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B.B. Warfield – The Deity of Jesus On Every Page

2 Jan

1851-1921. Reformed Theologian in America and Principle of Princeton Seminary in the line of Charles Hodge.

The proper subject of the New Testament is Christ. Every page of it, or perhaps we might better say every line of it, has its place in the portrait which is drawn of Him by the whole. In forming an estimate of the conception of His person entertained by its writers, and by those represented by them, we cannot neglect any part of its contents. We can scarcely avoid distinguishing in it, to be sure, between what we may call the primary and the subsidiary evidence it bears to the nature of His personality, or at least the more direct and the more incidental evidence. It may very well be, however, that what we call the subsidiary or incidental evidence may be quite as convincing, if not quite as important, as the primary and direct evidence. The late Dr. R. W. Dale found the most impressive proofs that the Apostles themselves and the primitive Churches believed that Jesus was one with God, rather in the way this seems everywhere taken for granted, than in the texts in which it is definitely asserted. “Such texts,” he remarks, “are but like the sparkling crystals which appear on the sand after the tide has retreated; these are not the strongest—though they may be the most apparent—proofs that the sea is salt: the salt is present in solution in every bucket of sea-water. And so,” he applies his parable, “the truth of our Lord’s divinity is present in solution in whole pages of the Epistles, from which not a single text could be quoted that explicitly declares it.”

~B.B. Warfield~

The Lord of Glory: a Study of the Designations of Our Lord in the New Testament with Especial Reference to His Deity (New York: American Tract Society, 1907), 1–2.w

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B.B. Warfield – Who Is The Calvinist?

3 Dec

The exact formulation of the formative principle of Calvinism, as I have said, has taxed the acumen of a long line of distinguished thinkers. Many modes of stating it have been proposed. Perhaps after all, however, its simplest statement is the best. It lies then, let me repeat, in a profound apprehension of God in His majesty, with the poignant realization which inevitably accompanies this apprehension, of the relation sustained to God by the creature as such, and particularly by the sinful creature. The Calvinist is the man who has seen God, and who, having seen God in His glory, is filled on the one hand, with a sense of his own unworthiness to stand in God’s sight as a creature, and much more as a sinner, and on the other hand, with adoring wonder that nevertheless this God is a God who receives sinners. He who believes in God without reserve and is determined that God shall be God to him, in all his thinking, feeling, willing–in the entire compass of his life activities, intellectual, moral, spiritual–throughout all his individual, social, religious relations–is, by the force of that strictest of all logic which presides over the outworking of principles into thought and life, by the very necessity of the case, a Calvinist.

~B.B. Warfield~

The Theology of John Calvin (Presbyterian Board of Education; 1909) HT: Tony Reinke

The Calvinist: A Poem and Video by John Piper
(RSS click through for video)

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B.B. Warfield – We’ve Never Been Without a Canon

25 Oct

In order to obtain a correct understanding of what is called the formation of the Canon of the New Testament, it is necessary to begin by fixing very firmly in our minds one fact which is obvious enough when attention is once called to it. That is, that the Christian church did not require to form for itself the idea of a “canon,”—or, as we should more commonly call it, of a “Bible,”—that is, of a collection of books given of God to be the authoritative rule of faith and practice. It inherited this idea from the Jewish church, along with the thing itself, the Jewish Scriptures, or the “Canon of the Old Testament.” The church did not grow up by natural law: it was founded. And the authoritative teachers sent forth by Christ to found his church, carried with them, as their most precious possession, a body of divine Scriptures, which they imposed on the church that they founded as its code of law. No reader of the New Testament can need proof of this; on every page of that book is spread the evidence that from the very beginning the Old Testament was as cordially recognized as law by the Christian as by the Jew. The Christian church thus was never without a “Bible” or a “canon.”

~B.B. Warfield~

The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield: The Canon of the New Testament: How and When Formed (Philadelphia, PA; American Sunday-School Union; 1892) p. 3-4.

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Francis Turretin – The Highest Art

3 Oct


Not only do the heavens declare the glory of God, but every blade of grass and flower in the field, every pebble on the shore and every shell in the ocean proclaim not only his power and goodness, but also his manifold wisdom, so near each one that even by feeling, God can be found. Augustine says, “The prophetic voices excepted, the world itself by its own most regular mutability and mobility and the exquisitely beautiful appearance of all visible things, silently as it were proclaims both that it was made and could be made only by a God unspeakably and invisibly great, and unspeakably and invisibly beautiful.”

You may say perhaps that these things were so arranged by chance and by a fortuitous concourse of atoms. But I know not whether such an impious and absurd opinion is worthy of refutation, since these things denote not chance, but the highest art.

~Francis Turretin~

Institutes of Elenctic Theology – Volume 1 (Phillipsburg, NJ; P&R Publishing; 1992) p. 172.

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B.B. Warfield – The Trinity: Revealed and Unique

1 Oct

The term “Trinity” is not a Biblical term, and we are not using Biblical language when we define what is expressed by it as the doctrine that there is one only and true God, but in the unity of the Godhead there are three coeternal and coequal Persons, the same in substance but distinct in subsistence. A doctrine so defined can be spoken of as a Biblical doctrine only on the principle that the sense of Scripture is Scripture. And the definition of a Biblical doctrine in such un-Biblical language can be justified only on the principle that it is better to preserve the truth of Scripture than the words of Scripture. The doctrine of the Trinity lies in Scripture in solution; when it is crystallized from its solvent it does not cease to be Scriptural, but only comes into clearer view. Or, to speak without figure, the doctrine of the Trinity is given to us in Scripture, not in formulated definition, but in fragmentary allusions; when we assembled the disjecta membra into their organic unity, we are not passing from Scripture, but entering more thoroughly into the meaning of Scripture. We may state the doctrine in technical terms, supplied by philosophical reflection; but the doctrine stated is a genuinely Scriptural doctrine.

In point of fact, the doctrine of the Trinity is purely a revealed doctrine. That is to say, it embodies a truth which has never been discovered, and is indiscoverable, by natural reason. With all his searching, man has not been able to find out for himself the deepest things of God. Accordingly, ethnic thought has never attained a Trinitarian conception of God, nor does any ethnic religion present in its representations of the Divine Being any analogy to the doctrine of the Trinity.

Triads of divinities, no doubt, occur in nearly all polytheistic religions, formed under very various influences. Sometimes, as in the Egyptian triad of Osiris, Isis and Horus, it is the analogy of the human family with its father, mother and son which lies at their basis. Sometimes they are the effect of mere syncretism, three deities worshipped in different localities being brought together in the common worship of all. Sometimes, as in the Hindu triad of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, they represent the cyclic movement of a pantheistic evolution, and symbolize the three stages of Being, Becoming and Dissolution. Sometimes they are the result apparently of nothing more than an odd human tendency to think in threes, which has given the number three widespread standing as a sacred number (so H. Usener). It is no more than was to be anticipated, that one or another of these triads should now and again be pointed to as the replica (or even the original) of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Gladstone found the Trinity in the Homeric mythology, the trident of Poseidon being its symbol. Hegel very naturally found it in the Hindu Trimurti, which indeed is very like his pantheizing notion of what the Trinity is. Others have perceived it in the Buddhist Triratna (Söderblom); or (despite their crass dualism) in some speculations of Parseeism; or, more frequently, in the notional triad of Platonism (e.g., Knapp); while Jules Martin is quite sure that it is present in Philo’s neo-Stoical doctrine of the “powers,” especially when applied to the explanation of Abraham’s three visitors. Of late years, eyes have been turned rather to Babylonia; and H. Zimmern finds a possible forerunner of the Trinity in a Father, Son, and Intercessor, which he discovers in its mythology. It should be needless to say that none of these triads has the slightest resemblance to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity embodies much more than the notion of “threeness,” and beyond their “threeness” these triads have nothing in common with it.

~B.B. Warfield~

The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Volume 2: Biblical Doctrines (Edinburg, Scotland; Banner of Truth; 1988) p. 131-135.

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B.B. Warfield – The Revealed Religion of God

20 Sep

The religion of the Bible thus announces itself, not as the product of men’s search after God, if haply they may feel after Him and find Him, but as the creation in men of the gracious God, forming a people for Himself, that they may show forth His praise. In other words, the religion of the Bible presents itself as distinctively a revealed religion. Or rather, to speak more exactly, it announces itself as the revealed religion, as the only revealed religion; and sets itself as such over against all other religions, which are represented as all products, in a sense in which it is not, of the art and device of man.

~B.B. Warfield~

The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Volume 1: Revelation and Inspiration (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Book House; 2000) p. 4.

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B.B. Warfield – Our Supernatural Religion

19 Aug

THE religion of the Bible is a frankly supernatural religion. By this is not meant merely that, according to it, all men, as creatures, live, move and have their being in God. It is meant that, according to it, God has intervened extraordinarily, in the course of the sinful world’s development, for the salvation of men otherwise lost.

~B.B. Warfield~

The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Volume 1: Revelation and Inspiration (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Book House; 2000) p. 3.

Books by B.B. Warfield

B.B. Warfield – Jesus, Our Redeemer

2 Feb

There is no one of the titles of Christ which is more precious to Christian hearts than “Redeemer.” There are others, it is true, which are more often on the lips of Christians. The acknowledgment of our submission to Christ as our Lord, the recognition of what we owe to Him as our Saviour, – these things, naturally, are most frequently expressed in the names we call Him by. “Redeemer,” however, is a title of more intimate revelation than either “Lord” or “Saviour.” It gives expression not merely to our sense that we have received salvation from Him, but also to our appreciation of what it cost Him to procure this salvation for us. It is the name specifically of the Christ of the cross. Whenever we pronounce it, the cross is placarded before our eyes and our hearts are filled with loving remembrance not only that Christ has given us salvation, but that He paid a mighty price for it.

~B.B. Warfield~

The Person and Work of Christ (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing; 1950) p. 325. From “Redeemer and Redemption” an address given on 17 September 1915.

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B.B. Warfield – Living as Justified Sinners

3 Nov
It is the conviction that there is nothing in us or done by us at any stage of our earthly development because of which we are acceptable to God.  We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake or we cannot ever be accepted at all.  This is not true of us only “when we believe,” it is just as true after we have believed.  It will continue to be true as long as we live.  Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in Christian behavior may be.  It is always on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest.  There is never anything that we are or have or do that can take His place or that takes a place along with Him.  We are always unworthy, and all that we have or do of good is always of pure grace.  Though blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ, we are still in ourselves just “miserable sinners.”  “Miserable sinners” saved by grace, to be sure.  But “miserable sinners” still deserving in ourselves nothing but everlasting wrath.

There is emphasized in this attitude the believer’s continued sinfulness in fact and in act and his continued sense of his sinfulness.  And this carries with it recognition of the necessity of unbroken penitence throughout life.  The Christian is conceived fundamentally, in other words, as a penitent sinner.

We are sinners, and we know ourselves to be sinners lost and helpless in ourselves; but we are saved sinners, and it is our salvation which gives the tone to our life—a tone of joy which swells in exact proportion to the sense we have of our ill-desert.  For it is he to whom much is forgiven who loves much and, who loving, rejoices much.

Throughout the Protestant world, believers confess themselves to be, still as believers, wrath-deserving sinners, and that not merely with reference to their inborn sinful nature as yet incompletely eradicated but with reference also to their total life manifestation which their incompletely eradicated sinful nature flows into and vitiates.

It has not always been easy through the Protestant ages to maintain in its purity this high attitude of combined shame of self and confidence in the mercy of God in Christ.

Thus, through every moment of his life, the believer is absolutely dependent on the grace of Christ, and when life is over, he still has nothing to plead but Christ’s blood and righteousness.

The believer strives against sin all his life and is never without failings.  And from his well-grounded fear of sinning arises a powerful ever-present motive to watchfulness and effort.  He has nothing to depend on but Christ, and Christ is enough.  But that does not relieve him from the duty of cleansing his life from sin but rather girds his loins for the struggle.  The necessity for the continuance of the struggle means, of course, the continuance of sin to struggle against.

~B.B. Warfield~

“Miserable Sinner Christianity,” Works of B.B. Warfield Vol. 7 (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Book House; 2001) p. 113ff.

Books by B.B. Warfield


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