Christ Cannot Be the Organizing Principle of Our Theology

I am working through Volume 1 of Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics. In one section Bavinck answers the question why Christ cannot be the organizing principle of our theology. It is great quote because it emphasizes how we can only get to Christ through the Word. To speak of Christ as the organizing principle would be move outside of the solid ground of God’s Word and into the realm of speculation and feeling. I think the last sentence is central. One disease of modern Christians is to pit one section of Scripture against another. Bavinck says that is untenable. I agree. Here is the quote:

“The christological organizing principle is subject to even more objections [than the Trinity as organizing principle].  However attractive it may seem at first sight, it is still unusable. It often rests on the false assumption that rather than Scripture the person of Christ specifically is the foundation and epistemic source of dogmatics. However, we know Christ only from and through Scripture. In addition, though Christ is quite certainly the central focus and main content of Holy Scripture, precisely because he is the midpoint of Scripture, he cannot be its starting point. He did not make his historical appearance immediately at the time of the promise [in Eden] but many centuries later. It is, moreover, undoubtedly true that Christ revealed the Father to us but this revelation of God through the Son does not nullify the many and varied ways he spoke through the prophets. Not the New Testament alone, nor only the words of Jesus, but Scripture as a whole is a Word of God that comes to us through Christ.” (p. 110)

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