A Theological Analysis of Herman Bavinck's Two Essays on the Imitatio Christi: Between Pietism and Modernism

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This is an exploration into the mind of Herman Bavinck (1854-1921) whose name is still revered as one of the prominent leaders in the revival of Dutch Neo-Calvinism in the Netherlands that profoundly affected not only theology and the church but also education, politics and society more broadly. A new world of Bavinck thoughts have opened up with this first ever English translation of his two articles on the Imitation of Christ.


“This valuable book investigates Bavinck’s essays on the Imitation of Christ and immerses us in some of the most important aspects of the Christianity and culture debate.
-Prof. David Van Drunen,
Westminster Seminary California

“Professor Bolt knows the original Dutch context and grasps the subtleties and nuances in Bavinck’s thought and is able to bring them alive in a new context.”
-Prof. Jan Veenhof,
Vrije Universiteit

"Bolt's decision to devote a study to Bavinck's essays on the imitation of Christ is a fortunate choice. Not only are Bavinck's smaller writings often as interesting as his dogmatics ; following Christ was also an important theme for Bavinck personally. ... Bacvinck scholars will be grateful to Bolt that he has made his doctoral dissertation available in print, a larger group of readers around the world will especially appreciate the appendix which offers English translationsof Bavinck's two essays on the imitation of Christ." -Prof. Willem J. de Wit, Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction
The Problem and Thesis of This Study
Bavinck and Kuyper: Background, Career and Significance
Christ and the Law in Reformed Thought
The Fundamental Tension in Bavinck’ s Cultural Ethical Ideal
The Question of Development in Bavinck’s Thought
Chapter 2. The Imitation of Christ I (1885/86)
Historical Orientation:
Herman Bavinck between Pietism and Modernism
Analysis of Imitation I (1885/86)
“The Imitation of Christ” in the Context of Bavinck’s Writings< br> From 1880-1892/3: Key Themes
Summary: Bavinck’s Understanding of the
Imitation of Christ (1885/86)
Some Unresolved Issues
Chapter 3. The Intervening Years: Herman Bavinck as Neo-Calvinist Thinker
Historical Orientation: Bavinck and Kuyper (1)
The Background, Life, and Vision of Abraham Kuyper
The Theological Foundation of Kuyper’s Neo-Calvinist Vision
Bavinck as Kuyper’s Loyal Follower and Supporter
Chapter 4: The Bavinck System:
A Trinitarian Cultural-Ethical Ideal
The Trinity in Bavinck’s Theology; Bavinck’s “Idealism”?
Common Grace, Dualism, and Sabbath Glory
The Relation between the Immanent and Economic Trinity
The Immanent Trinity and the Principles of Unity and Diversity
The Economic Trinity: The Order of Creation, Redemption, Sanctification
Creation, Redemption, Sanctification
Summary: Herman Bavinck as a Neo-Calvinist Thinker
Chapter 5. The Imitation of Christ II (1918)
Historical Orientation: Bavinck and Kuyper (2)
“The Imitation of Christ and Life in the Modern World” (1918)
The Ethic of the New Testament
Christianity and Culture
Summary: Bavinck’s Mature Understanding
Of the Imitation of Christ
Chapter 6. Conclusion:
Bavinck, Kuyper, and the Imitation of Christ
The Problem of Neo-Calvinism: Abraham Kuyper under Attack
Christianity and Culture in Trinitarian Perspective
Once More: Bavinck and Kuyper
The Significance of the Imitatio Christi Theme
In Bavinck’s Theology
Development in Bavinck’s Thought
Was Bavinck a Transformationalist?
A Concluding, Truly Scientific Postscript
Appendix A: Imation I (1885/86)
Appendix B: Imitation II (1918)

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