The importance of knowing and doing; What is religion? part 2


 6thNovember 2020

On page 53 Bavinck starts with saying; “Rationalists tear apart knowing from doing and simply place the one along the side of the other in disjointed fashion, as they also do with systematic theology and ethics.”

Bavinck sums up each of the rationalists view, this is in the main paragraph of page 53.  What are Bavincks view on these rationalists?

The statements in parentheses are my thoughts on this;

·        Kant; Religion becomes ethics (only doing). 

·        Fichte;  The moral world order is itself God  (Doesn’t work!).

·        Hegel; Religion is only a matter of knowing (No ethics!)

·        Scleiermacher: Religion is just a changing state of consciousness. (No ethics again!)

This for Bavinck is simply not true as he says;

Religion always rests upon the communion of God with humans as they

are restored in Christ, established by God’s revelation in word and deed. This

is objective religion. We subjectively appropriate the revelation of God and

enter that objectively established fellowship by faith. This faith is an act of

the entire person, and it resides in the innermost centre in the heart. Its an

immediate, original act, an act of the knowing and willing human person.

Faith is not one or the other, orthodoxism or mysticism, but both. Page 53 last paragraph. 

My interpretation is Objectively, religion is God reaching down to humans and being restored in Christ. Subjectively as Bavinck says; “We subjectively appropriate the revelation of God and enter that objectively established fellowship by faith”.  As you can see religion in Christendom doesn’t split knowing and doing.  In my blogs, when we have looked at revelation the great theologians have stuck to revelation as objective.  God reaches down to us.  We cannot reach out to God without God, without the Holy Spirit who illumines our minds and brings us into the very presence of God.  We are looking at religion and what it is by nature.  The problem is even in our day it is a word that is banded around a lot.  We are very fortunate to have Bavinck as a teacher from over 100 years ago pointing us in the right direction, in the 21stcentury.

 We are only on page 53 and I am getting very excited with understanding how religion ought to be understood and realigning it with good wholesome help from a great teacher.  So, what does religion mean to you the reader? 

All I can say is, that I hope that we treat this small word with a little more respect.  A secular and ‘scientific’ view of this word is just plain boring for a religious educator.  I’m talking about myself here. It is so easy to manipulate atoms and so on, but religion is not about atoms.  Religion is about God’s revelation of himself to us and our reciprocity.    The Bible says God is good, God is love. If there is no love in religion, then it is not true religion and that is the end of that.  If there is no love for God and no love for the neighbour, then it is not true religion.  If one says they love God but don’t love their neighbour, then this is not true religion.  If one says they love their neighbour but don’t love God, this cannot be true religion as it is a denial of as created beings who created us in the first place.  There are objective and subjective sides to religion.  I’m getting excited with this small word because we haven’t even looked at the internal texts in the Holy Bible.  This will be done in our next section and we will find out what Bavinck says about this.

You can also follow my Corinthians blog;

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