procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Big Berkhof

i attended a preaching conference at SMBC a couple of years ago now - one of the best things (apart from the teaching of course) was that their library was doing a bit of a clean out.
so anyway, the Don recommended, out of his talk on Systematic Theology, both Big Berkhof and Little Louis. and i went down to the library sale and picked up Louis Berkhof's Manual of Christian Doctrine (Eerdmans: 1931, reprinted 1981) - ie Little Louis.
and i can honestly say that it's been one of my most helpful para-biblical books - it goes through the issues, through all facets of Christian Doctrine, but straightforwardly (whoever would have thought the difference between supra- and infra-lapsarianism would be made straightforward?!), as well as showing the varying views of different denominational traditions, where they stand and where the important and trivial differences are.

he is fair to both sides, happy to say when there is good justification for either, but also not backward in pointing out, in all humility, the flaws in flawed standpoints.

with my doctrine exam looming nearer, a few weeks ago i decided i needed to step up - and get my hands on Big Berkhof - or Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology (Eerdmans: 1938, reprinted 1996), and found it here for only 17 bucks, WITH his 1932 Introduction to the Study of Systematic Theology in the one volume!


it's pretty thrilling - great quotes, such as this on the Holy Spirit:
The Bible never deals with the doctrine of the Trinity as an abstract truth, but reveals the Trinitarian life in its various relations as a living reality, to a certain extent in connection with the works of creation and providence, but particularly in relation to the work of redemption. Its most fundamental revelation is given in facts rather than in words. (ST p85)

Big Berkhof is not a book you'll read cover to cover, but it's by far my most used reference book. well, it will be - after Little Louis!
there was a stack of them at West Ryde Koorong - you just need to step over the realised eschatology section, block out the 'jesus is my boyfriend' music, and wear sunscreen to shield yourself from the glare of the gold-plated 'the message' 'bibles'. jokes, of course!

*i just checked Amazon - they're flogging it for double, plus that's US dollars, so super expensive

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Blogger DanielS said...

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8:32 am  
Blogger DanielS said...

'jokes' - I reckon that was the most helpful part of your post. If someone could write a manual on how to survive a trip to Koorong it would be gold! (I often find myself coming out of the experience disappointed, but proud that 'I'm not like other men'.)

But thanks for the heads up. I also had a flick through the library's copy of this in the lead up to the Doctrine exam and found it really helpful - and I'm a sucker for cheap books.

8:33 am  
Blogger Kent said...

A 14-volume collection of Louis Berkhof books is now available for pre-order from Logos Bible Software. I thought you might be interested!

Louis Berkhof Collection (14 Vols.)

4:53 am  
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