Charles Hodge On The Doctrine Of The “Adorable Trinity” -- By: Paul Kjoss Helseth

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 21:2 (Summer 2017)
Article: Charles Hodge On The Doctrine Of The “Adorable Trinity”
Author: Paul Kjoss Helseth

Charles Hodge On The Doctrine Of The “Adorable Trinity”

Paul Kjoss Helseth

Paul Kjoss Helseth is Professor of Christian Thought at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul, Minnesota. He earned his PhD from Marquette University in Systematic Theology. Dr. Helseth is the author of “Right Reason” and the Princeton Mind: An Unorthodox Proposal (P&R, 2010). He is also a contributor to Four Views on Divine Providence (Zondervan, 2011) and Reforming or Conforming?: Post-Conservative Evangelicals and the Emerging Church (Crossway, 2008). In addition, Dr. Helseth is co-editor of Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation in Postmodern Times (Crossway, 2004) and Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity (Crossway, 2003).


Shortly after the untimely death of his brother’s son in December 1850, Charles Hodge wrote to his brother Hugh gently to remind him that the only way to cultivate the kind of sorrow that “is [in] every way healthful to the soul” is to mingle sorrow “with pious feeling, with resignation, confidence in God, [and] hope in his mercy and love.”1 “The great means of having our sorrow kept pure,” Hodge counseled, “is to keep near to God, to feel assured of his love, that he orders all things well, and will make even our afflictions work out for us a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory.”2 But precisely how did Hodge encourage his brother Hugh to “keep near to God,” and in so doing to cultivate the kind of sorrow that works life and not death, the kind of sorrow that is best described as “sorrow after a godly sort”?3 In short, Hodge encouraged his brother to cultivate godly and not “worldly”4

sorrow by remembering the doctrine of the Trinity. “When we speak of keeping near to God,” Hodge maintained, “we mean God in Christ, and God as reconciled and made propitious to us by his blood. And Christ is near to us, and dwells in us, and shows us His love, and works all grace in us by the Holy Spirit ... If, therefore, God will graciously give you and Margaret the Holy Ghost, He will thereby give you Himself, and open to you the infinite sources of peace and consolation that are to be found in Him [alone].”5

Among other things, what this rather poignant exchange between Hodge and his brother serves to illustrate is Hodge...

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