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, 22 August 2014

British Calvinists: Robert Trail (1642-1716)

Robert Trail (1642-1716) was born in Elie in Fifeshire and attended Edinburgh University. His father Robert (1603–1678) was a zealous Covenanter and at one time minster of Grey Friar's Church, Edinburgh.

In 1670 Robert Jr. was ordained as a presbyterian in London and went to serve a congregation in Cranbrook, Kent. He published a 'letter' in 1692 entitled 'A Vindication of the protestant Doctrine Concerning Justification and of its Preachers and Professors form the Unjust Charge of Antinominianism'. This was occasioned by the publication of the works of Tobias Crisp. 

On a preaching visit back in Scotland he was arrested for refusing to deny the field coventicles and was put into prison on Bass Rock. he returned to Cranbrook. He then moved to London where he served in an Independent congregation. 

His Works was republished by the Banner of Truth in 1975. 

Some of his writings are available here: 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Jacob Klapwijk's Between Historicism & Relativism on AoLR

Last year (2013) the late Donald Morton completed  new translation of Jaap Klapwijk's 1970 doctoral dissertation. It is now available on allofliferedeemed

2013. Between Historicism &; Relativism: Dynamics of Historicism and the Philosophical Development of Ernst Troeltsch. Amsterdam: VU University, online. [Translation of Tussen historisme en relativisme, 1970] 


Kuyperania: Common Grace 1:2 is announced

The second part of Abraham Kuyper's Common Grace covering Temptation–Babel has just been announced by Christian's Library Press. 
It will be available shortly.
ISBN: 978-1-938948-20-6

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

British Calvinists: Benjamin Keach (1640-1704)

Benjamin Keach (1640-1704) was born in Stoke Hammond, Buckinghamshire. As a teenager he read the scriptures and came to an understanding that they were 'silent concerning the baptism of infant', he joined a Baptist congregation at Wimslow and was baptised. 

While at the Baptist church he married Jane Grove in 1660 and had a calling to church ministry. In 1664 he was almost killed by troopers and was imprisoned for his advocacy of believers's baptism. He was placed in a wooden pillory and ridiculed, but he took the opportunity to preach the gospel. 

In 1668 he and his family moved to London. He was ordained as an elder in the General Baptist church in Tooley Street, Southwark. It was here he met Hansard Knolleys and William Kiffin and embraced the Calvinist theology of the Particular Baptists. He began a Calvinistic Baptist congregation in Horsleydown, Southwark. He also planted new congregations in the south of England.

One controversy that Keach became embroiled in was regarding hym singing. Keach had introduced hymns in addition to psalm singing in public worship and this was not appreciated by some, notably Isaac Marlowe (1649-1719). 

Some of Keach's writings are available here:

Thursday, 14 August 2014

British Calvinists: Joseph Alleine (1634-1668)

Joseph Alleine (1634-1668) was born in Devizes, he studied at Lincoln College, Oxford and became a scholar of of Corpus Christi. In 1665 he accepted the post of assistant at St Mary's, Taunton. Alleine was one of the 2000 Great Ejectors, 73 were ejected in Somerset alone. After ejection he travelled around taunton continuing his preaching but was imprisoned several times for this. He died when only 34. 

His Alarme to Unconverted Sinners (1672) was very influential and is still in print today, as is his A Sure Guide to Heaven ((1688).

Some of his writings can be found here:

Braund, Elizabeth, 1969, 'Joseph Alleine', in By Schism Rent Asunder (Papers read at the Puritan and Reformed Studies Conference).

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Molly Worthen Apostles of Reason

Apostles of Reason
The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism
Molly Worthen
Oxford: Oxford University Press
ISBN 978-0-19-989646-2
viii + 352pp; hbk; £18.99

Worthen, assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, paints an interesting picture of North American evangelicalism.

Surprising in a history of evangelicalism there is no mention of Bebbington’s quadrilateral as the defininition of evangelicalism, so then how does Worthen define evangelicalism? In a sense she doesn’t. She presents a wide-ranging consortium of views and these include anabaptists, methodists and pentecostals. She rightly notes that defining it has produced more debate than agreement (p 3) and she sees history as being the best too for ‘pinning down’ evangelicals (p 4). 

She attempts to answer three questions (p 6) which evangelicals seem obsessed with: how to reconcile faith and reason; how to know Jesus; and how act publicly on faith in an increasingly secular public square. An intellectual civil war!

She focuses both on institutions - for example Wheaton College, Fuller Seminary, Biiola, Bob Jones University, Christianity Today - and individuals - J. Gresham Machen, Carl Henry, Francis Schaeffer, Billy Graham, Howard Ockenga,  John Howard Yoder and George Eldon Ladd, James Dobson and Hal Lindsey, Harold Lindsell all get largish parts.

Surprisingly Gordon Clark has more than a bit part. Wheaton College’s (1936-43) Clark is mentioned along with Cornelius Van Til regarding presuppositionalism, which Worthen maintains they developed from Abraham Kuyper (p 30), but also as a mentor for Carl Henry and Edward Carnell, and in relation to the development of the notion of Weltanschauung (world- and life-view)among (neo)evangelicals. See shows how worldview has become a powerful rhetorical strategy; we have worldview academy, worldview initiative, worldview curriculum, worldview studies, for most of them their understanding of worldview is a far remove from the espoused by Kuyper. 

Worthen, as an evangelical outsider, draws a fascinating picture of evangelicalism, her book will help evangelicals see themselves from another’s perspective and help them better contemplate what of evangelicalism is God-given and what is cultural fluff. 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

British Calvinists: Isaac Chauncy (1632-1712)

Isaac Chauncy (1632-1712) was born in Ware, Hertfordshire. He then moved as a child with his family to New England, USA. He started his undergraduate studies at Harvard and completed them at Oxford on his return to the UK. In 1660 he became the rector of Woodbridge, Wiltshire until the 1662 Act of Uniformity. He then took up the pastorate at a congregational church in Andover, Hampshire.  
While at Andover he became a physician and then moved to London to pursue this vocation and then became the pastor of an independent congregation. He was succeeded there by Isaac Watts, the hymn writer. 
He continued as a physician while pastoring. He then became a divinity tutor at a Dissenting Academy in London.

Some of his writings are available here:

'Kuyperania in recent years' Koers 79(1) (2014), 6 pages. doi: 10.4102/koers.v79i1.2138

My 'Kuperania in recent years' has now been published in Koers.

It is available as HTML  |  EPUB  |  XML  |  PDF (341KB)

In it I take a look at these six important books:

Rooted and grounded: The church as organism and institution (Abraham Kuyper)
Going Dutch in the modern age: Abraham Kuyper’s struggle for a free church in the Netherlands (John Halsey Wood Jr.)
Kuyper in America: This is where I was meant to be (Abraham Kuyper)
Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist Christian democrat (J.D. Bratt)
Abraham Kuyper: An annotated bibliography 1857–2010 (T. Kuipers)
Wisdom and wonder: Common grace in science and art (Abraham Kuyper)

Monday, 11 August 2014

Surge Network and Surge School

This is a very exciting project - with Mike Goheen involved.It is the outworking a reformational vision.

 The Surge School was developed to offer a year-long program of theological education for lay leaders in the churches in Phoenix.

Surge Promo from Surge Network on Vimeo.

More details on Surge and Surge network are available at