In this series rooted in the normative significance of Scripture, noted Dutch theologian G. C. Berkouwer examines great doctrines of the Reformed faith, developing and defending Reformed theology through interaction with a wide range of theologies and theologians...
|Title||:||The Person of Christ|
|Number of Pages||:||372 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Person of Christ Reviews
This is the first volume of Berkouwer's Studies in Dogmatics I've read. I was surprised by Berkouwer's clarity and great sense of narrative. He defends a classical form of christology. There are difficult parts, especially when he is combating particular struggles within his Dutch Reformed, early half of 20th century world. But his work is very lively, with great depth. He is strong in his ability to use the authority of Scripture and the work of church in history. The biggest strength is his ability to demonstrate the tensions in any christological controversy. Easy to keep reading, however challenging the read.
Berkouwer offers what could be considered a fairly standard exposition of Reformed Christology. He, as one would expect, outlines the historical situation leading up to the formulation of Chalcedon; and, he treats such topics as the deity of Christ, the sinlessness of Christ, and the hypostatic union. There are few strengths of this work. First, Berkouwer is very lucid in his exposition of the Reformed Christology. Second, he demonstrates a remarkable familiarity with both historical voices and contemporary debates (at least contemporary to him). Third, he ably navigates complex issues and brings to life the various aspects of Christology. Since this is an intermediate as opposed to advanced work on Christology, there are some topics he merely treats superficial (e.g., the question of whether Christ's human nature was fallen). Moreover, he doesn't always tie up loose ends in his discussion, and the more devotional feel of this volume seems to be a greater strength than rigorous theological analysis. But, in the view of this reader, this is in large part due to the intermediate level of exposition which he is seeking to offer. But, setting these criticisms aside, it must be said that this is a sure guide for those who are wishing to delve deeper into Reformed Christology than a popular exposition may offer. Further, he is a solid example of how to do theology: engaging with the voices of the past and the issues of the present by allowing the teaching of Scripture to speak to them both.
The first part of the book is simply a review of conciliar statements on Christology. While occasionally hinting at new developments, Berkouwer's treatment is little different from what you would find in any historical theology manual.When he deals with specific aspects like the humanity of Christ and the sinlessness of Christ, he breaks new ground. He notes that traditions like Rome and EO who hold to a strong communicatio of the divine nature to the human really can't make sense of passages that say Jesus grew in knowledge, or hoped, or feared. Such statements would imply a "Lack" on Jesus's part, and given that the human nature is fully suffused with divinity, would be quite problematic. He doesn't fully solve all of the conundrums on Jesus's sinlessness, but he does make a neat suggestion: Jesus is fully free as he is sinless, thus Berkouwer cuts loose from all libertarian models of freedom. It was the genius of Reformed writers not to be hampered by these questions and to focus on the 3 Offices of Christ. Only Calvin and his students could really rejoice in the statement that Jesus was truly forsaken by the Father. If you aren't being accused of Nestorianism on this point, then you simply aren't preaching the text. Criticisms:He points to some tensions in Chalcedon but doesn't develop the reasons behind them. I don't think all of modern liberal theology rejected Chalcedon simply because it said Jesus was God and enlightened moderns don't believe that. No doubt some did. I wonder, however, if a number of them saw that Chalcedon presupposed a single-subject Christology and later moves in conciliar Christology--say, Dyotheletism--leaned heavily towards a fully activating human nature and self-consciousness, something Cyril wouldn't have said. With that said and assumed, Berkouwer does make the interesting suggestion (p. 69) that if you use Chalcedon as the starting point of exegesis, you really won't be able to maintain the dual-natures unity. Of course, one should maintain the values expressed by Chalcedon, but by using them as a compass. Berkouwer is right on this point.Conclusion:It's worth reading and it is fairly readable. He doesn't cover as much new ground as he does in his other works.