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The Theology of B. B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary Hardcover – September 2, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (September 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433513951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433513954
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,034,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“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, Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary; author, The Creedal Imperative and Luther on the Christian Life

“Well before the transdenominational 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, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

“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

“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, The Secret Providence of God

“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 Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California; author, Calvin on the Christian Life

About the Author

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.

More About the Author

Fred G. Zaspel (PhD, Free University of Amsterdam) is a pastor at Reformed Baptist Church in Franconia, Pennsylvania, and adjunct professor of Bible at Lancaster Bible College - Center for Urban Theological Studies (CUTS)in Philadelphia. He is also Executive Editor at Books At a Glance --

He is author of The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary; Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel; The Theology of Fulfillment; Jews, Gentiles, and the Goal of Redemptive History: A Theological Exposition of Romans 9-11; and co-author of New Covenant Theology and has published numerous booklets, articles, and book reviews.

Customer Reviews

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Another great interest of Warfield was God's redeeming work through Jesus Christ.
Ricky Kirk
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.
Lee Buford
I recommend every Christian take the time to read this book by Dr. Zaspel and learn from Warfield.
Dave J. Jenkins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Schwisow on October 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Throughout history there have been many who have defended orthodoxy against the onslaught of false doctrine and unbelief. One is reminded of Athanasius' courageous stand for the Trinity in the period surrounding Nicaea. Augustine's refutation of Pelagius or Luther's similarly courageous stand against the Papists and the system of merit which had obscured the light of the gospel. One could easily provide a Hebrews 11 hall of faith of the courageous defenders of the faith throughout the centuries. One man, while more recent than the above named men, easily merits a place in this hall for his defense of the faith once for all delivered unto the saints.

That man is B.B. Warfield, longtime professor of Polemic and Didactic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Before the liberal takeover of the seminary a few years after Warfield's death, Warfield taught and defended orthodox Reformed theology to thousands of students. Warfield wrote a voluminous amount which altogether would comprise dozens and dozens of volumes of essays, books, and reviews. Warfield was a systematic theologian but never wrote a systematic theology of his own. Since Warfield's writings (and therefore his theological views) are scattered in all different sorts of hard to find writings it is often difficult to get a full view of Warfield's contribution to theology. Out to remedy this problem is Fred Zaspel who has written a "systematic summary" of Warfield's theology which is essentially arranged like a typical systematic theology covering the major topics of the faith.

The book is essentially comprised of three parts. The first section provides biographical introduction and historical background concerning Princeton Seminary and Presbyterianism during that period.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Fox on October 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Theology of B.B. Warfield is a book that one can hardly believe has been written. What the author seeks to do is condense the voluminous writings of Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield into one book and include in it a brief review of his life and career as a pastor and theologian. To do this, he has used the 10 volume set, The Works of Benjamin Warfield, the two volume Shorter Works of Benjamin Warfield, several books of his sermons, many of his letters and the notes of his students. As Sinclair Ferguson notes, Warfield could have written a Systematic Theology of his own but he was content to simply defend and expound the Reformed Faith rather than try to improve on his mentor, Charles Hodge.

Zaspel tells us that Warfield started out as a pastor, taught for a brief time at Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and then began his long tenure at Princeton Seminary where he taught until the day of his death in 1921. Many acknowledge him to be the greatest Systematic Theology Professor ever to teach at Princeton Theological Seminary.

In this book the author summarizes Warfield's writings in the areas of Apologetics (which he saw as the branch of theology that establishes the truth claims of the Bible) and Systematic Theology (which he believed ought to proclaim the truth of the Gospel so as to move men to "love God, trust in Christ and hold him precious, experience the Spirit ministered blessings meant for him." (p 93). He dedicated his life to the presentation and defense of Christianity as a supernatural and revealed religion given us by God in the Scriptures.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ricky Kirk on October 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Author Fred Zaspel subtitles The Theology of B. B. Warfield with this descriptor: A Systematic Summary. Following a standard systematic theology outline, he has poured through the voluminous writings of B. B. Warfield and arranged them into an excellent summary of one of the 19th Centuries great theologians.

Zaspel has compiled an excellent summary, a compendium, of Warfield's theology and provides a resource Warfield himself did not put together on his own, but would no doubt appreciate. Quoting extensively from his writings, Zaspel weaves together some of the controversy that acted as a backdrop for much of Warfield's beliefs, most notably the belief in the inspiration of Scripture. Defending this belief was a daunting task in the face of emotionalism, higher criticism, and the rise of modernism. Warfield held to the Westminster Confession of Faith which is evident throughout his theology.

Another great interest of Warfield was God's redeeming work through Jesus Christ. This is evident in the writing of Warfield, and is well displayed in the content of the chapter on soteriology in Zaspel's work.

Warfield was masterful with words, not only as a theologian, but as a poet. Here is a stanza of a poem written by Warfield on salvation: "Holy is the Lord Almight,/Righteous past compare:/We are sinners, - who among us/ Can his vengeance bear?/ Lo the Cross! and One upon it/ Coming from above!/ O the Love of God Almighty,/ O His saving love!"

Until this work, I had no knowledge of B. B. Warfield. After reading through this comprehensive 'summary' I have found another great theologian in a long line of defenders of the faith.
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