This is an extraordinary introduction to systematic theology, or reformed dogmatics. It starts with some very heavy material on philosophy and there are many references to a number of philosophers and theologians that I am not familiar with. This made for a rather tedious start to this volume. But there are definitely gems throughout even these introductory chapters, which form a good foundation for what comes later.The last couple of chapters were especially helpful to me. The nature of God's revelation and the place of faith in the life of a Christian were very encouraging.Steven Wedgeworth
Is it wrong for a prolegomena to dogmatic theology to be your favorite book in the whole wide world? Well, if it is, then I don't wanna be right!Phil
Thorough, neo-Calvinist, Reformed.Yan Peng
Reformed Dogmatics Volume 1 : ProlegomenaPeter N.
An absolutely unbelievable work that I wish I had been introduced to earlier. Bavinck is a scholar of the highest order. He understands the strands of Christian thought with a particularly strong grasp on Roman Catholic theology and various philosophical systems. He has the ability to recognize the truth tucked way inside these systems while not compromising. Many of his arguments anticipate 21st century debates about the connection between knowledge and faith, head and heart. His section on Revelation (Part IV) was amazing, as was his part on the testimony of the Holy Spirit. He explained it in ways I haven't heard before and refuted some common, but misguided ideas about what that means. But above all he knows that dogmatics should lead to praise. His work breathes the warmth of man who knew God, His Word, and the great salvation he gave to us in his son Jesus. A great book that will reward repeated readings. I cannot wait to get to Volume II.Bentley Crawford
An incredible book that's actually pretty easy to read given the fact that the translation into english is fresh. Bavinck interacts with philosophies and theologians all across the spectrum of the prolegomena to theology, showing their strengths and weaknesses, while always setting forth a positive view of the truth of Christianity in the midst of it all.Chris Comis
It is refreshing to read Van Til before Van Til. The influence on Van Til by men like Bavinck definitely had a great influence on Van Til's whole approach to theology, apologetics, etc. Bavinck was presuppositional through and through in this volume. He interacts well with all the current movers and shakers of his day. About the only downside to Bavinck's theological prolegomena is that he comes across as being way to enamored with the "science" of this or that theological issue. It's as if the Dutch were trying to gain the respect of the Germans by talking about the science of religion, or the science of theological prolegomena, or the science of theological encyclopedia, or the science of biblical criticism. In doing this, I think the majority of these 19th century theologians lost the art of theology. Theology is more of an art than a science. In my opinion, the best chapter was the one on the nature and history of religion. It sort of puts to rest all the hubbub going on in our day about religion versus Jesus, or religion versus spirituality. Good stuff.Steve
Volume 1 and 3 to go.There were moements like this..."The revelation that Scripture discloses to us does not just consist in a number of disconnected words and isolated facts but in one single historical and organic whole, a mighty world-controlling and world-renewing system of testimonies and acts of God".(Prolegmena. p. 340)Brock Organ
A few years ago, I read two of the volumes from Will Durant's "The Story of Civilization" series. I loved their epic flavor and grand vision in to so much specific details of history!Well, in the area of Prolegomena (first things) and Reformed dogma, Bavinck creates the same kind of panorama, a beautiful landscape of the history and significance of each of the major schools and philosophers and theologians and how they have affected the church throughout history. The detail is rich, the scope is well presented and clearly thought out, and the "ride" is fabulous!In addition to the historical component, Bavinck clearly and specifically delineates a presuppositional and Reformed Christian dogma that is detailed and understandable. His insight that religion by necessity must be based upon revelation, and not upon an intellectual rationalism, nor a demonstrable empiricism, is an important distinction that is all too easily dismissed today by those who incorrectly want to make the knowledge of God to be something that can be independently reasoned or derived, or something that is independently measurable.A word of caution: This volume is heavy reading. I spent much time and slow going at first, and was confused by all the laundry lists of names and schools of thought. After much effort and a conscious decision to highlight individuals and concepts in distinct highlighter colors, I found that the individuals became easier to understand and relate to, and the concepts also began to fit with each other in useful and understandable ways ... further reading since then has progressed at a much faster clip!