3 search results for "berkhof"

Digital Publishing, the Church, and Reformation: Part 2

Quick, name the top five books which have impacted you.

I bet your challenge is limiting it to just five, or figuring out which are the TOP five.

We accept the assumption that we are changed by what we read.

When I consider my own spiritual growth, I remember reading over and over the New Testament with cartoon illustrations my grandmother gave me. I remember being in fifth grade and devouring a box of missionary-adventure stories from some Wycliffe friends. It was Let the Nations Be Glad (aff) which led me to consider maybe God could use even me, even me?, in mission outreach. When I read the analysis of the attributes of God in Berkhof’s “Systematic Theology,” my heart felt like it was with the angels in heaven singing “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty! Who was, and is, and is to come!”

We accept the assumption that we are changed by what we read.

Think again of those top five books which impacted your life.

Imagine if the book which most nurtured your walk with the Lord  was available for free, worldwide.

Consider the the four billion people who will be coming online for the first time in the near future reading your top five books.

Imagine a young woman in India who speaks English but can’t easily get a Bible, can now read the Bible on her low cost smart phone.

Imagine the man in rural Nigeria discipling young men around him, with sound devotional materials easily available.

Imagine the pastor behind the Rice Curtain accessing Amazon through a proxy to purchase study materials.

Imagine the curious Russian student who is inundated with new age mysticism and materialism reading solid apologetics materials. All at their fingertips — it’s exciting!

But it isn’t just personal spiritual growth that can be impacted by low-cost e-publishing.

When we lived in Kenya we employed a driver to help us navigate the crazy and often dangerous streets. Enoch was also the lay pastor of his church. When he asked us for a study Bible for Christmas, we were thrilled to give him one. We were also able to give him orthodox solid theological books for his further study from our personal library.

Enoch had a smart phone, as did most Kenyans we met. Even out in the villages cell phones were common, and are often charged from generators at small shops for a fee. I think of Enoch and the other pastors and lay teachers around the world being able to access an array of good study materials — maybe for the first time! These leaders can become better equipped to shepherd their flocks, people eager for God’s Word.

I find this exciting. Technology is opening more doors for worldwide spread of the Gospel and resources for spiritual growth.

Recently, I’ve reached out to some international and ministry friends to ask them what they are seeing around the world. I’ve gotten good feedback about some e-resources available and how they are being used in their contexts.

Yet I’m not hearing a lot about how organizations are taking advantage of e-publishing worldwide, especially through major distributors. My background includes a mix of nonprofit management, marketing, and msisions. I would love to be connected with organizations which are making efforts to use e-publishing to expand their worldwide reach, and help promote them.

If you are connected to Christian organizations using digital publishing to expand their worldwide outreach, would you tell me about it? Thanks!

 

 

Digital Publishing, the Church, and Reformation: Part 1

Digital Publishing, the Church, and Reformation: Part 2

Digital Publishing, the Church and Reformation: Part 3

Holiness: Relational and Ethical

Exalt the Lord our God;

worship at his footstool!

Holy is he!

Themes of God’s holiness have been recurring in my Bible reading lately.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come. 

Holy is he!

The Lord our God is holy.

While meditating on Psalm 99 today, I wondered whether I was just assuming I knew what God’s holiness is.  I remembered that Louis Berkhof had a great section on the attributes of God in his Systematic Theology (free, here!)

Intuitively, I consider holiness as something that refers to God being completely Other, and so I was surprised to see that Berkhof places that in the category of God’s communicable attributes.

Communicable attributes are aspects of God which He can pass along to us, as humans — such as spirituality, knowledge, morality, grace and mercy. Incommunicable attributes are aspects that are wholly God and can not be exhibited in us — such as God being an absolute being, self-sufficient, unchangeable, infinite, perfect.

Berkhof talks about the nature of God’s holiness having both a relational aspect and an ethical aspect.  Relationally, God is wholly distinct from us — His infinite majesty reinforces to us our creatureliness.  He is our Creator, we are His beloved created.

“The numinous” is how this Berkhof (citing German theologian Rudolf Otto) describes this aspect of God’s holiness:

“It is this holiness of God…“the numinous,” [is] part of the non-rational in God, which cannot be thought of conceptually, and which includes such ideas as “absolute unapproachability” and “absolute overpoweringness” or “aweful majesty.” It awakens in man a sense of absolute nothingness, a “creature-consciousness” or “creature-feeling,” leading to absolute self-abasement. ”

You may be familiar with the idea of “the numinous” from the writings of C. S. Lewis, and experienced something like what he described in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:”

“None of the children knew who Aslan was . . . but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning . . . so beautiful that you remember it all your life.

 

In addition to the relational aspect of holiness, holiness is an ethical attribute of God.  As revealed in the Bible, God is completely unassociated with any sin and is completely filled with moral excellence.  Berkhof defines this ethical holiness as “that perfection of God, in virtue of which He eternally wills and maintains his own moral excellence, abhors sin, and demands purity in his moral creatures.”

I know that I understand (and can understand!) God’s holiness only in part.  My mind and heart are finite, and God’s holiness is infinite.  Yet as get glimpses of God’s holiness in Scripture and in commentaries, my heart is drawn to worship and continued meditation.

Holy is he!

 

 

Geeking Out and Why I Love Systematic Theology

Geeking out a bit. . .

Found Louis Berkhof’s SysTheo online. . . free!

It’s not an exaggeration to say this book changed my life. . . not just my walk with the Lord, but perhaps even more profoundly, my parenting.

Seriously. . . but we’ll have to delve into that in a later post.

TulipGirl Berkhof

“Systematic Theology,” Lous Berkhof

Years ago (years and years ago. . .), it was only available online via Amazon — pre-Kindle, I don’t know what was the format — and it was expensive.  I was sad about that.  I had a used copy, well-worn and adored, with a lovely lilac and lavender cover.  It was as if Eerdmans Publishing hired a cover designer to make sure it made the Theology for Girls booklist.

It seems the publishers has not given limited permission to publish it online in its entirety.  I’m providing two links, as they are in two different formats, and one may be easier than the other for you to use.

Berkhof’s Systematic Theology, Monergism.com

Berkhof’s Systematic Theology, BiblicalTraining.org
Now, I have some friends who have asked me. . . just where do you start reading in a SysTheo?  And, if I’m not interested in seminary, why even bother?

The first time I really read theology it was in a book talking about the attributes of God.  In that moment, I felt my heart singing with the angels in heaven, worshiping God.  Seriously.  It was as if what was going into my brain was expanding my heart and my spirit was responding with joy.

Based on that, with Berkhof or any other theological tome, go ahead and skip to the sections that talk about Who God is and how He reveals Himself to us. . .

Reflect on those attributes. . .

You’ll feel your heart sing.

Start here.