Herman Bavinck – History Matters

14 Nov

History is not a matter of indifference in a single religion, but Christianity itself is and creates a history. Precisely because it is the perfect, absolute, and definitive religion, it is and has to be a historical religion. The reason is that Christianity regards sin not as ignorance, which can easily be overcome by some enlightenment, but as an appalling power, which produces its effects throughout the cosmos; and over against this power it brings reconciliation and redemption in the deepest and broadest sense of those terms. It brings redemption from the guilt and the stain, from all the consequences of sin, from the errors of the intellect and the impurity of the heart, from the death of soul and body. It brings that redemption not only to the individual but also, organically, to the family and generations of families, to people and society, to humanity and the world. For that reason Christianity has to be a history, rooted in facts, producing facts. The facts are the skeletal system of Christianity; specifically, the cross and the resurrection of Christ are the two mainstays on which the Christian faith rests. When that gospel is preached purely, it always includes those facts; and when the preaching of that gospel is blessed and effects faith and conversion, then, in the religious experience of sin and grace, the divinity of this history is sealed. For if Christ did not die and was not raised from the dead, our faith is vain. Those facts, accordingly, are not events that took place at some time in the past and have now lost their significance. They do not stand between us and God, keeping us separate from him. “To the New Testament writers this concentration of faith upon the historic realities of redemption does not in the least interfere with its personal character as a direct act of trust in God and in Christ. The Person is immanent in the facts, and the facts are the revelation of the Person.”

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 594.

Books by Herman Bavinck

Kindle Books by Herman Bavinck

Biography of Herman Bavinck

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