Audio from Doctrine for Proclamation Conference

The following lectures were delivered at the 18 October 2012 Doctrine for Proclamation conference at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI, in honor of J. I. Packer, recipient of the 2012 Bavinck Prize Bavinck Prize for Outstanding Reformed Contribution to the Church, the Academy or Public Life.

Stanley Mast: “Preaching Sound Doctrine in an Age of Itching Ears” (MP3, 47.3MB; Duration: 51:37)


Michael Goheen: “A Theology that Equips the Church for Mission” (MP3, 82.5MB; Duration: 1:30:09)


Todd Rester: “Doctrine is for Preaching; Preaching is for Living”: An introduction to Petrus van Mastricht’s Theologia Theoretica-Practica (MP3, 62.2MB; Duration: 1:07:57)


John Bolt: “The Missional character of the (Herman and J.H.) Bavinck Tradition (MP3, 74.2MB; Duration: 1:21:00)


Interview with Willem de Wit on his On the Way to the Living God

Next up in our series of author interviews is Willem J. de Wit, whose proefschrift at VU University Amsterdam under Professors A. van de Beek and C. van der Kooi was recently published as On the Way to the Living God: A Cathartic Reading of Herman Bavinck and an Invitation to Overcome the Plausibility Crisis of Christianity (Amsterdam: VU University Press, 2011). In chapters 2 and 3 Willem presents a “cathartic” reading of Bavinck based primarily upon Bavinck’s personal correspondence with Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje. In the remaining chapters Willem formulates a series of “invitations” as a way to (re)gain perspective on the living God in a post-Christian context.

Continue reading “Interview with Willem de Wit on his On the Way to the Living God”

Interview with Brian Mattson on Restored To Our Destiny

The past twelve months have been fruitful ones for Herman Bavinck scholarship. In addition to the recently published award-winning student essays from the 2008 and 2011 Bavinck conferences (see Five Studies and TBR 3), three Bavinck Society members have recently published significant essays on various aspects of Bavinck’s thought and life.

In order to introduce these authors and their works, the Bavinck Institute is starting a series of author interviews. The first is with Dr. Brian G. Mattson on his new book Restored to Our Destiny: Eschatology & the Image of God in Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics, Studies in Reformed Theology 21 (Leiden: Brill, 2011).

Continue reading “Interview with Brian Mattson on Restored To Our Destiny”

De Wit obtains doctorate at the VU with a dissertation on Bavinck

Congratulations to Bavinck Society member Willem-Jan de Wit, who received his doctorate from the VU University Amsterdam on December 16, 2011 (see also this Reformed Daily exclusive).

De Wit’s dissertation, under the supervision of Prof. A van de Beek and Prof. C. van der Kooi, is titled, On the Way to the Loving God (VU University Press, 2011). It offers a “cathartic reading” of Herman Bavinck’s faith wrestlings, beginning with his student years at Leiden. The dissertation is available as a free download via his web site as is his related article in TBR 2: “Will I Remain Standing?”: A Cathartic Reading of Herman Bavinck.

Dr. de Wit works in Cairo on behalf of the Reformed Mission Union (Gereformeerde Zendingsbond), teaching at the Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Five Studies in the Thought of Herman Bavinck

The Bavinck Institute is pleased to announce the publication of the prize-winning essays from the 2008 “Pearl and Leaven” international Bavinck Conference held at Calvin Theological Seminary:

John Bolt, ed., Five Studies in the Thought of Herman Bavinck, A Creator of Modern Dutch Theology (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2011).


  1. Herman Bavinck’s Thomistic Epistemology: The Argument and Sources of his Principia of Science — by David S. Sytsma
  2. Unleavened Morality? Herman Bavinck on Natural Law — by Theodore G. Van Raalte
  3. Trinity and History: Bavrnck, Hegel, and Nineteenth Century Doctrines of God — by Adam Eitel
  4. Covenant Christology: Herman Bavinck and the Pactum Salutis — by Mark Jones
  5. The Status of Women in Contemporary Society: Principles and Practice in Herman Bavinck’s Socio-Political Thought — by Niels (GM.) van Driel


$20.00 postpaid.

Note: this is for the paperback edition.

How to Order—Check

Mail a check payable to “The Bavinck Institute” to the following address:

Attn: Prof. John Bolt
Calvin Theological Seminary
3233 Burton SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Be sure to include your name and return mailing address.

How to Order—Credit Card (and International Orders)

  1. Send a credit card payment for $20.00 USD via the Bavinck Institute Online Donation Form. Designate the payment for “The Bavinck Institute.”
  2. E-mail us your shipping address.

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.

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.