In or around January, 1892, The Magazine of Christian Literature had begun running a series of articles on The Sovereignty of God written by Dr. G.W. Northrup (1826-1900), President of the Chicago Divinity School. These articles had already been published in The Standard. Though not so known among Baptists today, Northup remained an undeniable influence on Baptist theology during the last quarter of the 19th century and arguably well into the 20th. While serving as Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the Rochester Theological Seminary in 1866, Dr. Northrup was recruited as the first president and professor of systematic theology for the newly constituted University of Chicago Divinity School.
Baptist historian, William Cathcart, recorded these words about Northrup:
[Dr. Northrup’s] intellectual learning and capacity qualified him in an especial manner for a mastery of systematic theology; and his classes at Chicago enthusiastically testify to the grasp he has, and in their measure enables them to take, of the whole subject of Christian doctrine in its classification and in its verification. Although he has not as yet become known as an author, his lectures, alike in church history and in theology, have been made so complete and so full that, if they could be given to the world, they would rank with the most valued of the many books in these lines of theological study. (William Cathcart, The Baptist Encyclopedia, VOLUME 2:H-Q, p.711)
In his book, The Sovereignty of God, Northrup challenges his own theological tradition along many lines but especially the conventional understanding among Calvinists concerning God’s sovereignty and salvation. One of the lines of argument Northrup uses to object to many Calvinists’ understanding of sovereignty concerns infants dying in infancy.
Below are links to a series of articles related to Northrup’s criticism of traditional Calvinist beliefs about God’s sovereignty.
- The Western Recorder, Infant Salvation, and The Sovereignty of God by G.W. Northrup (Part I)
- The Western Recorder, Infant Salvation, and The Sovereignty of God by G.W. Northrup (Part II)
- The Western Recorder, Infant Salvation, and The Sovereignty of God by G.W. Northrup (Part III)
- G.W. Northrup on infants dying in infancy: The Western Recorder, Infant Salvation, and The Sovereignty of God (Part IV)