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The Lion of Princeton: B.B. Warfield as Apologist and Theologian

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The Impact of B.B. Warfield

There’s little doubt about the impact B.B. Warfield has had on American Christianity. Some hail him for his apologetic and polemical skills, praising him as a defender of Reformed orthodoxy. Others view him with less regard—as too focused on the role of reason in faith and too devoted to the inerrancy of Scripture. But all agree that he is a man with whom one must reckon.

Despite the resurging interest in his life and work, Warfield’s views are often misunderstood. In The Lion of Princeton, Kim Riddlebarger investigates Warfield’s theological, apologetical, and polemical writings, bringing clarity to the confusion that surrounds this key figure of the Princeton tradition.

Riddlebarger provides a biographical overview of Warfield’s life and traces the growing appreciation for Warfield’s thought by contemporary Reformed thinkers. Furthermore, he evaluates the fundamental structures in Warfield’s overall theology and examines Warfield’s work in the field of systematic theology.

Warfield’s theological heirs revere his memory, while his critics continue to find his work misguided and his legacy troubling. “The Lion of Princeton,” as he was known, was certainly up for the challenge. We must therefore take a fresh look at the work of this great scholar, who was in many ways the most significant American apologist, polemicist, and theologian of his age.

Praise for The Lion of Princeton

It has been a pleasure for me to learn more about Warfield as a colleague of Kim Riddlebarger. To my mind, Kim is a lot like Warfield: lucid and learned, measured and careful with his judgments, yet bold just where it’s needed. This book exposes us to Warfield on his own terms, and usually in his own words.

—Michael Horton, professor of systematic theology, Westminster Seminary, CA

Almost a century after his death, B.B. Warfield continues to command attention as a must-read theologian. Kim Riddlebarger’s accounting of Warfield’s philosophical influences raises again the question of the role of Scottish Common Sense Realism in the Princeton tradition, which many will dispute—but all who owe a debt to Warfield’s vast erudition and evident devotion to Christ and the Scriptures will find much to enjoy in this portrait of the “Lion of Princeton.”

—Fred G. Zaspel, author of The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary

Top Highlights

“ ‘From the very beginning to end, Warfield was a fighter.’4” (Page 8)

“‘Dr. Warfield had the finest mind ever to teach at Princeton Seminary” (Page 8)

“According to Mark Noll, Warfield was responsible for the ‘most learned defense’ of biblical inerrancy” (Page 18)

“Annie Warfield suffered a severe trauma to her nervous system from which she never fully recovered” (Page 12)

“To which Warfield responded, ‘Why, Mrs. Stevenson, I am praying that there may be a fight” (Page 7)

Studies in Historical and Systematic Theology

Studies in Historical and Systematic Theology is a peer-reviewed series of contemporary monographs exploring key figures, themes, and issues in historical and systematic theology from an evangelical perspective.

Learn more about the other titles in this series.


  • Introduction
  • Biography
  • New Testament Studies
  • Apologetics
  • Systematic Theology
  • Didactics and Polemics
  • Contemporary Critics
  • Appendix: The Wisdom of the Vulgar—Scottish Common Sense Realism and Princeton

Product Details

  • Title: The Lion of Princeton: B.B. Warfield as Apologist and Theologian
  • Author: Kim Riddlebarger
  • Series: Studies in Historical and Systematic Theology
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Pages: 336
  • Format: Logos Digital, Paperback
  • Trim Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781577995883

Dr. Riddlebarger has been a visiting professor at Westminster Seminary California since 2000. He is a minister in the United Reformed Churches in North America and senior pastor of Christ Reformed Church in Anaheim, California. He has taught as adjunct professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University and was visiting professor in Reformation studies at Concordia University. He has co-hosted the White Horse Inn national radio broadcast since 1990. He regularly contributes articles to Modern Reformation, Tabletalk and is a scholar of the theology of B.B. Warfield. Among his publications are The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth about the Antichrist, A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times, Power Religion (contributor), Christ the Lord (contributor), and Roman Catholicism: Evangelicals Analyze What Unites and What Divides Us (contributor).

Sample Pages from The Lion of Princeton


6 ratings

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  1. Joshua Slusher

    Joshua Slusher


  2. Christian Alexander
    B.B. Warfield was a theologically conservative professor at Princeton in the late 19th century. Riddlebarger discusses the life and thought of this remarkable and daunting theologian. This book is a great read for anyone wanting to dig into the life and times of Warfield. The book explores a lot of topics, but the most prominent topic concerns Warfield’s thoughts about the relationship between apologetics and grace. Warfield was an advocate of classic apologetics, particularly in his defense of the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection. For certain Calvinist critics, classic apologetics presumes that the truth can be ascertained by people on the basis of reason and evidence, which nullifies the importance of transforming grace in enabling people to accept the Gospel. These people think the Reformed understanding of conversion and classic apologetics run in opposing directions. This book is a great read and explains Warfield as an apologetic theologian and heavyweight of his era. The book is a heavy and deep read. This book is certainly informative, and it makes a contribution to scholarly discussions about Warfield. The book was somewhat dispersed. A glossary would have been helpful. Overall, it is a fantastic read and introduction to Warfield. It covers a lot of deep and treacherous ground including his apologetics, systematic theology, and more. If you like homing in on specific figures in Church History, you will very much enjoy this book. If you are a big Warfield fan you will also enjoy this book. I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
  3. Shane Lems

    Shane Lems


  4. bruce



  5. Richard Bush

    Richard Bush


  6. Clifford B. Kvidahl
Save on Lexham during Logos Blue Friday!


Print list price: $29.99
Regular price: $26.99
Save $10.80 (40%)