The Dogmatician: How Unbiblical Terms Help You Be Scriptural

Furthermore, reflection on the truth of Scripture and the theological activity related to it is in no way possible without the use of extrabiblical terminology. Not only are such extrabiblical terms and expressions used in the doctrine of the Trinity but also in connection with every other dogma and throughout the entire discipline of theology. Involved in the use of these terms, therefore, is the Christian’s right of independent reflection and theology’s right to exist. Finally, the use of these terms is not designed to make possible the introduction of new—extrabiblical or anti biblical dogmas, but, on the contrary, to defend the truth of Scripture against all heresy. Their function is much more negative than positive. They mark the boundary lines within which Christian thought must proceed in order to preserve the truth of revelation. Under the guise of being scriptural, biblical theology has always strayed farther away from Scripture, while ecclesiastical orthodoxy, with its extrabiblical terminology, has been consistently vindicated as scriptural. —Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics

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