Monday, 22 February 2010

Bavinck on Law & Gospel

We continue our series of posts from the writings of non-Lutheran exponents of the Law-Gospel hermeneutic with an extract from the great Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics. Bavinck (1854-1921) was a man of encyclopedic learning who guided the conservative and confessional part of the Dutch Reformed Church as it met modernity head on in the late 19th century. In this endeavour he was a contemporary and co-worker with the churchman, theologian and some-time Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Abraham Kuyper.

“Although in a broad sense the terms ‘law’ and ‘gospel’ can indeed be used to denote the old and the new dispensation of the covenant of grace, in their actual significance they definitely describe two essentially different revelations of divine will.”

...the law is the will of God; holy, wise, good, and spiritual; giving life to those who maintain it, but because of sin it has been made powerless, it fails to justify, it only stimulates covetousness, increases sin, arouses wrath, kills, curses, and condemns. Over against it stands the gospel of Christ, the euangellion, which contains nothing less than the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise, which comes to us from God, has Christ as its content, and conveys nothing other than grace, reconciliation, forgiveness, righteousness, peace, freedom, life, and so forth.”

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 4, pp. 252-253

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