Bavinck on works righteousness

/ 16 September 2009

Ok, if I’m honest, I’ll admit to not having ever read Herman Bavinck. Yet, thanks to Richard Mouw’s blog at Fuller, I’m pleased to share this small taste of his writing:

[W]e must remind ourselves that the Catholic righteousness by good works is vastly preferable to a protestant righteousness by good doctrine. At least righteousness by good works benefits one’s neighbor, whereas righteousness by good doctrine only produces lovelessness and pride. Furthermore, we must not blind ourselves to the tremendous faith, genuine repentence, complete surrender and the fervent love for God and neighbor evident in the lives and work of many Catholic Christians. The Christian life is so rich that it develops its full glory not just in a single form or within the walls of one church.

Granted, "works righteousness" is not something that Protestants generally find to be admired, but this is the gentlest take on it I've read, and it encourages me to take a look at Bavinck's work. At a minimum there are a few students at Luther whom I wish would read this...