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Doctrine of God (Students Reformed Theological Library) Hardcover – January 1, 1978
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At the time, I was unfamiliar with Bavinck's work and thought, but have since come to appreciate and value his perspective and ministry. Bavinck (b. 1854; d. 1921) was a Dutch Reformed theologian, churchman, and statesman. He was first appointed as Professor of Dogmatics at Kampen Theological Seminary (where he began his studies) and eventually succeeded Abraham Kuyper as Professor of Theology at the Free University in Amsterdam.
In The Doctrine of God, Bavinck engages this foundational aspect of Christian theology by devoting his chapters to (I) God's Incomprehensibility, (II) God's Knowability, (III) God's names, (IV) God's Incommunicable Attributes, (V) God's Communicable Attributes, (VI) The Holy Trinity, and finally to (VII) God's Counsel.
His treatment of "The Holy Trinity" is worth the price of the book.
If you are new to Bavinck, this is a great introduction to an important theologian. If you are a serious student of Reformed theology, this is an essential volume.
Of particular interest is the perennial debate of supralapsarian and infralapsarian interpretations. Bavinck is without equal in both explanation and resolution.
Bavinck is Reformed, yet those of other theological persuasions will find this volume to be one of the most sound orthodox books in print.
As negatives go, Bavinck often quotes writers and theologians who are obscure today, as if the reader had a good, workable knowledge of their material. This can often leave the reader bewildered as to the argument the quoted writer was making, with no opportunity to read the original materials.
Bavinck breaks down the Doctrine of God into 7 categories: God's Incomprehensibility, God's Knowability, God's Names, God's Incommunicable Attributes, God's Communicable Attributes, The Holy Trinity, and God's Counsel. Each of these of course is further subdivided in a logical format. Note that in the Dutch original, God's Names came after God's Incommunicable Attributes, and the editor does not give any rational for the change.
The last chapter on God's Counsel is the real gem of this work, and Bavinck's treatment of election is a gripping read, demonstrating God's love and forethought of His creatures. His treatment of the supra/infra-lapsarian debate should also be consulted by any who wish to avoid these errors.
The hardback itself is of good quality and mine has held up well over its first reading, although it is rather unremarkable (in fact it looks almost identical to Berkhof's Systematic Theology also published by Banner of Truth).