Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics in Korean

Dr. Tae Hyeun Park translates Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics into Korean (translated by John Bolt)

On November 7, 2011, at the Historical Documentation Center for Dutch Protestantism (1800–present), part of the Library of the VU University, Amsterdam, Dr. Tae Hyeun Park presented the Korean translation of the Herman Bavinck’s four-volume Reformed Dogmatics (originally published 1895–1901). Dr. Park has been working on this translation for the past four years under the direction of VU University professors Dr. Martien E. Brinkman and Dr. George Harinck.

Dr. Park based his translation on the original Dutch text of the Reformed Dogmatics and used the English translation as a control. Thanks to his mastery of the Dutch language, Dr. Park was able to provide numerous corrections to the English translation.

“The Korean edition of Reformed Dogmatics means to get a highway for Korean churches that are on the way to the development of Reformed theology,” according to one of those who introduced the volumes at its presentation in Seoul.

The first printing of the Korean translation appeared in early October and was sold out in a few days. The second printing is selling so well that a third printing is being planned.

The translation was made possible thanks to support from the Foundation Pro Religione et Libertate and the Historical Documentation Center at the VU University.

See the full press release.

Prime Minister Balkenende’s Lecture

On 14 October 2011, Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (2002–2010), will deliver a lecture at the 2011 Bavinck conference entitled, “Reinventing Responsibility in the 21st Century—New Orientations and the Heritage of Neo-Calvinism.”

Topics include:

  • Today’s crucial questions: globalization; economic crisis; climate change; new international power constellations
  • The loss of direction; we seem rudderless and without a compass
  • Rise of popular movements
  • Hopeful signals: values, responsibility, new alliances
  • How Kuyper, Bavinck, and Dooyeweerd dealt with “new” issues in their day, and what we can learn from them
  • The need for a new ethos of responsibility

Update 23 May 2012

Karen Saupe interviewed former prime minister Balkenende on Inner Compass, an interview show that explores how people follow their conscience about ethical, religious, and social justice issues.

The Bavinck Review, Volume 2 (2011)

The Bavinck Review 2 (2011) (PDF; 1.6 MB) is now freely available.

Download Individual Articles

Title Page, Front Matter, and Contents

Editorial by John Bolt


“Will I Remain Standing?”: A Cathartic Reading of Herman Bavinck by Willem J. de Wit

Herman Bavinck’s Theological Aesthetics: A Synchronic and Diachronic Analysis by Robert S. Covolo

Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck on the Subject of Education as seen in Two Public Addresses by Timothy Shaun Price

Neither “Copernican” nor “Van Tilian”: Re-Reading Cornelius Van Til’s Reformed Apologetics in light of Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics by Laurence R. O’Donnell III

Herman Bavinck and Augustine on Epistemology by Michael S. Chen

“To See Darkness, To Hear Silence”: St. Augustine, Herman Bavinck, and the Incomprehensibility of Evil by Travis Ryan Pickell

Research Précis

Herman Bavinck and Radical Orthodoxy: Elements of Participation in the Reformed Dogmatics by Wolter Huttinga

An Impenetrable Mystery: Herman Bavinck’s Concept of Regeneration and its Sources by Aart Goedvree

In Translation

The Kingdom of God, The Highest Good by Herman Bavinck, translated by Nelson D. Kloosterman

Pearls and Leaven

Herman Bavinck and Islam by John Bolt

Bavinck Bibliography: 2010

Tim Keller on Kuyper’s and Bavinck’s Influence

Bavinck Society member James Eglinton recently interviewed Tim Keller regarding the influence of Kuyper and Bavinck on his ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Eglinton’s article appeared yesterday in Nederlands Dagblad:Nederlandse inspiratie voor Tim Keller.”

Another Society member, Nelson Kloosterman, graciously provided the following translation.

“Dutch inspiration for Tim Keller”

By James Eglinton
Translated by Nelson D. Kloosterman

Monday, 11 July 2011
Nederlands Dagblad

. . . New York City clergyman Tim Keller gleans much from British and American authors. . . . But when it comes to his church’s niche in New York City, we hear the sounds of Dutch names: Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck.

The Presbyterian clergyman Tim Keller is attracting worldwide attention through his work with Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. In his sermons and books, Keller makes frequent use of the British author C. S. Lewis and the American Reformed theologian Jonathan Edwards. “From Lewis especially I have learned a lot about communicating with others, especially with skeptics. And theologically my thinking has indeed been shaped by Edwards.”

But anyone who listens to Keller talk about the wider role of Redeemer within the culture of New York City will hear other names: those of the church father Augustine and of the Dutch neo-Calvinist theologian Abraham Kuyper.


Central to the work of Redeemer in New York City is the Center for Faith and Work, a center where Christians are trained to live out of their faith in their work or in their public function. Keller’s vision for this, as he indicates, would be unthinkable without Kuyper. “Kuyper said many helpful things. Especially his idea of sphere sovereignty has helped me. That idea assumes that various social relationships—among persons, families, volunteers, associations, and churches—each has its own responsibility. According to a well-known aphorism, Kuyper discovered that ‘there is not a thumb’s-width in life about which Christ does not say: ”Mine!”’ But that authority of Jesus is carried out through various social connections. Christ’s absolute claim upon human existence does not mean, for example, that the church as church may control the state.”

Keller discovered the Dutch neo-Calvinists in the 1970s during his study in Boston at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. There the Swiss theologian Roger Nicole gave his students Herman Bavinck’s Doctrine of God (Magnalia Dei) to read. “I also had to work through a translation of a small portion of Bavink’s dogmatics. I became deeply impressed by the balance and thoroughness of Bavinck’s theology. He was very nuanced. He displayed a healthy piety, but nevertheless was no pietist. And his orientation to the Bible occasionally kept him from adopting traditional positions.”

Keller narrates how one of Bavinck’s basic insights has become foundational for his own theology and vision for Redeemer. “Bavinck’s fundamental idea that grace restores nature was truly a revelation for me. In my opinion, this has enormous consequences for how you look at the church and the world.”

“Many Christian traditions view sanctification as a journey out of the natural world to a spiritual world that has nothing to do with ordinary life and your calling in that life. For that reason, we at Redeemer ask the question: ‘How does your faith affect your work?’ That is really crucial for following Christ. Most evangelical churches in America make believers into disciples of Christ by removing them from the world and bringing them into the church. Discipleship supposedly involves how we study the Bible, how we lead Bible studies, how we pray, evangelize, overcome temptation, forgive, and seek relationships with others, practice fellowship with other believers, how you can work in the congregation. And that is also important. But at the same time, this doesn’t help people lead a recognizably Christian life in society, at work, in art, in media, in the marketplace, etc.”


At the same time, Keller is not uncritical regarding the Kuyperian tradition. He points out that many churches in this tradition place heavy emphasis on living according to a Christian worldview while neglecting spiritual piety and evangelism. On the other hand, he realizes as well that some churches move to the other extreme: “They place all the emphasis on piety and evangelism, but neglect the integration of faith and work.” So he is seeking a middle way with the help of Bavinck and Kuyper. “With Kuyper I believe in an antithesis, an opposition between belief and unbelief. Ultimately there is no neutrality. Thinking proceeds from belief in God or from belief in an idol. But at the same time, unbelievers are often inconsistent. Despite their mistaken presuppositions and ideals, they display their goodness and possess many insights, by virtue of God’s common grace.”

It is that balance that has led, in the case of Keller and Redeemer, to a flourishing church in a city that for the most part is secular.

Why are Kuyper and Bavinck at this moment more popular in America than in the Netherlands? To this question Keller supplies a philosophical answer. “C. S. Lewis is much more widely known and read in the United States than in Great Britain. The same pertains to other well-known British Christian authors, like J. I. Packer and John Stott. Lewis, Packer, and Stott are not neo-Calvinists. So I don’t think that the reason lies with the content of the thought of Kuyper and Bavinck. For various reasons, America possesses a far more flourishing religious institutional life and an enormous evangelical subculture. European Christian authors and thinkers simply have more readers in America than in their own countries.”

The Scotsman James Eglinton obtained his doctorate with a dissertation on Herman Bavinck and is doing research at the Theological University in Kampen on how Calvinism in the Netherlands and in Scotland have influenced each other.


Preview: The Bavinck Review, vol. 2, 2011

The Bavinck Review 2 (2011) is now available for Bavinck Society members. This year’s issue contains six student papers and two research précis delivered at the 2010 Edinburgh Bavinck Conference as well as a translation of Herman Bavinck’s intriguing lecture, “The Kingdom of God, The Highest Good.”

Preview TBR 2:

TBR issues are made freely available to non-Society-members six months after publication. See our inaugural issue: TBR 1 (2010).

(The preview PDFs require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 29.1: Special Bavinck Edition

The Rutherford House and the Scottish Evangelical Theological Society have announced an upcoming special edition of the Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology (29.1) that contains the plenary papers from the September 2010 Edinburgh Bavinck Conference.

SBET 29.1 Contents

Guest Editorial

Dogmatics Papers

  • “Bavinck’s use of Wisdom Literature in Systematic Theology” – Prof John Bolt (Calvin Seminary)
  • “Bavinck’s use of Augustine as an antidote to Ritschl” – Dr Mark Elliott (St Andrews)
  • “Herman Bavinck and His Reformed Sources on the Call to Grace: A Shift in Emphasis towards the Internal Work of the Spirit” – Dr Henk van den Belt (Utrecht)
  • “Bavinck, Barth and the Uniqueness of the Eucharist” – Dr Paul T Nimmo (New College)

Ethics Papers

  • “The religious character of modernism and the modern character of religion: A case study of Herman Bavinck’s engagement with modern culture” – Prof George Harinck (VU Amsterdam and TU Kampen)
  • “Herman Bavinck and the Imitation of Christ” – Dr Dirk van Keulen (PThU Kampen)
  • “Herman Bavinck and the basis of Christian certainty” – Prof Donald Macleod (Free Church College)

Special Orders

SBET 29.1 will be available in early June. The Rutherford House is offering this special Bavinck issue to non-SBET subscribers for the following prices (USD), postpaid:

Surface Mail (takes up to 6 weeks): $16
Airmail: $23

Orders may be placed by check or CC. Checks should be made out to “Rutherford House” and mailed to the following address:

Rutherford House
1 Hill Street
Edinburgh EH2 3JP

For CC orders, please contact [email protected] to receive instructions.

“What Herman Bavinck Taught Me” — a lecture by John Bolt

On 6 April 2011 Professor John Bolt delivered the following lecture for the annual Den Dulk lecture series at Westminster Seminary California: “What Herman Bavinck Taught Me.” Bolt summarizes under four headings what he has learned from his 30 years of engaging Bavinck’s work: What Bavinck taught me about

  1. myself (who we are before God),
  2. theological method (how we approach God in his revelation),
  3. the content of good theology (it is always about God),
  4. and the church (how God uses us in the mission of the Gospel).

Listen to the lecture below, or download the lecture from Westminster.

Bolt’s second Den Dulk lecture is also available on the Westminster web site: “What America Owes Jesus as Lord: Theocratic Fears and Patriotic Ambitions.”

Confirmed Speakers for the 2011 Bavinck Conference

The following is a list of confirmed speakers for the 12-14 October 2011 international Bavinck conference, “After 9/11/11. . . . What? Reformed Theology and the Church’s Global Mission Today,” to be held at Calvin Theological Seminary:

  • Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, 2002-2010
  • Dr. Clifford Anderson, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Dr. John Bolt, Calvin Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Bert De Vries, Professor of History, Calvin College
  • Rev. Dr. Mark Durie, Islamic Scholar, Human Rights Activist, Anglican Pastor, Australia
  • Dr. Roger Greenway, Professor of Missions, Calvin Theological Seminary (retired)
  • Dr. George Harinck, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
  • Rev. Bassam Madany, Arabic Language Minister, Back to God Ministries (retired)
  • Richard J. Mouw, President, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Dr. David Koyzis, Professor of Political Science, Redeemer University College, Ancaster, Ontario
  • Dr. Diane Obenchain, Professor of Religion and Theology, Calvin College
  • Dr. James Payton, Professor of History, Redeemer University College, Ancaster, Ontario
  • Dr. Dirk Van Keulen, Protestantse Theologische Universiteit
  • Dr. Cornelis Vander Kooi, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
  • Dr. Paul J. Visser, J. H. Bavinck scholar, pastor, Amsterdam
  • Dr. Ashley Woodiwiss, Grady L. Patterson Professor of Politics, Erskine College

Details regarding conference registration, schedule, and accommodations are forthcoming.