All of Warfield’s writings are littered with a subtle disdain for Christian perfectionism—from his condemnation of Pelagianism in the early church to his critique of the marriage of works and grace in theology in America. However, this volume succinctly and coherently outlines Warfield’s appraisal of Christian perfectionism. Warfield resists the perfectionist tendencies in Christian thought and practice. He warns against mistakenly thinking the endowments of human nature and the condition of human action can somehow affect the efficacy of grace and the extent of the Spirit’s work in sanctification. Warfield admits that Christian perfectionism comes not from a single source, but stems from an admixture of Pelagianism, rationalism, and libertarianism. This volume explains the complicated and meandering history of Christian perfectionism, and includes chapters on Ritschl, Wernle, Clemen, Pfleiderer, Windisch, and the Higher Life Movement.
Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield was born in 1851 in Lexington, Kentucky. He studied mathematics and science at Princeton University and graduated in 1871. In 1873, he decided to enroll at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he was taught by Charles Hodge. He graduated from seminary in 1876, and was married shortly thereafter. He traveled to Germany later that year to study under Franz Delitazsch.
After returning to America, Warfield taught at Western Theological Seminary (now Pittsburgh Theological Seminary). In 1881, Warfield co-wrote an article with A. A. Hodge on the inspiration of Scripture—a subject which dominated his scholarly pursuits throughout the remainder of his lifetime. When A. A. Hodge died in 1887, Warfield became professor of Theology at Princeton, where he taught from 1887–1921. History remembers Warfield as one of the last great Princeton Theologians prior to the seminary’s re-organization and the split in the Presbyterian Church. B. B. Warfield died in 1921.