Free Copy of Fred Zaspel’s “The Theology of B. B. Warfield”

September 27, 2010

I am giving away a copy of Fred Zaspel’s new book, The Theology of B. B. Warfield available now from Crossway Books. It is a fantastic volume which will be greatly appreciated by all those who believe the study of theology is a serious business! In connection to my recent interview with the author, I want to give away a copy of the book to a hardcore Warfield fan. This is not for just anyone, this is for those who love the great Lion of Princeton.

So, to win, I want you to write in the comments why Warfield has been influential in your Christian life and ministry. How has he shaped your thought and how you live the Christian life? What book or other written item has influenced you and why? I’ll randomly pick from the answers given to win a copy of the brand new book.

So get cracking! Why do you love Warfield?

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Crossway Give-away Reviews – 6 Months In

September 27, 2010

I’ve given away a number of Crossway books so far here on the blog. I want to post some brief thoughts on the books given away during the first six months.

January – Adrian Warnock, Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything

I reviewed this book more in depth here but I just wanted to share some key thoughts. The resurrection does change everything. We tend to focus a lot more on the crucifixion and all that happened there and tend not to think through all the implications for the Christian life in the resurrection. Adrian Warnock helpfully plumbs the Scriptures and its teaching on the resurrection and all that it means for the life of the Christian. For the Christian, it should mean great joy. Go ahead, meditate on the resurrection for awhile. You’ll be glad you did! It is the basis upon which you have new life in Christ!

February – D. A. Carson, Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus

This helpful little book from a master scholar-theologian with a pastor’s heart is just what the church needs today. So many of our issues that we focus upon are secondary if not tertiary in nature. All too often we forget to focus on the primary things. And nothing is more primary than the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our whole faith resides in it. And the real scandalous nature of it all is so profound that what it means for the life of the believer is just as profound. God became man to die for you and rose again to give you new life. Is there any better news than that?

March – Mark Driscoll and Gary Breshears, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe

You’ve got to give the big guy from Seattle some credit. He gets people to read books on important subjects that would never have read them on their own. The unlikely combination of Driscoll and Breshears though helpfully guides people into reading and understanding theology. Theology was never meant to be solely the realm of scholars but of the people in the pew as well. Driscoll’s popular style buttressed by Breshears’ acumen are a helpful combination. Driscoll sometimes paints things a little too “vividly” should we say, but overall, it is a helpful volume.

April – Paul David Tripp, What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage

The one reality is, marriage isn’t easy. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Paul Tripp though does an excellent job of presenting the potential issues and redemptive solutions for marriage. Anything by Tripp and his fellow CCEF fellows should be ready by all, especially those in the ministry. The key help in this volume is that Tripp acknowledges from the outset that marriages that do not completely rest on Christ are doomed to fail. Two sinners joined together are bound to create problems! The solutions for a transformed marriage as resting in the redemptive work of Christ is refreshing.

May – Tullian Tchividjian, Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels

Taking the book of Jonah as the basis for this work (the substance of preaching through Jonah), Tchividian does a masterful job of showing the great grace that is available through Jesus Christ for the rebellious. All of us, like Jonah, rebel and run from the master. Grace is available to us and to others from Him who is always gracious. Be challenged and encouraged through this good word!

June – Grant Horner, Meaning at the Movies: Becoming a Discerning Reviewer

Come on admit it. You watch movies like the rest of us. The problem is, most of us watch them without a thought in our heads. Or we expect someone else to spoon feed us what we should see or what we shouldn’t see. The biggest problem with our churches today is people don’t know how to discern and frankly, pastors are helping the problem by not teaching them! Instead of a list of dos and don’ts, lets actually learn how to discern right from wrong. Horner does that with movies. Not satisfied in glib “yes or no’s” he teaches us the principles of discernment so we will have the tools to know what to put before our eyes, and what not to!


Fred Zaspel Interview on his New Warfield Book

September 20, 2010

I consider Fred Zaspel a good friend. I first met Fred when I was working for Toronto Baptist Seminary and I came down to his previous church for their missions conference. There I met a solid thinker, caring pastor, rigorous scholar, and excellent preacher. There I also met my wife because Fred served as a little bit of a matchmaker and set me up with my wife who was one of his members. For this I will ever be indebted to Fred. Fred performed our wedding ceremony and has always been a wealth of help for me in the pastorate. He graciously took time to answer some questions I had for him about his new book, The Theology of B. B. Warfield: A Systematic Study from Crossway Books.

1) What made you first decide to pursue Warfield as someone to study?

I have read “here and there” of Warfield since my undergraduate days in the late 70s. I was deeply impressed by his massive learning, his cogent thinking, his theological insight, his exegetical skill – and all this matched by a heart that was contagiously fervent for Christ. And his understanding of Christianity as a specifically “redemptive religion” was enormously impressive, and Warfield helped shape my mind with a gospel focus.

Then in late 2000 or early 2001 I was encouraged by my wife and another friend to pursue doctoral studies, and when I began to consider it, Warfield was (I think) the first to come to mind. By then I had come to realize that Warfield had never been studied “whole.” Of course much had been written of his doctrine of inspiration, but little else of Warfield’s works had received attention. To produce a holistic study of Warfield was a work I genuinely wanted to do – and enjoyed every step of it!

2) What do you see as the main contributions that Warfield made to theology?

Certainly the doctrine of inspiration must head this list. In all the writing that has been done since Warfield, little new has been added. His work – probably more than a thousand published pages – was the high-water mark, and this is recognized by all sides. In the same sense that Luther is the theologian of the doctrine of justification, Warfield is the theologian of the doctrine of inspiration.

What is surprising to many, even though his work on inspiration was so enormous, his work in Christology was more extensive still. He was first and foremost a Christologian, and in the hey-day of kenoticism he stood as the most outstanding champion of historic Christology, providing a massive exegetical foundation and exposition of the deity and two natures of our Lord. And although I’m not sure I can agree with every jot and tittle of it, his work on the Trinity is wonderfully rewarding and deserves much more exposure.

3) Why do you think Warfield is as neglected as he is in modern theology?

I don’t know that I can say for certain. He is still referenced and quoted with commanding authority, of course, but outside the doctrine of inspiration he has not been the subject of extensive study. Perhaps the sheer volume of material is daunting to many. And “old dead guys” are sometimes forgotten for a while only to be studied again later – it’s still not quite ninety years since his death. But I can’t imagine anyone who would not acknowledge that he deserves the attention, and there is a resurgence of interest in Warfield now – the timing of my work was very good, I guess.

4) Can you briefly explain why so many assume Warfield taught an evolutionary position while your research seems to prove otherwise?

I’m sure for many it is just an uncritical acceptance of the standard line, an often-repeated (mis)representation of Warfield that has become canonical. And I’m pretty well convinced that some I’ve known simply wanted Warfield on the theistic evolutionary side. But in fairness I suppose part of the “blame” lies with Warfield himself. He was open to the theoretical possibility of evolution and said so, and his understanding of Calvin as teaching an evolutionary doctrine of creation can certainly leave that impression. But even so, in all his writings on evolution Warfield’s remarks, in the main, are negative and often very critical – sometimes even mocking. And in his evolution lecture he explicitly says that there is just not enough evidence for it. And in several reviews he commends those who condemn it. I really don’t think the evidence I’ve given is all that difficult, even if it does seem novel.

5) What other areas of Warfield studies need to be pursued?

Christology, the person and work of Christ. Very little Warfield study has been done here, and there is a treasure waiting for someone to mine! Also, for Presbyterians interested in their own history, a fruitful study of the Confession controversy awaits – Warfield wrote extensively on this, and the great bulk of it was never republished. No one has ever picked this up. I’ve provided a bibliography of this in chapter one of my book.

6) What other resources on Warfield and his theology would you recommend?

Gary Johnson’s edited work, B. B. Warfield: Essays on His Life and Thought, is a great place to start – the biographical chapters by Brad Gunlach are especially enjoyable. And Paul Helseth’s forthcoming Right Reason (P&R) is an excellent study of Warfield’s apologetic. David Smith has a very good study of Warfield’s apologetic coming out shortly also (Wipf & Stock). But even better, start reading Warfield himself. His two volumes of Selected Shorter Writings (P&R) are a great place to begin.

7) What are the main benefits for busy pastors to study Warfield?

8) How has Warfield and his theology helped you in your ministry? What did you learn from him that affected how you serve as a pastor?

I’ll answer these two questions together. Warfield has enriched my own understanding of Scripture and theology wonderfully. I cannot imagine anyone who would not benefit greatly from studying Warfield. His keen exegetical skills are masterful, his theological insights are profound and clear, and his gospel-centeredness is both model and contagious. The man had faults, and he was not always right. But it is not hero-worship to recognize the giant that he was in all these ways.

9) As a pastor who pursued a Ph.D. (of which we know this book is the substance of) would you recommend the pursuit for other pastors? What advice would you give pastors pursuing academic Ph.D.’s?

It depends on the person and his own goals. In my own case, I did not want a Ph.D. badly enough to have to drudge through an un-rewarding course of study for extended years. But this (Warfield) was a work I wanted to do in any case, and pursuing it on this level refined and enriched my theological understanding considerably. It was a work that benefitted me in ministry many times over. In general, I think that is the determining factor. Most pastors will never need or want a Ph.D., many cannot afford the time, and many are simply gifted otherwise. But if you have the ambitions for scholarly research, and if you can find a course of study that is not overly-narrow and that will enrich your ministry, then it may well be something you should pursue.

10) Do you have plans to write or teach more on Warfield and his thinking? Now that the book is done, what are your plans?

Yes, I am currently writing my second Warfield title, In Light of the Gospel: B. B. Warfield on the Christian Life, which I trust will be released sometime next year. And I have several other ideas, but we shall see.


July… August… September Winners!

September 9, 2010

Sorry everyone! As you can see I am behind with the 2010 Crossway Book Giveawy here at the blog. Lots of things going on in life and ministry but it’s no excuse to not getting you the best in books from Crossway!

So, without further adieu, here are the winners for July, August, and September.

July’s winner is Austin Hoffman. He wins a copy of D. A. Carson’s Collected Writings on Scripture.

August’s winner is Jason at PastoralMusings.com. He wins a copy of Fred Sanders’ The Deep Things of God.

September’s winner is Jenna Kim. She win’s a copy of John Piper’s Think.

Austin, Jason, and Jenna, e-mail me your mailing addresses so I can have Crossway send you copies. Please e-mail me at allen [dot] mickle [dot] jr [at] gmail [dot] com.

Look forward to our October giveaway! For the next month you can look forward to receiving a copy of Entrusted with the Gospel edited by D. A. Carson.

Still not entered in the contest? There’s still time! Enter at the link below!