Charles’s quotes


"It is surely ours to combine these elements of mourning for sin and joy in our salvation in one complex and composite experience which keeps us perpetually humble and yet perpetually joyful too."— Rev William Still

Thursday, 8 March 2018

G C Berkouwer - "a father in the faith" (1 Corinthians 4:15).

This post, written by myself, was first posted at the "Faith and Theology" blog -  For the love of God (23): Why I love G. C. Berkouwer
At a conference for Scottish students in 1975, I met two Dutch visitors, one of whom was a theological student. On the bookstall, there were some books written by the Dutch theologian G. C. Berkouwer (1903-1996).
Some of my conversations with this theological student focused on Berkouwer. After the conference, I showed the Dutch students around our capital city, Edinburgh. We visited a Christian bookshop where I bought the book Creative Minds in Contemporary Theology, which contains an article on Berkouwer (written by Lewis B. Smedes). Describing Berkouwer's contribution to contemporary theology, Smedes writes: "Berkouwer has called orthodox Reformed theology away from its love affair with metaphysics…. [H]e has called it back to its proper and humble service as hand-maid to the preaching of the gospel" (p. 96). For Berkouwer, "divine election is identical with the grace of God that was revealed in Jesus Christ … [and is] not to be confused with a notion of an arbitrary, graceless decree of a purely Sovereign Deity" (p. 74). After reading this I said, "I must read Berkouwer!"
In 1976, while visiting Canada, I bought Berkouwer's book Holy Scripture. Living out of a suitcase, I didn't have many books with me. What did I do? —I read Berkouwer. Reading became studying and writing. By the time I met him in his home in 1986, I had written a PhD thesis based on his writings. I spoke with him for one hour, but I felt like I had known him for a decade. Long before I ever laid eyes on him, I had loved him as a "father in the faith" (1 Cor. 4:15). He had helped me to praise God and to preach the gospel of grace with joyful thanksgiving.

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