2015 Book Reading Series:
Book: Summary of Christian Doctrine
Author: Louis Berkhof (1873 – 1957)
To understand Christian doctrine and true Christianity, one must read God’s Word, the Bible, and good, sound biblical books that teach Christian doctrine. One of the best authors of books on Christian doctrine is Louis Berkhof. His books have been instrumental in the growth, knowledge and understanding of the Bible and Christian doctrine of God’s people throughout the 20th Century. Be encouraged to read along with us so that you may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ for His glory and your good. Soli Deo Gloria, TG-RW,
Chapter I: Religion
1. The Nature of Religion The Bible informs us that man was created in the image of God. When he fell in sin, he did not entirely cease to be the image-bearer of the Most High. The seed of religion is still present in all men, though their sinful nature constantly reacts against it. Missionaries testify to the presence of religion in some form or other among all the nations and tribes of the earth. It is one of the greatest blessings of mankind, though many denounce it as a curse. Not only does it touch the deepest springs of man’s life, but it also controls his thoughts and feelings and desires.
But just what is religion? It is only by the study of the Word of God that we can learn to know the nature of true religion. The word ‘religion’ is derived from the Latin and not from any word that is found in the original Hebrew or Greek of the Bible. It is found only four times in our translation of the Bible, Gal. 1:18, 14; Jas. 1:26, 27. The Old Testament defines religion as the fear of the Lord. This fear is not a feeling of dread, but of reverent regard for God akin to awe, but coupled with love and confidence. It is the response of the Old Testament believers to the revelation of the law. In the New Testament religion is a response to the gospel rather than to the law, and assumes the form of faith and godliness.
In the light of Scripture we learn to understand that religion is a relation in which man stands to God, a relation in which man is conscious of the absolute majesty and infinite power of God and of his own utter insignificance and absolute helplessness. It may be defined as a conscious and voluntary relationship to God, which expresses itself in grateful worship and loving service. The manner of this religious worship and service is not left to the arbitrary will of man, but is determined by God. [to be continued]
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32