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, 16 August 2018

Recent articles from Glenn Friesen

Glenn Friesen has posted two interesting pieces on his blog:

J. Glenn Friesen

Jonathan Chaplin’s analysis of Dooyeweerd’s philosophy is helpful in discussing (1) the state’s role in harmonizing and protecting individual and communal interests within various societal spheres and (2) Dooyeweerd’s ideas of public justice and public interest, which he uses to justify state intervention in other societal organizations. But Chaplin continues a conservative reading of Dooyeweerd. This is due to (a) his misunderstanding of the ideas of individuality structures and enkapsis (b) his misunderstanding of enkaptic relations among institutions, natural communities, organized communities and free associations, (c) a consequent incorrect distinction between internal and external functions of the state and (d) an inadequate discussion of the idea of human rights. Dooyeweerd’s use of enkapsis allows him to develop a view of societal sphere sovereignty very different from that of Abraham Kuyper, and one that allows the intervention of the state in other societal organizations because there is a one-way enkaptic relationship
by Glenn Friesen

Many writers claim to follow reformational principles, but have used these principles in very regressive and reactionary ways to support and to promote the political ideas of the religious right. They have used ideas of religious presuppositionalism, worldview and religious antithesis to argue that those who do not share their own worldview do not know the true facts. They have misused the idea of sphere sovereignty to argue for the minimal state. And they have rejected the idea of human rights and have discriminated against others. This complicity with right wing politics has become clearly evident in their support for the policies of President Trump.

Also, Glenn's piece I've mentioned before is now online: New Research on Groen van Prinsterer and the Idea of Sphere Sovereignty Philosophia Reformata

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Concept map of Dooyeweerd's philosophy - based on Danie Strauss' outline

Danie Straus has written an excellent introduction to Herman Dooyeweerd's Philosophy (2015):

It is available as a pdf here.

I have attempted to summarise it in one concept map (the term is Novak's). Here it is (clicking on the image will enlarge it):

Here's the text outline of the map:

Dooyeweerd's philosophy by DFM Strauss
    1. Herman Dooyeweerd
      1. Dogma of the autonomy of theoretical thought
        1. Human reason
          1. Autonomous
          2. No prior theoretical assumptions
          3. Self-sufficient
      2. Early works
        1. 1920s Struggle for Christian Politics
        2. 1926 Inaugural lecture
          1. Free University
        3. 1931 Crisis in humanistic political theory
        4. 1935-36 NCTT
          1. Science of law
        5. 1917 PhD
      3. Philosophical trends
        1. Orderliness of creation
          1. A theoretical view of reality
            1. Can't be avoided
      4. Alternative approach
        1. Theoretical thought
          1. Theoretical view of reality
            1. Ground motive
              1. Christian scholarship
                1. Christian life and worldview
      5. Transcendental critique
        1. Theoretical thought can't have it's starting point within itself
          1. Then other aspects will be the sole mode of explanation
          2. Must transcend the diversity of all aspects
            1. Needs supra-temporal point of departure
      6. Ground-motives
        1. Communal driving forces
        2. Form-matter
        3. Creation, fall, redemption
        4. Nature-freedom
        5. Nature-grace
    2. Ultimate commitments
      1. Religion
        1. 1. Giving direction to all - life-encompassing
        2. 2. Faith
    3. Basic contours
      1. Creation
        1. Subject to God-given laws
      2. Creator
      3. Theory of Modal law-sphere
        1. Everyday experience
        2. The 'how' question
        3. Subject-object
          1. All function in all aspects
            1. Humans function actively in all aspects
            2. Plants object functions in post-biotic aspects
            3. Animals object functions in post-sensitive aspects
        4. Multi-aspect of humans
        5. Law side
        6. Factual side
          1. Presuppose
            1. Uniqueness
              1. Sphere-sovereignty
            2. Coherence
              1. Sphere universality
              2. Retrocipations 
              3. Anticipations
                1. Opened up through process of meaning disclosure
        7. Faith Ethical Jural Aesthetic Economic Cultural-historic Logical-analytical Sensory Biotic Physical Kinematic Spatial Arithmetical 
          1. Meaning-nucleus
            1. Irreducibility
            2. Indefinability
              1. Primitive terms
            3. Uniqueness
    4. Dimension of ontic time
      1. Time
        1. Embraces all aspects & entities
        2. Law side
          1. Time duration
        3. Factual side
          1. Time order
    5. Dimension of (natural & societal) entities
      1. Entities & events 
        1. Function in all modal aspects
      2. State
        1. Citizens
          1. Quantitative
          2. Alive
            1. Biotic 
        2. Territory
          1. Spatial
        3. Freedom of movement
          1. Kinematic
        4. Power of the sword
          1. Force
        5. Law enforcement
          1. Jural
        6. Tax paying
        7. Sense of belonging- feeling at home
          1. Sensory-psychic
        8. National identity
          1. Logical-analytic
        9. Political parties
          1. Credo
      3. Societies
        1. Differentiated
          1. Qualifying/ guiding functions
        2. Undifferentiated
          1. Extended family
          2. Sib/ clan
    6. Legacy of reformational philosophy
      1. Foundation for Reformational philosophy
        1. 5 yearly conferences
      2. Scholars
        1. Physics
          1. Stafleu
        2. Maths
          1. Strauss
        3. Biology
          1. Diemer
          2. Duyvene De Wit
        4. Linguistics
          1. Wideman
        5. Economic
          1. Goudzwaard
        6. Law
          1. Hommes
        7. Politics
          1. Koyzis
          2. Chaplin
        8. Theology
          1. Ouweneel
          2. Troost
      3. Universities
        1. Special chairs in the Netherlands
      4. Dooyeweerd's collected works
        1. Published
        2. Translated

Here are the sections from the complete map:

Monday, 13 August 2018

Friday, 10 August 2018

David Ceri Jones (2105) Ch 3: A Glorious Morn

Hugh Williams' painting Y Sasiwn Gyntaf - the first Joint Association of English and Welsh Calvinistic Methodism, Watford, nr Caerphilly (1943):

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

David Ceri Jones (2015) Chapter 1

The map for chapter 1 got rather large - so I've had to chop it up into section (click on the maps to enlarge)

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

David Ceri Jones (2015) Prologue

I've recently been rereading David Ceri Jones' book on the Evangelical Revival, The Fire Divine (IVP, 2015). As I've done so, I've drawn out a few concept maps - over the next few days I'll post them.

Here's the first one from the prologue:

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Review of Bruce Ashford's Letters to an American Christian

Letters to an American Christian
Bruce Riley Ashford
ISBN 978-1535905138
Pbk, 256 pp, £12.85

In Letters to an American Christian, Ashford, professor of Professor of Theology and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has done the Christian world a great service. He has, in a clear accessible way, provided an excellent introduction to many contemporary political and ethical issues from a broadly kuyperian perspective. I say broadly because not all kuyperians (me included) would agree with all of his positions (and I’m not sure Kuyper would either).

The letter format, which Ashford adopts, is a well recognised literary trope from Diego de San Pedro’s Prison of Love in 1845 to C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape and more recently, Jamie Smith’s Letters to a Young Calvinist. Ashford has utilised this approach to great effect. Ashford’s letters are written to Christian, a (fictional) new Christian studying political science and journalism at the (left-leaning) university of DuPont. He is also an intern at a conservative news outlet. 

The book has three parts thee parts. The first deals with ‘A Christian view of politics and public life’. The second with ‘A Christian view of hot-button issues’, this includes letters on religious liberty, free speech, racism, gun regulation and transgender. The final section, part three, deals with ‘A Christian hope for American politics’.

The first part is an excellent introduction to a Christian view of politics and culture. I have mapped this part: 

Here Ashford poses and answers some important questions. Questions such as such religion and politics mix? Is politics good? Does the gospel affect political policies? Does Christianity have anything to do with culture? Does the church have a role to play in politics?  He answers all in the affirmative. He draws upon Kuyper’s sphere sovereignty and Kuyper’s distinction between the church as organism (scattered) and organisation (gathered). This section concludes with a discussion and critique of the ideologies of liberalism, conservatism, nationalism and socialism.

In Part 2 he looks at several important hot-potato issues. These include free speech, political correctness, abortion, racism, small and big government, gun legislation, homosexuality, transgender, immigration, global warming, war and fake news - the contents itemised below show the range of topics covered. Inevitably, in such a short space justice can’t be done to all these issues, nevertheless, Ashford makes as an excellent attempt at mapping the options and alternative approaches. I wouldn’t agree with all his points, particular his approach to gun legislation and to his slight reservation about global warming, for example. 

Ashford is sensitive to both the scriptures and to culture - his approach is well grounded. There is, for example, no trite biblicism, such as cities had walls in the Bible, so we should build a wall across the Mexican border. Ashford’s approach is far more nuanced. For those who want to know what a Christian approach to many contemporary issues, this book will be a great place to begin.

Part 1: A Christian View of Politics and Public Life
Chapter 1: No Public Nudity, Please 
What is the relationship between religion and politics? 
Chapter 2: The Good of Politics 
Is politics a necessary evil or a positive good? 
Chapter 3: Jesus Is Lord and Congress Is Not 
What does the gospel have to do with politics? 
Chapter 4: Christianity Is Not Our Side Hustle 
What does Christianity have to do with culture? 
Chapter 5: The One Political Rally American Christians Shouldn’t Skip 
Where can I go to learn to be a good citizen? 
Chapter 6: Swim in Your Own Lane, Please
What is the best way to think of the relationship between church and state? 
Chapter 7: Let God Be True and Every Ideology a Liar 
To which political ideology should I subscribe? 

Part 2: A Christian View on Hot-Button Issues
Chapter 8: If You Can Keep It 
What is so important about religious liberty? 
Chapter 9: There Are No Safe Spaces in the Real World
Why should I value free speech? 
Chapter 10: Unborn Lives Matter 
Why shouldn’t a woman have the right to choose? 
Chapter 11: Black Lives Matter
What should I think of the Black Lives Matter movement? 
Chapter 12: Nobody Throws a Tantrum like a Politically Correct American
What’s so wrong with political correctness? 
Chapter 13: Beware the Giant Octopus 
Which is better: “small government” or “big government”? 
Chapter 14: No Need for Mullahs at 1 First Street
What is all the ruckus about Supreme Court interpretation? 
Chapter 15: Hitting the Bull’s-Eye on Gun Legislation 
How do I navigate the debate about restrictions on gun ownership? 
Chapter 16: The Best Education for a Twenty-First-Century American 
What’s so “great” about the great books? 
Chapter 17: One Man and One Woman 
How should I respond to Obergefell? 
Chapter 18: To Shave a Yak 
Should I be concerned about the environment? 
Chapter 19: What Hath Justice to Do with Mercy?
Why are Christians so divided about immigration reform? 
Chapter 20: I Pledge Allegiance
What should I think about the surge of “nationalism” in the United States? 
Chapter 21: Pray for Peace, Prepare for War 
What does it mean to engage in a “just war”? 
Chapter 22: Restoring the Self 
What is a Christian view of gender dysphoria and the transgender movement? 
Chapter 23: Fake News and Alternative Facts
How can I orient myself in a posttruth political environment? 

Part 3: A Christian Hope for American Politics
Chapter 24: If You Can Keep It (Reprise) 
If “Christian” is my primary identity, does “American” even matter? 
Chapter 25: Recovering the Lost Art of Christian Persuasion 
How should we relate to people who believe differently from us? 
Chapter 26: Public Witness from the Political Margins
How should we respond to the marginalization of historic Christianity? 

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Hendrik Gerhardus Stoker's Conscience newly translated

Hendrik Gerhardus Stoker's PhD has been translated into English by Philip Blosser and is now available:

Full details here:

Conscience: Phenomena and Theories was first published in German in 1925 as a dissertation by Hendrik G. Stoker under the title Das Gewissen: Erscheinungsformen und Theorien. It was received with acclaim by philosophers at the time, including Stoker’s dissertation mentor Max Scheler, Martin Heidegger, and Herbert Spielberg, as quite possibly the single most comprehensive philosophical treatment of conscience and as a major contribution in the phenomenological tradition.
Stoker’s study offers a detailed historical survey of the concept of conscience from ancient times through the Middle Ages up to more modern thinkers, including Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Freud, and Cardinal Newman. Stoker analyzes not only the concept of conscience in academic theory but also various types of theories of conscience. His work offers insightful discussions of problems and theories related to the genesis, reliability, and validity of conscience. In particular, Stoker analyzes the moral, spiritual, and psychological phenomena connected with bad conscience, which in turn illuminate the concept of conscience.
The book is deeply informed by the traditions of western Christianity. Available for the first time in an accessible English translation, with an introduction by its translator and editor, Philip E. Blosser, it promises to be of interest to philosophers, especially in Christian philosophy and phenomenology, and also to all those interested in moral and religious psychology, ethics, religion, and theology.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer (1801-1876)

There has been a resurgence of interest in Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer (1801-1876) of late.

A new book has recently been published - a translation of by Harman Boersema:
Smitskamp, H. 2018. Building a Nation on Rock or Sand: Groen Van Prinsterer for Today. Ontario: Guardian Books

Also is the recent biography
Gerrit J. Schutte 2016 Groen van Prinsterer: His Life and Work. Translated by Harry Van Dyke. Neerlandia, Alberta: Inheritance Puiblications.

There is a short YouTube trailier:

Also there is this:

Schlebusch, Jan Adriaan 2018. Strategic Narratives Groen van Prinsterer as Nineteenth-Century Statesman-Historian PhD thesis. University of Groningen.

Available online:

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Recent #kuyperania

Bräutigam, Michael 2018. Protestant European politics yesterday and today: The example of Adolf Schlatter, Adolf Stoecker and Abraham KuyperEuropean Journal of Theology 27(1):43-54.

Abstract: Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) and Adolf Schlatter (1852-1936) were both in touch with Adolf Stoecker, 1835-1909} at the end of the nineteenth century. Their interaction with the German Lutheran politician and party-founder is fascinating in many respects. In this essay. I compare Reformed and Lutheran approaches to politics using the example of the interaction between Kuyper, Schlatter and Stoecker. This historical case study offers much food for thought as we today seek to deal with the growing support for right-wing parties in Europe, and as we intend to offer a theologically balanced approach to Christian engagement in the realm of politics.

Hiemstra, John 2018. What did Kuyper really say? Christian Courier  28 May
John Hiemstra explains this article: 'Should churches speak out on key political issues? Or should they simply focus on churchly tasks? My denomination, the Christian Reformed Church, is discussing this hot topic, partly due to the election of President Trump, in its annual Synod. The two "overtures" to Synod, opposing public engagement by our church, both use the 19th century theologian, Abraham Kuyper's principle of sphere sovereignty to argue against churches engaging public issues. I argue, in this CC article, that they have seriously misunderstood Kuyper's thinking on sphere sovereignty.'
Schaap, James C. 2018.  Square inches and Project Blitz. Stuff in the Basement blog
Looks at the Christian Right's Blitz project and the misappropriation of Kuyper's square inch quote.
Dagley, Logan,  Greeson, Dennis and  Ng, Matthew 2018. Review of five of the recent translations in the Kuyper Translation Project. Themelios 43(1):147-150.

Wagenman, Mike 2018. Review of: Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition: A Systematic Introduction by Craig Bartholomew  Themelios 43(1):160-
Wagenman concludes: Those new to Kuyper or the Kuyperian tradition may find themselves struggling to fully appreciate the explosive power of Kuyper’s thought for life and ministry today. As Bartholomew notes repeatedly, specific retrieval and application of Kuyper’s thought for today is still needed. Therefore, those looking for practical or application-oriented treatments of Kuyper’s thought will need to consult the notes or postscript for other resources within the Kuyperian tradition. This is not a fault of Bartholomew’s work but a sign of the rich resources that remain to be unearthed from this prolific public theologian. But Bartholomew’s grasp and presentation of Kuyper’s daunting genius is inspiring and full of the joy of working in the fields of the Lord.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Bruce Ashford's Letters to An American Christian (B&H Publishing )- maps of Christian politics

I've recently started to read Bruce Riley Ashford's new book Letters to an American Christian. (My thanks to B&H Publishing group for a review copy.)

So far, I've read part 1 dealing with a Christian approach to politics. It really is very good - and not just because he mentions Kuyper! Below I've posted some maps of the first 6 chapters that comprise Part 1.

The outline of part 1:

Chapter 1:

Chapter 2:
Chapter 3:

Chapter 4:

Chapter 5:

Chapter 6:

Chapter 7:

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

A History of British Calvinism - a knowledge organiser part 4

Nineteenth century 1804 British and Foreign Bible Society founded
  1806 Burghurs split in Auld and New Lichts Abraham Booth (1734-1806)
  1807 John Newton (1725-1807)
  1807 Aged Pilgrims’ Friendly Society founded
  1813 William Huntingdon (1745-1813)
  1814 John Sutcliff (1752-1814)
  1814 Andrew Fuller (1782-1815)
  1815 United Secession Church Established by union of New Licht Burghers and Anti-Burghers Thomas Haweis (1734-1820)
  George IV (1820 – 1830) 1820
  1822 Auld Lichts rejoin the Church of Scotland
  1823 William Ward (1769-1823)
  1824 Gospel Tract Society founded
  1825 John Rippon (1751-1825)
  1827 Robert Hawker (1753-1827)
  1829 Roman Catholic Emancipation Act
  George IV (1830 – 1837) 1830
  1831 Trinitarian Bible Society founded
  1832 Joseph Kinghorn (1766-1832)
  1833 Gospel Herald magazine founded
  1834 William Carey (1761-1834)
  1834 Joseph Ivimey (1773-1834)
  1835 Gospel Standard Magazine founded
  1836 Charles Simeon (1759-1836)
  Victoria (1837 – 1901) 1837 William Steadman (1764-1837)
  1837 Joshua Marshman (1768-1837)
  1838 William Rushton (1796-1838)
  1838 Christmas Evans (1766-1838)
  John Elias (1774-1841)
  1840 William Nunn (1786-1840)
  1842 Robert Haldane (1764-1842)
  1844 Formation of the Free Church of England William Gadsby (1773-1844)
  1844 Alexander Carson (1776-1844)
  1845 William Knibb (1803-1845)
  1845 The Protestant Alliance founded founded 
  1845 Earthen Vessel magazine founded
  1847 United Presbyterism Church forms Merger of United Secession Church and Relief Church Thomas Chalmers (1780– 1847)
  1847 John Stevens (1776-1847)
  1850 Scottish Reformation Society founded 
  1850 Free Church of Scotland Formed by one third of Church of Scotland's congregation who embrace evangelicalism and object to patronage system of appointment of ministers
  1851 Scottish Reformation Society founded 
  1852 United Original Secession Church Some members split to join the Free Church of Scotland Joseph Irons (1785-1852)
  1852 Christopher Anderson (1782-1852)
  1861 William Cunningham (1805-1861)
  1862 Andrew Reed (1787-1862)
  1864 William Tiptaft (1803-1864)
  1865 Church Association founded 
  1869 J. C. Philpot (1802-1869)
  1870 John Kershaw (1792-1870)
  1872 James Wells (1803-1872)
  1873 Robert S. Candlish (1806–1873)
  Alexander Duff (1806-1878)
  1878 William McKerrow (1803-1878)
  1889 The Protestant Truth Society founded 
  1892 C H Spurgeon (1834-1892)
  1892 The Bible League Trust founded 
  1892 Bible League Quarterly founded
  1893 Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland formed Split from the Free Church of Scotland
  1897 Christian’s Pathway magazine founded
  1898 Protestant Alliance Magazine founded
  1900 J C Ryle (1816-1900)
  Edward VII (1901 – 1910) 1901
Twentieth century 1906 The National Church League founded 
  George  V (1910 – 1936) 1910 Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910)
  1914 Sovereign Grace Union (SGU) founded 
  1915 First SGU conference
  1917 Peace and Truth magazine founded
  1918 Fellowship of Evangelical Churchmen founded 
  1920 Free Grace Record founded
  1922 Bible Churchmen’s Society founded 
  1924 Henry Wace (1836-1924)
  1927 Free Church of England and Reformed Episcopal Church unite
  1928 Parliamentary defeat of the Revised Prayer Book
  1929 Evangelical Quarterly founded 
  1929 SGU delegates visit the Netherlands
  1930 William Sykes (1861-1930)
  1932 SGU publishes Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism
  1932 ‘The Reformed Faith: commonly called Calvinism’. 1st International Conference of Calvinists (18th SGU conference)
  1933 Henry Atherton (1875-1933)
  Edward VIII (1936)
  George VI (1936 – 1952) 1936
  1937 James Kidwell Popham (1847-1937)
  1938 4th International Conference of Calvinists held in Edinburgh
  1939 John R. Mackay (1865-1939)
  1943 Donald Maclean (1869-1943)
  1947 Evangelical Quarterly publsihed paper by Dooyeweerd
  1950 The Church Society founded 
  1951 Thomas Houghton (1859-1951)
  Elizabeth II (1952- ) 1952 The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches founded  Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)
  1952 British Evangelical Council founded 
  1955 Banner of Truth Magazine founded
  1958 International Reformed Bulletin begins publication
  1959 Eternal Truth magazine founded
  1960 Latimer Trust founded 
  1961 4th IARFA Conference in Cambridge
  1963 E.L. Hebden Taylor returns to UK
  1967 The Evangelical Times magazine founded
  1968 6th IARFA Conference in Nottingham
  1970 1st AACS Conference, in Birmingham
  1970 Reformation Today magazine founded
  1970 Grace Magazine founded from merger of Free Grace Record and Gospel Herald 
  1971 2nd AACS conference, Bristol
  1975 CSU Summer School, Derby
  1976 IARFA Conference, Edinburgh
  1977 International Reformed Bulletin edited by David Hanson
  1978 Foundations magazine founded
  1981 IRB ceases publication D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981)
  1982 College House in Cambridge (CHiC) begins
  1989 WYSOCS founded G.N.M. Collins (1901-1989)
  1990 British Reformed Fellowship founded 
  1993 British Reformed Journal magazine founded
  1996 New Focus magazine founded