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B.B. Warfield is well-known as one of America's leading theologians, perhaps second only to Jonathan Edwards. But until now the character of his own Christian experience and his understanding of the Christian life have remained unexplored. Fred Zaspel unpacks these for us here, and what we find is that Warfield's profound theological mind is matched only by his passionate B.B. Warfield is well-known as one of America's leading theologians, perhaps second only to Jonathan Edwards. But until now the character of his own Christian experience and his understanding of the Christian life have remained unexplored. Fred Zaspel unpacks these for us here, and what we find is that Warfield's profound theological mind is matched only by his passionate heart for Christ. From Warfield we learn truly what it is to live in light of the gospel.


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B.B. Warfield is well-known as one of America's leading theologians, perhaps second only to Jonathan Edwards. But until now the character of his own Christian experience and his understanding of the Christian life have remained unexplored. Fred Zaspel unpacks these for us here, and what we find is that Warfield's profound theological mind is matched only by his passionate B.B. Warfield is well-known as one of America's leading theologians, perhaps second only to Jonathan Edwards. But until now the character of his own Christian experience and his understanding of the Christian life have remained unexplored. Fred Zaspel unpacks these for us here, and what we find is that Warfield's profound theological mind is matched only by his passionate heart for Christ. From Warfield we learn truly what it is to live in light of the gospel.

30 review for Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Pendleton

    Really recommend this book. It is much less biographical and much more focused on Warfield’s theology and the practical living in light of it in daily life. Full of encouraging truth. Warfield went to great lengths to affirm and defend important truths such as the authority of the Bible and the divinity and humanity of Christ and why those are important doctrines. I even found parts of the book to be incredibly helpful for evangelism and explaining the claims of the gospel to others.

  2. 5 out of 5

    James

    I’m no expert on B.B. Warfield. As a student in (un)seminary I read some Warfield-his treatment on inspiration, providence and the nature of theology. I also have read a decent chunk of Counterfeit Miracles. What I do know of Warfield was that he was the end of an era. He was the last defender of a broad consensus in Evangelical theology. As one of ‘Old Princeton,’ in the tradition of men like Archibald Alexander, C.H. Hodge and A.A. Hodge he was one of the great minds of 19th Century Evangelica I’m no expert on B.B. Warfield. As a student in (un)seminary I read some Warfield-his treatment on inspiration, providence and the nature of theology. I also have read a decent chunk of Counterfeit Miracles. What I do know of Warfield was that he was the end of an era. He was the last defender of a broad consensus in Evangelical theology. As one of ‘Old Princeton,’ in the tradition of men like Archibald Alexander, C.H. Hodge and A.A. Hodge he was one of the great minds of 19th Century Evangelicalism in the Calvinist tradition. He was sholarly and able to pull together various disciplines. Schooled in Scottish Common Sense Realism, he was empirical in his approach and an opponent of the rationalism of higher critical readers of the Bible on the one hand and the emotionalism of much evangelicalism on the other. But what does Warfield have to teach us about the Christian life? More importantly, what does he have to teach me? Unlike Warfield I am not particularly Calvinist, not as empirical in my theology and not a cessationist. I am a postmodern, charismatic (albeit a cautious one) evangelical. What does Warfield have to teach me? In Warfield on the Christian Life, part of Crossway’s Theologians on the Christian Life series, Fred Zaspel presents the broad contours of Warfield’s theology with an eye to its practical import. Zaspel is a faithful interpreter of Warfield and the pages of this book are peppered with references and quotes from Warfield’s own works. This book is organized into five sections: part 1 presents Warfield’s personal background. Part 2 gives us a window on Warfield’s basic understanding of the broad contours of the Christian life. In part 3, Zaspel shows us Warfield’s view of our proper orientation and perspective as Christians (as simultaneous sinners and saints, as children of God, resting in divine providence). Part 4 presents the practical implications of Warfield’s theology and his advice on spiritual disciples. Part 5 has Zaspel’s summary reflections on Warfield which form a fitting conclusion to the book. Zaspel does not address some of the aspects of Warfield’s theology which many contemporary evangelicals might find controversial (i.e. his openness to theistic evolution and his cessationist views do not figure prominently); however, he does a great job of presenting Warfield’s insights into the nature of the Christian life as a supernatural reality. I really appreciated a lot of his theology and frankly, found Zaspel’s presentation inspiring at several points. Here are somethings I really, really liked: Warfield’s refutation of Keswick/Finney style perfectionism. I think he’s spot on and his view of the process of sanctification and our journey towards perfection does justice to human experience and the biblical account. Warfield is an apt defender of classic Evangelicalism and he is always thoughtful and challenging. I appreciated his thoughts on our goals and values, our orientation and our hope as Christians. Warfield’s exortations to imitate Christ and cultivate piety through various disciplines and prayer are an inspiration. He argues that piety is cultivated through learning (especially biblical learning), corporate worship, prayer, meditation and devotional reading. Warfield’s understanding of prayer as having both an objective and subjective basis, and objective and subjective result were instructive to me. I am always critical of authors on prayer who advocate too instrumental of an approach to prayer. In contrast, Warfield says our basis for prayer is Jesus Christ and (subjectively) our faith. The result is Communion with God and (subjectively) our answers to prayer. This approach does not deny that God answers prayer or that faith is important but stresses the real basis and goal of prayer. I love the intellectual rigor Warfield employed. This is not your typical anti-intellectual evangelical fluff. Warfield was thoughtfully engaged with scholarship in his age, while being prayerfully attentive to God in his study. Of course I don’t agree with Warfield on everything but I found this presentation of his theology instructive and challenging. Zaspel does a good job of synthesizing Warfield and presenting his views in a way that is engaging and understandable. and BB proves a worthy interlocutor for our age. I love the idea for this series and I think that we need to engage some of our great minds of the past. Warfield is a good choice. Thank you to Crossway books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for this review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    What a great man of God! He truly was an inspiration.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nehem

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I differ with the other reviewers here. They seem to overrate this book. How come I look up a video lecture on Warfield by the author and basically get the gist of this book in just an hour? Just about every paragraph is too repetitive making the same point over and over: 1) Christianity is a supernatural religion, a redemptive religion; 2) the chapters on the Holy Spirit and our sanctification have contents that are so similar to each other that they might as well have been just one chapter 3) t I differ with the other reviewers here. They seem to overrate this book. How come I look up a video lecture on Warfield by the author and basically get the gist of this book in just an hour? Just about every paragraph is too repetitive making the same point over and over: 1) Christianity is a supernatural religion, a redemptive religion; 2) the chapters on the Holy Spirit and our sanctification have contents that are so similar to each other that they might as well have been just one chapter 3) the chapters on our new standing and our childship to God could have been condensed to save the reader some time (though the chapter on the childship to God was quite well articulated and I was grateful for it) 4) the chapters 12 thru 18 blend in with each other like the overlapping 6 days of creation upheld by Hugh Ross; the following chapter would overlap with its previous chapter.. Some good stuff.. the intro chapter was quite informative on the man Warfield. The chapter on our childship to God was insightful -- Jesus calls the disciple his children, not just infants thru juvenile persons. Near the end chapter 19 on death was quite good, though I am not convinced by the author's argument that Warfield observrd that Paul was afraid of death. Maybe. Btw, I see that the cover was replaced by a new one since 2012. Why does the font differ from the rest of the series? Just curious. I guess I had my expectations a bit too high for my first book on Warfield. I might as well have picked up a free PDF version of any Warfield books to taste the writings of Warfield themselves.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mathew

    Theologians on the Christian Life First of all, if all of the books in this series are as good as Warfield on the Christian Life we have a lot to look forward to. The series takes theologians who balanced doctrinally rich study with evangelical Christian living and presents them to us an approachable and devotional format. There was such depth to what Warfield said when he talked about topics ranging from the Holy Spirit to the work of Christ to our sanctification. So many pop evangelicals pit ev Theologians on the Christian Life First of all, if all of the books in this series are as good as Warfield on the Christian Life we have a lot to look forward to. The series takes theologians who balanced doctrinally rich study with evangelical Christian living and presents them to us an approachable and devotional format. There was such depth to what Warfield said when he talked about topics ranging from the Holy Spirit to the work of Christ to our sanctification. So many pop evangelicals pit evangelical living against studying doctrine but church history and Warfield, more recently, shows us this divide is artificial, rather they are passionately intertwined. As a matter of fact, after reading Warfield on the Christian Life I would argue if you lack one then you have neither. The Holy Spirit Of particular interest was how rich Warfield’s understanding of the Holy Spirit was. He often gets a bad wrap within the Reformed resurgence for not understanding the richness of the Holy Spirit but I dare say the folks who make this claim have never read Warfield thoroughly. He argues explicitly for the supernatural nature of Christianity against the naturalism of his day. He also insists God can step in to human time if he sovereignly chooses. But the passion with which he speaks about the Holy Spirit’s love for us is astounding. Zaspel begins by setting the stage But to draw comfort from this clearly revealed truth--that the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, loves us also--this is too seldom the experience of the believer. But here it is for us, Warfield admonishes, intended for our use in just this way (cf. Rom. 15:30). And what a glorious thought it is, [Warfield says] that the Spirit of all holiness is willing to visit such polluted hearts as ours, and even to swell in them, to make them His home, to work ceaselessly and patiently with them, gradually wooing them--through many groanings and many trials--to slow and tentative efforts toward good; and never leaving them until, through His constant grace, they have been won entirely to put off the old man and put on the new man and to stand new creatures before the face of their Father God and their Redeemer Christ. Surely herein is love! . . . [and] what immense riches of comfort and joy this great truth has in it for our souls! (p. 88) Does this sound like a man who lacked an intimate understanding and relationship with the Spirit of God? A Prophetic Voice for Our Current Evangelical Kerfuffle The other astounding thing to me was how relevant and timely many of the issues he spoke about are for us today. The book is filled with highlighted passages where Warfield, you would have thought, was speaking directly to many of our current evangelical kerfuffles. The important thing to note is how when one passionately and faithfully expounds Scripture the need to over contextualize disappears. I fear so much of what passes for orthodox theology today will be worthless in 10 years because it’s over contextualized instead of overloaded with gospel truth which is timeless. Just to give you a taste: Christianity is not first about our reaching out to God. It is about his coming to us in grace, making himself know to us, his sinful creatures, in order to restore us to fellowship with himself. It is to this end that God has spoken. Thus, Christianity is a creedal, or doctrinal, religion. It is much more than that, of course, but is a creedal religion at the very least and at its foundation. God comes first and foremost with a message to proclaim. It is a religion grounded in and advanced by the proclamation of divinely revealed truth. And a right understanding of that message is fundamental to all that it offers. The rescue it promises come to us as this message is embraced, and our deepening acquaintance with this message advances the comforts and blessings it affords . . . . Warfield warns that to be indifferent to Christian doctrine is, simply, to be indifferent to Christianity itself. . . . [A]ll Christian theology is itself “directly and richly evangelically devotional.” . . . And throughout his writings the doctrine he expounds is consistently an exercise of and an expression of devotion to Christ. Communion with God is not a mere feeling for him. It is the experience of God himself, rightly--even if not fully--understood. And the Christian life, more broadly considered, is but the enjoyment of Christian truth rightly understood and gratefully experienced. (pp. 38-39, 40) It’s this kind of zeal for doctrine experienced evangelically and devotionally which struck me most forcefully when reading this book. Warfield cared about getting doctrine right because he cared about the gospel and knowing more about God. An Appreciation of Our Fathers I’ve said on multiple occasions on this blog that one of the things that’s missing most in evangelicalism today is an understanding of historical theology. If you understand the rich evangelical fervor which doctrine and deep gospel truths have sprung from then you cannot have an aversion to doctrine. We also have a tendency to think that the issues we face today are unique to us but we fail to heed Solomon’s admonition that nothing is new under the sun. How much would we benefit from sitting down with Warfield and allowing him to teach us about Christ? I dare say more than reading the majority of evangelical rubbish that’s written today. Therefore, do not hesitate to purchase this book. The writing style is approachable and you do not need a masters of divinity to access these truths. Warfield on the Christian Life would make a fantastic small group study tool, devotional, or discipleship resource for young believers. Zaspel has provided us with an invaluable resource.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jon Green

    Unlike the previous books I've read in this series (Luther, Wesley, Schaeffer) this book was very light on history of the man and very heavy on the theology and writings he left behind. I think in comparison to the other three this was clearly the right decision. The lives of the others were much more interesting in their ebbs and flows that lead them to their later works. For Warfield the story of his life was pretty simple but the content of what his life produced was astounding. The book draws Unlike the previous books I've read in this series (Luther, Wesley, Schaeffer) this book was very light on history of the man and very heavy on the theology and writings he left behind. I think in comparison to the other three this was clearly the right decision. The lives of the others were much more interesting in their ebbs and flows that lead them to their later works. For Warfield the story of his life was pretty simple but the content of what his life produced was astounding. The book draws heavily on his own writings and is best described as a survey of Warfield's beliefs and teachings on the christian life. There are extensive block quotes from his writings in here and the small taste you get is enough to leave you wanting more.

  7. 5 out of 5

    E

    Workmanlike look at Warfield's theology as it relates to the Christian life. One of the better entries in this series (which I have finally finished!) because it is thorough and well-explained. If I just said the name "Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield," you might just think "dry theologian," but Zaspel does a good job of dispelling that mistake. Warfield had a clear understanding of the gospel and how our walk is tied closely to Christ's own work. In other words, union with Christ is the key to ob Workmanlike look at Warfield's theology as it relates to the Christian life. One of the better entries in this series (which I have finally finished!) because it is thorough and well-explained. If I just said the name "Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield," you might just think "dry theologian," but Zaspel does a good job of dispelling that mistake. Warfield had a clear understanding of the gospel and how our walk is tied closely to Christ's own work. In other words, union with Christ is the key to obedience and sanctification. I'd recommend this work to all (after you've read Calvin, Luther, and Edwards, that is--still the cream of the crop for this series).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Adam T.

    It has become my usual practice to start with the theologians on the Christian life series before I begin reading primary source material. I have found them to be extremely helpful. This may be my favorite thus far. Warfield is truly a gift to the world in Christian life and theology. His love for Christ is central in all his teaching. He gives one of the most Gospel driven arguments for holiness that I have read, and his reflections on the Holy Spirit's love for Christians is breath taking. Thi It has become my usual practice to start with the theologians on the Christian life series before I begin reading primary source material. I have found them to be extremely helpful. This may be my favorite thus far. Warfield is truly a gift to the world in Christian life and theology. His love for Christ is central in all his teaching. He gives one of the most Gospel driven arguments for holiness that I have read, and his reflections on the Holy Spirit's love for Christians is breath taking. This is a fantastic read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    My favorite in the series so far. I did not expect Warfield's writing to be so gospel-centered and encouraging. I highly recommend this book to any Christian wanting to see the hope of their faith in Christ. My favorite in the series so far. I did not expect Warfield's writing to be so gospel-centered and encouraging. I highly recommend this book to any Christian wanting to see the hope of their faith in Christ.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mark A Powell

    Warfield, perhaps best known for his stance on Biblical inerrancy, also contributed much in other areas as well. Here, Zaspel expertly provides an overview of Warfield’s works and gives us insight into what it means to be a follower of Jesus. This book serves as the debut entry in Crossway’s spectacular Theologians on the Christian Life and it stands as a timely, thorough gateway into Warfield’s biblically-infused thoughts on what it means to walk with Christ.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Philip Taylor

    I wanted to give this book 4.5 stars as 5 stars would indicate near perfection. This is simply a brilliant book that makes me want to read more Warfield. What stands out? Warfield's obvious love for God and the way he communicates that so richly. I love reading a book that exceeds my expectations. For Warfield, the Christian life grows in the soil of Christian truth. I wanted to give this book 4.5 stars as 5 stars would indicate near perfection. This is simply a brilliant book that makes me want to read more Warfield. What stands out? Warfield's obvious love for God and the way he communicates that so richly. I love reading a book that exceeds my expectations. For Warfield, the Christian life grows in the soil of Christian truth.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ronni Kurtz

    One of the first things I ever read about Warfield. This book was the kindle for the fire of my love of Warfield. Recommend to anyone who is new to Warfield and wants to get a basic overview of what made him so special.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mark Loughridge

    A great introduction to Warfield and his theology. In-depth enough to be meaty, and yet short enough to make you want to get more of Warfield and read him. The main thing that struck me was the deep delight in Christ that drove everything he did. Full of great theology. Many parts highlighted.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    A nice intro to Warfield’s life and thought.

  15. 5 out of 5

    J. Brandon

  16. 4 out of 5

    Glenn

  17. 5 out of 5

    Randy B. Guerry

  18. 4 out of 5

    Austin Shaver

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charles R. Biggs

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  21. 5 out of 5

    David

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mirel-Andrei Neacsu

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Thad Yessa

  27. 5 out of 5

    Noah

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dave Anderson

  29. 4 out of 5

    Benoit Guillot

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ron Starcher

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