Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics: The Grand Scheme of Things

“Mystery is the lifeblood of dogmatics” are Bavinck’s opening words to the doctrine of God. Even when a confirmed believer moves past the sophomore debates of faith v reason and proofs for God’s existence faith, moving toward understanding, faces the incompressibility of knowing God. The great question here at the outset of our journey is: How is reading Bavinck anymore of a help?

The tensions between modern life’s this-world scientific orientation and the pietistic other-worldly contemplation was a concern Bavinck was a pains to address. These two worldviews have inherent dangers to genuine faith; the former slips easily into asceticism and solitude while the other degenerates into, “cold Pelagianism and unfeeling moralism.” These issues, warns Bavinck, directly affect worship and the quality of religious life for those around us.

Bavinck writes with the conviction that God has certainly spoken and revealed himself to the creation from within and without. This is no mere academic exercise: God’s revelation is personal, inviting faith and communion with him through Christ and the Spirit. Our series continues with Bavinck’s view of God’s incomprehensibility right here, next week.

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