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In die Skriflig

On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441


VAN DER WALT, Sarel P.. Faith and knowledge in the Heidelberg Catechism. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2013, vol.47, n.2, pp.1-9. ISSN 2305-0853.

The way in which the close relation between faith and knowledge should be understood, is still very prominent in current theological debates. This article studies the connection that is being described between faith and knowledge by question and answer 21 of the Heidelberg Catechism. In response to the scholasticism of the late Middle Ages with its particular emphasis on the knowledge element of faith, the time of the Reformation apparently brought a more balanced view on the relationship between faith and knowledge thanks to specifically Calvin who had a certain influence on the formulation of faith's knowledge component. This gave to Ursinus and the rest of the commission responsible the breeding ground to capture this unique relationship into the Catechism as confession. Scriptural grounds for this relationship are found in Hebrews 11:1, 3 and James 2:19. Both these passages serve as basis for the knowledge aspect of faith. This article shows how the Catechism discounts these Scriptural passages to describe faith as a pre-scientific element in the scientific process. The knowledge-element of faith is the presupposition which the exegete wants to place on the table. This pre-scientific knowledge serves as support for the formulation of scientific theories.

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