08 May, 2008

Reformed Dogmatics

When Dr. Louis Berkhof published his Systematic Theology in 1932 it was for a number of reasons. One of the reasons that Dr. Berkhof gave was that the students at Calvin Seminary could not read Dutch like they used to 'in his day'.

The shame of Berkhof writing a Systematic Theology was two fold (of course, there were some good reasons as well):

1. Students did not feel the need to learn Dutch any more, hence the CRC lost a lot of her Dutch experiential history and writings.
2. The need for Dr. Herman Bavinck's Gereformeerde dogmatiek to be translated into English was lost.

Fourteen years ago, The Dutch Reformed Translation Society began a project. They saw the need for this massive Reformed Dogmatics to be translated into English and to be made available at a reasonable price.

Well, last month marked the release of volume 4, thus bringing to a close this massive project.

Personally, reading Bavinck has been an incredible experience in systematics reading. Watching the books come out, over my seminary experience, has been like kids waiting for the newest baseball cards to be released (do kids still do this? Or all they all sitting and playing Wii all day?)! I am sure that any student/pastor/teacher/elder that reads systematic theology will tell you that Bavinck is a great boon to what is available in Reformed readings.

To celebrate this massive feat, Reformation Heritage Books is offering all 4 volumes for $100. This is $80 off the retail price. (This is a great price for a 14 year project, and 1000s of pages of writing!).


Terreth said...

Great post Nate. There is one other tradgedy though relating to Bavinck not being translated: Barth was(not by the CRC of course). One conservative Calvin prof. once lamented to me how Barth had caused much trouble in the CRC. He concluded by saying, "How diffrent things would have been if Bavinck had been translated instead of Barth." I experienced the truth of this statement when more then one professor at RBC (now Kuyper college) slaughtered historic covenant theology by from the historic footnotes in Barth's dogmatics.

Nate said...


Congrats on the birth of Julia, BTW.

1. I am sure I know which Calvin prof you are speaking of.. he is quite the anomaly in the denomination! (I will leave it there as not to incriminate him... or her).

2. I know too well the experience at RBC. I did not read one page of Bavinck in any under-grad classes, yet he was there to some degree. Barth is the major player still there at at Calvin.

I think Torrance is Presbyterian though, so we can thank our own ranks for Barth being brought out of German!

Chuck said...

Also watch for Dr. Ron Gleason's 350-page biography of Bavinck out soon.