good.”

Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary

“This latest addition to the Guided Tour series is a fine study of the men who made Princeton Theological Seminary such a significant force within the world of confessional Presbyterianism and beyond. Setting the stories of the institution and its great early faculty within the larger context of American Presbyterian and Christian history, Gary Steward introduces the reader not only to the great personalities of Princeton but also to key texts from their pens. He opens up not only the history but also the thinking of these men as they sought to articulate a passionate, heartfelt orthodoxy.”

David F. Wells, Distinguished Research Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“An entrée to the major figures of Old Princeton. It is an entrée, therefore, into the greatest tradition of Reformed theology in America, one that was deep, true, vital, and rigorous. This study is a gift to the church. It is informative, careful, and engagingly written.”

It’s a pleasure to recommend this book – a thoroughly delightful mix of history, biography, and theology.

Princeton Seminary (1812-1929): Its Leaders’ Lives and Works from Gary Steward on Vimeo.


Fred G. Zaspel


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Princeton Seminary (1812-1929): Its Leaders’ Lives And Works

P&R, 2014 | 321 pages

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