Is Herman Bavinck Relevant Today?

bavinckIs Herman Bavinck relevant today? Carl Trueman seeks to answer that in an excellent Themelios editorial (vol. 25, no. 3, June 2000, pp. 1–4). According to Trueman, Bavinck’s theology possesses the following strengths:

(1) Bavinck’s theology is unashamedly conducted within the context of faith and on the basis that the Bible is the revelation of God.
(2) Bavinck’s theology is rooted in exegesis.
(3) Bavinck’s theology is informed and intelligent in the manner in which it deals with alternative viewpoints.
(4) Bavinck takes seriously the need to articulate the faith in a manner which respects the historic doctrinal trajectories yet which addresses contemporary intellectual and social patterns of behaviour.
(5) Bavinck’s theology is shot through with the fire of personal devotion.

In sum, Treuman urges us theological students to read him and re-appropriate his theological methodology in own day:

“Read him; reflect on what he is doing; consider how the same principles might be worked out in theological studies today. It might just save your soul as it once saved mine; and it might just give you a vision for the role of theologians and theology within the life of the church which challenges the way you work at the moment. Theological students have both a great privilege and a great responsibility because of who they are and what they know. This should excite you, set your hearts on fire, send you out into the world and the church rejoicing in the good news which you, of all people, should know back-to-front and inside-out. Theological study is a moral, an intellectual, and a spiritual challenge, a challenge which men and women like Bavinck accepted in their own day and fulfilled to the best of their ability.”

Read the rest of Trueman’s unpacking of these points here.


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