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.
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