Quote from Louis Berkhof

This past week during my studies I found an interesting quote that I would like to share with you, the MTZ readers. The quote is from Louis Berkhof. Berkhof was an American Dutch Reformed theologian during the late 19th and early 20th century. From my observation and reading, his views seem to be some mix of classical Calvinism and Fullerism. In his book, Systematic Theology, Berkhof gives just about every type of Christian theological persuasion on various Christian doctrines for the reader. He also gives reasons why he believes they are wrong, but represents them nonetheless. The below quote addresses the old Anabaptist belief concerning regeneration.

Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, page 505, “c. Their reaction against the mysticism of the Anabaptists. The Anabaptists proceeded on the assumption that regeneration effected not merely a renewal of human nature, but an entirely new creation. And this being so, they regarded it as impossible that anything belonging to this natural creation as, for instance, the human language in which the Word of God is brought to man, could in any way be instrumental in communicating the new life to sinners. As they saw it, regeneration eo ipso excluded the use of the Word as a means, since this was after all only a dead letter. This mystical tendency was strongly oppo sed by Reformed theologians.” End Quote

Berkhof still records that this was the original Baptist belief even though he is in disagreement with the view that the gospel is not a means of regeneration. It is often hard to prove that a belief is historical because history is often subjective and in the eye of the beholder, so I am thankful to find this little gem.

Originally published December 2014

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