The Authority of Scripture in Reformed Theology

Truth and Trust


The authority of Scripture is the cornerstone of Reformed theology. Calvin introduced the term autopistos from Greek philosophy to express that this authority does not depend on the church or on rational arguments, but is self-convincing. After dealing with Calvin’s Institutes, the development of Reformed orthodoxy, and the positions of Benjamin B. Warfield and Herman Bavinck, the author draws theological conclusions, advocating a renewed emphasis on the autopistia of Scripture as starting point for Reformed theology in a postmodern context. The subject-object scheme leads to separating the certainty of faith from the authority of Scripture. The autopistia of Scripture, understood as a confessional statement, implies that truth and trust are inseparable.

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Biographical Note

Henk van den Belt, Ph.D. (2006) in theology, Leiden University, is pastor in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, assistant professor in systematic theology and staff member of the International Reformed Theological Institute at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Review Quotes

" Van den Belt’s work is a solid foundation of fine scholarship combined with deep piety that does Bavinck proud, and my concluding suggestions are given as an appreciative invitation to go a further step in our understanding and theological practice today."

John Bolt, Calvin Theological Seminary
Journal of Reformed Theology 4 (2010) 71-94

Table of contents

Abbreviations ... ix
Preface ... xi

Chapter 1. Truth and Certainty ... 1

Chapter 2. Calvin’s Institutes ... 13

Chapter 3. Source and Sense ... 71

Chapter 4. Reformed Orthodoxy ... 117

Chapter 5. Benjamin B. Warfield ... 179

Chapter 6. Herman Bavinck ... 229

Chapter 7. Trusting the Truth ... 301

Bibliography ... 337
Index of Names ... 367
Index of Subjects ... 375


Theologians, historians with a special interest in the Reformation and the development of Reformed theology, and philosophers, interested in epistemological issues, discussed from a Christian perspective.