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Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3

Sin and Salvation in Christ

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"Bavinck's breadth, thoroughness, rigor, ecumenical interests, and spiritual fervor are clearly on display in this careful and readable translation."--Stephen R. Spencer, Wheaton College

Theologians have long appreciated Herman Bavinck's four-volume masterpiece, Gereformeerde Dogmatiek, for its comprehensive treatment of dogmatic theology. Now, thanks to the Dutch Reformed Translation Society, the third volume of Bavinck's magisterial Reformed Dogmatics is available in English for the first time.


"A welcome addition to the works of Bavinck in English. Of special interest is Bavinck's insightful critique of the role of apologetics in establishing certainty in faith."--Donald G. Bloesch, emeritus professor of theology, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

"Herman Bavinck has often been unjustly overshadowed by Abraham Kuyper, especially in the English-speaking world. The unavailability in English of his crowning work, Gereformeerde Dogmatiek, has been a particularly significant lack. Bavinck's breadth, thoroughness, rigor, ecumenical interests, and spiritual fervor are clearly on display in this careful and readable translation. It is a splendid gift to theological studies and will contribute to redressing the neglect of this faithful servant of Christ and his church."--Stephen R. Spencer, Wheaton College

"What a wonderful gift to the English-speaking theological world! The topics explored by Bavinck are still of the utmost importance, and he addresses them here in a theological voice that is amazingly fresh. I pray that the appearance of this volume signals the beginnings of a Bavinck revival!"--Richard J. Mouw, president emeritus and senior professor of faith and public life, Fuller Theological Seminary; Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics, Calvin University

"Finally Bavinck becomes available to the English-speaking world. The Dutch version has been a constant stimulus for students, pastors, and other interested Christians. It has shaped generations of theologians and helped them to preach, think, and act on a fresh, Reformed basis. The strength of Bavinck's Dogmatics is that it's neither conservative nor progressive, but its biblical character makes it constantly up-to-date. Baker and the Dutch Reformed Translation Society deserve praise for this project, from which without doubt church and theology will profit for years to come."--Herman Selderhuis, Theologische Universiteit Apeldoorn

"Those interested in Reformed theology will welcome with open arms Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics. Bavinck is one of the premier Reformed theologians, but till now much of his magnum opus has not been accessible to English-language readers. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who have made the treasures of Bavinck's thought available to a new world of appreciative hearers."-Donald K. McKim, editor, Encyclopedia of the Reformed Faith

"Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics has been the fountainhead of Reformed theology for the last hundred years. It is by far the most profound and comprehensive Reformed systematic theology of the twentieth century. The reader will be amazed by Bavinck's erudition, creativity, and balance. Bavinck is confessionally orthodox, but he recognizes the need to rethink the traditional formulations from Scripture in the context of contemporary discussion. I hope it will have a large readership and will bring forth much theological and spiritual fruit."--John M. Frame, professor of systematic theology and philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary

"This is one of those seminal works that embodies a significant portion of our Reformed theological heritage. We all should rejoice to see this material finally available in English!"--Samuel T. Logan Jr., Westminster Theological Seminary

"Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics continues to be the standard of modern orthodox dogmatics in the Reformed tradition. It not only is encompassing in content but also shows everywhere a profound insight into the basic problems that a Reformed theology has to face and a deep sensitivity for modern culture. The combination of both made his work famous, and studying his work fruitful also for a new generation."--Cornelis van der Kooi, Free University, Amsterdam

"Despite all the important contributions that Dutch Calvinists have made to North American Protestantism, Herman Bavinck remains an obscure figure, lagging behind the influential Abraham Kuyper. With the translation and republication of Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics, this unfortunate situation should change for the better. These four volumes demonstrate the importance and mastery of Bavinck's own contribution to Reformed theology, while providing a useful and striking point of comparison with the best-known twentieth-century Reformed dogmatics, that of Karl Barth. At a time when the scholastic nature of systematic theology has come under serious criticism, Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics reveals the advantage of careful and sustained reflection on Christian truth that is both faithful to the church and engaged with the academy. Readers will discover more than Bavinck the theologian in these volumes; they will learn about the God whom he worshiped and served."--D. G. Hart, author of The Lost Soul of American Protestantism

"Bavinck's Dutch masterwork was the Everest of which the textbooks by Louis Berkhof and Auguste Lecerf were foothills and Berkouwer's studies in dogmatics were outliers. Like Augustine, Calvin, and Edwards, Bavinck was a man of giant mind, vast learning, ageless wisdom, and great expository skill. Solid but lucid, demanding but satisfying, broad and deep and sharp and stabilizing, Bavinck's magisterial Reformed Dogmatics remains after a century the supreme achievement of its kind."--J. I. Packer, professor of theology, Regent College

"Arguably the most important systematic theology ever produced in the Reformed tradition. I have found it to be the most valuable. English-speaking theology throughout the 20th century until now has been singularly impoverished by not having at its disposal a translation of Bavinck's Dogmatiek in its entirety. This will be an incomparable boon for generations of students, pastors, teachers, and others, serving to deepen understanding and enrich reflection in both historical and systematic theology."--Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., professor of biblical and systematic theology, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia

The Author

  1. Herman Bavinck

    Herman Bavinck

    Herman Bavinck (1854-1921) succeeded Abraham Kuyper as professor of systematic theology at the Free University of Amsterdam in 1902.

    Continue reading about Herman Bavinck


"This magisterial work exhibits Bavinck's vast knowledge and appreciation of the Christian tradition. Written from a Reformed perspective, it offers a perceptive critique of modern theology. . . . Recommended."--Library Journal

"I've seen nothing for a long time that compares with this work. . . . Bavinck's command of the theological literature of the whole Christian church, through all of its history, is truly amazing. He continually brings forth nuggets of wisdom from theologians of virtually every tradition. His incredible erudition has produced his carefulness, accuracy, and balance. His discussions are cogent and satisfying, and his conclusions are judicious. . . . I am also impressed by the clarity of this work. Credit for that is partly due to the translators, who here and there provide clarifying additions (usually in brackets) for the benefit of English readers. If Bavinck was as clear in the original Dutch as he is in this fine translation (and from all I've heard, he was), then it is no wonder that this work has long been regarded as the best statement of the Reformed system of doctrine since Calvin's Institutes. Although the original edition of these volumes is now a hundred years old, it is amazing how useful Bavinck is for our generation. . . . It is hard to read Bavinck without feeling that he is speaking directly to the churches of our day. Not many books written today give as many helpful insights as these volumes by Bavinck. I already regard them as my most valuable theological resource. . . . I hope that every pastor and every other serious student of theology will obtain and carefully study Herman Bavinck's magnum opus."--G. I. Williamson, American Theological Inquiry

"The theological world has been blessed by being the recipients of the translation of . . . Herman Bavinck's magnum opus the Gereformeerde Dogmatiek in English. As one who has read the entire 4-volume Dutch work from cover to cover 5-6 times, I can attest to the fine job of editing and translating John Bolt and John Vriend have done, respectively. . . . John Bolt has performed a great service by his editorial introductions and notes in the English translation. Far from hindering the reader's grasp of the material, Dr. Bolt provides us with highly helpful and pertinent comments in each of the chapters of material. By the same token, the translation team has done an admirable job in what is often a thankless task of a kind of theological midwifery. What is of greater import, however, is that the translation team was able to put older Dutch into a highly readable English format. . . . These volumes have been anticipated by the theological world for a long time and now that they are available, it would behoove every professor, theological student, Elder, and serious Christian to purchase them. . . . It would not be saying too much to state that reading any chapter of [Reformed Dogmatics] will have the effect of thoroughly grounding the Christian in the most important aspects of the subject under discussion. The reader is more fully equipped to understand the motivations as well as the theological constructions behind each of the respective movements. What this translates into is a theological orientation from a decidedly well-balanced Reformed persuasion that enables the reader to critique more modern 20th and 21st century theologies and theologians. . . . You will find yourself taking these volumes from the shelf and pouring over the rich history of dogma, the profound and continued use of Scripture, and the thorough grasp of theology and theological positions that Herman Bavinck offers. . . . John Bolt and John Vriend have done us the great service of putting the works of this outstanding Dutch theologian into our hands in the English language. You will only be the richer for studying Bavinck's theology."--Ron Gleason, Reformation21

"The continued translation of Bavinck's masterful theological exposition is to be welcomed by all who care about theology and its service to the church."--R. Albert Mohler Jr., Preaching

"[Bavinck] had vast knowledge of the Reformed, indeed Christian, tradition; deep insight into and reverence for Holy Scripture as the inspired word of God; the highest regard for the confessions and therefore for the system of Reformed doctrine; thorough familiarity with the other churches and their teachings, particularly the Roman Catholic Church; and an impressive grasp of the scientific and philosophical thinking of Western culture. . . . [Reformed Dogmatics] is one of the truly great works of Reformed theology. . . . Of special interest and great importance is Bavinck's doctrine of the covenant of grace. . . . The editing of the volume by John Bolt is outstanding. His synopsis of each chapter is accurate and helpful. The completing of the information in Bavinck's many footnotes, the bibliography, and the indices make the book a student's delight. . . . John Vriend was a very capable translator. . . . His work faithfully renders the Dutch into English, so that the reader has Bavinck's doctrine in Bavinck's words and even in Bavinck's style--in English. At the same time, the work reads smoothly in the English language, no mean feat."--David J. Engelsma, Protestant Reformed Theological Journal

"[This] volume covers some key topics in atonement theory. Among other things, it offers an excellent survey of the complex distinctions in classical Reformed discussions of covenant theology, as well as a nuanced exploration of various topics in soteriology. . . . While [Bavinck] engages in critical discussions of various alternative perspectives . . . he is always careful to highlight what he sees as strengths and important insights of those with whom he disagrees. Bavinck's charitable spirit also extends well beyond the Christian community. . . . This is a book that can be read profitably from beginning to end. But it will also reward the teacher or preacher who picks it up on occasion to drop in on Bavinck's discussion of a specific topic."--Richard J. Mouw, Interpretation

"An important theological work. . . . In Bavinck, we find trajectories of Reformed theology in dialogue with classic Reformed formulations of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as well as with the varieties of viewpoints current in Bavinck's day. This work provides a clear and detailed account of a Reformed system that has significantly shaped generations of Reformed theologians."--Donald K. McKim, Sixteenth Century Journal

"The third and penultimate volume of Bavinck's dogmatics is devoted to the theological loci of Christology and Soteriology. The opening chapters on 'sin' continue Bavinck's magisterial ability to engage modern thought. . . . The high point of the volume, and that to which most of it is devoted, is the second part on 'Christ as Redeemer.'. . . [Bavinck] offers a fascinating and informed history of covenant theology. . . . This covenantal structure in place Bavinck, following a hallowed Reformed pattern, turns to the mediator of the covenant of grace: the person of Christ. Here we find a masterful statement of a classical Christology. . . . The historical surveys worked into the fabric of the discussions would make the work valuable even if they were not serving the larger end of dogmatic construction. . . . The ways in which the argumentation moves seamlessly across the arguments of his other volumes testify to the coherence of Bavinck's proposals and the fluency with which he addressed the subject. . . . He is at his best in bringing into dialogue the history of theology, Reformed thought, and his contemporary world. And each volume of this set that is released cannot but add to his solid reputation in the English-speaking world."--Joshua Moon, Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology

"Each section is introduced with an editor's summary of the content of the chapter, which makes the volume user-friendly. An extensive bibliography of the works cited by Bavinck demonstrates the comprehensive nature of his work and provides helpful guidance for readers. Bavinck's work is valuable not just because of the content, as significant and helpful as it is, but also for his methodology. . . . The translation of Bavinck's work into English is a welcome addition to the resources for the study of Reformed theology. Even those who are not Reformed in their theological heritage can benefit from Bavinck's clear presentation of Christian theology, including his extensive exegetical work and interaction with the history of interpretation of the biblical text and major Christian and non-Christian voices. This is not easy reading but it is worthy of the work that is required to mine the depths of Bavinck's comprehensive and thoughtful summary of the Dutch Reformed tradition. Those who desire to understand the faith once for all delivered to the saints will be rewarded by a careful and systematic reading of this book and will look forward to the release of the final volume."--Glenn R. Kreider, Bibliotheca Sacra

"[Bavinck's] approach . . . provides a model for the church and its mission today, in a globalizing and decidedly beyond-the-modern world. Thus translator John Vriend and editor John Bolt are to be congratulated on the appearance of the third volume, focused on the subjects of sin and salvation in Christ. . . . A volume that not only offers to the English-speaking world Bavinck's dogmatics and the topics of sin and salvation is of specific interest to those involved in the mission of the church, both nationally and globally."--Iain S. Maclean, Missiology

"This readable translation of the third volume of Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics provides not only his doctrine of sin but also the 'central point of the whole system of dogmatics': his christology. . . . His Dogmatics was balanced, irenic, and reconciling--the theological textbook par excellence for the Neo-Calvinist movement. . . . He drew on an astonishing range of sources. . . . The Reformed Dogmatics remains contemporary not only because it offers one of the most lucid expositions of the doctrines of sin and grace, but also because it provides a model for engaging modernity with the Christian mind."--Clifford Anderson, Scottish Journal of Theology