“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.”

James Eglinton Interviewed in Nederlands Dagblad

Yesterday, Gerard ter Horst interviewed Bavinck Society member, Rev. Dr. James Eglinton, in the Nederlands Dagblad (Dutch Daily): “Vol zelfvertrouwen door Bavinck” (“Full confidence through Bavinck”).

In the interview Eglinton reflects upon Bavinck’s distinctively orthodox and modern theological perspective in contrast with the neo-orthodox theology of Karl Barth. “Bavinck is really an alternative,” remarks Eglinton, “he takes a different direction than Barth.”

Furthermore, Eglinton notes that Bavinck chose a different mode of engagement with the modern world as compared with his fellow Dutch Calvinists.

He chose to go as an orthodox Reformed theologian in dialogue with the modern world, including theology, whereas many Calvinists sought to avoid the modern world. Unlike his contemporary, Abraham Kuyper, who sought to ground his thinking in a constant antithetical confrontation, Bavinck was properly respectful in conversation without leaving his orthodox views. Instead of seeking confrontation, he sought to bring his own views to a more profound depth.

In the remainder of the interview Eglinton reflects upon the similarities and differences between Calvinism in Scotland and in the Netherlands. He is currently studying this topic, and he plans to publish a book about it.

Download the full Nederlands Dagblad interview as a PDF (courtesy of Nederlands Dagblad).

Bavinck’s Travel Journal of North American Visit Wins Prize

Congratulations are in order for Bavinck Society member and VU University of Amsterdam Professor Dr. George Harinck. The Royal National Dutch Library (Koninklijke Bibliotheek; Nationale Bibliotheek van Nederland) announced on 25 November 2010 that Herman Bavinck’s Mijn Reis Naar Amerika, transcribed, annotated, and introduced by Dr. Harinck, has been awarded the prize as the Best Dutch Travel Narrative.

A portion of Dr. Harinck’s publication of Bavinck’s travel journal has been made available as a PDF at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek web site. The original hand-written manuscript resides in the Bavinck archives of the Historisch Documentatiecentrum voor het Nederlands Protestantisme at the Free University, Amsterdam, which Dr. Harinck directs.

The journal dates back to 1892 when Bavinck travelled to the United States and Canada primarily to deliver an address to the Fifth General Council of the Alliance of the Reformed Churches holding the Presbyterian System, Toronto, 1892: “The influence of the Protestant Reformation on the moral and religious condition of communities and nations.” Bavinck’s conclusion to this volume is of interest:

Let American Christianity develop according to its own law. God has entrusted America with a high and great calling. Let it pursue that in its own way. After all, Calvinism is not the only truth.

The occasion of the award is the public launch of a volume on Dutch travel literature by Jan Blokker, De Nederlandse Reisliteratuur in 80 en Enige Verhalen (Koninklijke Biblotheek en Prometheus, 2010). Here is Blokker’s description of Bavinck’s journal:

The travel narrative of dominee Bavinck is decidedly unprejudiced and written with astonishment and admiration. He travelled through the United States at a time when the continent was truly “new” for Europeans. His judgment about the religious life of Americans (a topic close to his heart) bears witness to a great openness. This account is an intellectual tour de force.

Congratulations to Dr. Harinck, and our best wishes for him and for the Documentatiecentrum.

James Eglinton Interviewed in Reformatorisch Dagblad

Yesterday, Reformatorisch Dagblad (Reformed Daily) published Klaas van der Zwaag’s interview with Bavinck Society member, Dr. James Eglinton (read the English translation via Google Translate).

The interview covers both Dr. Eglinton’s recent dissertation on the organic motif in Herman Bavinck’s thought and his year-long research appointment at de Theologische Universiteit van de Gereformeerde Kerken vrijgemaakt in Kampen. Congratulations to Dr. Eglinton for both accomplishments!

Upcoming Dissertation

Aart Goedvree, Theological University of Kampen (PThU)

Title: Een ondoordringbaar mysterie: Herman Bavinck en zijn concept van wedergeboorte en zijn bronnen (ET: An Impenetrable Mystery: Herman Bavinck and his concept of regeneration and its sources)

Description: My dissertation examines Herman Bavinck’s doctrine of regeneration. The extensive debates over this doctrine in 19th and 20th century Dutch neo-Calvinism form the context for my study. The scope of my research includes Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics (1st and 2nd eds.), his unpublished Reformed Ethics manuscript, and many sources relating to the doctrine of regeneration as developed from Calvin’s to Kuyper’s times. My study is divided into two parts: First I present a systematic-theological overview of the developments of regeneration from Calvin to Kuyper. Second, I analyze Bavinck’s formulation of the concept and sources of regeneration.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. J. Hoek.

Introducing Society Discussions

We are pleased to announce the first Bavinck Society Discussion:

The VanDrunen-Kloosterman Debate on Natural Law and Two Kingdoms in the Theology of Herman Bavinck.

Drs. VanDrunen and Kloosterman delivered papers regarding Bavinck’s view of natural law and the two kingdoms at the 2008 Pearl and Leaven Conference (listen to the original exchange; Real Audio format). Both papers have been published in the Calvin Theological Journal (45.1, April 2010). Professor Bolt has provided a discussion guide which summarizes the papers and suggests five propositions as conversation-starters.

Society members are welcome to join the discussion.

Upcoming Dissertations

James Eglinton, New College, University of Edinburgh

Topic: Organic Thinking: The ‘Organic’ Motif in Bavinck’s Theology

Description: I am currently completing a PhD on Bavinck’s use of the ‘organic’ motif. My thesis attempts to prove that this ever-present motif is, for Bavinck, (1) the revelational consequence of God’s triunity, and (2) an essential continuation of Calvin’s earlier theology. As such, my work represents a new reading of Bavinck – one which departs from previous assertions that he drew the organic idea from Hegel, Schelling, the Dutch Ethical Moderns, the History of Religions School, et al. My reading of Bavinck is shaped by the relationship drawn between theos and cosmos in his thought: ‘Trinity ad intra’ leads to ‘organism ad extra’.

Supervisors: Professor David Fergusson, Dr Paul Nimmo

Wolter Huttinga, Kampen Theological University (Broederweg)

Topic: ‘Radical Orthodoxy and Herman Bavinck’.

Description: I am analyzing the ontology of the so-called “radical orthodoxy” (i.e., John Milbank, et al.) and am bringing this line of scholarship into conversation with Bavinck’s thought. The main question is this: How do the respective positions conceive of the relation between the being of God and creation? Within this focus upon “theological ontology” I will give special attention to the way Thomas Aquinas’ thought is appropriated by the radical orthodox and by Bavinck.

Supervisor: Professor B. Kamphuis

The Reformed Dogmatics on Logos Bible Software

If Bavinck would never have imagined that his magnum opus would be translated into English (see TBR 1 (2010) pp. 1-3), then he would have been overwhelmed to learn that Baker Academic’s four-volume English translation of his Gereformeerde Dogmatiek is being published in an electronic, searchable, cross-referenced format by Logos Bible Software!

Logos describes the electronic edition’s features as follows:

With your Logos Bible Software the entire Reformed Dogmatics set is fully searchable and easily accessible. Scripture references are linked to your favorite Bible translations and original texts, and important theological concepts are linked to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and the wealth of resources in your digital library.

The digital format takes Bavinck scholarship to a whole new level. Every mention of a particular Scripture reference throughout the Dogmatics, e.g., can be found with just couple of clicks. Readers attune to Bavinck’s frequent usage of Latin technical terms from 16th and 17th century Reformed orthodoxy, moreover, will appreciate how the Logos edition facilitates the ability to quickly

Discounted Pre-Publication Pricing

A friend from Logos has informed us that the production of Bavinck’s electronic text is nearing its final stages, thus the work is due to be released shortly. This means that time is limited for securing the pre-published discount price.

(NB: Academic discounts will be available for professors and students after the publication date; however, the lowest price tends to be the pre-pub price.)

Other Bavinck Works Published by Logos