On the Reflection and Formation of Dogmas

Ikone_Athanasius_von_Alexandria

What does it take to form dogmas? Professor Berkhof says that it’s the whole person (mind, will and emotion), the whole church, spiritual men (for only they are “fit for this work”), in the midst of “unholy untagonisms.” It reminds me of ”Athanasius Contra Mundum” and many other holy warriors like him throughout history.

Sadly, Berkhof notes,

“Not all periods of history have been equally conducive to the reflection required for the formation of dogmas. It calls for deep spirituality, for religious fervor, for willing subjection to the truth as it is revealed in the Word of God, for a consuming passion to gain an ever-increasing insight into the truth in all its bearings, for diligent exegetical study, and for constructive ability. Cold Rationalism and sentimental Pietism are equally inimical to it. And certainly such an age as ours, in which philosophical speculations and psychological analyses have largely taken the place of real theological study, is not favorable to the construction of theological dogmas. There is very little recognition of the supreme importance of reflecting on the truth as it is revealed in the Word of God. In fact, there is a widespread and decided opposition to the idea that man must lead his thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, and must in his search for the truth respecting God and man, sin and redemption, life and death, base his thought on the word of authority, the inspired Word of God, rather than on the discoveries of fallible human reason.”

Oh that the Spirit of God would, in our day and age, raise up men who, like their Master, are “faithful and true,” serious and diligent, upholding His word, enduring the hostility and opposition of the world.

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One thought on “On the Reflection and Formation of Dogmas

  1. Reblogged this on REFORMED CHURCHES IN THE PHILIPPINES and commented:
    “Not all periods of history have been equally conducive to the reflection required for the formation of dogmas. It calls for deep spirituality, for religious fervor, for willing subjection to the truth as it is revealed in the Word of God, for a consuming passion to gain an ever-increasing insight into the truth in all its bearings, for diligent exegetical study, and for constructive ability. Cold Rationalism and sentimental Pietism are equally inimical to it. And certainly such an age as ours, in which philosophical speculations and psychological analyses have largely taken the place of real theological study, is not favorable to the construction of theological dogmas. There is very little recognition of the supreme importance of reflecting on the truth as it is revealed in the Word of God. In fact, there is a widespread and decided opposition to the idea that man must lead his thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, and must in his search for the truth respecting God and man, sin and redemption, life and death, base his thought on the word of authority, the inspired Word of God, rather than on the discoveries of fallible human reason.” – Louis Berkhof

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