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.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

An interview with Willem J. Ouweneel.

The latest addition to the All of life redeemed pages is Willem Ouweneel. The author of several books recently published by Paideia Press.

He kindly agreed to be interviewed.

Could you please tell us something about yourself?

Apart from my biography on AoLR: I am married to Gerdien. We have four children and eleven grandchildren. My great passions are preaching, teaching and writing (and music - see below). My religious background is Plymouth Brethren. Officially I still belong to them, although I preach most of the time in a great variety of denominations.

You work have recently had four books and two more on the way published by Paidiea Press. Could you tell us something about the background to the books - how did they come about? And when are the rest of the series to be published?

My Canadian publisher, John Hultink of Paideia Press, invited me to write several books on several subjects, and then soon one book followed the other... Ten manuscripts are almost finished by now.

You are obviously very prolific in your writings over 160 books published. How do you manage dot produce so much - what's the secret?

(a) I started early, (b) I write fast, and (c) I spend most of my time writing.

You books are written from a dooyeweerdian perspective - where did you first come across this philosophy and why do you find it so helpful?

In many theological books, such as Bible commentaries, there is no "Dooyeweerdian perspective" at all. - In the seventies, I began studying philosophy, and through friends came across writings by Dooyeweerd and his associates, and was fascinated by them.

You differ from Dooyeweerd in that you split his psychic mode into the sensitive and the perceptive - why do feel this is necessary? How have other other dooyeweerdians reacted to this?

I believe the perceptive and the sensitive cannot be reduced to each other, or to a common denominator. Moreover, the sensitive seems to presuppose the perceptive, not the other way round. - I have to admit that I know of no philosophers or psychologists who have adopted my point of view.

You have three earned degrees - why did you choose to do that? Most people find that one is onerous enough, let alone three in three different countries! 

I began with biology, but discovered that I became more and more interested in the great philosophical questions preceding it. So I studied philosophy too. In theology I had been interested all my life. I am the opposite of a specialist (someone who knows virtually everything of virtually nothing): as a generalist, I strive to know virtually nothing about virtually everything. I would have loved to study psychology, musicology and linguistics as well... Please notice that in all three fields in which I obtained degrees, I have done academic work.

Who are the people that have most influenced you and in what ways?

To begin with, the great writers among the Plymouth Brethren (Darby, Kelly, Mackintosh, Grant, etc.). Later also theologians from all the great denominational strands, mostly Evangelical (such as C.S. Lewis) and Reformed (Bavinck, Berkouwer etc.). In philosophy, Dooyeweerd and the great dooyeweerdians.

I notice in the Dutch wikipedia entry on you it notes that you have moved from a creationist to a more guided/ theistic evolution position. Is that right? If so what prompted the shift?

That is not entirely correct. I got disappointed in many "results" of creationist research, but keep an open mind when it comes to the exegesis of Genesis 1-3.

What do you do for fun?

Genealogy (I know about 5000 ancestors of my children) and classical music (I love listening to it, but also singing in all the great classical religious choral works, from Bach to Jenkins; I take part in about ten concerts a year).

What music do you enjoy listening to?

All classical music (from, say, Monteverdi to present), with a preference for late Romanticism and impressionism (Bruckner, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel, Janacek etc.).

What books are you reading at the moment?

I have to admit that I like writers such as John Grisham to 'distract' myself.

If you were on a desert island what two luxuries would you take with you?

A computer with internet (so that, e.g., I could listen to music via, e.g., YouTube, and could keep writing books).

Many thanks. 

Willem has a Dutch website here and tweets at @wjouweneel.


ChristianTrader said...

It is unfortunate about his theistic evolutionary shift. He seemed to have been the only Dooyeweerdian who was friendly toward traditional creationism. In some ways, I am more interested in his upcoming biology book now.

Do you know of any Dooyeweerdian type book that does more to critique Creationism than simply say that they are not fundamentalists and leave it at that?

Steve Bishop said...

Hi thanks for your comment. Several dooyeweerdians are creationsists.

Arthur Jones's Science in faith is written from a creationist viewpoint:

Klapwijk's book develops an emergence view of creation.

Several books in this list deal with creation/ evolution:

Hope that helps