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 cannot 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Disclaiming the thesis of Troeltsch that the old view of Christianity and paganism is no longer valid, Berkouwer declares that what is needed today is conversion, not the simple uplift which is attached to the general promulgation of a culture.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.”
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