Bavinck: Underestimating and Overestimating Dogmatics

by | Jan 22, 2021 | Bavinck | 1 comment

I recently had to break the news to one of my children that Africa is a continent. Africa is not a country. And Scripture is not dogmatics. Dogma (and its nearly identical twin, systematic theology) is derived from Scripture. Bavinck uses the analogy of Scripture being the gold mine and dogmatics being the currency (116). Theology is valuable stuff. Yet there are polar dangers to both underestimating and overestimating the role of dogma. Underestimating its significance would be to say the church has massively distorted what was originally the pure truth of Christianity. While overestimating dogma to the point where we give it infallibility or something close to it gives the church primacy over Scripture. The proper course recognizes Scripture as the source of our theology. The proper theologian depends on the Holy Spirit as they process what Scripture says and applies it.  

Check out my previous posts in this series on Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics!

Part 1

Part 2



Brent Niedergall

Pastor, Grammarian, Runner

Brent Niedergall, MDiv, is Chief Editor at Positive Action for Christ in Whitakers, North Carolina. He’s gone to war in Afghanistan, felled towering trees, and parsed Greek verbs.

1 Comment

  1. Donald Johnson

    I have often maintained that Biblical theology is superior to Systematic theology. I often get hooted down for this assertion, but I think it is right, as long as Biblical theology keeps out of the systematic field and just says what the Scripture says. There we are on solid ground. When we step out onto the ice of logic, there are places where the ice is thin, and you will fall in.

Brent Niedergall