Gordon J. Spykman’s life and work: a proposal for renewed theological method in the reformed tradition

Leonard, Carol Grace McMahan (2021) Gordon J. Spykman’s life and work: a proposal for renewed theological method in the reformed tradition. Doctoral thesis.

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Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral thesis)
Titel: Gordon J. Spykman’s life and work: a proposal for renewed theological method in the reformed tradition
Samenvatting (EN): “Gordon J. Spykman’s ‘New Paradigm’: A Proposal for Renewed Theological Method in the Reformed Tradition,” analyzes Gordon J. Spykman’s (1926-1993) theological contributions as presented primarily in his Reformational Theology: A New Paradigm for Doing Dogmatics (1992). Two key components of Spykman’s proposal for methodological renewal constitute the focus of the present research: (1) his three-factor theological method (God/Word/world) offered as a corrective to two-factor theological methods (God-world) that tend to rely on dualistic assumptions and (2) his conception of revelation in terms of a covenantal threefold Word of God (creation/Scripture/Christ) that accentuates the unity of creation and redemption. To evaluate Spykman’s continuity with the Reformed tradition, the study explores his connections and updates to the theologies of John Calvin, Herman Bavinck, G. C. Berkouwer, and Karl Barth. Considered alongside this is Spykman’s insistence on theological prolegomena shaped by neo-Calvinist philosophy’s emphasis on biblically-defined creation structures and ordinances. To evaluate whether Spykman’s “new paradigm” is effective enough to warrant renewed attention within the Reformed community, the study examines its success and failure in maintaining the insights of Reformed theology within the modern context defined by Immanuel Kant. Positively, Spykman’s work represents creative engagement with the Reformed tradition and with contemporary questions, exhibiting consistency with Scripture and with the confessions. It grants God’s Word a normative position within theological methodology and accounts for revelation and response, opening up the comprehensive character of God’s relationship to the world. These insights have implications for Christian doctrines such as creation, anthropology, election, and eschatology. However, Spykman’s modified use of Berkouwer’s correlation motif as a methodological means for moving beyond the Kantian subject/object framework produces mixed results, since the concept of a normative mediating factor assumes the reality of the modern subject/object divide. Despite the limitations of Spykman’s model, his work serves as a signpost for theologians in the Reformed tradition, marking methodological pitfalls while offering needed correctives on problems created by traditional methodologies.
Number of Pages: 249
Theologische Universiteit: Theologische Universiteit Apeldoorn
Trefwoorden (NL): Gordon J. Spykman (1926-1993) ; Gereformeerde dogmatiek
Trefwoorden (EN): Gordon J. Spykman (1926-1993) ; Reformed theology
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2021 12:18
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2021 11:39

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