Charles Hodge vs. John Williamson Nevin on the Lord’s Supper

from Aug 31, 2009 Category: Articles

In 2002, I published a book entitled Given For You: Reclaiming Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. On page 136, I made the following statement:

One of the most fascinating theological debates to occur in nineteenth-century antebellum America was the eucharistic debate between John Williamson Nevin and Charles Hodge that resulted from the publication of Nevin’s book, The Mystical Presence.

Nevin’s book was published in 1846. In April 1848, Hodge responded in a review published in the Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review. In September 1850, Nevin published a 128 page response to Hodge in the Mercersburg Review.

Since all of these documents are now available for free online, I thought it might be helpful to those interested in the debate to provide the links in one location. In order to read this important debate, just click on the links below. In addition to the three titles mentioned above, I have provided links to some other documents relevant to the debate:

Nevin - The Anxious Bench (1844)

Hodge - Princeton Review of The Anxious Bench (1844)

Nevin - The Mystical Presence (1846)

Hodge - Review of The Mystical Presence (1848)

Nevin - Preface to The Antichrist (1848)

Hodge - Review of The Antichrist (1848)

Nevin - Response to Hodge’s Review of The Mystical Presence (1850)

Hodge - Article “What is Christianity?” (1860)

It may also be helpful to those interested in the subject to note a similar discussion that took place in the Southern Presbyterian Church. In 1876, the Southern Presbyterian theologian John Adger published an article titled “Calvin Defended Against Drs. Cunningham and Hodge” in the Southern Presbyterian Review. That article is also now available online. The links to Adger’s article and to the relevant essays by Cunningham and Hodge to which he is responding are listed below.

Cunningham - 1862 Essay

Hodge - 1871 - 73 Reformed Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper (Systematic Theology, Vol. 3)

Adger - 1876 Article [Adger’s article is the sixth article in the list]

For a good introduction to Calvin’s view in his own words, see his Short Treatise on the Lord’s Supper.