Bavinck on Marriage and the Family

Nelson Kloosterman speaks about Herman Bavinck’s theology of marriage and the family. Kloosterman recently translated Bavinck’s book The Christian Family. Though he wrote in early 20th century Netherlands, Bavinck’s book is relevant for the present day. In distinction from so many contemporary works, Bavinck establishes a theology of marriage and the family that can be applied to the manifold challenges facing families in the present day.

Dr. Kloosterman is Executive Director of Worldview Resources, International and works as a translator of important theological works. Listen as he unfolds Bavinck’s doctrine of sin and redemptive-historical focus as they pertain to God’s design for the family and society as a whole.

Participants: , ,

Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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Adam York

7 years ago

Great episode. I now have the Kindle edition and am looking forward to reading it. Thanks!


7 years ago

I have a quick question about Dr. K’s comments about homosexual marriage, which he referred to as a “contradiction in terms.” I am wondering what this means more generally and what principle(s) is behind it as I’d like to know when/where/how I can extend the reasoning here. I take it SSM is a contradiction according to Dr. K because it violates a basic component of the theological nature of marriage. Does this generalize, though, and if not, why? For instance, is polygynous marriage a contradiction in terms? Would it be a contradiction to say David was married to multiple women and more accurate to call it something else? More broadly, I am wondering what principle is exactly behind Dr. K’s view. When does a deviation from something amount to a contradiction in terms? Is this only a moral principle or does it apply in other domains?

Jordan D. Harris

7 years ago

I’m always excited to hear that Dr. Kloosterman will be on the program. He is (along with Dr. Tipton) one of my favorite contributors. I thought that he was, by far, the most articulate and (in my humble opinion) the most consistently biblical of the contributors to the Christ and Culture series you guys did a few years ago. Dr. Kloosterman introduced me to Schilder who, along with Bavinck, Kuyper, and contemporary neo-Kuyperians like Al Walters and Michael Goheen, have greatly influenced my understanding of the relationship between Christ and culture. I hope you guys continue to have Dr. Kloosterman and others from the Dutch neo-Calvinist tradition on the program. Thanks for all the hard work you guys put into making these episodes happen!

Nelson Kloosterman

7 years ago

My reasoning on this is similar to what Dr. John Piper has said. God/the Bible defines marriage as a lifelong spiritual-physical-emotional union between a man and a woman. Of course there are other definitions of marriage—poly-gamy, bi-gamy, and the like—that come from the sciences of anthropology, sociology, etc. Politics generates its own definitions as well (cf. “common law marriage”).
Because of that definitional standard, I believe that using the phrase “homosexual marriage” concedes the issue under discussion, viz., should a lifelong monogamous relationship between any two people, regardless of gender, be called marriage?
I do realize this position resists the currents of the day, both within and outside the Christian church.

David Schildkraut

3 months ago

Nelson Kloosterman has been divorced just to set the record straight. Should re-read Bavinck.



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