A response to a comment by G. R. Osborne on Berkouwer’s understanding of the doctrine of final perseverance
In his contribution to Clark Pinnock (editor), Grace Unlimited (1975), G. R. Osborne states that Berkouwer, in Faith and Perseverance, pp. 9-10, “speaks of the timelessness of the doctrine of final perseverance, founded on ‘the richness and abidingness of salvation” (p. 188, emphasis mine).
This single-sentence comment on Berkouwer’s view hardly gives a fair indication of the type of thinking found in Chapter 1 of Berkouwer’s Faith and Perseverance - “Timeliness and Relevance” (pp. 9-14, emphasis mine).
Berkouwer insists that “the living preaching of the Scriptures, which offer no metaphysical and theoretical views about … ‘permanency’ as an independent theme in itself, does nothing to encourage ‘a continuity which is … opposed in any way to the living nature of faith” (p. 13).
Berkouwer stresses that “The perseverance of the saints is not primarily a theoretical problem but a confession of faith” (p. 14) and that “The perseverance of the saints is unbreakably connected with the assurance of faith” (p. 11).
The use of the expression “timelessness” in respect of Berkouwer’s perspective seems particularly misleading in view of Berkouwer’s favourable citation of Barth’s words: “It has to be a relation whose being must be renewed every moment to remain true, as much through the speech of the good God who is new every morning as in the knowledge and act, the faith and obedience of man” (p. 13, citing K. Barth, Prolegomena, (1927), p. 296).