|The young Warfield circa 1864|
Warfield attended Princeton College where he excelled in the sciences. Upon graduation he sought to continue study in Europe. It was in Europe that B. B. Warfield "realized the paramount claims of God and religion upon him", and accepted God’s call to preach the Gospel – to the utter surprise of all who knew him. He came back to the United States and enrolled at Princeton Seminary, graduating in 1876. He was ordained to the ministry in the Presbyterian Church.
Providentially, it was a combination of Warfield’s energetic intellectual gifts and his devotion to his wife which led to a ministry of singular significance in the cause of the Gospel. Not noted for his preaching skills, B. B. Warfield devoted himself to writing and publishing theological works that rival Luther and Calvin in scope and volume. It was the self imposed limits on travel and extra-curricular activity that allowed him to give his time to the study and composition of this work. Warfield’s theological output was devoted to articulating classic Reformed theology in an age of modernist thought and liberal attacks on the inerrancy and authority of Scripture. His writings remain remarkably accessible and compelling today. With contemporaries Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck, B. B. Warfield carried the Reformed theology of Calvin, Edwards and Hodge through the modernist movement and sent it into the 20th Century era with compelling intellectual force.
|Warfield in his study|
Recent Warfield biographer Fred Zaspel was inteviewed by Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition on what he learned about Warfield the man.
This is one of things that attracted me to Warfield—more than most any other I’d read he understands Christianity “whole” and finds Christ crucified at the very center. He sees both the forest and the trees and understands all as pointing to this redemptive center. And for Warfield personally this was no merely academic discovery, but he is himself marked by a keen sense of utter dependence upon Christ, and his own heart beat hot for his glorious Redeemer.
Anne Warfield died in 1915, and B. B. Warfield continued on in his ministry for six more years. They never had any children. Warfield worked hard till the very end. He suffered a minor stroke Christmas Eve, 1920. Then on a walk across campus in February 1921 he suffered a heart attack from which he would not recover. Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield died on February 16, 1921 ending a 33 year career of scholarship at Princeton Seminary. In a sad irony, Warfield, Bavinck and Kuyper all passed into glory within nine months of each other.
|Your blogger with Warfield|
|Map of Old Princeton Cemetery|
Benjamin B. Warfield is buried in Old Princeton Cemetery. It’s actually a bit challenging to find his grave since it is not in the Edwards/Hodge section. I've been there several times, most recently with a group of pastors, theology students and missionaries on a one day tour of Great Awakening sites. We ended our tour at Princeton Cemetery.
|Tour dudes with the Warfields - Anne Warfield to the left|
Here’s a wonderful quote from Warfield that captures the clear Gospel centeredness of all his work.