Berkouwer and some other theologians

Berkouwer is a theologian whose voice deserves to be heard much more than it has been. A lot of people don’t know much about him. They’ve heard his name from writers who dismiss him because they are wary of him.
There is a historical progression in the chair of Systematic Theology at the Free University of Amsterdam. Kuyper ] Bavinck ] Valentinius Hepp ] Berkouwer. There is also a theological progression involving Kuyper, Bavinck and Berkouwer. It is a movement away from scholasticism. Valentinius Hepp was not part of this theological progression. He was a scholastic. Berkouwer rarely mentions him. It’s like he is saying, ‘Let’s bypass Hepp – playing him down by ignoring him – & go back to Bavinck’. By his frequent references to Bavinck, Berkouwer seeks to emphasize the continuity between himself and Bavinck. Berkouwer’s references to Bavinck are generally positive. He develops ideas that are found in Bavinck. He draws more from Bavinck than he does from Kuyper.
Berkouwer didn’t draw much from Emil Brunner. Two passages – one in ‘General
Revelation’ & the other in ‘The Person of Christ’ come to mind. In both cases, Berkouwer distances himself from Brunner.
Berkouwer is very different from Cornelius Van Til! I can’t recall much reference to Van Til in Berkouwer’s writings other than at the end of ‘The Triumph of Grace in the Theology of Karl Barth’ where Berkouwer distances himself from Van Til’s critique of Barth.
Berkouwer on Barth. In ‘The Triumph of Grace in the Theology of Karl Barth’, he is penetratingly critical. In ‘A Half Century of Theology’, he is more positive.


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