The Doctrine of the Spirituality of the Church In the Ecclesiology of Charles Hodge
Charles Hodge (1797—1878) was arguably the leading Old School Presbyterian of the nineteenth century. He was involved with all the great ecclesiastical controversies of his day, including the question of the spirituality of the church. In Hodge's hands the spirituality of the church functioned as a complex and subtle doctrine, not serving, as it did with some, as a "muzzle" for the prophetic voice of the church into society, but as a means of keeping its ecclesiastical focus from being swallowed by the political. For Hodge, the spirituality of the church meant that the primary calling of the church was not, first of all, temporal but spiritual, especially in its carrying out the Great Commission. Hodge believed, however, that even in carrying out its essentially spiritual duties, the scope of the church's concern was broader temporally than some partisans of the spirituality of the church constructed it.
Alan D. Strange