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G.C. Berkouwer’s Principle of Correlation: An Attempt to Comprehend

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The term correlation is a central idea in the work of the Dutch theologian Gerrit Cornelis Berkouwer (1903-1996). Berkouwer has often been criticised for his use of this term. On the basis of three examples (the correlation between faith and justification, between faith and election and between promise and expectation) Berkouwer’s intentions are determined. It will turn out that he used the term in another way than Paul Tillich made use of it. Berkouwer’s principle of correlation incorporates elements of great value. The problem with it is terminologically in nature. Berkouwer has been alerted to this problem by his dutch collegue Arnold A. van Ruler. To comprehend Berkouwer’s principle of correlation it must be understood as theonomous correlation.

Affiliations: 1: Postdoctoral researcher, Protestant Theological University, The Netherlands, Email:


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