Dogma For Us

The notion of dogma implies that the authority it possesses is able to command recognition and thus to maintain itself. A distinction has to be made, therefore, between dogma as it has to do with itself (quoad se) and dogma as it has to do with us (quoad nos). A given proposition is a dogma itself, apart from recognition, if it rests on the authority of God. Nonetheless, it is intended, and has inherent tendency, to be recognized by us as such. Truth always seeks to be honored as truth and can never be at peace with error and deception. It is, moreover, of the greatest importance for every believer, particularly for the dogmatician, to know which Scriptural truths, under guidance of the Holy Spirit, have been brought to universal recognition in the church of Christ. By this process, after all, the church is kept from immediately mistaking a private opinion for the truth of God. Accordingly, the church’s confession can be called the dogma quoad nos (for us), that is, the truth of God as it has been incorporated in the consciousness of the church and confessed by it in its own language.

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics.

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