Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel
FRED G ZASPEL
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.
Part of the Theologians on the Christian Life series.
“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
“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
“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
About the Authors
Fred G. Zaspel (PhD, Free University of Amsterdam) serves as the pastor at Reformed Baptist Church in Franconia, Pennsylvania, an adjunct professor of systematic theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the executive director of Books At a Glance. He is the co-author of New Covenant Theology and has published numerous booklets, articles, and book reviews.
Stephen J. Nichols (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) serves as the president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries. He is an editor of the Theologians on the Christian Life series and also hosts the weekly podcast 5 Minutes in Church History.
Justin Taylor (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the 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.