Herman Bavinck – Does Christianity Teach Asceticism?

28 Nov

We can even much less think of revelation and nature as opposites when we note the content and purpose of the revelation as given in Christ. For it proclaims to us that God loved the world, and that Christ came not to condemn but to save the world (John 3:16,17), to destroy not the works of the Father but only the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). And just as Christ himself assumed a full human nature, denied the natural life in an ethical sense but did not mutilate and mortify it physically, and in the end again raised his body from the dead, so his disciples, while indeed called to cross-bearing and self-denial and following their Master, are not called to asceticism and world flight.

On the contrary, Jesus prayed to the Father that his disciples would not be taken out of the world but kept in the world from the evil one (John 17:15). In line with this, Christians did not have to go out of the world (1 Cor. 5:10), but to remain in their occupations (1 Cor. 7:17-23); to obey the powers God had ordained (Rom. 13:1); to regard all things their own (1 Cor. 3:21-23); to enjoy every gift of God with thanksgiving (1 Tim. 4:3-5); and to consider godliness as of value in every way, as it hold promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Tim. 4:8). And that, too, was what the Reformation wanted: a Christianity that was hostile, not to nature but only to sin.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 362.

Books by Herman Bavinck

Biography of Herman Bavinck

More Bavinck Quotes

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