The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary   -     By: Fred Zaspel
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The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary

Crossway Books & Bibles / 2010 / Hardcover

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Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1851-1921) was undoubtedly one of the greatest Reformed theologians in the history of America. As professor of didactic and polemic theology at Princeton University, he wrote extensively in defense of fundamental Christian doctrines.

While his writing touched on the full spectrum of theological topics, it was spread over hundreds of periodicals, books, and pamphlets, and a significant portion has never been published in an accessible form. Warfield stands as a dominant figure on the theological landscape, but few have a comprehensive grasp of his theology, largely because of the difficulty of tracing his ideas through numerous sources.

Fred G. Zaspel has spent many years studying Warfield's published and unpublished writing, and presents here a concise and coherent systematic theology per B. B. Warfield. For the first time ever, readers can, in one volume, access the content of this great theologian's academic, sermonic, and devotional works. Scholars, pastors, and students will profit from the unique combination of comprehensive detail and devotional warmth in this systematic theology.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 525
Vendor: Crossway Books & Bibles
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1433513951
ISBN-13: 9781433513954
Availability: Available to ship on or about 09/17/14.
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Publisher's Description

The first comprehensive, systematic treatment of B. B. Warfield’s theology. This single volume gives scholars, pastors, and students a concise account of Warfield’s position on all theological topics.

Author Bio

Fred G. Zaspel (PhD, Free University of Amsterdam) is a pastor at Reformed Baptist Church in Franconia, Pennsylvania, and adjunct professor of systematic theology at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Landsdale, Pennsylvania. He is co-author of New Covenant Theology and has published numerous booklets, articles, and book reviews.

Sinclair B. Ferguson (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is professor of systematic theology at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and the former senior minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina. He is the author of several books, the most recent being By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me. Sinclair and his wife, Dorothy, have four grown children.

Endorsements

“Serious Christians who have dipped into Warfield find his writings to be a wholly admirable mix of rigorous exegesis, mature theological synthesis, and frank devotion to Christ. Much of his work is known only to specialists, not least because when Warfield first published it, it was scattered over many journals and books. Indeed, a fair bit of it was never published. Zaspel’s Warfield remedies the problem admirably: one hopes and prays that it will entice a new generation of readers to delve deeply into Warfield’s contributions.”
-D. A. Carson,
Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“B. B. Warfield’s distinguished achievements as a systematic theologian have been obscured by the episodic, ad hoc publication of his major theological statements. But even if Warfield did not think it necessary that he write a single, connected systematic theology, it is nonetheless most welcome that Fred Zaspel has done the job for him! The result is a very useful compendium that gives both admirers and detractors of Warfield a full and coherent account of his theology. All who are in the least interested in Warfield or who care at all about vigorous Calvinist theology will find this a most valuable book.”
-Mark A. Noll,
Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

“B. B. Warfield does not need an introduction for evangelical Christians. He is well known as a major conservative theologian at the close of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. His scholarship in biblical, historical, and doctrinal fields was often without a match. As a Professor in Didactic and Polemic Theology in Princeton Theological Seminary, he was content to use the three volumes of Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology as the textbook and to pour out the fruits of his labor in a flow of searching articles in a number of theological reviews. Many of these have been republished in book form, but they have not been systematically arranged in one text. That is what Dr. Zaspel has done in culling from the great mass of Warfield’s writings his actual statements in the order they could have followed had Warfield written a one-volume Reformed theology. In this form Warfield may enjoy a renewed effectiveness for our age. With great enthusiasm I highly recommend this volume and hope it will receive a wide reception.”
-Roger Nicole,
ETS Co-founder and its Seventh President

“B. B. Warfield was without doubt the greatest of the theological minds of Old Princeton, and he remains a towering influence within both his own confessional Presbyterian tradition and wider conservative evangelicalism. Nevertheless, while his writings are still in print, clearly written, and very accessible, their occasional nature means that there is no convenient way of gaining from them a good grasp of the overall shape of his theology. Until now, that is. In this volume, pastor-theologian and passionate Warfield aficionado Fred Zaspel has produced a work of historical and theological synthesis that sets Warfield’s thought in context and offers a comprehensive account of his thought on the major loci of theology and the controverted points of his day. In this, Fred has left us all—the veteran Warfield fan and the neophyte—deeply in his debt.”
-Carl R. Trueman,
Academic Dean and Vice President, Westminster Theological Seminary

“Well before the trans-denominational convergence of what we now call the evangelical church, B. B. Warfield spent forty years as the Presbyterian Horatius, holding the bridge that leads into the citadel of the Westminster Standards against those he saw as spoilers from the wastelands of liberalism. A heavyweight academic and a complete player in the fields of systematic, exegetical, historical, and polemical theology, he scattered his wisdom in hundreds of articles, which this book surveys and integrates with great skill. Warfield can now be seen in his full stature as the godly giant that he was, thanks to Fred Zaspel’s labor of love. Best thanks, and hallelujah!”
-J. I. Packer,
Professor of Theology, Regent College; author, Knowing God

“This work is long overdue. That a theologian of the stature of B.B. Warfield should not have had a comprehensive overview of his entire corpus such as this one by Dr Zaspel says far more about the thinking of Evangelicals and the ranks of the Reformed in the twentieth century than it does about Warfield. This truly excellent and eminently readable work will serve both as a primer to Warfield's thought as well as an outline of the systematic theology he never wrote. Highly recommended.”
-Michael A. G. Haykin,
Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Director, The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies

“B. B. Warfield was the last towering figure in a long line of Old School Presbyterian intellectuals known for their unshakable faith in the truth of Scripture and their practical, experiential Calvinism. That strain of scholarly conviction had a long history in New England, especially in Princeton. Its seeds were planted by New England’s earliest Puritan ministers—men such as John Cotton and Richard Mather. It gained widespread influence (and set down roots in the soil of Princeton) under the ministry of Jonathan Edwards. It gave birth to Princeton Theological Seminary under the leadership of Archibald Alexander. Charles and A. A. Hodge carried on the legacy at Princeton Seminary, and when the younger Hodge died in 1886, B. B. Warfield became that institution’s fourth Principal. He also was its last great conservative theologian. Both profound and prolific, Warfield produced an invaluable body of theological and polemical writings that remain immensely influential—because the issues Warfield contended with are virtually the same issues that trouble the church today.

“Fred Zaspel’s work is the first detailed, readable digest of Warfield’s theology, and it is an immensely helpful volume. Dr. Zaspel puts Warfield’s published writings in clear perspective against the theological issues that dominated that era. He also shows how those same issues—and Warfield’s clear and persuasive teaching—remain relevant to us today. Dr. Zaspel writes with such clarity and simplicity that this volume will be a valuable help and encouragement to lay people and serious theologians as well—a highly recommended addition to anyone’s library.”
-John MacArthur,
Pastor, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California

“The great B. B. Warfield was essentially an occasional writer. His works are largely made up of learned articles, encyclopedia entries, and popular journalism. Fred Zaspel had the great idea of rendering this vast body of material into a compendium, a Warfield systematic theology. He clearly has what it takes to do the job superbly well: a love for his subject, care and attention to detail, and, above all, a thorough knowledge of Warfield’s writing. The result is a book that does not replace the Warfield volumes, but provides an accurate, thematic entry into them. It will be of inestimable benefit to all students of this outstanding Reformed theologian. Well done!” -Paul Helm , Teaching Fellow, Regent College; author, Faith with Reason “The ‘Lion of Old Princeton’ roars and purrs in this helpful survey. The author finely displays the passion and wit as well as intellectual credibility of Warfield’s remarkable work.”
-Michael S. Horton,
J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California

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  1. Dave Jenkins
    Caldwell, Idaho
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great Introduction to Warfield
    June 1, 2011
    Dave Jenkins
    Caldwell, Idaho
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    about this book from Dr. Zaspel, I was excited because it appeared that it would be a helpful introduction to Warfield's life and theology. As I read the book, I was not disappointed at all- in fact I was quite impressed by the content and depth of Warfield thought.

    Dr. Zaspel is correct in stating that Warfield was a voluminous author. Throughout the book it becomes clear that the reputation Warfield has as a theologian is well-earned. In reading this book a few things stood out to me. First, Warfield loved the God of the Bible, and secondly his love for God motivated the work he did. Warfield's obvious love for Scripture and for people challenged me. The goal of theology is not just to espouse what one knows but to help people. Warfield understand that theology should affect both the mind and the heart. I recommend every Christian take the time to read this book by Dr. Zaspel and learn from Warfield. While you may not agree with everything Warfield said I believe you will be challenged to think through what you believe and why you believe it. Dr. Zaspel has done a great service to the Church in this systematic summary of Warfield's theology, and I hope and pray you get yourself a copy of this book.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Crossway book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
  2. sheep23
    St. Charles, MO
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    The Lion of Princeton
    February 17, 2011
    sheep23
    St. Charles, MO
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    The Theology of B.B. Warfield by Fred Zaspel is a monumental achievement in both its scope (a systematic summary of Warfield's thought)and its particular attention to Warfield's vast output in writing to the theological issues of his day. As Professor or Didactic and Polemical Theology at Princeton, Warfield was a stalwart of the Reformed faith.

    The first section of the book builds the foundation of the history of Warfield's life and the history surrounding Princeton Seminary. Warfield's family was no stranger to the seminary, both Bejamin's grandfather and his grandfather's brother had attended the seminary (31-32). The goal of the seminary as Samuel Miller put it was a 'union of piety and learning (37). Throughout Warfield's life, his goal was the same, to lead a life of Christ-likeness while having a high regard to serious study which involved teaching and writing. Part of the center which holds the book together is Warfield's insistence that the bedrock of the Christian faith is the supernatural. Warfield states, "Now the age in which we live is anything but supernaturalistic: it is distinctly hostile to supernaturalism" (51). Warfield held the Scriptures and Christian doctrine as essentially in relationship to the supernatural work of God and that to believe otherwise was to give into the naturalistic assumptions of the culture.

    Sections three through twelve provide the reader with a summary of the major doctrines in connection with Warfield's thought. The wonderful insights that Zaspel captures bring the context into clear view as he sees Warfield as a giant theologian in the midst of ever leaning unorthodox culture. In the chapter Bibliogy, in which Warfield did his most popular work, he notes that, "Some of the critics sought to get around the traditional doctrine of inspiration by explaining away such primary passages as 2 Timothy 3:16. Warfield regarded this as an ironic turn of events-appealing to Scripture as authoritative in order to disprove its inspiration! (134-135). Yet, Warfield went to great lengths to prove that the Scriptures were God's words given to us through men. Warfield was no stranger to exegesis, theological synthesis, and logical arugmentation. In the end, Warfield went back to stand upon the witness of the apostles and Jesus as providing a solid stance for divine authority. For Warfield, if you did not believe in the authority of Christ, there was no way the authority of the Scriptures could be binding.

    The most illuminating chapter for me was the chapter looking at issues of anthropology in relationship to evolution. Many scholars such as Mark Noll and David Livingstone have wanted to paint Warfield as a full evolutionist. It is true that early in Warfield's career he did entertain the idea of evolution when Dr. McCosh came to Princeton. Yet, in his later career, Warfield does not seem to be so adamant about the veracity of evolutionary ideas. "The fact is that Warfield never overtly acknowledges evolution as true. The picture we have of him on this subject in continuously noncommital" (387). Nowhere does Warfield imbibe fully evolutionary thinking. He continually goes back to the creation accounts as providing the clearest expression of God's creative work. Through Zaspel's account of Warfield here, he takes a careful and studied approach. Zaspel is careful not to overstep the bounds of Warfield's thinking to put him into a certain camp (theologically or philosophically).

    This work by Fred Zaspel on B.B. Warfield is a wonderful synthesis on the theology of the lion of Princeton. Overall, the depth of analysis, the narrative of Warfield's life, and the overall feeling of learning much more than I started are part and parcel of the books strength. Lastly, as you read this book, it will make you want to pick up Warfield and read him again, or read some of his work that you failed to miss. Zaspel has done the church and the academy a great service through this work.

    Thanks to Crossway for the review copy.
  3. jason
    Macon, GA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Massive and Incredible!
    January 9, 2011
    jason
    Macon, GA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The Theology of B.B. Warfield by Fred G. Zaspel is a massive work. For one, it took me forever to get through and I can image what Zaspel went through when compiling this 600+ page tome. The book remains objective and informative and Zaspel prefaces this work by stating that he does not interject his opinions but rather lays the evidence out in a systematic fashion (he most certainly accomplished this goal).

    Warfield is falsely accused of only having written about the doctrine of Scripture. Zaspel dispels this assertion by scavenging through the various writings we have from Warfield (published and unpublished) and organizes them into a concise, yet informative, summary.

    Topics include: Apologetics, Bibliology, Theology Proper, Christology (two chapters worth!), Pneumatology, Anthropology and Hamartiology, Soteriology (great stuff in here!), Ecclesiology, Eschatology, and plenty of biographical information about Warfield.

    One of my favorite quotes found on page 68:

    "But certainly, before we draw it [theology] from the Scriptures, we must assure ourselves that there is a knowledge of God in the Scriptures. And, before we do that, we must assure ourselves that there is a knowledge of God in the world. And before we do that, we must assure ourselves that knowledge of God is possible for man. And, before we do that, we must assure ourselves that there is a God to know. Thus we inevitably work back to first principles. And, in working thus back to first principles, we exhibit the indispensability of an "Apologetical Theology," which of necessity holds the place of the first among the five essential disciplines."

    Warfield's Reformed faith & theological genius led the charge during the rise of Darwinianism and many theological changes during the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. He is sometimes hidden behind some of the theological giants of history like Augustine, Calvin and Jonathan Edwards. Warfield was a brilliant scholar and gentle man (pg. 33). We would do well to learn from Warfield and his impressive work.

    This book is 6 our of 5 stars as Zaspel does an absolute incredible job compiling Warfield's work and piecing it together for hundreds of years to come. Get this book and keep it next to your other systematic theology books!
  4. Todd
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great resource for all interested in theology
    December 20, 2010
    Todd
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is a giant of a book that reflects the giant of the man that this book is about. I enjoyed reading through it and learning from an academic and theological heavyweight from the past. If you are looking for a deeper understanding of why you believe the way you do, then work your way through this book. The end result is well worth it.
  5. Lee Buford
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    An excellent work!
    December 7, 2010
    Lee Buford
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The Theology of B. B. Warfield is an excellent compilation of the work, thoughts, and writings of one of America's most distinguished 19th century theologians. Fred Zaspel's work is thorough, insightful, and essential for those who desire to know Warfield in an unprecedented way.

    To be honest I had very little knowledge of Warfield prior to this book, but Zaspel does a wonderful job bringing the life and work of this man into clear focus throughout the book. An incredible mind (he graduated first in his class at Princeton), Warfield cemented his reputation and legacy as one of the brightest theologians of his day. A professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, Warfield's deep roots in Reformed, "Old School Princeton" theology were evident in all of his writings, and Zaspel does a marvelous job of sifting through and compiling many parts of the voluminous contributions Warfield made to the preservation and proclamation of his beliefs and understandings of the Bible.

    Confronted with the rise and emphasis on liberalism and doctrines that Warfield and others in his camp adamantly opposed as false and inaccurate, he devoted his adult life and teaching to setting the record straight at every opportunity. Quick to defend and preserve the doctrines of those who proclaimed the gospel before him, Warfield's thoughts on the emerging doctrines of his time were clear:

    "If everything that is called Christianity in these days is Christianity, then there is no such thing as Christianity. A name applied indiscriminately to everything, designates nothing." (p 48)

    Though not a book you will breeze through in one or two sittings, it is a book well-worth the investment, and one through which you will gain a deeper appreciation for, and understanding of, the man, the times, and the theology which he so vigorously championed. I recommend you read it.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway Books as part of their Reviewer Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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