Bavinck on the Christian Life: Following Jesus in Faithful Service (Theologians on the Christian Life) (26/3)

For anyone who is a reformed or Van Tillian fan, Herman Bavinck would be one person you would highly respect. However the 4 volume Reformed Dogmatics may be a bit too intimidating for someone who wants to know what Bavinck has to teach to Christians. There is now one introduction to the works of Bavinck that aims to serve the laity.

Bavinck on the Christian Life: Following Jesus in Faithful ServiceJohn Bolt, the translator of the 4 volume Reformed Dogmatics has written this book to let christian readers know what Bavinck has to say about christian living. Bolt starts by telling the readers Bavinck’s theological foundation for the christian life. In this section, Bolt elaborates on what it means to be created in God’s image and more importantly, what union with Christ means for the christian. Bolt highlights and shows why Bavinck thought this doctrine is foundational to the christian life.

Next, Bolt moves to show what it means to be a disciple of Christ and what a christian worldview is. This section really is a bridge to the applicational section which comes next. Bolt shows how Bavinck used his theological might to think deeply about issues that are fundamental to the christian life. Bolt shows what Bavinck thought about the value and bible’s teaching on marriage and family and vacation. Bolt also highlights what Bavinck’s thought on the society from a macro-perspective.

What is valuable in this book is how Bolt shows the historical context of the times Bavinck lives in. As we are often reminded, history does not occur in a vacuum, Bolt shows the significance of Bavinck in the way he critiques his society and the liberal christians in the Netherlands. Similarly, Bolt highlights areas where Bavinck differs from Abraham Kuyper. This gives the readers a wholesome picture that sometimes even the titans of the Dutch Reformed church had issues they didn’t agree with. Bolt also ends with the translation the only sermon we currently have from Bavinck. I have to say, I think it was a great idea by Bolt and the editors to have included this sermon in this book.

I have gained much from reading this book, this has given me a much deeper appreciation of Bavinck not only as a theologian, but as a churchman, as a pastor and and a public theologian. This book is certainly recommended for any Reformed christians or for anyone who is interested in knowing more about Herman Bavinck.

Rating: 4.25 / 5

If you’re interested you can get a copy here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

One thought on “Bavinck on the Christian Life: Following Jesus in Faithful Service (Theologians on the Christian Life) (26/3)

  1. If you want to follow Jesus in faithful service, you should know what is most important to HIM.

    Jesus was asked twice which Commandment is the greatest or most important one, (Matthew 22 and Mark 12)
    Both times Jesus answered quoting the same two commandments, from the Law of Moses.

    Jesus said that one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6, or the one in Leviticus 19 ?

    “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, of Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [Mark 12:29-30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5]

    Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” [Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:5,]

    Poem – What is love?

    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:

    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.

    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.

    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.

    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan

    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.

    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.

    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    an “accuser of our brethren.”

    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.

    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”

    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”


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