Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.90 shipping
Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 1: Prolegomena Hardcover – October 1, 2003
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
From the Back Cover
"Finally Bavinck becomes available to the English-speaking world. The Dutch version has been a constant stimulus for students, pastors, and other interested Christians. It has shaped generations of theologians and helped them to preach, think, and act on a fresh, Reformed basis. Baker and the Dutch Reformed Translation Society deserve praise for this project, from which without doubt church and theology will profit for years to come."
--Herman Selderhuis, Theologische Universiteit Appeldoorn
"Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics has been the fountainhead of Reformed theology for the last hundred years. It is by far the most profound and comprehensive Reformed systematic theology of the twentieth century. The reader will be amazed by Bavinck's erudition, creativity, and balance. Bavinck is confessionally orthodox, but he recognizes the need to rethink the traditional formulations from Scripture in the context of contemporary discussion. I hope it will have a large readership and will bring forth much theological and spiritual fruit."
--John M. Frame, Reformed Theological Seminary
"Pastors and theologians will welcome the historic first complete translation of Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics. . . . This masterful theological work is now available to passionate students of theology."
--R. Albert Mohler Jr., Preaching
"Bavinck's probings . . . are now accessible to theological communities where his name is revered, but where little has been known about the details of his thought. This is a cause for rejoicing. But it is to be hoped that the larger English-speaking theological world will also accept the challenge of seriously engaging his considerable contribution to Reformed thought. . . . Bavinck comes across as a remarkably gifted and creative guide to the contemporary landscape."
--Richard J. Mouw, IRT Bulletin
About the Author
Herman Bavinck (1854-1921) succeeded Abraham Kuyper as professor of systematic theology at the Free University in Amsterdam in 1902. John Bolt is professor of systematic theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. The late John Vriend translated many classic theological works.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This volume is his prolegomena, or the "first things" that need to be addressed before delving at length into theology proper. While they may be considered preliminary issues there is nothing about Bavinck's treatment of them that is less than thorough. In turn he divides this works as follows: Introduction to Dogmatics; The History and Literature of Dogmatic Theology; Foundations of Dogmatic Theology; Revelation; and Faith.
Bavinck is an extremely well-read student of theology and he digs deeply into each aspect of his principle topics. He points out what he feels are the strengths and weaknesses of various theological positions, including the Reformed position in which he is grounded. This includes the Church Fathers, Scholasticism, Roman Catholicism and various strands of Protestantism. As a European theologian of the late 19th century he is acutely aware of the effects of Kant and Schleiermacher on philosophy and theology and he addresses their influence frequently.
Late in this volume he discusses the connection between reason and faith, noting that reason is invaluable in the service of faith, writing: "Furthermore, faith is not an involuntary act but a free act. Christians do not believe on command, out of fear, or in response to violence. Believing has become the natural habit of their mind, not in the sense that there is often not considerable resistance in their soul to that believing, but still in such a way that, though often doing what they do not want to do, they still take delight in God's law in their inmost self. Believing is the natural breath of the children of God. Their submission to the Word of God is not slavery but freedom." (616) These are words that speak powerful truth to Christians of every time and place.
Bavinck is irenic in his writing, which I greatly appreciated, as he can very clearly demonstrate the weaknesses and errors in particular positions without castigating or demonizing the author of that position. Bavinck is also persistently and consistently biblical in his writing. He is adept at integrating both the Old and New Testaments as he lays out the foundation for his viewpoint and/or dismantles a perspective he finds to be in error.
Having read the first volume I am anxious to continue on into Bavicnk's Reformed Dogmatics, for he deeply understands God's Word and he dearly loves God's people.
Bavinck takes the traditional terminology of principia, yet in the background is an ever-present urgency to respond to modernism. Therefore, he takes the terminology and reframes it around the neo-Calvinist slogan, "Grace restores Nature." There is an antithesis and dualism, to be sure, but it is not between nature and grace, but sin and grace.
God himself is the principle of existence for theology (principium essendi). Objective revelation of God in Christ is recorded in the Scriptures and this is the external source of knowledge (externum principium cognoscendi). The Holy Spirit is the iternal source of knowledge. This leads Bavinck to a line he repeats throughout the book: there must be a corresponding internal organ to receive the external revelation. This anticipates the later Reformed Epistemology school.
Contrary to the convertskii, everyone's reception and evaluation of his or her ultimate authority will be subjective in some sense. One often hears the refrain, "You Protestants make yourself the Pope and judge of authority while we simply submit to the Church." Unfortunately, at one time this convertskii had to make a decision-using his own sinful Western-influenced reason-between Rome, EO, Assyrian Orthodoxy, Monophysitism and Nestorianism. Whatever the external source of knowledge-the Church, God's Revelation, etc.-the religious subject will have to respond to it. Since the subject is responding, the response and evaluation is, quite naturally, subjective. Bavinck hits a grand slam on this point.
Circular Reasoning and First Principles
Bavinck does not try to hide the fact of circular reasoning. He asserts, quite rightly, that first principles in any science are by definition circular. If they were proven by other principles, they would not be first principles! With this acknowledged, Romanism and Orthodoxy are in no better position than Protestantism. Positing either the Pope or the Church as the external principle of knowledge is highly laughable-and bears witness to my argument given that few even try to do that.
Towards the Future of Reformed Epistemology and Apologetics
It's obvious that Van Til read Bavinck. It is also obvious, if perhaps less so, that the Reformed Epistemologists follow in Bavinck's train. It's interesting that while Van Til drew heavily from Bavinck, I don't think they are always saying the same thing on apologetics. Bavinck used the categories of presuppositionalism, but he knew when to stop the train. I think he kept himself from many of what would later be some of Van Til's errors, or at least weak points.
The book isn't always easy to read. If the reader does not have a background heavy in European Rationalism, many of Bavinck's sparring partners will be over one's head. Conversely, if one does have such a background in those disciplines, then there is little point to read Bavinck on them, since he is merely given a cursory reading of them.
Bavinck breaks from many elements of Christendom on the point of nature-grace. How is the theologian to approach Creation, especially given the troubling fact that creation has been marred by sin? For Bavinck, the essence of the Christian religion is the re-creation of the cosmos into the Kingdom of God. This means, as I understand it, that Christ's work re-focused creation and the redeemed humanity into a kingdom , still embryonic in form, eagerly awaiting the Consummation.
This means, practically speaking, that the Christian may apply his theology into "secular" spheres. Creation (nature) has been restored. It means that sin no longer has dominion and that the redemption of Christ spreads as far "as the curse is found."
I do recommend this work. He is not as exegetical as modern theologians, but his work represents an important move in Reformed theology. I have some issues, though: most of the time Bavinck is simply giving conclusions of summaries of Christian thought. This presents an unusual problem. Unless you actually have the philosophical background, much of what he says will be unclear. But if you do have the background in philosophical history, much of what he says will be irrelevant.