Skip to main content

G C Berkouwer and Apologetics

Berkouwer, Gerrit C. (1903-1996)
Throughout his lengthy career as Professor of Systematic Theology at the Free University of Amsterdam, he sought to understand the gospel more deeply. Best known for his multi-volumed Studies in Dogmatics, his chief work was in dogmatics rather than apologetics. His writings contain valuable insights relating to the work of apologetics. From his Studies in Dogmatics, there are two important discussions - 'Apostolicity and Truth' in The Church and 'Faith and Criticism' in Holy Scripture. Also of considerable interest are two chapters in A Half Century of Theology - ' The Era of Apologetics' and 'Faith and Reasonableness'. Distinguishing between an authentic authority and an unwarranted authoritarianism, he affirmed the essential reasonableness of the gospel. The call to faith in Christ is not a call for blind obedience. Believing in Christ does not require a sacrifice of the intellect. He also affirmed the spiritual character of the gospel, distancing himself from the kind of apologetics which tends to place undue emphasis on the capacity of human reason to bring people to faith in Christ. He rejected the idea of faith as a sacrifice of the intellect without ever suggesting that faith is no more than an act of unaided human reason. Recognizing the value of apologetics without attaching an exaggerated importance to it, he emphasized the need for both humility and courage in the defence of the Christian faith. In humility, apologetics must take care to avoid an unattractively militant approach. Resisting the temptation to trim the content of its message in search of relevance, apologetics should, with courage, affirm the gospel's irreducible content. Emphasizing the gospel's own inherent apologetic significance, he was critical of the kind of apologetics which shows little interest in those elements of Christian faith adjudged to be less apologetically relevant.
G. C. Berkouwer, A Half Century of Theology (Grand Rapids, 1977), pp. 25-38, 144-178; Holy Scripture, (Grand Rapids, 1975), pp.346-366; The Church, (Grand Rapids, 1976), pp.232-256
C. M. Cameron, The Problem of Polarization: An Approach based on the Writings of G. C. Berkouwer, (Lewiston, Queenston and Lampeter, 1992), pp. 247-284

I wrote this article for the "New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics."
New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics

Popular posts from this blog

Before the creation, there is the Creator .... (Genesis 1:1-12:9)

Genesis 1:1-2:3
Before the creation, there is the Creator.
* He is the chief focus of attention in the Bible’s first chapter. Wherever we look in Genesis 1, we see the word, God. This is about Him. Genesis 1 speaks about us. It tells us where we have come from. We have come from God. He is our Creator. Take away God, and our life has no meaning, no purpose, no direction.
* Move on from the Bible’s first chapter. Read the rest of Genesis, the rest of the Old Testament,the rest of the Bible. What do you find? The Bible is a Book about God. It’s not only a Book about God. It’s a Book that has been given to us by God. It’s His Word.
* What about our faith and our life? Our faith comes to us from God. Our life has been given to us by God. We are to put our faith in God. We are to live our life for God.
* “God said, Let there be light, and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). The light of God’s love and holiness. “He created us in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). Created by God - lov…

Lord, help us not to keep You at a distance.

Lord, help us not to keep You at a distance. Help us to get closer to You. So many of our problems come from this: We’re too far away from You. Even when we’re keeping you at a distance, help us to know that You still love us. Help us to know that You’ll never stop loving us.

Leviticus 15 - 27

Leviticus 15:1-16:34  Each of us is unclean before God. Each of us needs Christ, who has given Himself as "a sin offering" to "make atonement" for us (Leviticus 16:16). Christ is the perfect Saviour, who "bears all our iniquities" (Leviticus 16:22). Concerning His great sacrifice for us, the Word of God says, "On this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord" (Leviticus 16:30).
Leviticus 17:1-18:30 Through the shed blood of Christ, we have peace with God and eternal life (Leviticus 17:11; Romans 5:1-2,8-10). We have received new life in Christ. Now, we are to leave the way of the behind us. We are to live e a new life as those who belong to the Christ (Leviticus 18:1-5; Romans 6:12-14; Romans 12:1-2).
Leviticus 19:1-37 Again and again, we read the words, "I am the Lord your God", or, more simply, "I am the Lord" (Leviticus 19:3-4,10,12,14,16,18,25,2…