Quotes

Joe Boot, “A Time To Search”
“Either God exists or he does not. There is no middle ground. Both cannot be true. No amount of philosophical trickery can hide from the greatest antithesis of them all … We cannot leave this question for the intellectuals, scientists, philosophers and theologians alone … We must answer it for ourselves.”

G C Berkouwer
“Scripture … does not derive its authority from the fact that we use it, not even when we use Scripture in faith.”

G C Berkouwer
“In Scripture the election of God … does not come out of works but out of grace. God’s electing plan prepares the way of salvation in which man learns that salvation is obtained only as a divine gift and never as an acquisiton because of good works.”

G C Berkouwer
“Dilemmas always are a source of polarization. We quickly move over to simplistic either-or’s … in which the fulness of truth is torn apart. And in the atmosphere of false polarities, we often stop listening to each other’s words. With this, irritation and pique poison the theological discussion. But it is striking and, at the same time, reassuring that the clear intent of the gospel comes through even in the midst of theological polarization, especially when all the parties intend to be faithful to the gospel.”

G.C. Berkouwer
“Faith is decisively determined by the object of faith, namely, God and His Word. This does not … imply that Scripture … derives its authority from the believer’s faith: this idea is already rendered untenable by the very nature of faith, which rests on and trusts in the Word of God.”

A W Tozer
“It is not enough that I hold an inspired book in my hands. I must have an inspired heart … Revelation is the ground upon which we stand. Revelation tells us what to believe. The Bible is the book of God and I stand for it with all my heart. But before I can be saved, there must be illumination, penitence, renewal, inward deliverance.”

G C Berkouwer
“The gospel does not leave unchanged the person who does not listen and remains disobedient … unbelief can lead only to progressive hardening of the heart.”

H. Bavinck
“In the cross, the Christian has seen the special Providence of God. He has,in forgiving and regenerating grace, experienced Providence in his heart. From this new,positive experience in his own life, he looks out over his entire existence and over the whole world, and sees there the leading of God’s fatherly hand.”

D G Bloesch
“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.”

G C Berkouwer
“Evil in man is radical, so much so that it cannot be overcome by human power.”

G C Berkouwer
“We can hardly say that the Pharisees had an accurate ‘knowledge’ of man when they pointed to the sins (the real sins) of publicans and sinners. This judgment, which separated knowledge of man from self-knowledge, was as nothing in God’s eyes. The Jew did not have a better understanding because he was able to judge the heathen. In the sphere of abstract morality this could possibly be said, but this is not Biblical morality – O man, who judgest others!”

G C Berkouwer
“Man does not have the power to begin by himself any change in spiritual things … There is no limit or boundary within human nature beyond which we can find some last human reserve untouched by sin.”

G C Berkouwer
“The jubilation of God’s salvation corresponds to man’s very real condition of lostness … In Scripture, there is never any mention of a relativizing of sin since any such relativizing of sin would also automatically relativize the unspeakably wonderful nature of salvation.”

G C Berkouwer
“Hardening can never be broken by man in his own power. There is no other therapy that can bring about a change except the divine healing in Christ and the superior power of the Spirit.”

G C Berkouwer
“The confession of the church touching Jesus Christ can never be a knowledge such that, with it, the church can elevate itself above the world. It is precisely within the church that people will have to remind themselves that this knowledge is a gift and a miracle which did not arise out of flesh and blood.”

G C Berkouwer
“It is the marvel of the work of the Holy Spirit that those who really respond to the proclamation of reconciliation claim no merit whatsoever for that response, but rather find the essence of their joy in God, who reconciled us unto himself.”

G C Berkouwer
“The change which takes place when we trust Jesus Christ is not only a change in our view of Christ. Through Christ, we look differently at both God’s creation and our own circumstances.”

G C Berkouwer
“Man, in and by the salvation of God, is delivered from the tenacity of the egocentric and commences to sing of the glory of God. It is this salvation that opens doors and windows toward God’s handiwork.”

G C Berkouwer
“In the doctrine of Providence, we have a specific Christian confession exclusively possible through faith in Jesus Christ. This faith is no general, vague notion of Providence. It has a concrete focus: ‘If God is for us, who is against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?’ (Rom.8:31, 32).”

G C Berkouwer
“Everything is really said in an unobtrusive phrase, in Christ …Faith is not added as a second, independent ingredient which makes its own contribution to justification in Christ… faith does nothing but accept, or come to rest in the sovereignty of His benefit … we are not acceptable to God because of the worthiness of our faith. Grace is exclusively and totally God’s.”

G C Berkouwer
“Faith looks away from itself to Christ … sola fide (by faith alone) and sola gratia (by grace alone) … mean the same thing … let the sound of sola fide-sola gratia ring in the life of the Church. Let it be a warning against the pride of the treacherous heart.”

G C Berkouwer
“In sanctification, there is never, under any circumstances, any room for self-pride or self-praise.”

G C Berkouwer
“The grace of God is never the cause for glorying in one’s own power … Perseverance is always opposed to false self-confidence.”

G C Berkouwer
“Worthy partakers are those who confess their sins in self-abhorrence, humiliation, faith in God’s promises, and gratefulness of heart. This is the ‘worthiness’ that belongs to the Lord’sSupper. It is not at all meritorious in nature, but is in complete harmony with what is signified and sealed in the Lord’s Supper. It is a worthiness that coincides with a confession of‘unworthiness’ and with trust in the salvation of God.”

G C Berkouwer
“When the concept of error in the sense of incorrectness is used on the same level as the concept of erring in the sense of sin and deception, we are quite far removed from the serious manner with which erring is dealt in Scripture … as a swerving from the truth and upsetting the faith (2 Tim. 2:18).”

G C Berkouwer
“Lord, will those who are saved be few?”  … Jesus’ answer seems so noncommittal, so evasive … Strive to enter by the narrow door (Luke 13:23f.) … this evasiveness is only apparent … This is the answer to this question … this question has been answered, once for all time.”

G C Berkouwer
“The Holy Spirit … does not lead us into error but into the pathways of truth … The Spirit, with this special concern, has not failed and will not fail in this mystery of God-breathed Scripture.”

S H Travis
“We do not have to choose between this world and the world to come, because the purpose of God embraces both”

G C Berkouwer
“On the route of faith and action, along with hope, we see that the gospel we believe is far removed from the picture of a future without bearing on the present, a heavenly hope without concern for the neighbour and his world.”

G C Berkouwer
“Grace is at work even in fallen man … to bend partially back in the right direction those human powers and endowments which were man left to himself would be wholly perverted.”

G C Berkouwer
“Common grace … an imperfect solution … does centre our attention on the gracious act of God in protecting man’s corrupt and apostate nature from total demonization.”

G C Berkouwer
“The true nature of good works cannot be understood apart from Christ who is our ‘sanctification’ (1 Corinthians 1:30).”

G C Berkouwer”
“Sanctification is not the humanly operated successor to the divinely worked justification.”

G C Berkouwer
“Genuine sanctification has a ‘continued orientation toward justification.”

G C Berkouwer
“The Spirit alone could perform the miracle of making man walk on the road of sanctity without a sense of his own worth.”

G C Berkouwer
“The fundamental fact about baptism will always be its involvement with the death of Christ … The prevenient aspect of the grace of God lies … in the temporal priority of the cross of Christ with respect to the baptized person, whether child or adult.”

G C Berkouwer
“The restoration of the image of God … the new nature, created after the likeness of God in righteousness and holiness … the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator … the renewal of the image will throw light upon the meaning and content of the original creation of man in the image of God.”

G C Berkouwer
“The history of salvation does away with any personal glory … in Christ, we have the exclusion of all human merit.”

D Bonhoeffer
“In Christ we are offered the possibility of partaking in the reality of God and in the reality of the world, but not in the one without the other. The reality of God discloses itself only by setting me entirely in the reality of the world … I never experience the reality of God without the reality of the world or the reality of the world without the reality of God.”

D Bonhoeffer
“It is only by living completely in this world that one learns to believe … the relation of the Church to the world is determined entirely by the relation of God to the world … not by the world as it understands itself.”

D Bonhoeffer
“The “”heart””, in the biblical sense, is not the inward life, but the whole man in relation to God.”

K Hamilton
“Bonhoeffer categorically refuses to demythologize the resurrection … he finally walked to his execution, saying that for him it was the beginning of life.”

K Hamilton
“Bonhoeffer’s thought is not determined by the ultimacy of this world but by his opposition to ‘the separation … (of) the two spheres of the sacred and secular’ and his insistence that ‘faith is always … an act involving the whole life.”

D Bonhoeffer
“Our relation to God is not a “”religious”” relationship … but … a new life in “”existence for others.”

G C Berkouwer
“In the Gospels, being a sinner means being lost … There is no way for man to escape the condition of being lost … The lost can only be sought and found.”

G C Berkouwer
“Bonhoeffer’s emphasis on the deep this-worldliness of Christianity does not lead to de-escahtologizing the gospel.”

G C Berkouwer
“Theodicy … what is involved is not a theoretical answer to the enigma of evil … but an answer of faith … the abstract questions of theodicy fall away in the shadow of the event of the cross.”

Kenneth Hamilton,”Life in One’s Stride
“Bonhoeffer’s thought is not determined by the ultimacy of this world but by his opposition to ‘the separation … (of) the two spheres of the sacred and secular’ and his insistence that ‘faith is always … an act involving the whole life”

Ronald Gregor Smith
“The Christian cannot be indifferent to this world which God made and loves. Yet how can he be other than against it in its evil and sin and hopelessness? Both positions are necessary, and both at the same time, and without reserve.”

G C Berkouwer
“Faith involves a certain subjectivity, … a subjectivity which has meaning only as it is bound to the gospel.”

G C Berkouwer
“The church’s … certainty is bound to certain norms and … a feeling of subjective certainty does not guarantee irrefutable certainty … it is not the certainty, but the truth in the certainty that makes us free … there is a way of understanding Holy Scripture that does not estrange us from the gospel.”

G C Berkouwer
“If theology is to speak adequately of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it must be thoroughly committed to hearing “”the powerful witness of the ‘tremendous’ Word that always speaks against us so that we can learn to stop speaking against it.”

Bruce Demarest
“Berkouwer is to be commended for his careful avoidance of “”the polarities of a mindless fideism and a faithless rationalism.”

G C Berkouwer
“Authority … cannot be a darksome power that compels us to subject ourselves without reason.”

G C Berkouwer
“The authority of God is unlike what is usually meant by “”external authority”” … The authority of God brings perspective, joy and hope.”

G C Berkouwer
“We must not get caught up in an emotional reaction against such phrases as ‘believing on authority’ … Everything depends on the character of the authority and the character of believing.”

G C Berkouwer
“The authority of God is not … an arbitrary, external authority, demanding blind obedience … The authority of God is a wooing and conquering authority, the acceptance of which occurs with joy and willingness in the context of Christ’s redemption.”

G C Berkouwer
“In the New Testament, myth stands over against the truth of the history of Jesus Christ … the decisive die has … been already cast in the New Testament opposition to myth.”

G C Berkouwer
“In the New Testament, the concept of myth is not simply a harmless feature of a primitive world-view, requiring only to be reinterpreted for modern man … Myth is that which “”diminishes the truth of salvation.”

G C Berkouwer
“The Church’s objectivity is not subjectivized by the affirmation that the only framework in which the Church can remain the Church of the Lord is the framework of faith, prayer, obedience and subjection.”

G C Berkouwer
“The character of faith resolves all tensions between objectivity and subjectivity, For faith has significance only in its orientation to its object – the grace of God.”

G C Berkouwer
“The sanctification … demanded is always an implicate of the sanctification that originates in God’s mercy. Hence the sanctification of believers is never an independent area of human activity … we can speak truly of sanctification only when we have understood the exceptionally great significance of the bond between Sola-fide and sanctification … the Sola-fide … a confession of ‘By grace alone we are saved’ … is the only sound foundation for sanctification.”

G C Berkouwer”
“The perseverance of the saints is not primarily a theoretical problem but a confession of faith … a song of praise to God’s faithfulness and grace.”

G C Berkouwer
“Theology is not practised apart from faith, prayer and adoration … The whole subject matter of Christology is most intimately related to the secret of revelation … the enlightenment of the eyes.”

G C Berkouwer
“The object of Christology is not a purely theoretical knowledge but a profitable, wholesome knowledge of the salvation of God in Jesus Christ.”

G C Berkouwer”
“In the doctrine of providence we have a specific Christian confession exclusively possible through a true faith in Jesus Christ … this faith is no general, vague notion of Providence. It has a concrete focus: ‘If God is for us, who is against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?’ (Rom.8:31,32) … the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. There is no purer expression than this of the depth of man’s faith in God’s Providence.”

G C Berkouwer
“The “”Nature Psalms”” … This understanding, and seeing, and hearing, is possible only … in the enlightening of the eyes by the salvation of God … But this seeing and hearing is not a projection of the believing subject, but an actual finding and seeing, and hearing! Here nothing is ‘read into’, but is only an understanding of the reality of revelation.”

G C Berkouwer
“Men have tried to construct abstract and causal answers to this question of sin’s origin and … have violated the very limits of objectivity … Whoever reflects on the origin of cannot engage himself in a merely theoretical dispute; rather he is engaged intimately, in … the problem of sin’s guilt.”

G C Berkouwer
“The authority of God’s Word is not an arbitrary, external authority … but a wooing and conquering authority … Scripture’s authority does not demand blind obedience … rather a subjection that spells redemption … a subjection to Christ whereby he is never out of view … in which acceptance occurs with joy and willingness.”

G C Berkouwer
“Reality and symbolism in the sacraments … Only if we reject false dilemmas … it will be possible to delve deeper, to discern the sovereign manner in which God stoops down to us, taking up simple earthly elements and using them for the affirmation and strengthening of our faith.”

G C Berkouwer
“The authority of God’s Word … We must be aware of the dangers of an experience-theology … We must be critical of the suggestion that all scriptural questions could possibly be solved by excluding them on the basis of a childlike faith … We must warn against a subjectification of authority, which might only become reality through acknowledgment … We must also speak of the unique authority which can only be acknowledged and experienced on the way.”

A W Tozer
“Jesus Christ never thinks about what we have been! He always thinks about what we are going to be.”

G C Berkouwer
“The hesitations and doubts that are present at many points in modern theology do not in themselves indicate a deep and final uncertainty … an alienation from the gospel.”

G C Berkouwer
“The confession of the testimony of the Spirit was not intended to give a rational and theoretical solution or explanation to the relationship between Word and Spirit … the mystery of Word and Spirit remains unfathomable … Every attempt to somehow clarify the mystery remains revealingly unsatisfactory … The mystery cuts across every exclusive formulation.”

G C Berkouwer
“We must warn against an incorrect conception of theology, a conception which considers it possible to discuss Holy Scripture apart from a personal relationship of belief in it, as though that alone would constitute true ‘objectivity’.

G C Berkouwer
“I am of the opinion that … one can judge soundly of the scriptural doctrine of election only when one rejects this symmetry (i.e. the ‘equal ultimacy’ of election and reprobation) … as an unbiblical distortion of the message of the Divine election.”

J Arminius
“After the reading of Scripture, which I strenuously inculcate… more than any other… I recommend that the Commentaries of Calvin be read… in the interpretation of the Scriptures Calvin is incomparable… his Commentaries are more to be valued than anything that is handed down to us in the writings of the Fathers… I concede to him a certain spirit of prophecy in which he stands distinguished above others, above most, indeed, above all.”

C E Braaten
“Serious reservations … must be voiced against the dominant position of the idea of revelation in theology, with its corollary that man’s essential predicament is his lack of knowledge … if the ignorance of man stands at the center, then the fact of revelation relieves that plight; but if man’s guilt is the problem, then not revelation but reconciliation must become the theological centrum.”

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