July 31, 2017

William Brenton Greene (1854–1928) on God’s Goodness

(3) His goodness, in all its forms, is boundless. It includes (a) benevolence, which has for its objects all sensitive creatures (Ps. CXLV:9); (b) love, which has rational beings for its objects (John II:16); (c) mercy, which has for its objects the miserable (Isa. LXIII:9); (d) grace, which has for its objects the undeserving (Rom. V:8). When any suffer, it is at least because this is right; it cannot be because of lack of power or of mercy in God. When sinners are lost it is at least because His justice so requires; it cannot be because God lacks either the power (Heb. VII:25) or the wish to save them (I Tim. II:4). Hence, “God is love” (I John IV:8). Though He is much else, love is that in which He delights. Moreover, as the expression of His love ever harmonizes with His justice, so His justice is always exercised in love. God never feels so much compassion as when He punishes most severely (Ezek. XXXIII:11).
W. Brenton Greene, Jr., Christian Doctrine (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1905), 15–16. On pages 32 and 36 he repeats his view that God wishes to save all. Compare this with J. Gresham Machen’s interpretation of 1 Tim. 2:4 and Ezek. 33:11. Machen also says, “He [God] wishes that all men shall be saved.”

PCA History

Upon Greene’s death in 1928, J. Gresham Machen wrote of him, “I loved Dr. Greene. He was absolutely true, when so many were not. He was always at Faculty and Presbytery, no matter how feeble he was. He was one of the best Christians I have ever known.”—Ned B. Stonehouse, J. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1954) 439.

No comments: