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Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel (Theologians on the Christian Life) Paperback – March 31, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“If the only thing Fred Zaspel had accomplished in these pages were to point us to B. B. Warfield’s masterpiece sermons in his too-little-known Faith and Life, he would have done the church yeoman service. But he has done much, much more! In Warfield on the Christian Life we are given the privilege of sitting at the feet of a Christ-centered, Bible-saturated, gospel-loving theologian of the first rank and learning how to say, ‘To me to live is Christ.’ A very welcome addition to what promises to be a valuable series.”
Sinclair B. Ferguson, Professor of Systematic Theology, Redeemer Seminary, Dallas, Texas

“We are already indebted to Fred Zaspel for his work The Theology of B. B. Warfield—a book that has introduced a new generation to the voluminous writings of a Princeton scholar who was both New Testament interpreter and systematic theologian. Warfield’s style feels a tad impenetrable to many contemporary readers, but through Zaspel, Warfield, though dead, still speaks. But can any devotional and practical guidance come out of old Princeton? Zaspel’s latest contribution, Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel, does not simply answer with a resounding affirmative, but again faithfully unpacks Warfield and shows him to be a theologian of head and heart. Above all, Warfield is an integrated thinker, so he is ideally equipped to show how that which is central to the Bible, the gospel of God, rightly shapes the Christian’s entire life. And Zaspel makes this accessible.”
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Cofounder, The Gospel Coalition

“B. B. Warfield was one of the great thinkers in the history of the church, and his writings are a gold mine of biblical truth. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of his writings makes them largely inaccessible to today’s busy reader. But now, Fred Zaspel has done us a great service by distilling—into one volume—the essence of Warfield’s writings on the Christian life. This book should prove to be a valuable asset to all Christians serious about growing in Christ.”
Jerry Bridges, author, The Pursuit of Holiness

“B. B. Warfield looms large in the Protestant imagination as a theologian, one of the giants in the land. What is less well known are the details and dynamics of his own approach to the Christian life. Fred Zaspel has already written a substantial volume on Warfield as theologian; now he opens up for us the world of Warfield’s practical Christianity. Once again, fans of the great Princetonian are in for a treat, and are deeply and delightfully in debt to Dr. Zaspel.”
Carl R. Trueman, Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary; author, The Creedal Imperative and Luther on the Christian Life

“Following the publication of Warfield on the Christian Life, it will be impossible to continue to claim that Princeton theology was ‘all head but no heart,’ or that Warfield himself was little more than an Enlightenment rationalist.”
Paul Helm, Teaching Fellow, Regent College; author, The Secret Providence of God

“B. B. Warfield is among the greatest theologians America has ever produced, and Fred Zaspel is among his greatest living interpreters. Comprehensive, insightful, and remarkably compelling, Zaspel’s Warfield on the Christian Life is a masterful presentation of an understanding of the Christian life that values Christian experience and at the same time is ‘deeply and thoroughly theological.’ While Zaspel’s Warfield is a theological giant who enjoys the well-earned reputation as ‘a theological army of one,’ he is also ‘a theologian of the heart’ who recognizes that believers ‘live unto Christ . . . not out of a vacuum but out of a mind and heart captivated and inflamed by an understanding of God’s . . . saving activity in Christ.’ This book is an important sequel to Zaspel’s systematic summary of Warfield’s theology, for it explains how Warfield could insist that truth ‘fuels Christian living from beginning to end’ without falling prey to a kind of Enlightenment rationalism. Enthusiastically recommended.”
Paul K. Helseth, Associate Professor of Christian Thought, Northwestern College; author, Right Reason and the Princeton Mind: An Unorthodox Proposal

“As Fred Zaspel shows, the Princetonians—and Warfield in particular—were very far from arid scholastics. The Princeton theology was wedded to a Princeton piety that was warm, spiritual, and gospel centered. Warfield’s spirituality in particular grew from a profound encounter with Christ that was both personal and theological. Thank you, Dr. Zaspel, for showing us Warfield the christologian and man of God.”
Kevin T. Bauder, Research Professor, Central Baptist Seminary of Minneapolis

“‘For Warfield the Christian life is but the outworking of the gospel.’ Thank you, Fred Zaspel for bringing back to us the rich, contagious life and work of Benjamin Warfield. It satisfies the thirst this generation has for an authentic Christianity that flows from the deep well of a strong and informed theology.”
Matthew R. Olson, Former President, Northland International University

“Scripture and history show that spirituality rests wholly on a foundation of revealed truth, cordially received and loved. The best theologians have always been the most profound, trustworthy promoters of vital piety and transformation of life. We look to Augustine, Anselm, Calvin, Bunyan, Edwards, and a host of Puritan pastor-theologians as determinative of the truth of this observation. Now we must include B. B. Warfield in that imposing list of those who make clear the path, not only to live by the Spirit, but to walk by the Spirit. Fred Zaspel has condensed the marvelous insight contained in The Theology of B. B. Warfield and served it up as foundational to a robust practice of piety analyzed in this present work. Zaspel has laid out both the doctrinal and exegetical expertise of Warfield in showing how seriously he pursued true worship as the summum bonum of life. From divine revelation to the imitation of the Christ and the consummation of Christian hope, the Christian finds substantive truth on his side and is assured by that truth that God himself is near, to protect, direct, and finally perfect all the sheep for whom Christ died.”
Tom J. Nettles, Professor of Historical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, By His Grace and for His Glory

“I will reread, assign to my students, and give away Fred Zaspel’s book Warfield on the Christian Life, not because it is an excellent commentary on Warfield—though it is—and not because it is highly readable—though it is—but primarily because I am a better Christian for having read it. I was mentally and spiritually invigorated, and you will be as well.”
Joseph A. Pipa Jr., President, Greenvillle Presbyterian Theological Seminary

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.

Stephen J. Nichols (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries. Previously, he served as research professor of Christianity and culture at Lancaster Bible College. He is an editor (with Justin Taylor) of the Theologians on the Christian Life series and is the author of several books, including The Reformation, For Us and for Our Salvation, The Church History ABCs, and Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life.

Justin Taylor (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher at Crossway. He has edited and contributed to several books including A God-Entranced Vision of All Things and Reclaiming the Center, and he blogs at Between Two Worlds—hosted by the Gospel Coalition.

Michael A. G. Haykin (ThD, University of Toronto) is professor of church history and biblical spirituality at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. He has authored or edited more than twenty-five books, including Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church.

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Product Details

  • Series: Theologians on the Christian Life
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (March 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433528231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433528231
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,727,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel" by Fred G. Zaspel is an informative and helpful book for those seeking to integrate what the Bible says into their everyday lives. The subject of this particular work is the writings of B. B. Warfield, a 19th century professor at Princeton University who was known as one of America's premier theologians. His many writings, especially The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible put him on the theological map and continue to set the standard for robust, Biblical belief even in our day.

The book itself is fairly brief (231 pages) and is divided up into a number of topics which build upon one another to form a comprehensive theology of the Christian life. I greatly appreciated Zaspel's introductory biography which gives a feel for a man who is not simply some ivory tower intellectual, but is also a real man who has real desires for everyday people to understand God's Word. As well, Warfield's absolute love and devotion to his perpetually ill wife was both moving and instructive for a man who is well known for his productivity. "It was reported by those who knew him that `he has had only two interests in life - his work, and Mrs. Warfield'" (p.29). What a wonderful summary of a faithful man.

I was especially taken by the various quotations of Warfield that appear as vignettes throughout the book - while his longer quotations are imminently helpful, little one or two sentence quotations appear often and let us delve into the depth of wisdom that Warfield possessed. Such thoughts as "Gentlemen, I like the supernatural!" (p.19) and "We cannot do without the Scriptures; having them we need no other guide. We need this light to light our pathway; having it we may well dispense with any other" (p.
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For those unfamiliar with Warfield, Fred Zaspel has written a very readable introduction to the theology of Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1851-1921). Especially for those who are unfamiliar with the significance of B.B. Warfield's contribution to today's church, Warfield on the Christian Life goes a long way in a concise form.

Warfield is known to be one of America's greatest theologians, probably second to Jonathan Edwards in influence. As one of the "Old Princeton" theologians and a devout Presbyterian, Warfield is noted for his dogmatic defense of the doctrine of inspiration-having taught theology at Princeton Seminary from 1887 until his death in 1921.

Even for myself, having been seminary-trained in the Southern Baptist tradition, Zaspel's presentation of Warfield's theological writings was presented in well-written prose. At times, for those sections that are not explicit quotations, I was uncertain if what was written was Zaspel's personal theological convictions, or if they were Warfield's. Nevertheless, Zaspel's condensation of Warfield's theology on the different topics about the Christian life was especially digestible and enlightening.

The Holy Spirit:
I found Zaspel's section on Warfield's theology of the Holy Spirit especially helpful (chapter 7). In our day and age where this person of the Trinity has been described as the "forgotten God," Warfield's proclamation of the Holy Spirit is most needed. From Warfield, we are taught that we can be conservative theologically, contenders for the inerrant Scriptures and still have a strong dependence on the Holy Spirit.
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An excellent summary of Warfield's theology that gives us a vision of his profound understanding of God and the Christian faith. Warfield was an Evangelical warrior in a time when the church was slipping from it's grasp on the supernatural and glorious nature of the gospel. We owe much to him, whether we realize it or not, and he is a man that passionate lovers of Jesus ought to acquaint themselves with. There were reasons why he had such a profound impact on a man like Martyn Lloyd-Jones, for example, and hopefully those reasons will become apparent to those who read Zaspel's introductory work here. Best of all would be to read Warfield himself, but for those unfamiliar with him or unsure where to start, Zaspel's "Warfield on the Christian Life" and "The Theology of B.B. Warfield" may be the next best thing.
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Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield was a professor of Theology at Princeton Seminary from 1887 to 1921. He is rightly considered one of the greatest if not the greatest American born theologians America ever produced. B.B. Warfield's ministry continues to influence evangelicals today through the work he did across a variety of theological topics, but in particular his well-known work on the doctrine of Scripture and the person and work of Christ. B.B. Warfield is considered the last of the great Princeton theologians and the Lion of Princeton Seminary.

In the past two years Dr. Zaspel has written The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary and now Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel (Theologians on the Christian Life). Warfield on the Christian Life takes some of the material from Dr. Zaspel's previous work and places it within this book, but what's different about Warfield on the Christian Life is that its sole focus is on the Gospel while The Theology of B.B. Warfield seeks to examine the totality Warfield's theology.

One of the greatest needs for Christians today to understand is how their faith is not new but tied to other Christians who lived in real history. Modern Christians often only read contemporary authors which means they don't understand how Christians from the past have thought about the Christian life and doctrine from a time different than their own. While today's Christian has access to dozens of resources what they lack is an understanding of church history. Understanding church history is very important for contemporary Christians because the same theological and doctrinal battles continue to repeat themselves throughout the history of the Church.
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