Friday 20 September 2013

The Bavinck Review 4 (2013)

The Bavinck Institute have just made available online volume 4 of The Bavinck Review. The contents are listed below, with the summaries of the articles taken from Laurence O’Donnell’ editorial. Individual articles are available here, or the entire issue can be downloaded as a pdf here.



Henk van den Belt
Religion as Revelation? The Development of Herman Bavinck’s View from a Reformed Orthodox to a Neo-Calvinist Approach
Professor Henk van den Belt leads the way with a thorough historical analysis of Bavinck’s formulation of the revelation-religion relationship. He inquires into the theological grounds for Bavinck’s affirmations of the truth, goodness, and beauty evident in non-Christian religions. In what senses does Bavinck consider non-Christian religions and religiosity itself to be divine revelations? How can a Reformed dogmatics with its affirmation of a religio vera nevertheless find theological grounds for affirming proximate goods in non-Christian religions? His historical findings lend themselves to further dogmatic reflection on the religio vera within the contemporary context of religious pluralism. They also help to clarify the meaning of certain controversial passages within the Reformed Dogmatics wherein Bavinck makes positive statements about pagan religions in general and Muhammad in particular.

Brian G. Mattson
A Soft Spot for Paganism? Herman Bavinck and ‘Insider’ Movements
These intriguing passages [where Bavinck makes positive statements about pagan religions] are the subject of Dr. Brian Mattson’s essay on the ‘insider’ debate in contemporary Reformed missiology and Rev. J. W. Stevenson’s response. Mattson argues that misguided appeals to these passages such as Stevenson’s suggest that Bavinck’s view of non-Christian religions in general and Islam in particular downplays the doctrine of total depravity in order to highlight the goods found in these religions. Against these appeals he argues that, rightly understood in context, Bavinck’s statements regarding the goods in non-Christian religions have the opposite effect, one that is grounded in the catholic tradition and is non-controversial. Further, he argues that Bavinck’s statements – when interpreted in light of his view of the relation between nature and grace – do not provide theological grounds for ‘insider’ models of missions.

J.W. Stevenson
A Brief Response to Mattson’s ‘A Soft Spot for Paganism? Bavinck and Insider Movements’
Stevenson’s reply challenges Mattson’s reading of his appeal to Bavinck’s statements as misguided. He further argues that his view of Herman Bavinck’s theology and J.H. Bavinck’s missiology in relation to contemporary ‘insider”’ movement missiological discussion is not at odds with but in harmony with Mattson’s.

Laurence O’Donnell
Bavinckiana digitalia: A Review Essay
O’Donnell’s review essay takes a turn to the technological. After surveying the current array of digitized Bavinck resources, sampling their functionality, and sharing some tips for rewarding digital research, [he reflects] upon the ways in which these digital tools can provide a boon to Bavinck researchers.

John Bolt
Herman Bavinck on Natural Law and Two Kingdoms: Some Further Reflections
Professor Bolt’s essay revisits the VanDrunen-Kloosterman duplex regnum debate with a significant revision of his earlier Bavinck Society discussion guide in light of two recent dissertations by Drs. Brian Mattson and James Eglinton. The underlying theological question in this debate is one that Bavinck calls the hardest theological question of all; namely, the proper relation between nature and grace. This difficult question comes into expression in smaller, even simple, questions such as whether Bavinck, who designated a portion of his student budget for ‘Glas bier,’ would consider those Leiden pints to be Christian in any sense; or whether in Bavinck’s view a fundamental, creational institution such as the family can be properly qualified as Christian, as the title of his recently translated book suggests. Though seemingly simple on the surface, such questions have a profound depth when viewed in light of the nature-grace relation. Bolt offers his own perspective on this discussion.

In Translation

James Eglinto
Letters to a Dying Student: Bavinck’s Letters to Johan van Haselen

Pearls and Leaven

John Bolt
The Imitation of Christ Is Not the Same in Every Age

Bavinck Bibliography 2012

Book Reviews

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