B.B. Warfield Essay

By Stan Morton | February 17, 2021

Dear Saints,

Our feature this week is an essay written in 1887 by Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921) entitled  “A Calm View of the Freedman’s Case”.  I found this essay years ago when I was in seminary. 

Who was Dr. Warfield?  He was one of the great Reformed theologians of the 19th Century and became the last principal (president) of Princeton Theological Seminary before it drifted from the gospel in 1929.  He wrote the definitive work on the Inspiration of Scripture, the major critique of what was called Perfectionism (entire sanctification or holiness) and also definitive works on cessationism (oh well!). 

It is said his wife was struck by lightning soon after they married and became an invalid.  He took care of her for the rest of her life, restricting his travel, even as his reputation expanded world wide. 

He stands shoulder to shoulder with Archibald Alexander, Charles and A. A. Hodge and, finally, J. Gresham Machen in Reformed circles.  Just a few years before he died, he advocated for a black student to be a dorm resident in the 19-teens over the objections of Machen.  Despite being born in Kentucky, he had a heart towards African Americans.  Back then we were called “freedmen” meaning, “freed from slavery.”  The Civil War had concluded only 22 years earlier (like 1999 is to today).  His maternal grandfather, Robert J. Breckinridge, was also against slavery. 

In this essay, he lays out the challenge facing the freedmen’s in the years to come and preciently foresaw some of the struggles we have today.  Be Blessed!

Text of “A Calm View of the Freedmen’s Case” by B.B. Warfield

C. Stanley Morton, Pastor