“The task of the theology” by Herman Bavinck

“Doubt has now become the sickness of our century, bringing with it a string of moral problems and plagues. Nowadays, many people take into account only what they can see; they deify matter, worship Mammon, or glorify power.

The number of those who still utter an undaunted testimony of their faith with joyful enthusiasm and complete certainty is comparatively small.

There is much noise and movement, but little genuine spirit, little genuine enthusiasm issuing from an upright, fervent, sincere faith.

Nowhere is this more true than among theologians. They are the most doubting, vacillating group of all. They have plenty of questions, doubts, and criticism to offer.

But what we expect from them more than from anyone else– unity of outlook, consistency of method, certainty of faith, eagerness to give an account of the hope within them– for these traits we often look in vain.

Theology must lead us to rest in the arms of God.

Theology must prescribe medicine for the ailments of the soul. It must be able to say how and in what way we can be freed from our guilt, reconciled with God, attain to patience and hope amidst life’s tribulations, and find reason to sing praises in the face of death.

A theology that does not concern itself with these things and only dedicates itself to critical and historical studies is not worthy of the name theology.

And a theologian who is acquainted with all the latest issues of his science but who stands speechless at a sickbed and knows no answer to the questions of the lost sinner’s heart isn’t worthy of his title and office.”

—Herman Bavinck, The Certainty of Faith, trans. Harry der Nederlanden (St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada: Paideia Press, 1891/1980), 8, 9, 17, 18.

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