Ridderbos’ Doctrine of Election, or Why I Don’t Understand WTS Grads
October 1, 2009
I find it strange that Herman Ridderbos is pretty much given universal approbation from confessional Reformed folks — at least, those who have graduated from Westminster Philly. Yet, these same folks delight in snide remarks about Karl Barth and Thomas Torrance on the doctrine of election (e.g., the guys who do the Christ the Center program). I find it strange because Ridderbos’ own doctrine of election is almost identical to Barth’s and, especially, Torrance’s. Ridderbos’ chapter on election in his book on Paul (p. 341 ff, click link to read) could have been written by Torrance with no significant alterations, and it even echoes (almost verbatim) Torrance’s introduction to the Reformed catechisms in The School of Faith. Also, the entire thrust of Ridderbos’ argument against “definite, individual election” is animated by his anti-scholastic, anti-metaphysical, neo-orthodox-friendly “redemptive-historical” emphases.
So, what’s the deal? Ridderbos is given a pass, while Barth and Torrance are the poster boys for wayward anti-confessionalism.