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.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Sir Henry Frederick Ross Catherwood (1925-2014)

Sir Henry Frederick Ross Catherwood (1925-2014)

Elaine Storkey has written a warm tribute to Sir Fred Catherwood who died on 30 November: "Sir Henry Frederick Ross Catherwood (1925-2014): A Tribute"

There was also an obituary in The Guardian by Stephen Bates.

Catherwood was an evangelical who saw, and worked on the principle, that Christian ministry extends beyond the church walls.

As Storkey puts it:
The integration of Fred Catherwood’s Christian faith with his economic and political work was communicated very publicly in two books written during this period: The Christian in Industrial Society, (1964) where he grounds his views on liberty and freedom at work in biblical principles, and The Christian Citizen (1969). He shows himself to be a passionate supporter of democracy. Whilst not blind to its limitations, or to the vulnerability of a minority within it, he sees democracy as ‘…the only form of government which a Christian can accept as his ideal…’ For him, democracy is the fruit of a seed planted in Reformation thinking.

Jeremy Ive on Christian Peacebuilding in South Africa and the Newick Park Initiative

Jeremy's Cambridge paper on it is here.

The Newick Park Initiative (NPI) in South Africa was a Christian initiative which helped to build the trust and a shared national vision across the political spectrum in the years around the release of Nelson Mandela in early 1990. It also prepared the ground for the mediation of Professor Washington Okumu in 1994 which made possible the peaceful conduct of the first fully non-racial elections of that year. The relational principles governing NPI are a guide for Christian peacebuilding at a national level, applicable in other contexts as well.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Kuyperania November 2014

There is a review of Bratt's biography: Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat in
Ward, Rowland S. Abraham Kuyper: Modern calvinist, Christian democrat [Book Review] [online]. Reformed Theological Review, The, Vol. 73, No. 2, Aug 2014: 136-138. Availability: ISSN: 0034-3072. [cited 05 Nov 14].

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Interview with Al Wolters

Al Wolters is interviewed after his lectures titled 'Worldviews in the Bible' at Vancouver Institute for Evangelical Worldview.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Kuyper's Common Grace Volume 1 now completed

The second and third parts of Kuyper's Common Grace have now been translated and published by Christian's Library Press:


Part 2 details here    Part 3 details here

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Alan Storkey War or Peace?: 1. The long failure of western arms

Alan Storkey has a new book he describes it thus:

War or Peace? It’s a Kindle E-book, looking at why we have generated two World Wars and become a militarised world in which 200 million people have been killed in war-related deaths. It takes the story to 1945. It contains a lot of important buried history and changes the view of how major world decisions have been made. It is 150,000 words, 24 chapters, £3.20 so most people can afford it and could help us see how a disarmed world makes sense. or depending on continent.

 See also and for other accessible stuff.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Kuyperania October 2014

Stephen N. Williams Reviews de Bruijn's Pictorial Biography of Kuyper at Reformation 21.

Andy Crouch Abraham Kuyper goes pop Christianity Today

  Reviews the DVD series Life of the World. He begins:
The statesman and theologian theologian Abraham Kuyper is all but forgotten in his native Netherlands, but his reputation continues to flourish in the United States among Christians looking for better ways to imagine their role in Western society. They often come to Kuyper for his account of the “cultural mandate”—the biblical theme of responsibility for the world so often neglected in narrower versions of conservative Christianity. But they stay for Kuyper’s most distinctive contribution, his carefully developed account of culture’s “spheres,” each with its own features, functions, and significance. The family, government, science, art, education, and more are each essential. None can be reduced to the other, and each requires particular virtues and bequeaths us particular forms of flourishing.

Vincent Bacote in an interview with Bart Noort discusses his kuyperian influences:

How has your work on Abraham Kuyper influenced your view on ethics? 
Many people are very surprised when they find out I’m studying him. I’m not from the traditional reformed background, and Kuyper was not a friendly man to non-European people like me. But my discovery of Kuyper, when I was in seminary, gave me a framework for engaging culture. His doctrine on common grace and the work of the Spirit sets a way for us to live our life inside and outside the church. The topic of my next book, eschatology and ethics, seems to be not neo-calvinistic, but in fact it is. You still have to think about God’s actions and purposes in the world from the beginning of time to the end of the age. How is God’s plan playing a role in how we see our lives? My approach is oriented towards giving people a framework for addressing important questions in areas such as business, the question of race or even our experience of public events. For example, someone can get pretty enthusiastic about a political rally, or about some entertainment event. It can give us a taste of the Kingdom, so to speak. But when we come home, it has given us no long-term vision. I want to consider how eschatology can inform these people in how to live their live in the face of God’s promises with the world. This fulfillment of God’s purposes still has a neo-calvinistic flavour to it.

What did studying Kuyper do for your own spirituality? 
I was shocked when I read racist comments by Kuyper. It didn't matter in what context he said some very racist things: he did say it. I couldn't erase it. I had to figure out what to do with this, because I was pretty excited about the rest of his work, especially regarding participating in society and culture. As a person, it raises the question of how you deal with the imperfection of people you have come to admire or you just started to admire. You can feel betrayed! Over the years I came to realize humans are very good at dissappointing each other. For me it raised the question: how do I have a proper mode where criticism needs to be, but also a merciful mode where I can still see someone as a human through the eyes of Jesus? Today, if I see something on Facebook which makes me distressed or angry, how do I keep generosity? With Kuyper I concluded that I needed a double view: I wanted to say something positive about common grace and public action, but I couldn't pretend and say those other things were not there. I have to tell the truth about both parts.

Can we say Kuyper made you a more merciful man?
(big laugh) He was the beginning of my path toward more mercy! He made me a more critical thinker. Think of it this way: Some people adore Schilder, and tell you not to read Kuyper, other people tell you to read Kuyper and certainly not Schilder. But a critical thinker wants to learn from everyone. One should admit for example that someone like Bultmann had excellent exegetical skills but that his interpretations are most of the time not helpful or orthodox. Let me tell you an example from a book that I am reading: the author is stating that euro-centric ethics is not good for latinos. In my opinion, he's indirectly saying we should take attention to African people as well. While I'm not following his methodology, I'm inspired by his attempt to give attention to the ethical questions of minority groups. Part of the critical thinking is also learning to deal with the downsides of someone; critical thinking is about telling the truth about someone. It is not helpful to hide the truth about the positives and negatives of someone, whether we like them or not. I think you can say a critical thinker is generous and merciful to others as a way of obeying the second one of the two Big Commandments. Obviously, mercy will not always look the same way, there's also the need for a prophetic voice. This voice is identifying things which need to be corrected in a merciful way. Don't lie about people. Don't disrespect people. They may even hate or disrespect you or your views, but loving them instead of hating them is part of the calling of a christian.

Imagine you were a critical thinker on your work on Abraham Kuyper.
What would your comments be? Maybe I should elaborated more the Spirit's work on re-creation and not just creation. Also, I would have had more explicitly original Dutch sources in there, as critics were rightly saying. Those are things that would made my work better, though there were no negative reviews of my book, which amazed me. I might have written more about the specific possibilities for people to participate in the public, a broader range of examples of how that may look like. It wouldn't hurt to have done more of that. That will be more in my book on eschatology though, so I learned from that. But I think I made a positive contribution by the notion on the Spirit's presence and ongoing work in creation, something people don't really often think about from what I have seen. A focus on the Spirit helps us to have a more truly trinitarian theology, not just a trinitarian confession. In my current project, something that's positive is the question of how to expand the topics in ethics, not by replacing things but by adding things to whats already there. I think thats a more generous way of dealing with ethics. I am not writing to fight others but to make a contribution to our life together.