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- Submitted: Aug 08 2011 04:56 PM
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- Author: Benjamin Warfield
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Benjamin Warfield Collection (32 files)
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Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1851–1921)
Some conservative Presbyterians consider him to be the last of the great Princeton theologians before the split in 1929 that formed Westminster Seminary and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
Warfield also served at Western Seminary, Allegheny (1878–1887), before his period as Professor of Systematic Theology (1887–1921).
Most famous quote (?): Calvinism is just religion in its purity. We have only, therefore, to conceive of religion in its purity, and that is Calvinism.
During his tenure, his primary thrust (and that of the seminary) was an authoritative view of the Bible. This view was held in contrast to the emotionalism of the revival movements, the rationalism of higher criticism, and the heterodox teachings of various New religious movements that were emerging. The seminary held fast to the Reformed confessional tradition — that is, it faithfully followed the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Warfield believed that modernist theology was problematic, since it relied upon the thoughts of the Biblical interpreter rather than upon the divine author of Scripture. He therefore preached and believed the doctrine of sola scriptura — that the Bible is God's inspired word and is sufficient for the Christian to live his or her faith.
Much of Warfield's work centered upon the Bible's "inspiration" by God — that while the authors of the Bible were men, the ultimate author was God himself. The growing influence of modernist theology denied that the Bible was inspired, and alternative theories of the origin of the Christian faith were being explored.
After comparing grammatical and linguistic styles found within the Bible itself, modernist scholars suggested that because the human authors had clearly contributed to the writing of the biblical text, the Bible was written by people alone, not God. Warfield was a central figure in responding to this line of thinking by arguing that the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit did not lead to a form of "mechanical" inspiration (whereby the human authors merely wrote down what God dictated to them, similar to the story of the Qur'an's inspiration) but one in which the human author's intellect was fully able to express itself linguistically, while at the same time being supervised by the Holy Spirit to ensure its inspiration. This approach is essential to understanding the view of inspiration held by many Reformed and Evangelical Christians today.
Studies in religious experience
Warfield was a conservative critic of much religious revivalism that was popular in America at the time. He believed that the teachings and experience of this movement were too subjective and therefore too shallow for deep Christian faith. His book Counterfeit Miracles advocated cessationism over and against miracles after the time of the Apostles. Such attacks did not go unnoticed, and even today Warfield is criticized by proponents of revivalism in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. For example, Jack Deere wrote Surprised by the Power of the Spirit with the intention of refuting Counterfeit Miracles. Warfield's book was published before the worldwide spread of Pentecostalism and addressed the issue of false claims to the possession of miraculous gifts under the headings, "Patristic and Mediǣval Marvels", "Roman Catholic Miracles", "Irvingite Gifts", "Faith-Healing" and "Mind-Cure".
His book Perfectionism is a detailed critique of what he saw as false theories of sanctification. It includes an analysis of the Higher Life movement and the Keswick movement, as well as a rebuttal of earlier schools of thought, such as that of Asa Mahan and Oberlin College, and in particular the theology of Charles Grandison Finney.
Underpinning much of Warfield's theology was his adherence to Calvinism as espoused by the Westminster Confession of Faith. It is sometimes forgotten that, in his battles against modernism on the one hand, and against revivalism on the other, he was simply expressing the Reformed faith when applied to certain situations.
It was Warfield's belief that the 16th century Reformers, as well as the 17th century Confessional writers, were merely summarizing the content and application of scripture. New revelations, whether from the minds of celebrated scholars or popular revivalists, were therefore inconsistent with these confessional statements (and therefore inconsistent with Scripture). Throughout his ministry, Warfield contended that modern world events and thinking could never render such confessions obsolete. Such an attitude still prevails today in many Reformed churches and Christians who embrace Calvinism.
List of topical files included in this resource:
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Redeemer & Redemption.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Regeneration.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Sanctification.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Some Thoughts on Predestination.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - The Authority & Inspiration of the Scriptures.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - The Power of God unto Salvation.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - The Purpose of The Seminary.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - The Resurrection of Christ - A Historical Fact.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - The Rights of Criticism.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - The Theology of Grace.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - The Theology of John Calvin.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - A Brief and Untechnical Statement of the Reformed Faith.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Augustine & The Pelagian Controversy.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Authority, Intellect, Heart.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Darwin's arguments against Christiaity & Religion.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Divine Origin Of The Bible.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Entire Sanctification.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Heresy & Concession.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - The Leading Of The Spirit.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - The Prodigal Son.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - The Risen Jesus.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - A Review of Lewis Sperry Chafer's.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Calvinism.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Christianity & Our Times.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Christianity The Truth.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Counterfeit Miracles.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Election.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Faith & Life.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - John Calvin The Theologian.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Justification by Faith, Out of Date.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Mysticism & Christianity.topx
Warfield, Benjamin B. - Our Seminary Curriculum.topx