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Herman Bavinck – Scripture Should Define Our Emotions

3 Aug

Experience by itself is not sufficient. Scripture is the norm also for our emotional life and tells us what we ought to experience.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 534.

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Herman Bavinck – Needed: The Witness of God

30 Jul

In religion no human being and no creature can stand between God and my soul. To live and die in the comfort and blessing of salvation is not possible so long as I must rest on fallible human testimony. In religion we need not less but much stronger and firmer certainty than in science. Peace can be found only in the witness of God.

~Herman Bavinck~


Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 516-517.

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Herman Bavinck – Should Scripture Submit to (Darkened) Reason?

24 Jul

If Christian revelation, which presupposes the darkness and error of unspiritual humanity, submitted in advance to the judgments of reason, it would by that token contradict itself. It would thereby place itself before a tribunal whose jurisdiction it had first denied.

~Herman Bavinck~


Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 516.

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Herman Bavinck – A Position High Above Us

20 Jun

The revelation that comes to us in Christ through Scripture… does not put itself on a level below us to ask for our approving or disapproving judgment on it but takes a position high above us and insists that we shall believe and obey.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 505.

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Herman Bavinck – Experience In Its Proper Context

9 Jun

Experience is crucial to all religion, but in Christianity it must be prompted by the Word of God, accompany and follow faith, not precede it, and always be subject to correction by Scripture. Scripture, not experience, is the norm for our faith.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 499-500.

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Herman Bavinck – Tradition and Scripture

2 Jun

At no time is the church in the OT and the NT ever directed to anything other than the always avaiilable Word of God, either written or unwritten. By it alone human beings can have a spiritual life. The church finds all it needs in the Scripture available to it at a given time. Subsequent Scriptures presuppose, link up with, and build upon, preceding Scripture. The prophets and psalmists assume the Torah. Isaiah (8:20) calls everyone to the law and to the testimony. The NT considers itself the fulfillment of the OT and refers back to nothing other than the existing Scripture. Even more telling is the fact that all that lies outside of Scripture is as firmly as possible ruled out. Traditions are rejected as the institutions of human beings (Isa. 29:13; Matt. 15:3,9; 1 Cor. 4:6). The tradition that developed in the days of the OT prompted the Jews to reject the Christ. Over against it Jesus posited his “but I say to you” (Matt. 5:27, 32, 34, 38, 44), and against Pharisees and scribes he again aligned himself with the Law and the Prophets. The apostles appeal only to the OT Scriptures and never refer the churches to anything other than the word of God proclaimed by them. Inasmuch as in the early period tradition sought to be nothing other than the preservation of the things personally taught and instituted by the apostles, it was not yet dangerous. But the Roman Catholic tradition has utterly deteriorated from that level. It cannot be demonstrated that any doctrine or practice is of apostolic origin except insofar as this can be shown from their writings. The Roman Catholic tradition, which gave rise to the mass, to Mariolatry, to papal infallibility, and other Roman distinctives, is nothing but a sanctioning of tha actual state of affairs of the Roman Catholic Church, a justification of the superstition that has crept into it.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 489-490.

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Herman Bavinck – The Perspicuity of Scripture

31 May

The doctrine of the perspicuity of Holy Scripture… means only that the truth, the knowledge of which is necessary to everyone for salvation, though not spelled out with equal clarity on every page of Scripture, is nevertheless presented throughout all of Scripture in such a simple and intelligible form that a person concerned about the salvation of his or her soul can easily, by personal reading and study, learn to know that truth from Scripture without the assistance and guidance of the church and the priest. The way of salvation, not as it concerns the matter itself but as it concerns the mode of transmission, has been clearly set down there for the reader desirous of salvation. While that reader mmay not understand the “how” of it, the “that” is clear.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 477.

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Herman Bavinck – Now, We Walk by Faith

28 May

The fact that we will one day walk by sight does not cancel out the necessity of walking by faith in this dispensation. Although the church militant and the church triumphant are fundamentally one, there is nevertheless a difference between them in position and life in the present. The boundary line cannot and may not be erased. We will never achieve a heavenly life while we are here on earth. We walk by faith, not by sight. Now we see in a mirror dimly; in the hereafter, and not before, we will see face to face and will know as we are known. The vision of God has been reserved for heaven. On earth we will never be self-reliant and independent.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 474.

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Herman Bavinck – Taking Our Stand on Scripture

30 Apr

Now Rome, with its infallible pope, can assert that Scripture is not necessary; the infalliblity of the church indeed renders Scripture superfluous. But Protestantism has no such infallible organ, neither in the institution, nor in the organism, nor in the individual members of the church. If Protestantism should deny the necessity of Scripture, it would weaken itself, strengthen Rome, and lose the truth, which is an indispensable element of religion. For that reason the Reformation insisted so firmly on the necessity of Holy Scripture. Scripture was the place for the Reformation to stand. It succeeded because, against the authority of church councils and the pope, it could pose the authority of God’s Holy Word. One who abandons this position of the Reformation unintentionally works for the upbuilding of Rome. For if not Scripture but the church is necessary to the knowledge of religious truth, then the church becomes the indispensable means of grace. The Word loses its central place and only retains a preparatory or pedagogical role. While Scripture may be useful and good, it is not necessary, neither for the church as a whole, nor for believers individually.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 469.

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Herman Bavinck – Scripture Doesn’t Need Our Help

27 Apr

[The word of God] stands on a level high above all human authority in state and society, science and art. Before it, all else must yield. For people must obey God rather than other people. All other [human] authority is restricted to its own circle and applies only to its own area. But the authority of Scripture extends to the whole person and over all humankind. It is above the intellect and the will, the heart and the conscience, and cannot be compared with any other authority. Its authority, being divine, is absolute. It is entitled to be believed and obeyed by everyone at all times. In majesty it far transcends all other powers. But, in order to gain recognition and dominion, it asks for no one’s assistance. It does not need the strong arm of the government. It does not need the support of the church and does not conscript anyone’s sword and inquisition. It does not desire to rule by coercion and violence but seeks free and willing recognition. For that reason it brings about its own recognition by the working of the Holy Spirit. Scripture guards its own authority.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2003) p. 465.

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