Logos Bible Software is pleased to offer G. C. Berkouwer's collection of studies on Christian theology, doctrine, and dogma. The Studies in Dogmatics series noted by many as one of the most significant works of Christian Dogmatics of the 20th century. Berkouwer's work is seen by many to be second only to his predecessor Karl Barth in its significance and contribution to Reformed Christian theology.
Here we have the classic Reformed theology considered in a manner which is right up to date. Professor Berkouwer has always been known as a virile and stimulating theologian. He is one, moreover, who is able to do this in a modern manner and a popular style.
—D. M. Lloyd-Jones, Westminster Chapel, London
Dr. Berkouwer's vigorous volumes on dogmatics not only deserve to be read on both sides of the Atlantic, but the present tensions in theology make the reading of these works an imperative.
—Dr. Carl F. H. Henry, Editor, Christianity Today
Next to Barth's Church Dogmatics, the series of studies in course of preparation by the Amsterdam theologian constitutes the most extensive dogmatical project of today.
—The Reformed Theological Review
The importance of Professor Berkouwer's projected 'Studies in Dogmatics' becomes clearer with the publication of each new volume. The project as a whole represents one of the most ambitious undertakings in contemporary theology. Its scope approaches the magnitude of the work of Barth and Brunner in Europe and of Ferre in America. It unquestionably marks the author as one of the genuinely significant leaders of Christian thought in our day.
—E. T. Ramsdell, Professor of Systematic Theology, Garrett Biblical Institute
The translation of G. C. Berkouwer's Studies in Dogmatics is more than just another theology on the market. Berkouwer is among the best theological writers of our day, and the theological student who neglects him is not wise. The author shows complete familiarity with all the currents in contemporary theology, and is sure to make a rich contribution to American theology.
—Dr. Dale Moody, Professor of Systematic Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
In the Logos edition, this valuable volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English Bible translations, and important terms link to a wealth of other resources in your digital library, including tools for original languages, dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, and theology texts. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
G. C. Berkouwer’s Divine Election is a discussion of election in a perspective and spirit that will be quite novel to most theologians and ministers. Berkouwer contends that election can be understood only within faith, and within a spirit of doxology, for election takes place ‘in Christ.’ Hence election must be understood and employed in terms of the gospel. He then repudiates theological usage which employs election and reprobation as a principle of interpretation for theology with the usual consequence of deducing from this truth a nice logical system of theology. Another powerful feature of this book is its criticism of the conception of the sovereignty of God which abstracts it from the whole truth about God and then make it into a mere principle of naked, ‘absolute power,’ an ethically neutral principle of brute force. Berkouwer’s book is at once a most forceful theological presentation and a work of genuine piety.
In this present volume, the third in English translation of Dr. G. C. Berkouwer’s ambitious series, Studies in Dogmatics, the author continues his brilliant and much-needed project of bringing up to date the discussions of the great Reformed faith, and of making this faith relevant to the present-day crisis of human certainties.
Concerned with Luther’s great doctrine of Justification by Faith, Professor Berkouwer includes in his study the theories of both the dialectical and Roman Catholic theologians, as well as the developments in the so-called Luther renaissance. He discusses in turn the theories of Luther and Calvin, Bohl, Osiander and Newman, Kohlbrugge and Kuyper, and Barth and Brunner, and weighs all that is relevant to the way of salvation. Berkouwer does not search primarily for a logical synthesis, and a finished proposition. He is rather concerned with the living relationship between God and man, depending upon attentiveness to the Word of revelation for the purity and clarity, as well as the relevance, of this study. Like the other studies already published in this series, this book is reasoned, penetrating, and carries forward the great vitality of the Reformation.
In times when men’s hearts are failing them for fear, in the midst of change and transition, in a period when many voices are clamoring for a hearing, the esteemed Professor of Systematic Theology at the Free University in Amsterdam aptly commences his penetrating study by drawing attention to the timeliness and relevance of the doctrine of perseverance. He writes, “There is something very strange about this doctrine, something which confronts us with the problem of permanence in a unique way, because we are so conscious of our own changelessness. Our lives are subject to numberless variations and fluctuations. In the doctrine of perseverance of the saints do we not have merely the projection of human desires, a hope which flies in the face of life’s realities? Does it not grasp after something that is denied us as changeable men?
The thoroughness with which Professor Berkouwer brings up-to-date the history of the discussions affecting this important subject (from the days of Tertullian and Augustine, through the Reformers, Ritschl, and Schleiermacher, down to Edmund Schlink and Karl Barth) gives this book a special value to all students of theology.
Faith and Sanctification is the first volume to appear in the First American Edition of a series of monographs covering the whole field of Christian theology. This major contribution to the current literature of theology, destined to exert its influence within the main current of American religious thought, it the work of Prof. G. C Berkouwer, occupant of the Chair of Systematic Theology at the Free University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands-a country with a long tradition for great theologians. In his ambitious series, Prof. Berkouwer easily keeps the tradition alive. The translation of his books for American readers marks an important literary event. In this volume Professor Berkouwer sets forth the gravity of the Christian’s responsibility: “For there is nothing hid, save that it should be manifested; neither was anything made secret, but that it should come to light”-that gives it its peculiar character. Faith and Sanctification is an excellent introduction of Berkouwer to American readers.
The subject of God’s General Revelation has in our day aroused agitated and even violent discussions, and the time when Reformed theology could take the distinction between general and special revelation for granted appears to be gone forever, says Professor Berkouwer. Does the distinction between general and special revelation, he asks, do justice to the unique and “once-for-all” character of redemptive revelation in Jesus Christ? Does the confession of a general or universal revelation owe its existence to a flight, perhaps unconscious, from the sufficiency and absoluteness of the revelation in Christ? And, as many hold, is Christ to be regarded as but a special illustration of the general revelation of God in the world, a revelation richer and broader than that revelation in Christ? These decisive questions, involving as they do the claims of natural theology and the radical character of the history of religion since the nineteenth century, are given here a trenchant and detailed analysis. The thoroughness with which Professor Berkouwer brings up-to-date the history of discussions affecting this important subject, distinguishing so comprehensively the various interpretations at issue, gives this book a special value to all students of theology.
This thirteenth volume in the widely hailed series Studies in Dogmatics by Amsterdam theologian G. C. Berkouwer discusses the doctrine of Scripture with the catholic scope and penetrating insights into the theological issues that readers of earlier volumes have come to expect. It is a Reformed Christian doctrine of Scripture which Berkouwer articulates, but the centrality of the Bible in all Christendom and his own aversion to any form of parochialism make it impossible for him to forge his positive statement without regard to a lengthy roster of committed thinkers from time past and present. Behind these theologians, of course, stand the creeds and confessions; behind them the Bible itself, always looming large in Berkouwer’s writing-not as a reservoir of prooftexts but as a vital and refreshing stream of revealed truth which gives theology its meaning and energy.
This is the eighth volume to appear in the American edition of Professor Berkouwer’s Studies in Dogmatics. Like its predecessors, it stands independently of the series as well as being a part of a larger theological whole. Like the other books, too, this study in theological anthropology, or the Biblical doctrine of man, is a fine example of Reformed theology being defended and developed through interaction with a wide range of both past and present theologies and theologians, and through a fresh look at the Biblical message.
The subject of the book-the nature of man-“is today, more than at any time,” writes Dr. Berkouwer, “at the center of theological and philosophical concern. The number of studies that have taken this problem as their theme is almost innumerable.” But “this almost irresistible problem appears to many a mind not to have found a clear and obviously irrefutable answer…Indeed, there is scarcely another theme dealt with by human consciousness which has aroused so much controversy as this theme-the nature of man.”
This is the second volume to appear in the American edition of Professor Berkouwer’s Studies in Dogmatics. Like its companions, it stands independently of the series as well as forming part of a larger theological whole. Like them, too, this study of the providence of God is a fine example of Reformed theology being defended and developed through interaction with a wide range of both past and present theologies and theologians, and through a fresh look at the Biblical message.
As Professor Berkouwer says in this book, the twentieth century has seen an attack on the worth of humanity itself, with the widespread “declarations of decline” and the prominence of such words as “crisis,” “chaos,” and nihilism” mirroring the distressing situation. In such times the most obvious confession of the Church, God’s providence and His rule over all things, has become to modern man the most outmoded confession of the historic Christian Church. God’s guidance, says Professor Berkouwer, has become the problem; and he points out that some facts of experience most striking as arguments for the providence of God have now become even more convincing counter-arguments. “This is the time, says Professor Berkouwer, “in which the Church of Christ must ask herself whether she still has the courage, in profound and unshakable faith, in boundless confidence, to proclaim the Providence of God. Or is she possessed of secret doubts fed by daily events? Can she still speak of God’s rule over all things, of his holy presence in this world?…Dare she still, with eyes open to the facts of life-no less than those who from the facts conclude an imperative atheism-confess her old confession?
Christians have always looked for the return of Christ, the last judgement, and the establishment of a new heaven and a new earth. Nevertheless, eschatology-the doctrine of last things-remains an area in which questions frequently appear to outnumber answers; and in which many of the answers that are offered come not from theologians who have studied the Bible seriously, but from faddists or self-appointed prophets. Serious students of theology, therefore, will welcome the appearance of Dr. G. C. Berkouwer’s detailed study of last things.
In The Return of Christ, Berkouwer addresses himself to a wide range of questions: How does Christian expectation differ from ordinary human longing for a better future? Is there an “intermediate state” between the death of the believer and the return of Christ (or, where does the Christian go immediately after death)? Is the Christian faith in crisis because the Lord has not yet returned? What ought Christians be doing until His return? And what will His return be like?
Speaking to issues much in evidence today, the author also provides his response to questions such as these: How are we to understand the “signs of the times”-specifically, the signs of the antichrist, the “Millennium,” and the restoration of Israel? What is the meaning of “seeing God”? Is there any scriptural warrant for teaching that ultimately God’s grace will triumph over all sin, resulting in the salvation of all men? What is the Christian really praying for when he prays “Thy Kingdom come”?
Professor Berkouwer contends, in the light of Scripture, that there can be no meaning in the meaningless or rationality in that which is intrinsically irrational. And so, a doctrine of sin which suggests that there can be only detracts from the awfulness of sin and the magnitude of God’s forgiveness. The proper response to sin is a true confesion of my guilt; for the person who truly confesses is truly forgiven.
From this vantage point Berkouwer rejects notions of monism, dualism, and a demonological explanation for man’s sin. He wants nothing to do with a “phenomenology of evil” which sees sin as self-evident. In the light of the salvation that has come we can only speak of sins that remain in us as riddle.
Berkouwer’s view is a wholesome foil to contemporary concepts that refer to human “estrangement” or “alienation,” but have little or nothing to say about guilt. He eschews the language of causality, since “self-exculpation dogs the heels of any explanation for our sin.” He denies the concepts of realism and federalism as developed in Reformed orthodox theology. “Original sin” is no datum that is “with us,” and is certainly no “alien guilt”; much rather, it is known in our involvement in sin. Nothing, not even faith, can shed a particle of light on the truly enigmatic character of evil. God’s wrath is seen the service of his grace and not as the coordinate of his love; and precisely in his intolerance for sin the act of his mercy is revealed. In a similar way, we cannot discuss the law as the source of the knowledge of sin apart from the gospel, or the gospel apart from the law. We cannot see Adam apart from Jesus Christ.
“I believe one holy catholic and apostolic church.” In these words of the Nicene Creed Christians of every era and every land have articulated a dimension of their faith that seems to invite cynicism. Through the years unity and universality, holiness and faithfulness to the apostolic tradition have not been overwhelmingly obvious as attributes of the Church.
G. C. Berkouwer is not content to take the easy out and explain these shortcomings as thought what has traditionally been confessed about the Church refers only to an ideal, not the actual Church in its historical manifestations. On the contrary, Berkouwer argues, to the extent that the Church fails to display unity, catholicity, and holiness, it is failing to be itself.
Readers of Berkouwer who have come to expect penetrating analysis of a wide range of past and contemporary options, constant reference to the Bible in the outworking of a theological stance, and deep concern for the preachability of theology will not be disappointed by this vivid and thoughtful contribution to ecclesiology.
In the doctrine of the person of Christ-more than anywhere else, says Professor Berkouwer-do we feel that theology is not practiced in a corner, and Christ can not be made the object of a neutral interest in a scientific analysis. There will always be implicitly audible the pre-commitment of faith or unfaith, even when the theological discussion does not change to preaching.
Disclaiming the thesis of Troeltsch that the old view of Christianity and paganism is no longer valid, Berkouwer declares that what is needed today is conversion, not the simple uplift which is attached to the general promulgation of a culture. For this, the church will have to show something of the necessity which is divinely laid upon it. And for the clarification of this necessity, Berkouwer presents here an exposition of the doctrine of The Person of Christ which succeeds in making the Christian confession today as vital and relevant as it was when the infant church stormed into the world proclaiming, “He that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
The Sacraments is the tenth work to appear in the American edition of Berkouwer’s monumental Studies in Dogmatics. In it, the author examines, explicates and defends the Reformed teaching on the sacraments in the light of the Word of God and church theology. In the process, Berkouwer discusses and evaluates the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and various contemporary views of the sacraments.
The study proceeds to deal with the questions of: the number of the sacraments, the relation between Word and sacrament, the efficacy of the sacraments in relation to faith, the nature of Christ’s presence in the sacrament, the meaning of “sign and seal,” and the controversial questions of infant baptism and open communion. In treating these issues, Berkouwer is able to sort out the massive complications that have developed in their discussion over the years, and with devout faith and unfaltering logic, thread his way between confusion and over-simplification. The result is a brilliant statement of faith, which will illumine and inspire its readers and lay to rest much doubt and uncertainty about the significance of the vital church rites of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Defining and delineating the Work of Christ has been the concern of the church since the first century. Unfortunately, many attempts to understand that work have resulted either in wholesale rejections of theology or in complex theological jargon which, saying nearly everything, says nothing.
Professor G. C. Berkouwer avoids both these pitfalls in this volume, the ninth to appear in the American edition of his Studies in Dogmatics series. The Work of Christ treats such theologically important questions as: Would there have been an incarnation without sin? What is the relation of Christ’s humiliation and exaltation? How are we to understand the doctrine of the virgin birth? Why does the church confess that Christ suffered “under Pontius Pilate”? Following the order of the Apostle’s Creed in his study of the work of Christ, Berkouwer concludes with a lengthy discussion of four aspects of the work of Christ: reconciliation, sacrifice, obedience, and victory.
The author’s thorough treatment of the Work of Christ is reflective of his mastery of the subject matter as it has developed throughout the history of Christian thought. His historical treatment includes references to the hymns of the church, its confessions and creeds, and its preaching, in addition to its strictly theological works. Throughout, Berkouwer maintains the normative position of Scripture, never obscuring the responsibility of dogmatic theology to be subservient to the Word of God.
Gerrit Cornelis Berkouwer (1903-1996), Dutch theologian. He studied at the Christian Gymnasium and at the Free University of Amsterdam, obtaining a doctorate there in 1932. As pastor in the Gereformeerde Kerken (1927–45), he served in Oudehorne and Amsterdam. Also lecturer in modern theology at the Free University of Amsterdam (1940–45), he became professor of systematic theology there in 1945 and continued until his retirement in 1973. He was an observer at Vatican Council II (1962) and a member of the Royal Academy of the Sciences. His Studies in Dogmatics (14 vols., 1952–76) have earned high praise. “The importance of Berkouwer lies in his refusal to accept simplistic either-or’s … in which the fulness of truth is torn apart” (A Half Century of Theology, 208) and his “conviction that theology, if it is to be meaningful … had to be a theology directed to the pulpit” (L. B. Smedes). Other significant works include The Triumph of Grace in the Theology of Karl Barth (1956), The Second Vatican Council and the New Catholicism (1965), and A Half Century of Theology (1977).
From Biographical Entries from New 20th-Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge