Background to Berkhof
Louis Berkhof (1873-1957) was born in the Netherlands, and his family moved to Grand Rapids when he was 9.
He graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological College. He then returned to Calvin Theological College as part of the faculty. He later became president of the Seminary. He is most well known for his famous book, Systematic Theology.
Reasoning Behind the Book
Professor Berkhof died in 1957 at the age of 83 and left behind him a great testimony and a legacy of some 22 books. He writes Systematic Theology “in view of the widespread doctrinal indifference of the present day, of the resulting superficiality and confusion in the minds of many professing Christians, of the insidious errors that are zealously propagated even from the pulpits, and of the alarming increase of all kinds of sects.”
Contents of the Book
It is a book that, in its fullness, consists of 738 pages. As well as this there is a bibliography and a Textual Index to help the readers as many use it as more a reference book than a book to be read from cover to cover.
The book is split into 6 different parts. They are as follows:
Part 1 – The Doctrine of God
Part 2 – The Doctrine of Man in Relation to God
Part 3 – The Doctrine of The Person and Work of Christ
Part 4 – The Doctrine of The Application of the Work of Redemption
Part 5 – The Doctrine of The Church and the Means of Grace
Part 6 – The Doctrine of the Last Things
These parts contain within them the fundamentals of Christian doctrine and theological views. As can be seen by the six parts it is well organised as a reference book. If you want to see the orthodox teaching on any doctrine from Baptism, Eschatology or The Holy Trinity. It is used by many people from preachers to theological students as it gives one of if not the best outline of Systematic Theology possible. It provides an order and rational thought to Christian beliefs. Systematic Theology may also be known as dogmatics and therefore this work of Louis Berkhof could be known as his Dogmata.
It is a very beneficial book which can now be found as a free e-book but a paperback copy is very beneficial when studying, especially if you find it hard to read for long periods of time on screens. It would be most beneficial to buy this book and is highly recommended by many including myself, especially if you want to further your knowledge on Christian theology.
My rating for this book is 4.5/5 as it is perfect for finding out more of theology but for some it may be too hard. It is also usually difficult to read in large chunks, mostly 15 minutes at a time is enough to take in, there is so much packed in to the book. Highly recommended to buy as a present for a student you know, a pastor or minister or for yourself, very beneficial and a trustworthy scholar.