The J.H. Bavinck Reader

The J.H. Bavinck Reader

The J.H. Bavinck Reader

The J.H. Bavinck Reader


Crucial themes and issues explored by a premier missiologist

Johan Herman Bavinck (1895-1964) was a prominent twentieth-century Dutch Calvinist missiologist who wrestled with the tension between religious absolutism and relativism, as many Christians do in today's pluralistic context.

The J. H. Bavinck Reader gathers together a choice selection of Bavinck's significant writings that are essential for understanding his theology of missions, his approach to world religions, and his religious psychology. His treatment of religious consciousness and Christian faith expands on the brief treatment of it in his own work The Church Between Temple and Mosque. The concluding chapters show how Bavinck's theoretical reflection on religious consciousness was rooted in his close observation during his years as a missionary in Indonesia.

Offering a constructive way forward, Bavinck affirms both the particularity of salvation in Christ and the universality of the Christian hope. A substantial introduction enhances the book with the most thorough biographical sketch of Bavinck available.


The idea for this volume came from conversations between the editors in the spring of 2009, spurred on by the encouragement of Dr. Rimmer De Vries, generous benefactor of scholarly efforts in the Dutch neo-Calvinist tradition such as the Kuyper Center at Princeton Theological Seminary. the work of Herman Bavinck (1854–1921) had recently become better known in the English-speaking world thanks to the just-completed translation of the four-volume Reformed Dogmatics into English. Yet, from the large body of missiological work of his nephew Johan Herman Bavinck (1895–1964), only a small portion had been translated into English, and of that, very little remains available. Bavinck’s Introduction to the Science of Missions is still in print. the posthumous The Church Between Temple and Mosque is available in the used book trade, and an earlier work in missiology, The Impact of Christianity on the Non-Christian World, consisting “chiefly of lectures … delivered at Calvin Theological Seminary and before various other academic and popular audiences … in the autumn of 1947,” is hard to find. Finally, the

1. Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 4 vols., ed. John Bolt, trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003–2008).

2. J. H. Bavinck, An Introduction to the Science of Missions, trans. David Hugh Freeman (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1960). a new edition, published by Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing in 1992, is still available on

3. J. H. Bavinck, The Church Between Temple and Mosque: a Study of the Relationship Between the Christian Faith and Other Religions (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1966).

4. J. H. Bavinck, The Impact of Christianity on the Non-Christian World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1948).

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