The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic SummaryFred ZaspelCrossway / 2010 / Hardcover$28.99 Retail:5 Stars Out Of 5 6 Reviews
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Dave JenkinsCaldwell, IdahoAge: 25-34Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Great Introduction to WarfieldJune 1, 2011Dave JenkinsCaldwell, IdahoAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5about 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."
sheep23St. Charles, MOAge: 25-34Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5The Lion of PrincetonFebruary 17, 2011sheep23St. Charles, MOAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4The 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.
jasonMacon, GAAge: 25-34Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Massive and Incredible!January 9, 2011jasonMacon, GAAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The 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!
ToddOklahoma City, OKAge: 25-34Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Great resource for all interested in theologyDecember 20, 2010ToddOklahoma City, OKAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This 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.
Lee Buford5 Stars Out Of 5An excellent work!December 8, 2010Lee BufordQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The 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.