An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Dooyeweerd by Marcel now in French

Pierre Marcel's two volume books on Dooyeweerd are now available in French from here.
They are edited by Colin Wright.


The English versions - translated and edited by Colin have been available for a while and can be obtained here.

Ebook versions of the English translation are also available from here.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Kuyper family tree (c) Peter Kuyper

This is part  of the Kuyper family tree courtesy of and copyright of Peter Kuyper, Abraham Kuyper's grandson:


Sunday, 9 July 2017

Johanna and Henriette Kuyper: Daring to Change their World - a review

Johanna and Henriette Kuyper: Daring to Change their World
Abigail Van Der Velde
Philipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.
ISBN 9781629952765
Pbk, 268pp, £7.99

This book is different from the books I usually read and review. It is a novelisation cum biography of two female Kuypers: Johanna (Abraham’s wife) and their daughter Henrietta. It is facts plus imagination. Unfortunately, it is more imagination that fact. It is aimed at female teenage and is part of a series published by Presbyterian & Reformed entitled Chosen Daughters.

The book is split into three parts. The first dealing with the childhood of Johanna, the second with ‘Jo and Bram’ and the third ‘Harry’. It provides an interesting insight into the patriarchal culture of the time and gives a good feel for what life might be like in the Kuyper household.

The main aim of the book appears to be to help the readers be true to themselves and true to what God intended them to be - just as Jo and Harry did. For example:
‘Above all, honor the Lord and be true to your heart’. (114)
‘When I surrendered to the Lord, I didn’t lose myself; I gained the true me’. (188)
‘The Lord gave each of you a unique personality. He wants you to honor him and be true to yourself.’ (269)
The historical aspects are then given second place to moral examples for the readers to follow. This becomes particularly clear in the ‘Go deeper’ section at the end of the book where questions such as: ‘What in Jo’s story could help you to be friends with that girl [ie someone who doesn’t have a Christian faith]?’ and ‘At her sewing class, she saw a girl being mistreated. How did Jo stop the bullying and help the girl to feel welcome in the class? How can you help if you see a girl being bullied?’

The book has some appropriate photographs, a recipe for Dutch apple pie and details of how to make a textile book cover. There are a useful timeline and a two-page list of bibliographical resources, which includes Bratt’s 2013 biography of Kuyper and Heslam’s 1998 book based on his PhD of Kuyper’s Stone Lectures - both of which would be challenging reads for teenagers.


I hope this book will provide a catalyst for more research into Harry Kuyper, in particular, as there is so much more to learn from her than is suggested in this book. 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

New book by Bennie van der Walt


Thomas Aquinas and the Neo-Thomist Tradition: A Christian Philosophical Assessment
Potchefstroom: ICCA, 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-86822-685-6

CONTENTS
Preface i
Introduction   iv
Chapter 1
The religious direction of the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas 1
Chapter 2
The idea of law as a key to the philosophy of the Catholic 'Doctor Communis’ 24
Chapter 3
An analysis of the ontology of the 'Summa Contra Gentiles"
(1261-1264) 44
Chapter 4
The Thomist anthropology and epistemology 66
Chapter 5
Divine providence in the philosophy of the ’Doctor Angelicus'.... 90
Chapter 6
Christianising Hellenism implies the Hellenisation of the Christian faith 128
Chapter 7
Seven centuries of Neo-Thomist thinking after Aquinas 159
Chapter 8
A problem-historical analysis of Neo-Thomist scholarship 176
Bibliographies of Chapter 1-8 198
Acknowledgments 229
Appendix: engravings illustrating the life of Aquinas

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Kuyper and Korea: more #Kuyperania

A new book dealing with the implications of Kuyper's sphere sovereignty for the Korean Presbyterian Church has recently been published:

Jeom Ok Kim, Luther. 2017. A. Kuyper’s View of Sphere Sovereignty and the Korean Church: For its Preparation of the Post-Secular Society. Atlanta, GA: Covenant Innovation Pub.










The following is my mindmap summary of the main points:


Sunday, 25 June 2017

Recent #Kuyperania

There have been a number of fascinating pieces on Kuyper recently. These include:

Henderson, Roger (2017) "Rumors of Glory: Abraham Kuyper's Neo-Calvinist Theory of Art," Pro Rege Vol. 45(4): 1-9.  Available at: http://digitalcollections.dordt.edu/pro_rege/vol45/iss4/1

Henderson provides a fascinating analysis of Kuyper's attitude to art.

The Journal of Reformed Theology 11(1-2) has a series of articles looking at neo-Calvinism and race, edited by George Harinck. The papers were all delivered at the Kuyper Conference of the Abraham Kuyper Center for Public Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary in 2015.

Eglinton, J. 2017. ’Varia Americana and race: Kuyper as antagonist and protagonist. Journal of Reformed Theology, 11(1-2):65-80.
Liou, J. 2017. ‘Taking Up #blacklivesmatter: A Neo-Kuyperian Engagement with Critical Race Theory. Journal of Reformed Theology, 11(1-2):99-120.
Joustra, 2017. ‘An Embodied Imago Dei’ Journal of Reformed Theology, 11(1-2):9-23
Harinck, G. 2017a. ‘Introduction’, Journal of Reformed Theology, 11(1-2):1-7
Harinck, G. 2017b.”Wipe Out Lines of Division (Not Distinctions)” Bennie Keet, Neo-Calvinism and the Struggle Against Apartheid’, Journal of Reformed Theology, 11(1-2):81-98
de Brujine, A. 2017. ‘Abraham Kuyper’s Surprising Love of the Jews’, Journal of Reformed Theology, 11(1-2):24-46.
Van der Jagt, H. 2017. ‘Coffee-Colorer Calvinists: Neo-Calvinist Perspectives on Race in the Dutch Colonial Empire’, Journal of Reformed Theology, 11(1-2):47-64.
Turner, J. T. 2017. ‘On two reasons Christian theologians should reject the intermediate site’ Journal of Reformed Theology, 11(1-2):121-139.

Also recently published is a novelisation biography of Kuyper's wife (Johanna) and daughter (Henriette):
Van der Velde, A. 2017. Johanna and Henriette Kuyper: Daring to Change their World. Philipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.
The book is a mixture of fact and imagination. With more emphasis on the imagination; partly, because of the lack of sources available.


Friday, 2 June 2017

Craig Bartholomew's Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition

Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition
A Systematic Introduction
Craig G. Bartholomew
Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic
ISBN 978-0-8308-5158-4
Hbk; xiii + 363pp; £31.00



There has never been a better time for an anglophone to study Abraham Kuyper. We have the Kuyper Translation Society’s work published by Lexham Press, and now Bartholomew’s guide to all things Kuyperian. In this book, Bartholomew presents an excellent introduction to Kuyper’s ideas and his legacy.

Bartholomew is right when he suggests that Christians need ‘to develop an integrally biblical Christian worldview and to live creatively and thus plausibly from this perspective …’ (9). There is no better place to begin this development than by looking at the resources Kuyper has to offer, and no better place to begin to find out those Kuyperian resources than in this book.

In Chapter 1 Bartholomew presents a brief biography of Kuyper - and suggests that the notion of palingenesis — the new birth—is key to Kuyper’s work. In chapter 2 he looks at the crucial issue of creation and redemption. Too often evangelicals have emphasised redemption at the expense of creation — not so Kuyper. As Bartholomew notes: ‘For Kuyper, we should not make the mistake of thinking that God preserves his creation only in order to make possible the salvation of the elect’ (37). Salvation is not unconnected to creation and grace is not external to nature. Kuyper’s holistic view, as Bartholomew stresses, ‘stems not only from Christ’s work but also from [Christ’s] identity’ (41). This chapter also has an excellent summary of the way in which nature and grace have been expressed, with a justification of the way in which Kuyper and Bavinck see it, as grace restoring nature. Bartholomew supports the view that this is a biblical approach by examining both covenant and kingdom.

The issue of the scriptures, how we read and interpret them is often very divisive. Chapter 3 looks at the Kuyperian approach to Scripture. Kuyper was not a fundamentalist and he, like Bavinck, makes a distinction between Scripture and the Word of God — though they both hold to Scripture ‘as being God’s infallible word’ (96). Kuyper’s approach is  best described as belonging to the redemptive-historical school. Bartholomew closes this chapter with an important warning that we do not loosen ‘our hold on Scripture as God’s infallible Word’ (99).

Chapter 4 focuses on the important issue of worldview. This is an important Kuyperian concept appropriated and popularised by Kuyper in his Lectures on Calvinism. It is also probably the most misinterpreted aspect of Kuyper. There has been a tendency to intellectualise the concept and to equate it with philosophy. Bartholomew identifies five shadow sides to the notion of worldview: it intellectualises the gospel; it universalises the gospel; it relativises the gospel; it becomes disconnected from Scripture; and it can entrench middle-class values and lead to an unhealthy messianic activism (118-123). Even so, Bartholomew is right, it is a ‘rich and useful’ term. 

Another broad theme that Kuyper developed and was central to his social and political philosophy was sphere sovereignty - this is the topic of Chapter 5. Sphere sovereignty was developed by Kuyper from hints of the idea in Groen van Prinsterer, F.J. Stahl and Althuis.  Although its formulation was unique to Kuyper. It was central to Kuyper’s view of the State, education and the church. It  was also central to the pillarisation (verzuiling) of society in the Netherlands. It was also misused by some to justify apartheid in South Africa - a point well dealt with in this book.

Another of Kuyper’s important insights was the distinction between the church as institute and as organism. This is examined in the next chapter. Here Bartholomew is right to stress the importance of the church in Kuyper’s thought: ‘From his conversion to the end of his life the church remained an issue of major concern for Kuyper’ (162). Kuyper’s concept of the church was in part formed from his reading of Charlotte Yonge’s Heir of Redclyffe. Yonge was influenced by the Tractarian Movement in the UK and in particular Cardinal Newman. It was their high view of the church and the role of the church as mother that Kuyper appreciated. Even though Kuyper, as Bartholomew carefully points out, as he traces the changes in Kuyper’s ecclesiology, later adopted a more congregational view of the church (188).

Bartholomew disagrees with Kuyper — as most contemporary Kuyperians do — regarding Kuyper’s view of government as being a post-fall institution (192). Nevertheless, Kuyper did develop a Christian perspective on politics and government as Bartholomew shows in chapter 7. This is perhaps not unsurprising as Kuyper as well as being theologian he was a politician (he was the Dutch prime minister for a short period) and founded the first modern political party in the Netherlands (the ARP) and did so with Christian principles. He also fought for a new electoral system within the Netherlands. Bartholomew closes this chapter on a sad note: ‘ … when it comes to Kuyper’s thought on the social issues of his day, one cannot help but fear that Kuyperians have failed to hear his call’ (212).

Chapter 8 moves on to look at mission. This chapter mainly focuses on the work of J.H. Bavinck — Herman Bavinck’s nephew.

Chapter 9 looks at two philosophical schools that developed largely out of Kuyperianism. Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven’s reformational philosophy and the more popular, but less insightful, approach of reformed epistemology.

Theology is the subject of chapter 10. Kuyper was a theologian but this aspect of his work has been largely neglected. Bartholomew discusses some reason for this - the liberalisation of the Free University (VU), the conflict at the VU between theologians and philosophers, on-going church conflicts and then the impact of two world wars. He thinks now is the time to ‘retrieve, renew, and develop the Kuyperian theological tradition for today’ (271). I whole-heartedly agree! This chapter represents a good first step towards that aim. 

Education is under review next (Chapter 11) — education, like the church, theology, politics, mission was close to Kuyper’s heart. As elucidated here, for Kuyper, education, church and the home were intertwined. Nature and education are inseparable, as parents hold primary responsibility for the education of their children.  Teachers must make their own decisions about pedagogy — the role of the state is not to dictate how teachers should teach. Hence, the need for Christian schools.

The final chapter concludes the book with a look at ‘The need for a spiritual formation’. This has often been a weak spot in the Kuyperian approach - although not in Kuyper.

Bartholomew writes as one steeped in the Kuyperian tradition, but this doesn’t mean he is uncritical of it and he is aware of the danger of absolutising the man. At times Bartholomew seems to prefer Bavinck’s approach over Kuyper’s. He sees the weaknesses in the Kuyperian tradition as well as its strengths and he is not afraid to point out what he perceives as its faults. For example, he thinks the Kuyperian tradition can be enriched by the Pietistic tradition (245). He also aware that Kuyperians need to learn from non-Kuyperians, not least, according to Bartholomew, Max Weber and Mother Theresa.

Bartholomew concludes: ‘The Kuyperian tradition has the resources to produce culturally savvy Christians today’ (323). He is right - and this book is a great place to begin to understand and then go on to appropriate those resources.





CONTENTS

Preface 
Abbreviations 
Introduction: Seeking the Welfare of the City
 1. Abraham Kuyper's Conversion
 2. Creation and Redemption
 3. Scripture
 4. Worldview 
 5. Sphere Sovereignty: Kuyper's Philosophy of Society
 6. The Church
 7. Politics, the Poor, and Pluralism 
 8. Mission
 9. Philosophy
10. Theology
11. Education
12. The Need for Spiritual Formation
Postscript: Resources for Studying the Kuyperian Tradition
Bibliography
Author Index

Subject Index