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July 29 Today in OPC History

Herman Bavinck

 

The great Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck died one hundred years ago today. Born in Hoogeven in the Netherlands in 1854, Bavinck studied at the Theological School in Kampen and the University of Leiden. In 1883, at the age of 29, Bavinck was appointed professor of dogmatics at Kampen. Nineteen years later he accepted a position at Abraham Kuyper's Free University of Amsterdam. He would later enter politics and succeed Kuyper as the president of the Anti-Revolutionary party and serve in the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament. Later in the same year that Bavinck died, J. Gresham Machen's The Origin of Paul's Religion" was published, which one reviewer said "would help to comfort those grieving the recent deaths of the reformed theologians B.B. Warfield, and Dutchmen Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck."

An active churchman and a leading voice in the "neo-Calvinist" movement, Bavinck's four-volume magnum opus, Gereformeerde Dogmatiek, was especially influential in Dutch Reformed churches throughout the twentieth century, including the Christian Reformed Church in North America. The 2008 completion of the translation of Reformed Dogmatics has expanded his reach to English-speaking readers. Recent biographies of Bavinck are Ron Gleason's Herman Bavinck: Pastor, Churchman, Statesman, and Theologian (P&R 2010) and James Eglinton's Bavinck: A Critical Biography (Baker 2020).

 

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