Warfield, Benjamin 
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Time Period
11/5/1851  - 2/17/1921
Description
At Princeton Seminary, Benjamin Breckinridge (B.B.) Warfield studied theology under renowned theologian Charles Hodge and later succeeded Hodge’s son, A. A. Hodge, as the top chair at Princeton (1887-1921).

Warfield produced a vast number of theological essays, reviews, and articles for both intellectuals and lay readers. He is well known for his classic position on biblical inerrancy, stating that the scriptures "not only contain, but are, the word of God," without error in the original manuscripts ("Inspiration," Presbyterian Review, 1881). This was well received by the Presbyterian Church in the United States, who rallied around the theology of Princeton scholars.

More recent scholarship have focused on Warfield’s openness to the doctrine of evolution. He represented evolutionary processes as the scientist’s term for providence: God’s superintendence of natural causes to bring about his purposes. This idea of God-driven evolution remains prevalent today.
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Narrative
Background, Education, and Career

Born to privilege November 5, 1851, near Lexington, Kentucky, Warfield was the son of William Warfield and Mary Cabell nee Breckinridge, and grandson of the ardent Old School Presbyterian theologian, editor, and politician Robert Jefferson Breckinridge. Privately educated in Lexington, Warfield entered Princeton as a sophomore in 1868, just when James McCosh assumed the college presidency. Graduating in 1871, Warfield chose the ministry over a scientific career. At Princeton Seminary he studied theology under Charles Hodge and New Testament literature under Hodge’s son Wistar, graduating in 1876. Marriage (to Annie Pearce Kinkead) and a semester of study in Leipzig followed. After two brief stints of pulpit supply, Warfield began his professorial career, teaching New Testament at Western Theological Seminary (1878-1887) and then succeeding A. A. Hodge in the top chair at Princeton (1887-1921). He died on February 16, 1921.

Contribution to Christianity in the United States

Warfield first made his mark in New Testament studies, coauthoring with A. A. Hodge the classic statement of biblical inerrancy, "Inspiration" (Presbyterian Review, 1881): that the scriptures "not only contain, but are, the word of God," without error in the original manuscripts, having their origin in the concursive working of God and human authors. With An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament (1886) Warfield gained an international reputation and the call to Princeton Seminary. Falling out with Charles Briggs over co-editing the Presbyterian Review, Warfield launched a new, multi-denominational journal, the Presbyterian and Reformed Review (1890-1902), to instant acclaim and success. These were his glory years, when the Presbyterian Church rallied around the Princeton positions on biblical inerrancy and the Calvinism of the Westminster Confession.

Warfield produced a vast number of scholarly essays and reviews for the PRR and later Princeton Theological Review, as well as articles for lay readers in newspapers and magazines. Carefully following developments in European theological scholarship in German, French, and Dutch, he offered readers incisive assessments of the latest trends. It was he who arranged for the translation of Abraham Kuyper’s Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology into English -- ironic, given the later divide between Warfieldians and Kuyperians over apologetics.

Many of the most controversial aspects of the Princeton Theology are particularly associated with Warfield. He placed apologetics at the base of theological system-building, to ground its truth claims for success in the battle of ideas, saying, "Christianity has come into the world clothed with the mission to reason its way to dominion." Then and now, this view prompted charges of rationalism, but Warfield wielded reason to defend the supernatural character of the Christian religion -- the Bible as inerrant special revelation; salvation by a divine and human Savior; conversion as a miracle wrought by God in the heart. True Christian faith rested on external authority; this set it apart from both rationalism and mysticism.

Recently scholars have focused on Warfield’s openness to the doctrine of evolution and his denial of the continuation of miracles beyond the apostolic age. His Counterfeit Miracles (1918) is the most widely cited cessationist polemic. As to evolution, he represented it as the scientist’s term for providence: God’s superintendence of natural causes to bring about his purposes. It was not, however, the only mode of divine activity in the production of life forms, especially man.

The most important collections of Warfield’s writings are The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield (10 vols., 1927-1932), Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield (2 vols., 1970-1973), and Evolution, Scripture, and Science: Selected Writings (2000).
Religious Groups
Presbyterian-Reformed Family: Other ARDA Links

Events
Trial of Charles Augustus Briggs
Photographs

Benjamin Warfield portrait- Internet Archive- from The Power of God unto Salvation by Benjamin B. Warfield

Benjamin Warfield portrait- Wikimedia Commons
Book/Journal Source(s)
Kurian, George Thomas, and Mark Lamport (Eds.), 2016. The Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Web Source(s)
https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781442244320/The-Encyclopedia-of-Christianity-in-the-United-States-5-Volumes
If you enjoyed reading this entry, please buy the Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States at the link above.
Web Page Contributor
Bradley J. Gundlach

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