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Warfield on the Christian Life (Foreword by Michael A. G. Haykin): Living in Light of the Gospel (Theologians on the Christian Life)
 
 

Warfield on the Christian Life (Foreword by Michael A. G. Haykin): Living in Light of the Gospel (Theologians on the Christian Life) [Kindle Edition]

Fred G. Zaspel , Stephen J. Nichols , Justin Taylor , Michael A. G. Haykin

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Product Description

Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield has been described as one of the most influential and important theologians in American history, second only to Jonathan Edwards. A prolific writer, he published on a wide variety of theological topics.

Warfield scholar Fred Zaspel focuses here on Warfield’s writing on the subject of the Christian life. The gospel, the good news of our salvation through Jesus Christ, is central to all of life for Warfield. Zaspel touches on such topics as Bible reading, prayer, holiness, and work, at every point showing how Warfield brings biblical and theological insight to the question of how we are to live in light of the gospel.

Part of the Theologians on the Christian Life series, edited by Stephen Nichols and Justin Taylor, this volume will help Christians think through what it means to live a God-honoring life before the cross of Christ.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 516 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1433528231
  • Publisher: Crossway Books (31 Mar 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007I6EJME
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #224,466 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to Warfield's thought... 16 April 2012
By The Lorax - Published on Amazon.com
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.43) provide insight not just into the man himself - though they do this; not just into Warfield's views on theology - but also they point us towards robust, Biblical thinking which is the greatest value of this book.

One of the more helpful topics that is broached in the book is the meaning of Christianity itself, which Zaspel notes that Warfield characterizes as a "sinner's religion" (p.51). What a great comfort this is - that our faith and religion are not meant for the perfect, for those who have their lives all put together, but instead our faith is rooted in Jesus Christ who knows full well our infirmities and yet still died to save all who believe!

Regarding our standing before God, Zaspel shows us via Warfield's thoughts in chapter 5 that the Gospel "is not good advice, but good news" (p.63). This leads into a helpful discussion on our salvation by grace alone and the resulting implications of God as not only King, but also righteous Judge. Later in the chapter Zaspel reprints Warfield's thoughts on salvation in that "the whole of salvation, `in each of its steps and stages, runs back to God as its author and furtherer'" (p.66).

I found Warfield's definition of repentance to be a breath a fresh air in our society which shuns any sort of personal responsibility for the wrongs that we commit and thus any need to change our course of life: "repentance is turning `from all wrong to all good, in which the trend of our life is altered, in which in a word, we turn our backs on Satan and all the works of the flesh, and our face to God and his service. The repentance of the New Testament is a total change of mind and heart, not only from some sins but from sin itself.'" (p.76).

Too, Warfield's comments on God's sovereignty and providence are hopeful: "The world may be black to us; there may no longer be hope in man; anguish and trouble may be our daily portion; but there is this light that shines through all the darkness: `We cannot be robbed of God's providence'" (p.140).

I found the most helpful parts of the book to reside near the end. On the religious life, Warfield has the following to say: "sometimes we hear it said that ten minutes on your knees will give you a truer, deeper, more operative knowledge of God than ten hours over your books. `What!' is the appropriate response...why should you turn from God when your turn to your books, or feel that you must turn from your books in order to turn to God?" and again: "Do we wish to grow in grace? It is the knowledge of God's truth that sanctifies the heart...There is no way so potent for awakening a craving for personal holiness or for arousing a love of souls in our hearts, as to fill the mind with a knowledge of God's love to man as revealed in his Holy Book" (p.163-164).

If there are any downfalls in this book then they are certainly minor in comparison to bringing Warfield's solidly Biblical thoughts to a larger audience. As with Zaspel's previous work, I found myself wishing for more quotes from Warfield himself and less of Zaspel's commentary on Warfield. But the more that I think of it, I'm not sure this is a fair charge to make so much as an unavoidable shortfall to be aware of. Zaspel is summarizing a massive amount of literature into a single, reasonably accessible work and to do this he must restate some of Warfield's thought in other words. This comment, though, should be taken in a helpful light: let this summary of Warfield drive us to the works of the man himself. And let us not end there, but let the words of Warfield drive us to the Scriptures themselves and to the God who is revealed in them!

Quibbles aside, I found this book to be a helpful one for those who wish to taste of the deep well of B. B. Warfield. Far be it for any to describe Warfield himself as a dry and dusty theologian after reading through and hearing his heart on the Christian life. Take up and read and you will find that the effort is well worth it to replenish your mind and to enable you to give God-honoring service with your life.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I wish to note that the publisher of this book, Crossway, provided it to me at no cost as a review sample. That said, my review is in no way influenced or controlled by them and thus I write my review of this book with honesty and integrity.)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A helpful book for the Gospel-Centered Movement 7 May 2012
By Dave J. Jenkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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. Contemporary Christians must understanding church history in order to contend, defend and proclaim the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christianity. Understanding church history is especially important for discipleship as it helps Christians to understand their place within the redemptive history of God's people.

In this new series of books titled Theologians on the Christian Life series editors Stephen J. Nichols and Justin Taylor seek to fill a need for contemporary Christians by helping them to "Explore the many rooms in the mansion of church history" (11). This series promises to "Explore many different places, times, models, approaches and emphasizes" (11). This series, "Aims to help us in the present to listen to the past in order to live the Christian life" (11).

In this first volume of this series, Dr. Zaspel in Warfield on the Christian Life examines the background and thought of B.B. Warfield, then turns to examine his beliefs about Scripture, redemption, conversion, the Holy Spirit, sanctification, and living in response to the Gospel.

In the past five years or more there has been scores of books written on what the Gospel is, and how Christians are to live out the Christian life but what is missing in the current Gospel-centered movement is an understanding of what the Church has taught on the Gospel in the last two thousand years. Dr. Zaspel's newest book examining the thinking of B.B. Warfield will help those involved in the current Gospel-centered movement to understand what one of the best theologians in Church history thought about the Gospel. While some may disagree with B.B. Warfield on various points, I believe all evangelicals will find as I have that B.B. Warfield is a trusted theologian for a reason as his mind and heart were thoroughly saturated in the Word of God and enflamed by the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I whole-heartedly recommend you get a copy of Warfield on the Christian Life and look for other books in this series as they are published by Crossway in order to understand the places and times different from our own along with the different models, approaches and emphases taken by well-known Christians throughout the history of the Church.

Title: Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel (Theologians on the Christian Life)

Author: Fred G. Zaspel

Publisher: Crossway (2012)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Crossway 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."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great little gem 1 May 2012
By ta ethica - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Zaspel, Fred G., 'Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel'. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012, 240 pp, pb.*

One of the most exciting movements in recent times has been a resurgence and renewed interest in the Old Princeton and her theologians such as Hodge and Warfield--whether it be the new biographies on Charles Hodge (here and here), a systematic summary of Warfield's theology (here), or a much needed correction to the erroneous epistemological views imputed to the Princetonians (here). Zaspel, who is already considered a noted expert on Warfield and author of a large book summarizing Warfield's theology, has written a little gem with his latest book (which as he mentions in the introduction, it is really a distillation of his much larger work on Warfield's theology).

Part 1 focuses on Warfield's background and life, with chapter 1 giving a brief summary of his life and chapter 2 focusing on Warfield's effort and desire to ensure that theology and practical piety are always closely wedded with one another.

Parts 2 and 3 read like a brief and breezy systematic theology where Zaspel covers loci such as Scripture, redemption, justification, sanctification, conversion, pneumatology, adoption, and providence, all which are found in Warfield's writings.

After focusing on various doctrines, part 4 focuses on the Christian's response to the Gospel. Here is where the book especially shines and where the title 'Living in Light of the Gospel 'is wonderfully explained. Zaspel covers pertinent topics such as Christlikeness, cultivating practical piety, prayer, the pursuit of holiness, and the future hope of glory, all of which are a response to what God has done for us.

I would highly recommend this book to those who are looking for a brief introduction to Warfield's thought. The book reads breezily (I read it in one sitting) and enjoyably. For those looking for a much more in depth study of Warfield's theology, I would point them to Zaspel's much longer work summarizing Warfield's theology.

4 out of 5 stars

*Review copy graciously provided by Crossway
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intimate view into Warfield's heart 30 April 2012
By sixsteps - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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.

STRENGTHS
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.

Zaspel helpful writes of Warfield's Spirit beliefs in terms of (1) the conviction of the Holy Spirit, (2) the sealing of the Spirit, (3) the Spirit's testimony in our sonship, (4) the love of the Spirit, (5) the leading of the Spirit, (6) spiritual strengthening, and (7) the Spirit's help in our praying. I don't know if you could say that Warfield was "charismatic" in this theology, but it is evident that he has a high regard for the Holy Spirit. Yet his emphasis on a correct understanding to the Spirit is not at the expense of his doctrine of inspiration: Zaspel grounds every point he makes about Warfield's beliefs on the Spirit in Scripture. Even by way of example, Warfield shows us that the Spirit-filled Spirit-gifted Christian is a person wholly devoted to God's Word.

Contra "Higher Life" Teachings:
While we may find the recent "gospel-centered" movement to be a new development, Warfield had written and taught much from this perspective even a century ago. We can see this in Chapter 8 where Zaspel shows Warfield's emphasis of the Christian life as an outworking of the gospel, holiness as an entailment of salvation. Because we have been united with Christ, Warfield aptly contends that it should be an experiential truth-that if we died with Christ, we also rose again with him. Such a resurrection has significant implications for our sanctification.

And so it is most appropriate that Warfield is adamant in writing against the heretical dogmas of the "higher life" teachers (cf. Keswick theology, "victorious life" teachers). My own church upbringing in the Christian and Missionary Alliance was wrought if this very Higher Life teachings-"Let go and let God!" theology-in a very hidden way. How often have we been taught that in our Christian life, all we need to do is "do your best, and God will do the rest!" ? I still know some who teach and proclaim such a thing-that it is possible to not sin on this side of eternity, if only we would surrender all of our life to God!

How could Christians be so skewed in their understanding of Christian life? Warfield would not be fazed by such aberrant teachings: he contended for a robust doctrine of sanctification that is not passive but aggressive, it is initial, progressive and yet also a final sanctification. To Warfield, Christians who've reached the "higher life" may be gaining victory of sinning, but they are certainly not gaining victory over sin-the old nature. When a Christian is made righteous, he is no longer under sin's dominion. Period. There cannot be a Christian with a carnal nature! Zaspel thus writes succinctly,

>>Against all this Warfield expounds the doctrine of sanctification in terms of every believer's progressive struggle against sin, a struggle marked, on the one hand, by a radical freedom from sin experienced in conversion and, on the other, by a final perfection in glory. For Warfield sanctification is a progressive experience growing out of an initial transformation of heart and life in regeneration by the Holy Spirit and culminating in the glory of the eschaton, when we will reach our goal, having been made like Christ. [...] the believer's sinfulness is more than matched by the grace of God in Christ and by the creative work of the Holy Spirit (104)

Intimate view into Warfield's Heart:
These are just a couple strengths I found to be personally notable in this short book on B.B. Warfield's beliefs about the Christian life. As the first book I have read about Warfield and his theology, I was very much helped in gaining a more gospel-centered perspective on my own spiritual pilgrimage.

Zaspel's summaries gave me an intimate view into Warfield's heart for his seminary students and for his church, and the larger body of Christ. His love for God and His Word was especially evident, pulsating through every knick and cranny of his life and ministry. One significant part of Warfield's ministry was his wife, Annie Kinkead. She was apparently at about 17 years into their marriage when she fell sickly ill and became an invalid for the rest of her life and marriage. In this, we find evidence of Warfield's personal life having been greatly impacted by the gospel of Christ. He is wonderful example of a husband-theologian, and rightfully so:
>> by all accounts Warfield was a devoted husband in a very happy marriage. The Warfields had no children, and for many years he left his home only for the classroom. He was otherwise home nearly always in the company of his wife. And in the providence of God, without doubt, this contributed to his time in writing so extensively on so many subjects. It was reported by those who knew him that "he has had only two interests in his life-his work, and Mrs. Warfield." (28-29)

Now that...is a gospel-centered man. A look forward to meeting him in the age to come.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great combination 25 April 2012
By Kimberly D. Davidson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Zaspel completed a short summary of Warfield's life that didn't drag you down into the ins and outs, but gave you a clear and concise, personal look into the professor and writer's life. He gave you enough to feel like you weren't a stranger and could understand some of what shaped this thinker's life.

The other part of the book is like a theology book that is thinner and more applicable. He highlights some of Warfield's main thoughts and gives you reason and application into the Christian life. Topics range from the incarnation to the authority of the Bible.
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