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.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Tom Wright on Dooyeweerd and Kuyper

In a recent piece in Dutch Tom Wright spoke about his regard for Herman Dooyeweerd and Abraham Kuyper (translation based on google translate):

Tom Wright 2

Wright emphasizes often that his theological insights are innovative, or at least surprising. Still, he has his sources such great thinkers to whom he is indebted. In an interview with the Dutch magazine Wapenveld Wright  named  the Calvinist philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977), who conceived a comprehensive philosophical worldview  - the Philosophy of the Law Idea - in which he took the whole of reality into consideration, from school and hospital to economy and sacrament. Wright is impressed by that great Dooyeweerdian grip. "Herman Dooyweerd was important for me," he says, "although I haven't made a careful study of his work ​​myself. His ideas reached me through a good friend, Brian Walsh, who was very influenced by Dooyeweerd. In the early nineties we taught together in Oxford a series of lectures in which the different elements of the theology of the New Testament ethics, had to come together. I was then very much in the preparatory phase of the thick academic books on the New Testament, The New Testament and the People of God (1992). First It is without doubt the result that I then realized that the sense of God's comprehensive Kingdom is associated with the Messiah expectation in the Old Testament, and of course with the way this all came to light in Jesus through my conversations with Brian Walsh."

Brian Walsh challenged Wright to learn to think differently from what he was used to. "Not in the spirit of 'give to God what is God's and to Caesar what is Caesar's' - that would be tantamount to separate compartments - but deliberately going for a deep connection between church and world. Dooyeweerd wanted to integrate all aspects of life from the point of Christ's victory. He was convinced, like C.S. Lewis way that every square inch and every second is claimed by God - and return claimed by Satan. This insight was also not completely foreign to me, it was latent, I had never thought to the bottom . Now I just had to do, thanks to the critical questions of my friend who was so fascinated by Dooyeweerd. And I must say that I am the intellectual rigour of the Dutch Christian thinkers - Kuyper should also mention here of course! - I admire. It made a real difference to what I was used to finicky and sometimes sweet-voiced English way of thinking. Not that I did not know any serious and profound thinkers in England, but the perseverance of the Dutch thinkers have converted a change in me."

Wright is speaking at a conference in Theological University Kampen on 31 October - details here.

3 comments:

Mark Roques said...

This a great find Steve. This is really fascinating and important!

Brian Walsh said...

1731Richard Russell brought this to my attention. I am, of course, grateful and humbled that my conversations and friendship with Tom over the years has had an impact on his work. I do not recall all that many conversations about Dooyeweerd per se (though Tom might be remembering better than me on this), but more on the scope of the Kingdom and the heresy of a heaven-focussed eschatology. The biggest thing that we talked about (and continue to debate) has been the 'so what' questions of biblical scholarship. My book with Sylvia Keesmaat "Colossians Remixed" was my own attempt to answer some of the questions that Tom and I debated in 1982/83.

Steve Bishop said...

Thanks for 'dropping by' Brian and for the clarification. Loved Colossians Remixed.