The Particularity of Grace and the Common Work of the Spirit:
Karl Barth in Conversation with Herman Bavinck
The goal of this essay is to closely examine the relationship of grace and revelation to Jesus Christ in Karl Barth's theology. I will not provide a comprehensive account of grace and revelation in Barth’s theology, but rather a more narrow account highlighting their relationship to Christ. I will then place Barth in conversation with the great Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck. My reasons for doing so are as follows. Although Bavinck presents the relationship of grace and revelation to Christ much more loosely than does Barth, particularly in his doctrines of common grace and general revelation, Bavinck nevertheless develops these two doctrines christologically. My aim is to show that although Barth and Bavinck are often considered to be opponents, they are in fact quite similar. Both of their theologies are fundamentally christological. I will then examine Bavinck's doctrines of common grace and general revelation. I will conclude by showing that Barth and Bavinck's respective theologies converge in their christological pneumatologies.