Editor's note [John Robbins]: In the past three decades both political conservatives and political liberals have written a great deal of dangerous drivel about church and state. This desipience is beginning to affect government policy and the spending of tax monies. Recently William Bennett, secretary of education, advocated government financial support for Roman Catholic schools, and conservatives have advocated voucher programs to channel government funds into religious schools. This writer attended a national conference of Christian school principals in Washington, D.C., earlier this year and heard a speaker (who was neither a Christian nor a school principal) oppose legislation before Congress on the ground that federal subsidies under the legislation could not be channeled to religious day care centers. Within the past few months, William F. Buckley, Jr. was invited to address a major convention of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy on the subject of the impossibility of separating church and state. And last but not least, the agenda of at least some of the "Christian Reconstructionists" seems to include the use of civil authority to maintain orthodoxy.

Into the midst of this contemporary confusion we introduce Charles Hodge, who has been called the "prince of American theologians." Hodge was per haps the most influential Presbyterian theologian of the nineteenth century, an instructor at Princeton Seminary for decades, and the author of many books, including his three volume Systematic Theology. This essay originally appeared in Princeton Review in 1863. It is now taken from a recently re-released book of essays by a variety of authors edited by Iain Murray, The reformation of the Church.

John Robbins July/August 1988 The Trinity Foundation