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Category Archives: Calvinism

B.B. Warfield, The Last of the Princeton Theologians

Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (November 5, 1851 – February 16, 1921) was the principal of Princeton Seminary from 1887 to 1921. He is considered the last great Princeton theologian before WARFIELD-Benjamin-B.-Ipsenthe split in 1929 that formed Westminster Seminary and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

In 1887 Warfield was appointed to the Charles Hodge Chair at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he succeeded Hodge’s son A. A. Hodge. Warfield remained there until his death. As the last conservative successor to Hodge to live prior to the re-organization of Princeton Seminary, Warfield is often regarded as the last of the Princeton theologians. The post-Warfield Princeton became more liberal and progressive in it’s approach to theology. The once solid conservative seminary began the downward slide like a kid on a freshly waxed amusement park slide.

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.

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, that 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.

For additional resources, I’ve added links to some writings by B.B. Warfeld and a couple of free books offered by Monergism.com.

B.B. Warfield bibliography.

Free books

The Emotional Life of Our Lord

The Power of God Unto Salvation

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Am I a Calvinist? You tell me.

First of all I need to take care of a hat tip (ht) to my buddy Seth at Contending Earnestly. This posting is being created 42-18021428out of my thoughts triggered by this fellow blogger’s posting and comments. The posting is about being labeled a Calvinist, and the label or term being used as a dirty word.

I really didn’t know what I was until I started reading books on theology.  Speaking of theology; The word is much like the word doctrine, and Calvinism.  Theology has also been reduced to a dirty word. At least a drastically minimized word in terms of evangelical importance.

Theology – the study of God. Come on, what’s more important?

I didn’t think theology was important until I ran into some blatantly bad theology. For years I had been indoctrinated in meeting peoples needs above doctrine. Now, I believe, if you don’t have sound biblical doctrine and theology, how can you truly meet the peoples ultimate need? Their need is to hear the true gospel of Jesus Christ. What do I mean by the true gospel? Funny I should ask, because it brings up the point of this post.

When I heard about the Five Points of Calvinism I will admit I had heard the term or label Calvinism and immediately thought “one of them”,  and “I heard they don’t believe we have a free will.” But after reading these five points I basically recognized and interpreted it as the gospel. The gospel spoken of in scripture. These five points are also known as TULIP. This is an acronym which is defined below.

T otal Depravity – We suck. (a verb meaning we are sinners and do not seek God) (Ref. Romans 6:20, Romans 3:10-12)

U nconditional Election – God does the choosing. No matter who you are and what you’ve done. (Ref. Eph. 1:4-8)

L imited Atonement – Christ died and His blood covers those who the Father chose. (Ref. Eph. 5:25-27)

I rresistable Grace – God’s elect hear the gospel and the Holy Spirit works in the hearts and minds of the those elect and they willing come to God. (Ref. Romans 9:16, Phil. 2:12-13)

P erseverance of the Saints – The elect of God cannot lose their salvation. For heaven’s sake the elect didn’t do anything to earn salvation. God did the choosing. They are eternally secure. (Ref. Romans 8:26-39)

I think that pretty much sums up the gospel as it is told in scripture.

So, am I a Calvinsit? If you prefer a label or a badge, I will gladly wear it. I have one on my sidebar as a matter of fact. It looks like this:

Calvinist Cadet

Calvinist Cadet

A few months ago I found an article from a blogger that did a real good job of describing why he was a Calvinist. I give a high hat tip to Kevin DeYoung and his article.

 

The definition of justification

With all the enthusiastic media coverage of the papal visit this week, I thought it best to post a simple reason why I do not share in the same enthusiasm. Nor would any of the eariler reformers who died opposing the doctrines of the papacy.

This reason is found in a single word, justification, as it relates to the salvation of your soul. It is one of, if not, the most significant differences in the doctrine of the papacy and the church reformers. Reformers teach that we are justified by faith apart from works (Rom. 3:20-28; 4:1-5; 9:30-32; Gal. 2:16; 3:1-14), but once we believe with true faith, the good works will flow out of the changed heart (Eph. 2:8-10; Js. 2:14, 17). The papacy teaches that we are justified by faith and the good works that come from that faith. Did you catch that little word “and“? That little word is a huge word relative to these doctrinal differences. I would contend that the word has eternal ramifications. The following is a very understandable definition from Ra McLaughlin: 

Part of the disagreement between the Calvinists and Roman Catholics on the issue of the relationship between faith, works, and justification, stems from a disagreement over the definition of “justify.” Roman Catholics generally argue that to justify someone is to recognize that the person really is righteous. Thus, they read James 2:21-22 to teach that Abraham reached a point of actual righteousness when he passed the test of being willing to sacrifice his son Isaac in Genesis 22. Calvinists, on the other hand, recognize two definitions for “justify” (most words may have more than one meaning), seeing that it sometimes means “vindicate” or “validate,” and sometimes it means “to count a person as if he were righteous, even though he really isn’t.” For example, when Abraham believed God, God counted Abraham as if he were actually righteousness (Gen. 15:6), even though Abraham had not yet done any good works since believing. Calvinists teach that the only one who is truly righteous enough to be saved is Christ himself (Rom. 3:9-20; 5:15-19), and that Christ shares his own status as “righteous” with those who are united to him by faith (Gal. 3:17-29). The first definition, “vindication,” is the one Calvinists apply to James 2:21-22. Calvinists believe the context in James 2 is not contrasting, on the one hand, true faith plus good works, and, on the other hand, true faith without works. Rather, Calvinists argue that James is contrasting two kinds of faith, one that produces good works (true faith) and one that does not produce good works (false faith). “Vindication” seems the best definition in this passage, according to Calvinists, because Abraham was already reckoned as righteous when he believed God in Genesis 15 — many years before God “tested” (Gen. 22:1) his faith. The test was to determine whether or not Abraham’s faith was true (Gen. 22:12), not to cause Abraham to do enough good works to earn his justification.

Just something to discuss with your more enthusiastic friends.

Sola fide!

 

John Calvin on worldly wisdom

John CalvinNow it’s time for a quote from:

John Calvin:

 Man with all his shrewdness is as stupid about understanding by himself the mysteries of God, as an ass is incapable of understanding musical harmony. – Calvin on 1Co 1:20.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2007 in Calvinism, quotes