Holiness and Union with Christ

“The man who is really living in union with Christ cannot be morally indifferent.” -Louis Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine

What Religion Does

“It is one of the greatest blessings of mankind, though many denounce it as a curse. Not only does it touch the deepest springs of man’s life, but it also controls his thoughts and feelings and desires.” -Louis Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine

Berkhof on the Hermeneutical Centrality of Christ

“All the facts of the redemptive history that is recorded in the Bible center in that great fact [i.e., the redemptive act of God in Jesus Christ]. The various lines of the Old Testament revelation converge towards it, and those of the New Testament revelation radiate from it. It is only in their binding center, Jesus Christ, that the narratives of Scripture find their explanation. The interpreter will truly understand them only insofar as he discerns their connection with the great central fact of Sacred History.” -Louis Berkhof, Principles of Biblical Interpretation

BTW NOTE: Jesus Christ as the “binding center” of revelation, draws to my mind the image of the binding of a book. It’s Jesus that makes the ‘pages’ of revelation to stay in their proper place.

Distinctions that Make a Difference: Archetypal Theology/Ectypal Theology

[UPDATED: June 6, 2010]

“Alongside of the archetypal knowledge of God, found in himself, there is also an ectypal knowledge of Him, given to man by revelation. The latter is related to the former as a copy to the original, and therefore does not possess the same measure of clearness and perfection. All our knowledge of God is derived from His self-revelation in nature and in Scripture. Consequently, our knowledge of God is on the one hand ectypal and analogical, but on the other hand also true and accurate, since it is a copy of the archetypal knowledge which God has of himself” (Berkhof, ST, 35).

NOTE: Interestingly, this discussion of the archetypal/ectypal distinction is found in Berkhof’s discussion of the Doctrine of God and not Prolegomena.

Berkhof’s ST can be purchased here.

General Revelation/Special Revelation

“[The distinction between general and special revelation] contemplates the extent and purpose of the revelation rather than its origin and mode. There is, however, a certain overlapping. General revelation rests on the basis of creation, is addressed to all intelligent creatures as such, and is therefore accessible to all men; though as the result of sin they are no more able to read and interpret it aright. Special revelation on the other hand rests on the basis of re-creation, is addressed to men as sinners with a view to their redemption and can be properly understood only by the spiritual man” (Berkhof, Systematic¬† Theology,¬†128).

Can be purchased here.

Distinctions that Make A Difference: Natural/Supernatural Revelation

“The distinction [between natural and supernatural revelation] was made rather early in history, however, but was not intended as a designation of a two-fold origin of revelation. It was clearly understood that all revelation of God is supernatural in origin, since it comes from God. It served rather to discriminate between two different modes of revelation. Natural revelation is communicated through the media of natural phenomena, while supernatural revelation implies a divine intervention in the natural course of events; it is supernatural not only in origin, but also in mode.” (Berkhof, Introduction to Systematic Theology, 126)

Can be purchased (as part of his Systematic Theology) here.