Monday, August 9, 2010

a'Brakel on Scripture's Authority

Roman Catholicism answers that we must believe it because the church says that it is so. We do affirm that the true church, which believes and declares that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God, is a means whereby the Holy Spirit brings man to the Word, and thereby persuades man to believe it. The church is neither the foundation upon which rests the faith that Scripture is the Word of God rests, and whereby man is assured of the same. Rather, the Holy Scriptures, by virtue of the inwrought evidences of their divinity and the Holy Spirit speaking in that Word, are themselves the foundation and basis whereby we believe them to be divine. The authority of the Word is derived from the Word itself...These and similar matters are rays of the divinity of the Word which illuminate and convince man of this divinity by its inherent light. However, the task of fully persuading someone, especially a person who uses his corrupt intellect to judge in this matter, is the work of God's Spirit who is the Spirit of faith (2 Cor 4:13). He gives faith (1 Cor 12:9), and bears witness that the Spirit speaking by means of the Word, is truth (1 John 5:6); 'No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost' (1 Cor 12:3).

-Wilhelmus a'Brakel; The Christian's Reasonable Service
The great dutch Calvinist, Wilhelmus a'Brakel's greatest and most influential work, The Christian's Reasonable Service is available in English for free in PDF format. I have begun reading a'Brakel's work, and have benefited profoundly. I'm currently in the process of taking the 1800 pages of this tremendous Systematic Theology and putting it into Amazon Kindle format. What strikes me most about a'Brakel's work is that it goes against the stereotypical grain of the Dutch Reformers. Published in 1700, the Dutch Calvinists are often pictured as sheer academics, interested primarily in being divine scientists. However, a'Brakel shows himself in these four volumes to be primarily concerned with promoting the glory of God and the happiness of the Saints. Some have called his four-volume work an "Experiential Systematic Theology" because a'Brakel considered this massive work to be more for the benefit of the laity than of theologians. If you haven't heard of this great figure from the Dutch Second Reformation or simply haven't tried reading him yet, let me encourage you to do so.

A few years ago, Derek Thomas interviewed the translator of these volumes which have only recently been translated into English. It is a great service to the church that these translations are even available for free, as we're still paying out the ears for the newly translated editions of Bavinck.

Westminster Bookstore is selling the 4 volume hardbound translations of a'Brakel right now for 36% off, which isn't too bad, especially since these really deserve to be on your shelf next to Bavinck, Hodge, and Calvin.

1 comment:

  1. I just came across your post, Adam, during an internet search. Have you been able to finish a'Brakel's Christian's Reasonable Service in the Kindle format? Thanks.


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