Thursday, August 13, 2015

Warfield on Faith and Life

It is easy to say: "We refuse to believe that a man's opinions on the minute details of history or metaphysics are sufficient either to admit or to exclude him from the Kingdom of grace and glory." But when we have said that, we have already expressed a portentous opinion. We have also made a tremendous theological distinction; we have made it most unsoundly; and as a consequence, we have cast ourselves into the arms of the grossest error, which must mar all our life. The truth is that a man's opinions on matters of historical fact or of metaphysical truth — call them opinions on minute details or not, as you choose — are absolutely determinative of his whole life. ...

He who adopts this definite set of metaphysical and historical opinions [doctrines] is so far on his way to being a Christian. He who rejects them, or treats them as indifferent, is not even on his way to being a Christian. This is not to say that Christianity is just a body of metaphysical and historical opinions. But it is to say that Christianity is, among other things, a body of metaphysical and historical opinions. It is absurd to say that a man can be a Christian who is of the opinion that there is no God; or that no such person as Jesus ever lived: or who does not believe very many definite things about the really existing God and the actually living Jesus. Some of these things may be represented as very "minute details." [B.B. Warfield, "Faith and Life," in Selected Shorter Writings, 1:365-6]

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