Dr. George A. Gordon’s Reconstruction Of Christian Theology -- By: Albert H. Plumb

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 053:210 (Apr 1896)
Article: Dr. George A. Gordon’s Reconstruction Of Christian Theology
Author: Albert H. Plumb


Dr. George A. Gordon’s Reconstruction Of Christian Theology

Rev. Albert H. Plumb

The recent Anniversary Sermon before the American Board of Foreign Missions by the able and esteemed pastor of the Old South Church of Boston is entitled “The Gospel for Humanity.” The author’s idea of the gospel, and in what sense he regards it as for humanity, can be further learned from his volume on “The Witness to Immortality,” published in 1893, and his work “The Christ of To-Day,” issued in 1895.1

In these writings the author appears to hold the Trinitarian view of the person of Christ, the Unitarian view of the work of Christ, and the Universalist view of the consequences of Christ’s work.

The cardinal principle in this scheme of thought is a pure assumption, and consists in the supreme authority of an idea which is styled the consciousness of Christ, but which is really the author’s subjective sense or opinion of what Christ is now, by his Spirit, leading his disciples to think; an opinion which is rigidly maintained as infallible, in face of explicit teachings of our Lord to the contrary; these teachings of Christ, through his apostles and by his own lips, being waved aside as untrustworthy, because, to the author’s sense, they appear incompatible with the character of God.

The author’s confidence in his own ideas of the true meaning of the Scriptures is so genuine and prevailing that it saves him from all suspicion of the least taint of intentional fault

in his peculiar use of certain terms, such as Mediator and Sacrifice. For though it would seem he might have foreseen that they would usually be understood as carrying their commonly accepted meaning, a meaning which he studiously ignores or distinctly rejects, yet his conviction is manifestly so strong that he is using them in their only true sense, that we seem to see in him a laudable desire to correct, by his use of those terms, what he deems an unfounded and harmful conception of their significance. Indeed one of the crowning excellences of these writings throughout is their deep moral earnestness and high spiritual purpose. No one can fail to see in them the workings of a powerful and cultivated mind, with a passionate zeal for righteousness, profoundly interested in the great problems of religious thought, and sincerely desirous of contributing to their just solution. In this endeavor the author moves onward with all the energy and momentum of strong conviction. His course of thought is often impetuous and fervid, and sometimes of overwhelming argumentative force. He is aided by the charm of a poetic imagination, and he has a...

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