Excerpt from "First Things" Vol. LXIV No. 42, October 19, 2014
Annual B.B. Warfield Lectures
Erskine Seminary - Columbia Campus
Wednesday, October 22
The annual B.B. Warfield Lectures were begun two years ago as a joint venture between First Presbyterian Church and Erskine Theological Seminary. Today’s partnership between the church and the academy echoes one that existed between First Church and the old Columbia Theological Seminary from its beginnings in the city in 1830 until it was relocated to Decatur, Georgia, in 1927. In 1911 a lectureship was established at the seminary to honor the Rev. Dr. Thomas Smyth, a long-time pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Charleston, who had been a faithful supporter and board member of the seminary who had done so much to develop the seminary’s library.
B.B. Warfield came to Columbia to deliver those lectures in the year 1917 (now available in his book Counterfeit Miracles). That would be Warfield’s only connection to our church, so the question may be asked why we choose to honor him with an annual lectureship now.
The reason is that Warfield’s name is inextricably linked to the doctrines of The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, a work of immense importance and influence since its publication. Warfield was a great champion of these doctrines during his day, and the desire is that our church today and Erskine Theological Seminary be united in ministry under the authority of Christ as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. But there is a further reason for choosing to honor Warfield. It is that he was not only an ardent defender of the Bible’s inerrancy and authority, but equally so for the life of piety and faith. In a lecture which he gave on "The Religious Life of Theological Students" he emphasized the importance of sound learning and devout faith. He said,
"Recruiting officers do not dispute whether it is better for soldiers to have a right leg or a left leg: soldiers should have both legs. Sometimes we hear it said that ten minutes on your knees will give you a truer, deeper, more operative knowledge of God than ten hours over your books. "What!" is the appropriate response, "than ten hours over your books, on your knees?" Why should you turn from God when you turn to your books, or feel that you must turn from your books in order to turn to God?"
In these lectures we seek to exhibit before the church, and especially its future ministers, the union of sound theology and devout faith. It is for just that reason that we rejoice to have for this year’s lecture Dr. George Robertson, Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Augusta. His theme will be The Lord’s Supper.
Dr. Mark E. Ross
First Presbyterian Church - John R. de Witt Professor of Systematic Theology
This page last updated April 13, 2018.