“Like gold from a mine”

Bavinck on the preparation for and “threefold task” of theology:

Believers who want to devote themselves to the study of theology, accordingly, must prepare their minds for the task awaiting them. There is no admission to the temple of theology except by way of the study of the arts. Indispensable to the practitioner of the science of theology is philosophical, historical, and linguistic preparatory training. . .

This thinking, thus prepared and trained, has, in the main, a threefold task in theology.

First, it offers its services in finding the material. . . Like gold from a mine, so the truth of faith has to be extracted from Scripture by the exertion of all available mental powers. . .

Next,the theologian must intellectually process the material thus acquired. . . Scripture above all came into its own in all its splendor–not when a single text was literally cited but–when the whole truth contained in many texts was condensed and reproduced in a dogma. . .

Finallyit is the task of the thinking theological mind to gather up and recapitulate all truth in one system. . . Theology does not rest until it has discovered the unity underlying revelation. It may not impose that system from without, nor press the truth into a philosophical system that is foreign to its nature But it keeps searching until the system that is present in the object itself has been reproduced in the human mind. . .

The Christian religion is a “reasonable form of worship”.

From Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 1: Prologomena, pp. 617-18


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