I recently finished reading an article from Themelios, the Gospel Coalition’s international theological journal. This issue (Volume 35, Issue 2
July 2010), contains articles by Carl Trueman and D.A. Carson. However, the article of interest to me was written by Fred G. Zaspel, the pastor of a Reformed church in PA. He is the author of a book on the theology of Warfield published by Crossway.Needless to say, the obvious leanings of this pastor and journal are clear to me.
The article, however, presents an interesting case against the very popular notion that B.B. Warfield was both inerrantist and evolutionist. The latter position has been developed by Mark Noll and David Livingstone (“One of the best-kept secrets in American intellectual history is that B. B. Warfield, the foremost modern defender of the theologically conservative doctrine of the inerrancy of the Bible, was also an evolutionist.”), but Zaspel believes that through his reading of Warfield, he has found that their case is over-stated at best.
Essentially, the argument is thus: That Warfield, for most of his career was critically agnostic when it came to the theory of evolution. He allowed for the possibility of its agreement with Scripture, but was very careful not to affirm evolutionary theory as it had not yet become proven. This quotation may be taken as characteristic: “It does not appear that the emphasis of the biblical assertion that man owes his existence to the creative act of God need therefore exclude the recognition of the interaction of other forces in the process of his formation.” The author again notes that Warfield allows for the possibility of evolution without actually affirming it.
I invite anyone interested in discussing this particular historical issue to read this article. I’m going to continue reading up on Warfield’s views in this.