When an 800 page book has 'Concise' in its title, we expect a different perspective. Indeed, this book comes from the Netherlands, the land of Kuyper and Bavinck, where three- and four-volume theology texts are the rule. Indeed, Concise Reformed Dogmatics is immersed in the theological traditions and dialogues of continental Europe, though its main allegiance is to the Scriptures by which, the authors say, all dogmas must be tested. English speaking Christians should be better acquainted with the perspective of our European brothers. In this book we will get that broader picture, while being reminded that good, solid Reformed theology can be found in many locations. So the book edifies in both its similarities and its differences from the way we formulate doctrine.
Nothing is more to be desired for this outstanding book than the . . . appearance of a competent English translation.
The appearance of this work in English is most welcome. Written from a confessionally Reformed perspective, with a special affinity for the work of Calvin and Herman Bavinck, it is alert to contemporary issues and problems without obscuring its primary concern to show the biblical basis of doctrines. Without sacrificing depth, it succeeds admirably with the wider circle of readers it has in viewother theologically interested persons as well as pastors, and teachers and students of theology.
At a time when there seems to be renewed interest in the Reformation and, specifically, the Reformed stream, this concise theology is a wellspring of the best that our confession has to offer in the desert of American religion. This is a treasure to be read again and again, making the heart leap for joy!
For all but a few English speakers, insight into the world of contemporary confessional Dutch Reformed theology is limited to occasional glimpses. Yet many of the ideas that were developed and discussed in the Netherlands in the twentieth century have become influential in North America and in other parts of the English-speaking world. This translation of the dogmatics by J. van Genderen and W. H. Velema opens a helpful, orthodox, window on those discussions and is a welcome contribution to the renaissance of Reformed dogmatics in our time.
This translation of an important Systematic Theology by dual authors, Genderen and Velema, both of whom taught at the Theological University of Apeldoorn in the Netherlands, is most welcome. Its setting is, of course, almost exclusively Dutch as many of its citations, footnotes and bibliographies reveal. Its copious references to Bavincks Reformed Dogmatics (four volumes, now in a fine English Translation), this volume provides a useful companion. And, 'if you aint Dutch, you aint much!' they say, and on that reckoning this is 'much'! A most welcome example of contemporary conservative dogmatic theology in our post-conservative age.
This translation of Van Genderen and Velema's Beknopte Gereformeerde Dogmatiek makes accessible the rich and fertile field of Dutch Reformed theology to those for whom the Dutch language is a barrier. Biblically-based, confessionally-rooted, and committed to the best of the Reformed tradition, notably Calvin and Bavinck, the authors consciously resist the temptation to merely repristinate. Conversant with 20th century figures such as Barth, Brunner, Tillich, Bultmann, Moltmann, and Pannenberg, they engage critical exegesis of Scripture, intellectual movements such as verficationism in philosophy, and social trends such as feminism. A bonus is the exploration and critical appropriation of Dutch theologians such as Noordmans, Miskotte, Kraemer, J. H. Bavinck, Van Ruler, Berkouwer, H. Berkhof, and Kuitert, figures often overlooked by the English-speaking theological world. The church's mission and pastoral practice are never out of the authors' sight. Even those who might disagree here and there with a detail will be well rewarded by this thorough and thoughtful work.
This book's title provides, in three words, a most helpful orientation to its contents. In the context of postmodernism's challenge, this 'Dogmatics' connects us with historic Christian doctrine. As a 'Reformed' dogmatics, this summary of classic Calvinism is textured with biblical richness and confessional fidelity. But equally important is the word 'Concise' for this promises us the kind of accessibility and utility so difficult to package with responsible scholarship. The authors, translators, and publisher have served our generation well!