Skip to main content

Pride and Faith in Berkouwer's "Studies in Dogmatics" (introduction)

‘The great theologians from Paul and Augustine to G. C. Berkouwer and Karl Barth ... have been able to explain what the faith does not mean as well as what it means.’1 This is a short study in the writings of one of those great theologians named here by D. G. Bloesch. G. C. Berkouwer, Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology at the Free University of Amsterdam has been described as one of ‘the best theological writers of our day’, ‘one of the genuinely significant leaders of Christian thought in our day’. His Studies in Dogmatics, running, in English translation to thirteen volumes, has been described as ‘one of the most ambitious undertakings in contemporary theology’. Berkouwer has been commended for his ‘complete familiarity with all the currents in contemporary theology’. Concerning Berkouwer, it has been said that ‘the theological student who neglects him is not wise’.2 
In this study, we will explore the meaning of faith by considering both what faith is and what it is not. This will be done by tracing the contrasting themes of pride and faith in Berkouwer’s Studies in Dogmatics. To assist us instructing our thinking about pride and faith, we will consider these themes under three major headings: man’s need of salvation; God’s provision of salvation; the believer’s experience of salvation.
-----
1 D. G. Bloesch, The Ground of Certainty, (Grand Rapids, 1971), 61.
2 These words of commendation from E. T. Ramsdell and Dr. Dale Moody are found on the rear dust cover of Berkouwer’s Studies in Dogmatics.

Popular posts from this blog

Lord, help us to love You ...

Lord, help us to love You – and help us to love one another. How can we say that we love You if we are not learning to love one another? How can we learn to love one another if we are not opening our hearts to the greatest love of all – Your love for us. Fill us with Your love. Change us by Your love. May our whole life shine with the glory of Your love.

God continues to carry forward His great purpose of salvation.

Genesis 16:1-16
We move from salvation and the assurance of salvation to Satan and the activity of Satan. Sarai came with temptation - "Why don't you sleep with my slave? Maybe I can build a family through her." Abram gave in to temptation -"Abram agreed with Sarai (Genesis 16:2). The evil influence of Sarai continued: "Sarai mistreated Hagar so much that she ran away" (Genesis 16:6). When we read of Satan and his activity, we must not imagine, for a moment, that Satan wins the victory over the Lord and His purpose of salvation. This becomes clear as the story develops. The Lord's purpose will not be thwarted by the activity of Satan. The "Almighty Lord" will be victorious. This chapter ends with the birth of Ishmael. It is not a high- point in the purpose of God. It is a sign that Satan is trying to overthrow God and His gracious purpose. This leads to a 13-year gap in God's speaking to Abraham (Genesis 16:16-17:1), but that…

Isaac and Jesus

Genesis 22:1-24
Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Isaac - "You did not refuse to give Me your son, your only son" (Genesis 22:12). God did give His only Son for us - "God did not spare His only Son but handed Him over to death for us all" (Romans 8:32). While there may be comparisons made between the sacrifice of Isaac and the sacrifice of Jesus, we must emphasize the great difference - the sacrifice of Isaac did not happen, the sacrifice of Jesus did. For Isaac, there was a way out. For Jesus, there was no other way. Abraham's faith was proved genuine without the sacrifice of Isaac. Our faith only becomes a reality through the sacrifice of Christ (Galatians 2:20-21; Galatians 3:13-14).