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This landmark edition combines Berkhof's standard, systematic treatment of the doctrines of the Reformed faith--his magnum opus--with his Introduction to the Study of Systemtic Theology. Written in a scholarly yet simple style, the work includes a thorough bibliography and study questions at the end of each chapter. This landmark edition combines Berkhof's standard, systematic treatment of the doctrines of the Reformed faith--his magnum opus--with his Introduction to the Study of Systemtic Theology. Written in a scholarly yet simple style, the work includes a thorough bibliography and study questions at the end of each chapter.


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This landmark edition combines Berkhof's standard, systematic treatment of the doctrines of the Reformed faith--his magnum opus--with his Introduction to the Study of Systemtic Theology. Written in a scholarly yet simple style, the work includes a thorough bibliography and study questions at the end of each chapter. This landmark edition combines Berkhof's standard, systematic treatment of the doctrines of the Reformed faith--his magnum opus--with his Introduction to the Study of Systemtic Theology. Written in a scholarly yet simple style, the work includes a thorough bibliography and study questions at the end of each chapter.

30 review for Systematic Theology

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brent McCulley

    Having read up to this point, by way of comprehensive systematics, Calvin's "Institutes" (Magisterial Reformer), Erickson's "Christian Theology" (Baptist) and Oden's three-volume systematic (Methodist/Wesleyan), it was thoroughly refreshing to dive into the Late Louis Berkhof's "Systematic Theology" which is unabashedly Dutch Reformed. Let me preface by saying that I am also currently going through Herman Bavinck's "Reformed Dogmatics" which Berkhof relies heavily on. At the end of each section t Having read up to this point, by way of comprehensive systematics, Calvin's "Institutes" (Magisterial Reformer), Erickson's "Christian Theology" (Baptist) and Oden's three-volume systematic (Methodist/Wesleyan), it was thoroughly refreshing to dive into the Late Louis Berkhof's "Systematic Theology" which is unabashedly Dutch Reformed. Let me preface by saying that I am also currently going through Herman Bavinck's "Reformed Dogmatics" which Berkhof relies heavily on. At the end of each section the bibliography usual always runs Berkhof and then Kuyper. This is, however, a good thing. The outline of Berkhof is clear, precise, neatly arranged, and indeed systematic. The questions at the end of each section for further review are fantastic, especially in the classroom / ecclesiastical setting. That is to say that the strength of Berkhof's systematic lies in its ability to catechize. It truly is a work, to perhaps coin a word myself, of "doxological catechisis " Since I am currently book three of four of Bavinck's Dogmatics, it was refreshing to go through Berkhof at a much more comfortable pace and hammer home Reformed doctrines that I had just previously read in Bavinck. What is great about Berkhof is that his terse style serves to cut to the chase, as it were, and make the final point as clear as possible in contradistinction to opposing viewpoints. Again, this is going to serve as an amazing reference tool in the future. As I hinted at previously, Berkhof is not the text to go to in order to find irrefutable proofs of such and such a doctrine. In fact, he often times characterizes opposing viewpoints if anything perhaps for brevity. But that was not Berkhof's point, which is namely for instruction, teaching, and catechisis. Understanding the intent and purposes of Berkhof's Systematic, my only complaint is the use of Greek and Hebrew transliteration instead of the actual typesetting. If anything, keep the original and put the transliterations in parentheses. This text is still used as a systematic theology, or at least a suppliment, at numerous seminaries around the globe as it ought to be. While it certainly is mildly dated, I would not be loath to use Berkhof myself as a tool, for example, to instruct elders of a church, or to help catechize lay-teachers etc. A great resource.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jacob London

    It’s been a pleasure to read Berkhof’s Systematic Theology over these last few months. Although its only the third systematic theology I have read, I cannot think of how a one volume systematic theology could be better. Berkhof is orthodox, Dutch Reformed, a theological historian, and inherently Biblical. Although it can often be too brief, all would do well to study Berkhof as an introduction to systematics.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    This is a great reference book. It is organized very well and will serve as a trustworthy guide into theological topics. It is written at a technical level and is Reformed in perspective, but Berkhof also gives contrary viewpoints, which augments its usefulness as a reference book and forces judiciousness to its Reformed perspective. The one big drawback is the theology the book contains isn't applied to life. If you are looking for a standard, thorough, and Reformed touchstone for engaging theo This is a great reference book. It is organized very well and will serve as a trustworthy guide into theological topics. It is written at a technical level and is Reformed in perspective, but Berkhof also gives contrary viewpoints, which augments its usefulness as a reference book and forces judiciousness to its Reformed perspective. The one big drawback is the theology the book contains isn't applied to life. If you are looking for a standard, thorough, and Reformed touchstone for engaging theological topics, Berkhof is your man.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Phillips

    One of the most succinctly clear systematic theologies I have come in contact with. I appreciate Berkhof's wisdom and catholicity in content. Berkhof has bookended my undergrad experience at Reformation Bible College and finally putting down this work is truly bittersweet. One of the most succinctly clear systematic theologies I have come in contact with. I appreciate Berkhof's wisdom and catholicity in content. Berkhof has bookended my undergrad experience at Reformation Bible College and finally putting down this work is truly bittersweet.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Argin Gerigorian

    This week was the toughest with regards to reading. I had the privilege of reading Louis Berkhof’s, Systematic Theology. I had to average about 150 pages a day (skipping one) and that wasn’t easy. Also I barely had time to read other smaller articles and books. Luckily I was able to speed read through it and retain the majority of the things he said. On a side note, speed-reading is very effective if done correctly… hopefully in another blog I can write about the methods I’ve used and read about This week was the toughest with regards to reading. I had the privilege of reading Louis Berkhof’s, Systematic Theology. I had to average about 150 pages a day (skipping one) and that wasn’t easy. Also I barely had time to read other smaller articles and books. Luckily I was able to speed read through it and retain the majority of the things he said. On a side note, speed-reading is very effective if done correctly… hopefully in another blog I can write about the methods I’ve used and read about that helped tremendously. Going to the content of the book: I was extremely impressed by Berkhof’s work and his trenchant style of writing. His wide arsenal of resources concerning theology and church history are very enlightening. Berkhof is the classic systematic to go to if you are Reformed or if you want to learn about Reformed theology. Having read Grudem’s work a couple of years ago I can easily say that it doesn’t even come close to the depth of Berkhof. Although Grudem elongates his work by adding a couple of paragraphs of questions for meditation, helpful images and some songs it doesn’t match Berkhof’s straight forward and Puritanic style. The contents are pretty much the same to any other dogmatic work. He begins with Scripture (updated version) moves on to God’s existence, Theology Proper, Decree (accomplished), Creation, Man, Covenant(s), Fall, Christology, Soteriology (applied), Ecclesiology, and Eschatology. Some of the things I noticed in Berkhof that were different than Grudem was his use of Church history, heavy reliance of predestination and a strong covenant theology. It seemed like (as much as I can remember) Berkhof was more apt to cite church fathers and expand on their views whereas Grudem (as far as I recall) didn’t. Berkhof also treated predestination within the topic of decree whereas Grudem inserted it within the doctrine of man. Finally being a historic and confessional Reformed theologian Berkhof was more covenantal and explained it thoroughly (even though I find myself disagreeing at some points). Be that as it may both of them write really well and sum of Reformed theology properly. louis berkhof Some of my favorite quotations are: “Calvin…stressed the fact that the decree respecting the entrance of sin into the world was a permissive decree, and that the decree of reprobation into the world should be construed that God was not made the author of sin nor in any way responsible for it.” (pg. 110) Berkhof on why Adam was barred from the tree of life after the fall and how God was even there being gracious to him writes, “[Adam] was barred from the tree of life, because it was a symbol of the life promised in the covenant of works” (pg. 226) On Benedict Spinoza the pantheistic philosopher he writes and compares him to an atheist saying, “[for Spinoza] sin is simply due to the inadequacy of man’s knowledge, which fails to see everything sub specie aeternitatis [in light of eternity], that is, in unity with the eternal and infinite essence of God. If man’s knowledge were adequate, so that he saw everything in God, he would have no conception of sin,; it would simply be non-existent for him.” (pg. 228) Which simply means that Spinoza was very atheistic because in the final and ultimate sense evil does not exist. Although I disagree with Berkhof on some of the things he writes on the covenants he is right on point with this statement, “When Paul in II Cor. 3 contrasts the ministry of the law with that of the gospel, he has in mind particularly the ministry of the law as it was understood by the later Jews, who turned the Sinatic covenant into a covenant of works.” (pg. 300) There is much more to be written in summary of some great insight he brings especially in eschatological debates but this will suffice for now. Overall I highly recommend everyone (Reformed or not) to have a copy of Berkhof sitting on the shelf as a book of reference for nearly every doctrine. 4.5/5 stars for Louis Berkhof!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Aitken

    Pros: 1. Berkhof did his homework and nicely covers most contrary opinions. 2. He clearly states the issue and does a decent job presenting it. 3. I think it is better than Bavinck. It is only one volume and you get the same material, and I think better presented. Cons: 1. It reads like a dictionary, and not necessarily an English one at that! 2. The binding is horrible. You will have carpal tunnel syndrome at least once a week while reading it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Wallace

    This is an amazing reference book of theological goodness, but for your own sake give it your full attention while reading. This is not a book that you just pick up and read for a second or two; it requires intense thought to keep up with the various subpoints (and dare I say, sub-sub-points) presented. All said, however, it is an amazing journey.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    It was nicknamed the "big–blue-sleeping-pill" in seminary, but I couldn't read it after dinner or I wouldn't be able to go to bed. That said it's a little dated and lists proof texts without context. If liberals tend to through money at things Berkhof throws Bible verses. It was nicknamed the "big–blue-sleeping-pill" in seminary, but I couldn't read it after dinner or I wouldn't be able to go to bed. That said it's a little dated and lists proof texts without context. If liberals tend to through money at things Berkhof throws Bible verses.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Don

    Other than Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion", perhaps the most important Reformed work on Systematic Theology. A hard, but must read for anyone serious about understanding theology. Other than Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion", perhaps the most important Reformed work on Systematic Theology. A hard, but must read for anyone serious about understanding theology.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Talbert

    Brilliant mind. Boring read. Bavinck is preferable. Begin all sentences with "b." Brilliant mind. Boring read. Bavinck is preferable. Begin all sentences with "b."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gradon Schaub

    Fantastic introduction to systematic theology. Many of the loci are laid out quite well and give an adequate lay of the land. Particularly helpful are Berkhof's interactions with Roman Catholicism and theological liberalism. Fantastic introduction to systematic theology. Many of the loci are laid out quite well and give an adequate lay of the land. Particularly helpful are Berkhof's interactions with Roman Catholicism and theological liberalism.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dane Jöhannsson

    Concise, clear, accurate and exceedingly dry.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Philip Brown

    A classic. Obviously it's a little dated in places given that it was originally published in the year WWII began. In saying that though, it is remarkable how much he does speak to contemporary issues facing Christian evangelical and reformed theology today. Best work of Systematics I've read thus far (on par with AA Hodge's Outlines of Theology). Highly recommended. A classic. Obviously it's a little dated in places given that it was originally published in the year WWII began. In saying that though, it is remarkable how much he does speak to contemporary issues facing Christian evangelical and reformed theology today. Best work of Systematics I've read thus far (on par with AA Hodge's Outlines of Theology). Highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jackson Bryant

    A great place to begin for anyone interested in theology proper as well as the basic tenets of Christianity and the Reformed tradition.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I laughed. I cried. It moved me. Ha! That's what you want me to say, you Reformed theologians. No, this book did not move me! I refuse to heed to your scholastic enticements. No, no, a thousand times no! So this is book is not really a page-turner, but neither is it a work of original theology. It's too long (833 pages) to be attractive to the average layman, but it's too short and derivative to be read by the serious theologian. It's LONG but feels at many times as though it's perfunctory, and ve I laughed. I cried. It moved me. Ha! That's what you want me to say, you Reformed theologians. No, this book did not move me! I refuse to heed to your scholastic enticements. No, no, a thousand times no! So this is book is not really a page-turner, but neither is it a work of original theology. It's too long (833 pages) to be attractive to the average layman, but it's too short and derivative to be read by the serious theologian. It's LONG but feels at many times as though it's perfunctory, and very rarely, since I grew up with Sproul, did I find something surprising. Thus, it's perhaps not the best pedagogical tool for folks such as myself. Nonetheless, I felt that it was profitable, and I would give it to someone with and undergraduate degree. Berkhof writes in beautiful clear English, though he doesn't show much of the theological work at play. Time and again, I was pleased to see how well he explained something, and I am incredibly grateful to him for setting out the lay of the land with such clarity. From what I've seen I prefer him to Hodge, and he's certainly more orthodox than social Trinitarian Grudem (whose own theology is otherwise quite good) or, shudder, to triperspectivalist/biblicist John Frame. A few other notes of concern: first, Berkhof was a 20th-century theologian. This means that he has drunk deeply from Bavinck and, even better, Geerhard Vos, the father of Biblical theology. This means that he engages in Biblical studies, but he also accepts things that consensus has rejected for good reasons, given the rapid developments in the field. This leads to what may be a large problem for Berkhof and indeed for Systematic Theology types: he seems at times to be rather narrow and neat. For instance, he has to make Sheol mean Hell in the OT (though he recognizes the difficulties more than I at first thought) and he strongly rejects the idea of Christ leading OT saints out of Sheol. He also tends to flatten the Reformed scene, so while he acknowledges Hypothetical Universalism as a major Reformed stream, he is very dismissive and doesn't really present it well. One is left with no sense of struggle, but under the surface, if you look carefully, it's clear he's weighing different positions very carefully, and examining the expanding fields of Church History and Exegesis. Okay, so a few points on specific loci: * I fully agree with his understanding of theological prolegomena (thanks to Lecerf). * I am amazed to see that he acknowledges the diversity of views on inspiration. He's really honest with it, though it's easy to miss how messy the field is. * He is good on doctrine of God, and in particular avoided the errors of 19th-century Reformed theologians who tried to throw out simplicity. He says it's a very key doctrine. If I am reading him properly, he also is less interested in the idea of God as eternal Creator (as say Dolezal is). * He's a real deal 6-Day, Young Earth Creationist. He opposes the idea of evolution with gusto. I am very pleased that one of the more respected theologians is in this camp and could be probably be quoted against so many of the stodgier reformed theologians who won't compromise on justification, but will happily do all sorts of funny business with Genesis. * He buys the pactum salutis; I don't. * He strongly affirms mono-covenantalism, and he emphasizes that unbelievers can really be part of the visible side of the covenant. * He writes post-Finneyism and post-dispensationalism. He has some killer refutations of them. * He actually shows that it was Wesleyism that sharply distinguished justification from sanctification. Berkhof is really good on soteriology in general, and points to our need for dependence on God, in sanctification as well as in justification. * I don't think that his views of the Church are as good as they could be (too much focus on government and on the church holding keys), but it's really good. * All reformed dogmaticians get really good when they talk about sacraments. He has a good handle on the need for a judgment of charity, and a good defense of infant baptism that insists on a Christian education for children of believers. * His eschatology is pretty good amillennialism, though he doesn't consider how many of the passages could be interpreted as referring to 70 AD, et al. I'm not sure what I think about eschatology these days, but I probably won't go here for answers, though I am more open to his position now and don't think it's that different from mine. So there you go. Good stuff. Now I need to get my hands on some real theologians.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chad Warner

    A thorough and articulate systematic theology in the Reformed (Calvinistic) tradition. Berkhof provides ample scriptural support for the Reformed positions. It briefly presents alternative views and identifies their strengths (if any) and weaknesses, and evaluates them based on the Bible. The book is logically organized. I was especially interested in these topics: image of God, covenant of works, dispensations of covenant of grace in OT, common grace, and eschatology. I read the free ebook from B A thorough and articulate systematic theology in the Reformed (Calvinistic) tradition. Berkhof provides ample scriptural support for the Reformed positions. It briefly presents alternative views and identifies their strengths (if any) and weaknesses, and evaluates them based on the Bible. The book is logically organized. I was especially interested in these topics: image of God, covenant of works, dispensations of covenant of grace in OT, common grace, and eschatology. I read the free ebook from BiblicalTraining. You can also read it online. Here's the Table of Contents. Predestination Words for "predestination" mean more than simply foreknowledge; they mean a selective knowledge which regards one with favor & love; close to foreordination. God's elective love precedes the sending of His Son, so predestination isn't determined by anything in man (John 3:16; Rom 5:8; 1 John 4:9). It's unconditional (Acts 13:48). It's irresistible. This doesn't mean that man can't oppose it to a certain degree, but means that opposition won't prevail. Also doesn't mean that God overpowers man's free agency, but means that God makes the heart willing (Ps 11:3; Phil 2:13). Reprobation is clearly taught as opposition of election (Rom 9:13-22, 11:7; Jude 4; Matt 11:25-26; 1 Pet 2:8). Verses: Acts 2:23; Rom 8:29, 11:2; 1 Pet 1:2; 1 Cor 8:3; Gal 4:9, 2 Tim 2:19; Rom 9:11, 11:5; 2 Thess 2:13; Acts 4:28; Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 2:7; Eph 1:4-11; 2 Tim 1:9; Matt 22:14; Rom 11:5; 1 Cor 1:27-28; 1 Thess 1:4; 2 Pet 1:10. Creation of the Spiritual World Cherubim reveal God's power, majesty, glory, & guard His holiness in Eden, tabernacle, temple, & descent into earth. Seraphim stand as servants around God's throne, sing His praises, & do His bidding. They serve purpose of reconciliation, preparing men to approach God. Principalities, powers, thrones, & dominions refer to differences of rank or dignity. Gabriel's special task was to mediate & interpret divine revelations. Michael is called "the archangel" and is a prince & valiant warrior. Bible doesn't speak of angels as guardians of individuals. Matt 18:10 is too general to prove it, but indicates there's a group of angels that care for little ones. Creation of the Material World Gen 2 begins history of man and repeats parts of Gen 1 creation account as necessary, in non-chronological order. Providence God controls free actions of moral creatures (Gen 45:5, 50:19-20; Ex 10:1, 20; 2 Sam 16:10-11; Isa 10:5-7; Acts 2:23, 4:27-28). Sinful acts are under divine control & predetermined, but only by divine permission, not cause (Ex 14:17; Isa 66:4; Rom 9:22; 2 Thess 2:11). God often restrains sin (Gen 3:6; Job 1:12, 2:6; Ps 76:10; Isa 10:15; Acts 7:51). Constitutional Nature of Man Body & spirit are the only 2 constitutional elements of man. Bible uses "soul" and "spirit" interchangeably. Man has spirit but is soul. Man as the Image of God "Image" & "likeness" are used interchangeably. Image of God includes "original righteousness": true knowledge, righteousness, holiness (Col 3:10; Eph 4:24). These lost by sin but regained in Christ. Image includes natural constitution of man: intellect, natural affections, moral freedom. Even after Fall, man has Image, even reprobate (Gen 9:6; 1 Cor 11:7; Jas 3:9). Spirituality is part of Image (Gen 2:7). Body is part of Image since man isn't complete without body, & murder is called destruction of Image (Gen 9:6). Immortality is part of Image, endowed by God (Gen 2:17, 3:19; Rom 5:12, 6:23; 1 Cor 15:20-21). Man's dominion over lower creation may be part of Image (Gen 1:26; Ps 8:5-6). Man in the Covenant of Works Doctrine of covenant of works was developed after Reformation, though its elements are present in writings of Reformers & of early church fathers. God created a legal compact with man. Elements: 1) Adam was representative head of humanity, 2) he was on probation, 3) he was promised eternal life for himself & descendents if he obeyed. Last point is implied in death penalty. If Adam hadn't sinned, humanity would have been raised above possibility of death. Promise of life would remove limitations of Adam's life (Rom 7:10). Principle of covenant: the man that does these things shall live thereby (Lev 18:5; Ezek 20:11-20; Luke 10:28; Rom 10:5; Gal 3:12). Condition: implicit & perfect obedience. Command to not eat fruit was test of pure obedience. Penalty: death in most inclusive sense: physical, spiritual, eternal; separation from source of life. At Fall, Adam & Eve entered spiritual death, & death began to operate in body. Full execution of death sentence was arrested by God's introduction of economy of grace & restoration. Obligations of covenant of works were met by Christ. After Fall, man could no longer use that covenant to obtain eternal life. Nature of the Covenant of Grace No conditions are meritorious. The sinner is told to repent and believe, but these don't merit covenant blessings. Covenant is conditional on suretyship of Jesus; He met conditions of covenant of works. Covenant is conditioned on faith (John 3:16, 36; Acts 8:37; Rom 10:9, 4:3ff, 20ff; Gen 15:6; Hab 2:4; Gal 3:14-28; Heb 11). Bible warns covenant children who refuse to walk in covenant. If there were no condition, only God would be bound, but man is bound (Ezek 20:37) & a covenant requires 2 parties. God enables man to act as 2nd party. Man meets demands of faith & conversion only because God works in him. Dual Aspect of the Covenant In covenant of grace, God promises benefits to man if man fulfils conditions. Condition of faith: Gen 15:6; Rom 4:3ff; Hab 2:4; Gal 3:14-28; Heb 11. Promise of spiritual & eternal blessings: Gen 17:7, 12:3; Isa 43:25; Ezek 36:27; Rom 4:5ff; Gal 3:14, 18). The Different Dispensations of the Covenant There are 2 dispensations/administrations: OT & NT. OT is subdivided into several periods/stages in revelation of covenant of grace: 1. Protevangel (Gen 3:15). 2. Covenant with Noah, where God promised not to destroy all flesh with a flood, & to maintain seasons. This conferred only natural blessings, so it sometimes called covenant of nature or of common grace. This covenant includes all people until end of world. 3. Covenant with Abraham marks beginning of institutional Church. Prior to Abraham, there was no visible mark separating God's people. Spiritual blessings of covenant become far more apparent (Rom 3 & 4; Gal 3). 4. Sinaitic covenant was national covenant linked to civil life of Israel. External blessings were conditioned on keeping law (Deut 28:1-14) (moral, civil, ceremonial). Covenant of grace revealed in NT is essentially same as OT. Common Grace "Common" doesn't refer to grace being given to all men in common (general, universal), but refers to producing effects which are ordinary and fall short of saving efficacy. It can be called grace because God couldn't be good, kind, or benevolent to the sinner unless He were gracious. Definitions: 1) general operations of Spirit whereby he exercises a moral influence on man through general or special revelation, restraining sin, maintaining social order, & promoting civil righteousness, without renewing the heart. 2) general blessings, such as rain, sunshine, food, clothes, shelter which God gives to all men indiscriminately. Common grace & special grace are different in kind, not degree. No amount of common grace leads to salvation. Works of unregenerate can be good from a material view, as works God commands, but not good from a formal view, since they don't have the right motive & purpose. Bible calls works of unregenerate good and right (2 Kings 10:29-30, 12:2, 14:3-27; Luke 6:33; Rom 2:14-15). Bible says God blesses reprobate (Gen 39:5; Matt 5:44-45; Luke 6:35-36; Rom 2:4). Bible uses "grace" in ways besides "saving grace": Gen 6:8, 19:19; Ex 33:12, 16; Num 32:5; Luke 2:40). God has a favorable disposition towards all men that falls short of granting salvation (Prov 1:24; Isa 1:18; Ezek 18:23, 32, 33:11; Matt 5:43-45, 23:37; Mark 10:21; Luke 6:35; Rom 2:4; 1 Tim 2:4). Perseverance of the Saints Verses: John 10:27-29; Rom 11:29, 8:38-39; Phil 1:6; 2 Thess 3:3; 2 Tim 1:12, 4:18. Christian Baptism No explicit command to baptize children, and no plain recording of baptism of children, but there are biblical grounds. Children had an integral role in covenant in OT, and received sign and seal of covenant, and we wouldn't expect privileges to be reduced in NT (Isa 54:13; Jer 31:34; Joel 2:28; Matt 19:14; Acts 2:39). Baptism replaces circumcision (Matt 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Col 2:11-12). NT speaks of baptism of households as if it's ordinary (Acts 16:15, 33; 1 Cor 1:16). It's unlikely that none of these households contained children. Lord’s Supper Jesus used unleavened bread and ordinary wine, but neither are stressed, so it's permissible to use leavened bread and another kind of wine. Immortality of the Soul OT "sheol" is represented as state of conscious existence but not of bliss. Man enters bliss by deliverance from sheol. Ps 16:10, 49:14, 15. Intermediate State "Sheol" and "hades" don't always denote a locality, but often refer to state of death (or power of death, or danger of death). In this way believers and unbelievers are said to be in sheol or hades. When sheol or hades designate a literal locality, they refer to Hell or grave. Descent into sheol is threatened as punishment for wicked (Ps 9:17, 49:14, 55:15; Prov 15:11, 15:24; Luke 16:23. Sheol isn't abode of believers (Prov 5:5, 15:11, 27:20). In OT, sheol is used more often for grave and less often for Hell; in NT, hades is used more often for Hell and less often for grave. Second Coming of Christ Jesus mentions great tribulation as a sign of His coming and of end of world (Matt 24:3). He is speaking of 2nd coming (parousia) throughout Matt 24, and says in v. 29-30 that His coming will be immediately after great tribulation. Tribulation will also affect elect (Matt 24:22-24; Luke 21:28). Great falling away will precede 2nd coming (2 Thess 2:3), and grievous times will come in last days (1 Tim 4:1-2; 2 Tim 3:1-5). Rev 7:13-14 says saints in Heaven came out of great tribulation, and Rev 6:9 says saints pray for those still suffering persecution. 1 Thess 2:3-4 says day of Christ can't come until after the falling away and man of sin (son of perdition), which reminds of Dan 11:36ff and speaks of Antichrist. What we know about Antichrist: Anti-Christian principle was already at work in days of Paul and John. It will reach its highest power towards end of world. Daniel pictures the political, Paul the ecclesiastical, and John (in Revelation) both sides; these may be successive revelations of anti-Christian power. This power will probably finally be concentrated in a single individual. "Antichrist" denotes a person in last days, the incarnation of wickedness, who represents spirit of antichrist that has always been present, and there are several precursors of that final person of Antichrist. This view prevailed in early church. Dan 11 may refer to a definite person. Paul's descriptions of Antichrist seem to refer to a person. John speaks of many antichrists already present, but also of Antichrist in the singular as one still coming (1 John 2:18). Descriptions in Rev contain personal elements (Rev 19:20). Since Christ is a person, it's natural to think Antichrist will be. Millennial Views Name Amillennialism is new, but view is as old as Christianity. It had at least as many advocates as Chiliasm among church fathers of 2nd & 3rd centuries. It has ever been the most widely accepted view. It's the only view expressed or implied in great historical confessions. It's always been prevalent view in Reformed circles. Bible teaches of great apostasy, tribulation, persecution in time immediately preceding the end (Matt 24:6-22; Luke 18:8, 21:25-28; 2 Thess 2:3-12; 2 Tim 3:1-6; Rev 13). Postmillennialists try to minimize this and expect a glorious condition of the Church in the end, based on passages which contain figurative descriptions of the entire gospel dispensation or of the eternal Kingdom. The Final Judgment There will be different degrees, both of bliss of Heaven and punishment of Hell, determined by what's done during life (Matt 11:22-24; Luke 12:47-48, 20:47; Dan 12:3; 2 Cor 9:6). The Final State Other terms for Hell: "prison" (1 Pet 3:19), "abyss" (Luke 8:31), "tartarus" (2 Pet 2:4). "Our good works will be the measure of our gracious reward, though they do not merit it. Notwithstanding this, however, the joy of each individual will be perfect and full."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brett Mclaughlin

    There's a sense in which reviewing Berkhof is silly. For those who know his name, you need no review. For those that don't, you may simply not be in the Reformed circles of which he is so foundational. Still, for the rare Christian who loves Grudem's Systematic Theology but has never heard of Berkhof (or Bavinck), you owe it to yourself to purchase this work. First, Berkhof's Systematic Theology is manageable in size. Still a massive tome, this is nothing compared to Calvin's Institutes or Bavinc There's a sense in which reviewing Berkhof is silly. For those who know his name, you need no review. For those that don't, you may simply not be in the Reformed circles of which he is so foundational. Still, for the rare Christian who loves Grudem's Systematic Theology but has never heard of Berkhof (or Bavinck), you owe it to yourself to purchase this work. First, Berkhof's Systematic Theology is manageable in size. Still a massive tome, this is nothing compared to Calvin's Institutes or Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics. But, it is readable, and in a few weeks (or even a few months) you'll digest a richness of thought uncommon to the modern era. Further, Berkhof is American, and that in itself means you're reading his words, rather than a translation of his words. That provides a flow to the text that even in the wonderful translations of Calvin, Luther, and Bavinck, is somewhat lacking. You also get Berkhof's introduction in editions from 1996 on. While the introduction might seem dry and overly historical, it is rewarding. Where Grudem gives great detail into what the Bible says, Berkhof does justice to the history of theology, and especially emphasizes recent developments from Schleiermacher, Ritschl, Frank, and others. This is invaluable, and also allows the reader to cut carefully between, for example, experience and the testimony of the Holy Spirit, or emotionalism and passion. Berkhof isn't always a simple read, but he's still readable. You won't need a dictionary (although at time you'll wish you spoke Latin or German, as only about half the phrases in these languages are footnoted and translated), and this work stands on its own. Pick this up. The truth of Scripture will become clearer, and your thinking will be refined.

  18. 4 out of 5

    G Walker

    I understand that this is a classic text... and I have read it (studied, outline and re-read it on several occasions). Fairly standard mainline reformed theology here... lots of quotes and references to other theologians, that is, he defends his position(s) mostly by footnote, or by telling you that "this' is right or wrong because "so and so" agrees with him. For example, his defense of the covenant of works is absolutely worthless in that there really isn't any exegetical defense, just a listi I understand that this is a classic text... and I have read it (studied, outline and re-read it on several occasions). Fairly standard mainline reformed theology here... lots of quotes and references to other theologians, that is, he defends his position(s) mostly by footnote, or by telling you that "this' is right or wrong because "so and so" agrees with him. For example, his defense of the covenant of works is absolutely worthless in that there really isn't any exegetical defense, just a listing of people who have maintained it down through the last few hundred years. Truth by proxy, or truth b/c I have these people in my corner is a poor form of theological method, at least for a tradition that prides itself on being "biblical". He is more of a compiler than anything else. While he is succinct and a clear communicator, he writes very dryly. One should read the text only because it is a standard text in the reformed tradition, but if you are looking for a good systematic theology, one that does some exegetical ground work, one that has a broader grasp of history beyond the reformed tradition, I would point you elsewhere... Reymond, Kelly, or even Smith for that matter. I prefer the BOT edition to the Eerdmans because of the formatting, and binding, and I really don't care for the introduction provided my Muller that Eerdmans now includes.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Davi Saro

    I read this book simply to learn more about the truths of Scripture. I am not a seminary student, but as a student of Scripture, I wanted to dive into deeper waters. It took me 1 year and 4 months to complete it. Very often, I would go through 3-5 pages at a time. The text was single spaced and small font type. This was the first Systematic Theology which I read cover to cover. I have several on my bookshelf (Bavinck, Grudem, Hodges), but I had used them sporadically as references for preparing I read this book simply to learn more about the truths of Scripture. I am not a seminary student, but as a student of Scripture, I wanted to dive into deeper waters. It took me 1 year and 4 months to complete it. Very often, I would go through 3-5 pages at a time. The text was single spaced and small font type. This was the first Systematic Theology which I read cover to cover. I have several on my bookshelf (Bavinck, Grudem, Hodges), but I had used them sporadically as references for preparing Bible studies. This was the one Ligon Duncan personally recommended when I met him a couple of years ago. I have to say I enjoyed reading this book, though it was slow going. I knew from the start that this was going to be akin to hiking a tall mountain; the going is slow, but the view will be worth it! Berkhof's Systematic Theology was clearly outlined and organized. I appreciated the way he explained each topic. He often presented it historically (Church fathers, Middle Ages, Reformed, modern day), and clearly explained the various theological viewpoints. In the end, I am left with a deeper appreciation of God's Word and admiration for the Creator Himself. It was definitely worth the effort. 5 Stars!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jack Kooyman

    This was a textbook for systematic theology classes that I took both at Denver Seminary (Conservative Baptist) and Calvin Theological Seminary. As far as systematic theology textbooks go, this is probably one of the best and more substantial of those used in evangelical colleges and seminaries in the U.S.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael Jones

    This was great in it's day and context. Pretty dry. Really good for 20th century reformed understanding. But as I read more Biblical Horizons and Hebrew OT, if find myself more inspired by Calvin--his stuff has is less philosophical and ivory towered. More passionate and connected to real practical battles. This was great in it's day and context. Pretty dry. Really good for 20th century reformed understanding. But as I read more Biblical Horizons and Hebrew OT, if find myself more inspired by Calvin--his stuff has is less philosophical and ivory towered. More passionate and connected to real practical battles.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cray Allred

    Haven't actually read it cover to cover, but it is a regular aide in my teaching prep. Pretty darn good. Haven't actually read it cover to cover, but it is a regular aide in my teaching prep. Pretty darn good.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael-jessica

    Every paragraph is worth it.....Make this a part of your daily devotions! You can read through it in a year by just 3 pages a day!

  24. 4 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    An extremely well done and educational systematic theology book. Berkhof's eschatology could use some work, but on the whole, it was an extremely good and informative read. I heartily recommend it. An extremely well done and educational systematic theology book. Berkhof's eschatology could use some work, but on the whole, it was an extremely good and informative read. I heartily recommend it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chase Steely

    It took me 8 months to read, but I finally finished.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    You should probably just go ahead and read Bavinck who says the same things longer, but clearer and better

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Parker

    Berkhof presents readers with a solid Systematic Theology from a Reformed perspective. Part One covers the doctrine of God, the being of God, and the works of God. Berkhof covers God’s existence (through Scripture and extra Scriptural proofs), God’s knowability versus His incomprehensibility, and the relation of His being to His attributes. Berkhof continues with a discussion on the names of God, as well as an extended treatment of the attributes of God. He also discusses the Trinity both as a u Berkhof presents readers with a solid Systematic Theology from a Reformed perspective. Part One covers the doctrine of God, the being of God, and the works of God. Berkhof covers God’s existence (through Scripture and extra Scriptural proofs), God’s knowability versus His incomprehensibility, and the relation of His being to His attributes. Berkhof continues with a discussion on the names of God, as well as an extended treatment of the attributes of God. He also discusses the Trinity both as a unity and a discussion of each of the persons of the Trinity. Berkhof also covers the divine decrees, including a discussion on predestination. An extended treatment of creation follows. Berkhof examines creation in general, of the spiritual world, and of the material world. An examination of providence rounds out Part One. Part Two transitions to the doctrine of man in relation to God. He covers man in his original state, man in the state of sin, and man in the covenant of grace. The topics of the origin of man, the constitutional nature of man, man as the image of God, and man in the covenant of works are included. Under his treatment on sin, Berkhof covers the origin of sin, essential character of sin, the transmission of sin , original versus actual sin, and the punishment of sin. Under the covenant of grace, Berkhof discusses the covenant of redemption, the nature of the covenant of grace, the dual aspect of the covenant, and the different dispensations of the covenant. Part Three focuses on the doctrine of the person and work of Christ (in which I find Berkhof’s overall structure to be found wanting). Under the person of Christ, Berkhof covers the doctrine of Christ in history, the names and natures of Christ, and what he refers to as the unipersonality of Christ (the hypostatic union, the communication of attributes, etc.). Concerning the states of Christ, Berkhof covers Christ’s humiliation (earthly life) and exaltation (resurrection and post-resurrection). Under the offices of Christ, Berkhof covers the prophetic, priestly, and kingly offices, as well as discusses the atonement and intercessory work of Christ. Part Four focuses on the application of redemption. Berkhof provides an overview of Soteriology and the ordo salutis, then proceeds with a discussion on the work of the Holy Spirit. A treatment on common grace follows. Berkhof also covers the mystical union with regard to Soteriology, external and effectual calling, conversion, faith, justification, sanctification, and the perseverance of the saints. Part Five examines the doctrine of the church, as well as the means of grace. Under the church, Berkhof presents the doctrine of the church in history, as well as the essence of the church. He examines the difference between the militant and triumphant church, the visible and invisible church, and the church as an organism and as an institution. The church and the kingdom of God, as well as the church throughout various dispensations are also discussed. A presentation on the attributes of the church from the Apostle’s Creed follows. The marks of the church, church government, and the power of the church, round out the section on the church. Under the means of grace, Berkhof covers the Word and sacraments as the means of grace, as well as examines the historical views concerning the means of grace. The relationship between the Word and Spirit is covered, as well as the distinction between law and Gospel, plus the use of the law. Under the sacraments, the relation between the Word and sacraments is covered, as well as extended treatments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Part Six covers the doctrine of last things, Berkhof’s Eschatology. After overviewing the doctrine, Berkhof breaks up Eschatology into individual and general (cosmic) Eschatology (which is a breath of fresh air depending on the way some theologians we have covered structures Eschatology). Under individual Eschatology, physical death, the immortality of the soul, and the intermediate state are presented. Under general Eschatology, the second coming of Christ is covered, with a discussion on millennial views next, in which follows a treatment of the resurrection of the dead. The final judgment and the final state round out the section.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ben Hegan

    Phenomenal. There is a reason why this is a standard Systematic Theology textbook in numerous faithful seminaries the world over. Berkhof has clearly set forth the Reformed (Biblical) faith on all of the doctrines that the Bible has something to say. He has a very similar structure in each chapter, starting with history of the doctrine, the different words in the Greek or Hebrew that affect how we interpret Scripture, then on to the doctrine itself, and objections afterwards. Very well organised Phenomenal. There is a reason why this is a standard Systematic Theology textbook in numerous faithful seminaries the world over. Berkhof has clearly set forth the Reformed (Biblical) faith on all of the doctrines that the Bible has something to say. He has a very similar structure in each chapter, starting with history of the doctrine, the different words in the Greek or Hebrew that affect how we interpret Scripture, then on to the doctrine itself, and objections afterwards. Very well organised book. It can be heavy going but it's so worth the time investment. Almost every chapter led me to my knees in prayer as it brings you so clearly before the throne of grace, to the God who is so gracious. What a faithful God we have, and we thank him for faithful men like Berkhof that he has used in history and who continue to have a massive influence through their works in print. Highly recommended!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jon Pentecost

    Berkhof's careful survey of systematics is at times dense, but the individual chapters on different topics are always brief. I was continually surprised at the depth of discussion he was able to refer to in a short space. Berkhof provides a helpful resource here that I will refer to often. The nature of a systematic theology book is that there is never enough space given to the questions you're really interested in. His answers are not comprehensive, but they are thorough. A unique aspect of this Berkhof's careful survey of systematics is at times dense, but the individual chapters on different topics are always brief. I was continually surprised at the depth of discussion he was able to refer to in a short space. Berkhof provides a helpful resource here that I will refer to often. The nature of a systematic theology book is that there is never enough space given to the questions you're really interested in. His answers are not comprehensive, but they are thorough. A unique aspect of this systematic is given when he wrote it, there are references and critiques to the positions that were popular at the time, including extensive responses to classical Protestant Liberalism, with its anti=supernaturalism, Darwinism, and Barth's neo-orthodoxy. I'd recommend it for someone who has a little experience in reading systematic theology before, and who is ready to do some heavy mental lifting (particularly in the doctrine of God section).

  30. 4 out of 5

    Blake Harris

    Berkhof is dense and slow going, but makes up for any perceived shortcoming by his penetrating insights. In a number of portions he can say in a few pages what many need volumes to say. And despite being older, this has held up very well. I would easily recommend this to the aspiring student of theology (although reading it at night would not be wise given it is definitely dense), and is a masterpiece among one volume systematic books.

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