A Concise Annotated Bibliography of Works (in English) by and about K. Schilder - by John Barach & Wes Bredenhof


There are some problems when it comes to recommending works by Schilder. First, most of Schilder's work is not in English (alas). Some of Schilder's best work has never been translated (for instance, his magisterial commentary on Lord's Days 1-10 of the Heidelberg Catechism). Second, some of it is in rather Dutchy English (i.e., the grammar and syntax and often even the wording is still Dutch), which makes it hard for many English readers to follow. Third, Schilder had a unique writing style which is quite poetic and allusive (not to say "elusive"!) at times, and therefore not always easy reading. He also seems to expect the reader to have quite a bit of history and philosophy under his belt. Nevertheless, a careful and diligent reader can still receive much benefit from Schilder's works.

Books:

"The Schilder Trilogy": Christ in His Suffering; Christ on Trial; Christ Crucified.

First published in English in 1938-1940 by Eerdmans and Religious Publications Inc. Paideia Press reprinted the Trilogy in 1979 and they are apparently still available from Klock and Klock Publishers. They may be somewhat pricey. They are a collection of meditations on Christ's path to the cross. The translation is by Henry Zylstra, former professor of English at Calvin College, and is fairly good. Unfortunately, it is a translation of the first edition of the trilogy. Apparently later in life Schilder realized that this first edition was tainted by some speculation and revised the first two volumes before his death. The revision hasn't been translated yet. Nevertheless, while there is some speculation, many of the meditations are gems (for instance, the one on "Father, forgive them") and the perspective he provides on Christ's suffering is well worth studying (e.g., Christ is never the passive victim; He is always active in His suffering).

Christ and Culture (Winnipeg: Premier, 1979)

A study of the relationship between Christ and culture. The translation (by Rev. G. VanRongen and Dr. W. Helder) is, at times, somewhat hard to follow, unfortunately -- but this may be because the original itself is also somewhat difficult to follow (i.e. Schilder's definition of "culture" which goes on and on). There is a new edition in the Dutch with explanatory notes and commentary by Prof. Dr. J. Douma. Douma also interacted with Schilder's thought in his dissertation on common grace.

Extra-Scriptural Binding: A New Danger (Neerlandia: Inheritance, 1996)

A response to the Protestant Reformed Declaration of Principles and Prof. Herman Hoeksema's defense of those principles. The English translation (by T. VanLaar) is published by Inheritance Publications in a volume which also contains Dr. J. Faber's American Secession Theologians on Covenant and Baptism.

Heaven -- What Is It? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1950)

An abridged translation (by Marian Schooland) of Schilder's Wat is de hemel? Schilder was reportedly not very impressed by the calibre of this abridgement. He reportedly said, "What does Heaven --What Is It? have to do with Wat is de Hemel??" So far, the full book hasn't been translated, nor has the companion volume, Wat is de hel?.

 

Articles/Meditations/Lectures:

Your Ecumenical Task

An amazing lecture Schilder gave for a Young Ladies Society gathering. Quite a spectacular overview of history in the light of revelation. You can find the English translation at the back of Rudolf van Reest's Schilder's Struggle for the Unity of the Church (Inheritance), translated by Theodore Plantinga.

The Main Points of the Doctrine of the Covenant (Published by the translator, 1992)

This helpful booklet is a translation (by T.VanLaar) from stenographic notes of a speech given by Schilder at the Waalsche Kerk in Delft, the Netherlands on August 31, 1944. In this booklet we find, in a relatively condensed format, what Schilder thinks is the biblical view of the covenant. He deals with the question of the relationship between covenant and election and also touches on the charge of covenantal automatism which is sometimes directed at the "Liberated" doctrine of the covenant.

The Stocking is Finished

An interaction between Schilder and Herman Hoeksema of the Protestant Reformed churches. You can find it, translated by Theodore Plantinga, at the back of Van Reest's Schilder's Struggle for the Unity of the Church (Inheritance).

Sarcasm on Golgotha

A meditation from one of Schilder's books of meditations, Licht in den rook. Translated by John Smith, it appeared in Clarion 46.6. Other meditations and articles of Schilder have also appeared in Clarion and the Canadian Reformed Magazine over the years. This is a comprehensive list going back to about 1970:

Walking With God (Gen. 5:24) -- Canadian Reformed Magazine 21.7

Give -- Give (Prov. 30:15-16) -- Clarion 27.20

Speech given at the Liberation meeting on August 11, 1944 -Clarion 28.25

Outside of It There is No Salvation -- Clarion 38.15

Una Sancta -- Clarion 38.8

Christmas Meditation on Matt. 1:21 -- Clarion 39.25

The Weeping of Rachel (Matt. 2:17-18)

This sermon first appeared in English in the journal Kerux (1.3, Dec. 1986). It gives a good sense of both the redemptive-historical approach and the sharp mind of Schilder.

Schilder's Theses on the Church

These were originally published in De Reformatie in 1935 (Vol. 18, Nos.34-37). They were republished in Dutch a couple of times. They first appeared in English translation in the August 19, 1972 issue of the Canadian Reformed Magazine and then again in the July 26, 1975 issue of Clarion (the name of the translator is not given). They reappeared in the book Always Obedient with a commentary by Rev. J.M. Batteau. The theses are very insightful and a concise (although not always clear) summary of Schilder's views about the doctrine of the church (ecclesiology).

Books About Schilder (not an exhaustive list)

Accommodatio Dei: A Theme in K. Schilder's Theology of Revelation, J. DeJong (Kampen: Mondiss, 1990).

Despite the Latin title, this work is in English. It is Dr. DeJong's doctoral thesis, and it deals primarily with Schilder's understanding and treatment of God's accommodation to man in His revelation. You can probably get the book through Inheritance Publications.

Always Obedient: Essays on the Teachings of Dr. Klaas Schilder, J. Geertsema ed. (Phillipsburg: P&R, 1995).

A collection of essays by several authors on various aspects of Schilder's thought. Despite what some have thought, the title does not mean that KS himself was always obedient. Rather, it expresses his desire. This book is an excellent introduction to Schilder's life and work.

Schilder: Preserver of the Faith, Henry VanderKam (New York: Vantage Press, 1996)

VanderKam was a Christian Reformed pastor for many years and was one of the founders of Mid-America Reformed Seminary. He was also quite interested in Schilder's writing, and apparently owned a complete set of De Reformatie (the magazine for which Schilder was editor for many years). This is a fairly brief biography intended for a popular audience. The best and most detailed biography of Schilder is probably the one by J. J. C. Dee, of which only a couple volumes have appeared and those in Dutch.

Schilder's Struggle for the Unity of the Church, Rudolf VanReest (Neerlandia: Inheritance, 1990).

The author was a friend and a fan of Schilder, and some of what he says may be too enthusiastic and laudatory (as the English introduction cautions). Still the book is helpful for understanding a lot of the issues in the Netherlands at the time, as well as the significant events in Schilder's life.