Tuesday, September 15, 2015

14 September 2015 A.D. Rev. Dr. Prof. Herman Bavinck: Reformed Dogmatics



14 September 2015 A.D. Rev. Dr. Prof. Herman Bavinck: Reformed Dogmatics


Herman Bavinck may be the greatest theologian most people have never heard of.
Richard Gaffin says that Bavinck wrote “arguably the most important systematic theology ever produced in the Reformed tradition,” and Gaffin finds it the most valuable one of them all.
J. I. Packer writes: “Solid but lucid, demanding but satisfying, broad and deep and sharp and stabilizing, Bavinck’s magisterial Reformed Dogmatics remains after a century the supreme achievement of its kind.”
John Frame calls the four-volume Reformed Dogmatics “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.”
Now the editor of the four-volume dogmatics—John Bolt—has produced a volume that seeks to show us what Bavinck lived, believed, and taught about living the Christian life in Bavinck on the Christian Life: Following Jesus in Faithful Service (Crossway, 2015), a recent entry in the Theologians on the Christian Life series.
In a recent review at TGC, Brian Mattson summarizes the significant of this work:
Coupled with the fact that Bavinck never finished—much less published—his volume on Reformed ethics, Bolt has achieved a unique triumph. He has produced the “missing” volume on practical theology out of Bavinck’s own theological tapestry. And it rings true to its original source on every page.
Here are some others on why this book is so helpful:
“To use the word timely for a book about a nineteenth-century Dutch theologian may seem inappropriate. But in this case the adjective is exactly right. Many of us have wanted to spread the word that Herman Bavinck’s theological perspective can contribute much to a renewal of the church’s life and mission today. Now in this book John Bolt has made the case in a concise and convincing manner!”
Richard J. Mouw, President, Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary
“This obvious labor of love explores an important but insufficiently highlighted aspect of Bavinck’s thought. Leaving virtually no pertinent stone unturned throughout his life and published works, Bolt provides both a full presentation of Bavinck’s views and his own understanding of their continuing relevance for Christian discipleship today. Here is valuable instruction in Bavinck’s thought presented in a way that will also stimulate the reader’s own thinking on the issues raised.”
Richard B. Gaffin Jr., Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary
“Trinitarian, Christ-centered, and culturally engaged, Herman Bavinck immerses us into a vivid vision of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His rich theological imagination provides a compelling alternative to the many vapid, pragmatic approaches to faith today. John Bolt provides an accessible and illuminating guide to Bavinck’s theology of the Christian life in the most expansive sense: the Christian life of fellowship with God and others, in family, work, and politics. Bolt skillfully navigates these waters in order to open up the treasures of Bavinck for today’s church.”
Todd Billings, Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan
“Perhaps every generation in the church age could claim a need for Bavinck’s perspective on the Christian life. We can’t let our salt lose its saltiness and our light lose its brilliance—not now. Bavinck encourages us in this regard even as we are in the world, not of the world, and sent into the world. In one seamless volume, Bolt shows how Bavinck’s contributions help correct our nearsightedness as we become tethered to his conviction that the Word of God is ever living and ever active in every day.”

Gloria Furman, Pastor’s wife, Redeemer Church of Dubai; mother of four; author,Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full
“Not one square inch of nature, work, culture, or history escaped the reach of Herman Bavinck’s expansive Christ-centered worldview. Of the great Reformed theologians, Bavinck is the generous giant, with a heart as wide as his axiom ‘grace restores nature.’ Bavinck’s vision of a sovereign Savior at work in the world, carefully grounded in the gospel, suits him to speak authoritatively on the Christian’s place in this world. This book is a masterpiece from John Bolt, a man who knows Bavinck’s mind as well as anyone.”

Tony Reinke, Staff Writer and Researcher, desiringGod.org; author, Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books
“Never before have I read such a fine and stimulating overview of Herman Bavinck’s life and theology. John Bolt shows clearly why the study of Bavinck is growing worldwide and why this theology is a great help for today’s Christians. Bavinck and Bolt are a great team!”

Herman Selderhuis, Professor of Church History, Theological University of Apeldoorn; Director, Refo500, The Netherlands
“Bolt’s portrait of Bavinck and his theology captures the man himself: clear, elegant, biblically saturated, theologically rich, philosophically nuanced, irenic, and aimed at the Christian life. Drawing on a diversity of sources, Bolt not only brings the riches of Bavinck’s mature theology into conversation with current theological concerns, but also applies it to the most practical elements of faith, marriage, family, work, and culture. He ably introduces readers to Bavinck’s vision of the Christian life as part of God’s movement of grace restoring nature and a cosmic redemption aimed at restoring and elevating creation to its intended goal. Most of all, it is a vision of following Jesus out into the world as the Father conforms his children into the image of the Son in the power of the Spirit for the sake of his glorious name.”

Derek Rishmawy, Director of College and Young Adult Ministries, Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Santa Ana, California
For more information on the series, go here.

Photo image credit: Tony Reinke
Here are the books published so far in Crossways’ Theologians on the Christian Life series:







·         Carl Trueman, Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom

·         Tony Reinke, Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ



Here are the volumes coming later this year:
·         Michael A.G. Haykin and Matthew Barrett, Owen on the Christian Life: Living for the Glory of God in Christ (September)

·         Gerald Bray, Augustine on the Christian Life: Transformed by the Power of God (October)

·         And here are volumes coming after that:

·         Michael Reeves, Spurgeon on the Christian Life

·         Jason Meyer, Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life

·         Derek Thomas, Bunyan on the Christian Life

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