Monday, February 16, 2009

A Plea to Translate Wilhelmus à Brakel's Exposition of Revelation

When Wilhelmus à Brakel's magnum opus De Redelijke Godsdienst (The Christian's Reasonable Service) was translated from Dutch into English by Bartel Eshout in 1992-1995, a decision was made not to translate the last section of the work, an exposition of the book of Revelation. So the four-volume English translation (the original was three volumes) ends with à Brakel's study of the administration of the covenant of grace from Adam to John Apocalypse and this footnote:

à Brakel's exposition of the book of Revelation is not included in this four-volume set due to its controversial nature. However, out of respect for à Brakel and for the sake of historicity, it has been decided to publish this exposition as a separate volume at a future date.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no such plans currently in place to produce said translation. The reasons given for the decision to not translate à Brakel's exposition of the book of Revelation are found in The Pastoral and Practical Theology of Wilhelmus à Brakel: A Brief Evaluation of the The Christian's Reasonable Service by Bartel Elshout. To sum up, the argument for not translating it is based on the fact that "à Brakel was a historical millenialist with postmillenial tendencies" which is perceived to be too controversial to justify the work.

As a postmillennial historicist myself who regrettably does not read Dutch, I hereby issue this plea for someone to undertake this work. The translation of The Christian's Reasonable Service into English is an unfinished work that ought to be completed for the sake of rendering honor to the author, justice to its historical place in his magnum opus, to keep the promise found in the English translation of the rest of the work, and for the benefit of English readers in today's church.

May the Lord grant that this translation work will be undertaken and completed for the edification of the saints.


  1. I want to get a copy. And I agree it ought to be included. Now that I know this I feel cheated.

  2. I am very grateful for the translation work of Mr. Elshout. I do hope the translation of The Christian's Reasonable Service will be entirely completed, because at present it is incomplete, and the church would benefit from finishing the translation project.