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, 30 November 2019

Review of Meadors (ed) Where Wisdom may be Found


Where Wisdom May Be Found
The Eternal Purpose of Christian Higher Education
Edward P. Meadors (editor)
Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications
ISBN 978-1-4982-9610-6

As the title suggest the main underlying theme of this book is Wisdom. As Meadors explains in his introduction:

The thesis of this volume is simple: the purpose of education is to cultivate eternal wisdom.

And:

Wisdom is the goal of education.

In the remainder of the book, the other 26 contributors explicate this theme in and through their different subjects. The subjects include not only traditional academic subjects such as biblical exegesis, theology, philosophy, politics, literature, history, mathematics, engineering, geology but also sustainability, health, theatre, athletics and kinesiology.
The strength of the book is the underlying theme of wisdom which provides a coherence, the range of subjects covered and their brevity. The weakness is the brevity of the chapters. I was left wanting more after reading each chapter. There was a brief bibliography after each of the chapters, but a briefly annotated list of books/ articles would have added benefit.
The chapter by Vanhoozer on theology for me was slightly problematic. He seems to be elevating theology to more than an academic discipline. For Vanhoozer theology ‘is the study of God’ (43) and ‘the index of each discipline’s incompleteness’ (47). Vanhoozer, it seems, laments the loss of theology as the queen of the sciences.
 Spiegel provides a fascinating discussion of Socratic philosophy but does not deal with the role of philosophy in the academy or its relationship with other academic disciplines sadly.
Many of the chapters begin with brief biographical reflections on how the authors came to understand their calling to the different spheres. These provide helpful insights. 
For me, the chapters by Sikkema and Schuurman in physics and engineering, respectively, were the two stand-out chapters. This may be because of the subjects and that they were writing out of a Dooyeweerdian perspective. 
If nothing else this book reveals the concern for the creator God for all areas and aspects of his creation. It provides an excellent starting point for someone looking for a Christian approach to a variety of disciplines. 





Sunday, 24 November 2019

What is Calvinistic chemistry? Kuyper responds

Kuper was asked what he understood by Calvinistic chemistry when he was in parliament in March 1904. This was his reply

The honorable member has asked me what I understand by Calvinistic chemistry. The question, put that way, makes me suspect that he has a different conception of science from me. Science is an organic whole and controlled in all its parts—in some perhaps more strongly than in others—by the specific life-principle that it presupposes. I will not weary the Chamber with a broad exposition of how every branch of science is ultimately controlled by Calvinist, Catholic, Lutheran, or rationalist principles. On Education, 2019, p. 301. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Interview with Harry van Belle

Harry van Belle has recently published Coram Deo (for details see here).
I caught up with him to find out more about the book.



It was in 2014 that I last interviewed you, what’s been happening since then?

A few years ago, as I was approaching 80, I was faced with two questions: After all this time, what do I really believe? and Is there anything worthwhile that I can leave to the world as a legacy after I am gone?  These two questions are not easily answered. So many of us today seem to live anxious lives without hope or a vision for the future.  This is especially true for young people.  It tears at my heart that at the beginning of adulthood, when their lives should be full of promise for the future, so many young people live lives of despair and desperation, to the point of contemplating suicide.  Something very basic appears to be missing from their lives when they see no reason for living.

In response to this situation I decided to spend the time I have left writing a book about the notion of coram deo.  This notion was the battle cry of the 16th. Century Reformers like Luther and Calvin.  It expressed their conviction that human life is (to be) lived before the face of God, or in the presence of God, and that to acknowledge this fact makes human life meaningful and worth living.  I felt that revisiting this notion today was timely since we live in a secular age in which for most people God is irrelevant.  More than anything, what characterizes our lives today is the absence of God.

Your book Coram Deo, living life in the presence of God has just been published.  What are the key arguments in the book?

The pervasive absence of God in the Western world today is no accident.  During the last five hundred years we, in the developed West have deliberately and systematically exorcised God from our public and private lives.  In this we are unlike the people of any age before us.  From time immemorial our relationship to the Divine has been at the centre of human existence. Worshipping the gods structured the way human beings lived.

But some 500 years ago the cultural movement of Humanism took hold of the Western world and began to promote and to practise the mistaken notion that individual human beings have within themselves the power to make the infallible decisions, provided they are free from any outside influence or direction, especially from the dictates of religion and God. It came to be known as the doctrine of human autonomy, i.e. the view that human beings are (to be) a law unto themselves.  It set into motion a process of emancipation or democratization that continues to this day.  The end product of this historical process is the secular culture in which we presently live and move and have our being.

However, something essential disappeared from human life when we collectively decided to live life without God.  Secularism represents a loss of religious support and direction for human life.  Human beings are incurably religious.  They live their lives for Someone or something other than themselves.  Without God to worship, human life in the Western world easily became a perpetual restless search to serve and to worship something or someone, anything other than God, without the chance of ever laying themselves to rest anywhere.

This is what we experience today.  Today, our view of the world and of the future is fragmented.  We are at a loss how to deal with the many urgent problems we face, such as climate change, the opioid crisis and mass migration. There is a paralysis of decision-making among the leaders of the world.  What is lacking is a common, overarching, liberating vision that binds people together.  Each of us seems doomed to “doing what is good in our own eyes” (Judges 21: 25).  While we know more about human life than ever before, we no longer seem to know what human life is all about.

Perhaps the time has come to acknowledge that without God we are not masters of our own fate, that in living our lives we are addressed by Someone greater than ourselves, a God who challenges us to live life in ways He has revealed, ways informed by Coram Deo.  What human life from that perspective looks like is the focus of my book. 

The bottom line of this perspective is the reality that the world in which we live is a gift and a given from God. He made it.*  He owns it. He structures it. He looks after it. He allows us to live in it and He expects us to help Him make it a more humane place.  The God of Coram Deo is not a hidden God like the god of the pagans.  Nor is He the absent god of the secular age.  This God reveals Himself and His love for the world and the creatures in it. He communes with human beings and shows them ways to make the world a better place.
* For stylistic ease in the use of pronouns about God, I bow to the traditional convention of referring to God as male.  But I in no way mean to decide anything thereby about God’s gender. 

Who is Coram Deo aimed at and why should they read it?

First off, I wrote Coram Deo to answer the question of what I really believe.  So any one who like me struggles with this question should read the book.  I think my book would be especially helpful to young people, Christians among them, who cannot avoid the question about the meaning of life because they need to answer it in order to enter the adult phase of their existence.

You mentioned that Mekkes' work has been influential on you. For those that are not aware of him could you explain who he is and why he is important to you? 

Dr. Johan Mekkes (1898-1987) was professor of Calvinistic philosophy at the University of Leiden and a second-generation follower of the Dutch Christian philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd.  He wrote a number of books that are difficult to read, but very worthwhile to study.  Two of his books, Creation, Revelation and Philosophy (2010), and Time and Philosophy (2012) were translated into English by Chris Van Haeften and published by Dordt College Press.  A very clear and insightful introduction to Mekkes is by Sander Griffioen, Thinking Along With Mekkes, Philosophia Reformata, 82 (1) 26-42, 2018.

Mekkes influenced quite a number of philosophy students who are now leaders in their own right.  Among them: Johan Vander Hoeven, Bob Goudswaard,  Egbert Schuurman,  Gerrit Glas and Sander Griffioen. Mekkes was able to penetrate down to the essential relation and difference between  Christian and Humanistic philosophy, something I also attempt to do in my Coram Deo. 
In particular, I value his insight that the difference is one of listening before thinking vs. thinking before listening, of bowing to revelation vs. creating revelation, of (not) accepting that culture occurs in creation, even though both creation and culture are ongoing.
The other insight I found most valuable was his notion of Sub Contrario, which I have "translated" as the notwithstanding clause of God's grace.  It deals with the question of what used to be called Common Grace.  To me it explains why unbelievers are not as bad as they could be, and why believers are not as good as they should be.

What do you like to do for fun?

I play with my grandchildren, watch good movies and plays, visit with friends, I paint, I nap and I walk occasionally.

If you were stuck on a desert island and were only allowed two luxury items, what would you take?

I would take pickled herring, croquets, a Heinekens and of course my Coram Deo.  (I am a Canadian, but I still have one leg in Holland).




 For more of Harry's work see his page on all of life redeemed:


Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Review of Christian Worldview by Bavinck


Christian Worldview
Herman Bavinck
Translators and Editors: Gray Sutanto, James Eglinton, and Cory Brock
Crossway
ISBN 9781433563195
Hbk, 144pp,

The term worldview was first introduced to the Christian world by Abraham Kuyper, who drew upon the insights of James Orr. Unfortunately, the term has become abused, overused and misused.

This book by Herman Bavinck (1854-1921), Kuyper’s successor as professor of theology at the Free University, is a welcome addition to the worldview literature, particularly as it was written well before the term had fallen into a theoretical trap. This then is not a summary of Christian thinking and theology as much Christian worldview material seems to be today - for some then the title may cloud the content. What it is is an apologetic for an organic Christian perspective rooted in a creator God, against the arid, one-dimensional worldviews around at the turn of the nineteenth century.

The editors’ introduction serves the volume well and places Bavinck’s work in its historical and philosophical milieu.

Likewise, in his introduction, Bavinck places his work in context. He writes at a time when science and technology were expected to make religion superfluous (p. 25), yet there was an increase in interest in new religions, in a ‘this -worldly’ ‘world religion’ (p. 26).
Bavinck identifies three key questions, which he goes on to examine in the subsequent chapters.

There are:
What is the relation between thinking and being;
between being and becoming;
and between becoming and acting.

It is only Christianity, Bavinck argues, that preserves the harmony between them and ‘reveals a wisdom that reconciles the human being with a God and, through this, with itself, with the world and with life’. (p. 29).

1. Thinking and being

In the first chapter Bavinck examines epistemological concerns and the relation between subject and object. Even though Bavinck was professor of theology he shows here his awareness of philosophy. Philosophers are discussed rather than theologians.
Here he discusses nominalism, idealism and voluntarism, and shows how they fail to articulate a coherent view. He emphasises that it is only Christianity that can adequately describe things as they are. He goes further:

‘No matter how we look at it, the concept of truth and science - if we think consistently and without prejudice - brings us to Christianity.’ (p. 45).

2. Being and becoming

In the second chapter, once again Bavinck places different philosophical and scientific perspectives alongside Christianity and shows them to be defective. In particular, here he focuses on the mechanical worldview. He makes the interesting observation that

‘Those who have abandoned the mechanical worldview as untenable continue to honour it secretly as the scientific ideal.’ (p. 69)

He sees Christianity as an organic worldview - something that a Kuyper also maintained. For which Kuyper was occasionally criticised as being reliant on idealism, however, the critics seem to miss that it is also a biblical metaphor (cf John 15 and the vine). For Bavinck:

‘According to the this organic worldview, the world is in no sense one-dimensional; rather it contains a fullness of being, a rich exchange of phenomena, a rich multiplicity of creations.’ (p. 71-72).

The mechanistic worldview, unlike the organic worldview, fails to explain development. The mechanistic worldview fails ultimately because it has no answers to the origin and development of life:

‘It is only provided by the Christian confession that God is the Creator and that his glory is the goal of all things. Everything is subservient to this. Everything is directed to it.’ (p. 83)

3. Becoming and acting

In the final chapter, the issues that Bavinck addresses is one of freedom and ethics. He points out that:

‘This objective reality of logical, ethical, and aesthetic norms points back to a world order that can have its origins and existence only in God almighty.’ (p. 106)

And goes on to maintain

‘If the logical, ethical, and aesthetic norms deserve absolute validity; if truth, goodness, and beauty are goods worth more than all the treasures of this world, then they cannot thank the human—for whom law was made—for their origins.’ (p. 108)

Christianity thus provides the only coherent and consistent framework for life. The other perspectives Bavinck ably shows are incoherent and cannot account for the diversity of creation, among other things. This is hardly surprising as they deny or ignore the Creator that created the creation.

This book is a very welcome addition to the rapidly expanding corpus of Bavinck in English.


My thanks to Crossway for the review copy in exchange for a fair review.





Friday, 25 October 2019

Interview with Harry Van Dyke

Harry van Dyke is one of the translator/ editors of the recently published On Education by Abraham Kuyper -- the latest volume in the Abraham Kuper Collected Works in Public Theology series from Lexham Press.

I caught up with Harry and asked him questions about Kuyper and On Education.


Melvin Flikkema, the general editor of the series claimed: “We are conducting this project because Kuyper is hugely important for the 21st Century." What is it that makes Kuyper so important for today? 

 Ever since the Chicago Declaration, Evangelical Christians in the USA have for several decades now looked for ways to make a genuinely Christian contribution to public life in their country. Kuyper gives them an inspiring example of a creative, robust, and intellectually responsible response, a century ago, to creeping secularism in some key institutions in his country (church and theology, politics, journalism, elementary and higher education). They like to read about his trailblazing efforts to create room for his fellow confessors at the policy table in his country, by means of what came to be called confessional multiformity and institutionalized worldview pluralism. The only aspect some America readers question is Kuyper’s support of monarchy and his advocacy of sweeping social legislation.

 Education was obviously close to Kuyper's heart - why then do you think he didn't include a lecture on Calvinism and education in his Stone Lectures? 

Much of Kuyper’s involvement with the education question required his concentrating on the financial inequality of the Dutch school system which favoured the “religionless” government schools and left alternative schools heavily underfunded, He may have felt that setting forth the intricacies of the Dutch school struggle might distract from the main purpose of the Stone Lectures, namely the portrayal of Calvinism as a full-blown match for modern humanism.

 It is regrettable that as a result of this more narrow focus, Kuyper’s attention to the intrinsic challenges of Christian education---pedagogy, anthropology, psychology---was largely passed over. He wrote much about family life and child-rearing, and seems to have assumed that a school which required the involvement of the Christian parents would automatically be a Christian school, and that if the teacher was a Christian he would teach Christianly. For these reasons, it was important to include the short appendix in the Education volume that dealt with a critical aspect of pedagogy.

 If he had, what might have been the key ideas he would have addressed? 

As he briefly wrote in a variety of publications and later explained in Parliament as Prime Minister, he would probably have set forth:

That no education can be religiously neutral.
That no government should support one type of school and ignore all other types.
That Christian schooling demands the involvement of at least four partners: the church (is the faith correctly presented), the government (are pupils introduced to a proper curriculum needed for taking part in national life), parents (does the school help them in keeping their baptismal vows of training the child in the fear of the Lord), and teachers (are they properly trained in sound teaching methods). 

Kuyper obviously had much to say on education and schools, as this volume testifies. How did you decide what work of Kuyper's to include in this volume? 

A committee of five, headed by Wendy Naylor, made several conference calls to discuss which pieces to include, which to omit, and which to consider one more time. (Naylor wrote her doctoral dissertation on Kuyper and education.)

Were there any pieces that didn't make it in that you thought could have been included? 

The speech entitled “Sphere-sovereignty” with which Kuyper opened the Free University in 1880. 

What did Kuyper mean when he wrote: 'Education by its very nature is not a political but a social issue'?

 The Dutch school system in the 1800s was very much tailored to the stratification in social classes. Primary schools served especially the children of the lower classes, those who would after six years (sometimes less than that) move on to a job to add to the family income. The public secondary school was established in the 1850s and called the Hoogere Burgerschool (school for the upper-middle class) and emphasized besides the humanities, the sciences and commercial subjects. Universities were for the elite who were presumed to have prepared their children for entering the professions by having them taught either in the few Latin schools and gymnasia or at home by tutors.

Now then, the lower classes could get free education at the government schools, but if they chose to send their offspring to non-government (separate, confessional, Christian, Protestant, parochial) schools they would have to pay tuition fees. Such fees could actually be quite low if, as often happened, that school was supported by a (usually non-conformist) church or by a philanthropist. But even low fees were a financial hardship for the lower classes because of their low wages in a competitive free-enterprise system. Kuyper fought his whole life for solving the ‘social question’ by means of labour laws, guaranteed living wages, unemployment and disability insurance, pension schemes, etc.


 Why then did Kuyper use political means to achieve his aims regarding education? 

Power in parliament would plead with government -- and ultimately force it -- to enact wide-ranging social legislation to alleviate the plight of the working classes, coupled with reform of the national education system that would give parity status to non-government schools and so alleviate the unfair financial burden of its supporters.

Can you briefly explain the background to the school struggle at the time in the Netherlands? 

Briefly: The ruling elite was enamoured with the rationalist philosophy born in the Age of Enlightenment. They worked hard to remain master of national education in order to raise the next generation in “right thinking”. They regarded supporters of non-government schools as light-shy obscurantists who still held to an outdated theology.

 How influential was Groen van Prinsterer on Kuyper's approach to Christian schools and education? 

The two first met at an annual meeting of Christian school supporters. Kuyper had read Groen and agreed with his opposition to the “religionless” government school. As early as 1840, when the authorities regularly hindered the establishment of non-government schools by withholding permits, Groen as a member of a constitutional convention had raised his voice with these words: “Parents who are convinced that the instruction in the existing [government] schools is non-Christian, must not . . . be prevented from providing their children with the kind of education they believe they can justify before God. That coercion, to put it bluntly, is intolerable and ought to stop.” Kuyper would repeatedly harp on the theme that the schools' struggle was also one for freedom of conscience, which he styled “a Netherlandic value par excellence”.

 What do you think are Kuyper's strengths? 

Intellectual prowess, broad knowledge and universal interests, tenacity. He was a skilful journalist, an inspiring orator, a fighter of rare organizational talent.

    ... what were his weaknesses? 

Vanity, pomposity. At times I suspect him of being a poseur. Queen Wilhelmina responded to him the way Queen Victoria seems to have reacted to Gladstone (don’t preach at me!). He also (like Martin Luther King, Jr.) had a growing sense---these leaders always do, don’t they---of being indispensable to the Cause, underestimating or overshadowing gifted people around them. A fair assessment is found in Michael R. Wagenman, Engaging the World with Abraham Kuyper (Lexham Press, 2019).


What do you make of the claims of some Reformed theologians that Kuyper advocated a two-kingdoms approach? 

A woeful misconstrual. In the words of S.U. Zuidema: it ignores the import of his theology and the entire thrust of his life and career. People need to read his multi-volume Pro Rege. Admittedly, however, there are in Kuyper some formulations and ambiguous concepts that might lead one to read him that way. Zuidema has offered a most thorough-going analysis of this problem in an article in which he crossed swords with Van Ruler and J. Ridderbos, entitled “Common Grace and Christian Action in Abraham Kuyper,” in his collected essays Communication and Confrontation (Assen/Kampen: Van Gorcum/Kok, 1972), 52−105.
[Also available in Steve Bishop and John Kok (eds) On Kuyper. Dordt College Press, 2013.]


Friday, 4 October 2019

#Kuyperania 2018



My Kuyperania 2018 - a review of the books/ articles written on or about Kuyper has been published in Koers https://www.koersjournal.org.za/index.php/koers/article/download/2450/2888


It includes reviews of the following

Kuyper , A 2018. Honey From the Rock: Daily Devotions From Young Kuyper Bellingham, WA, Lexham Press 2018
Bräutigam, M. 2018. Protestant European politics yesterday and today: The example of Adolf Schlatter, Adolf Stoecker and Abraham Kuyper. European Journal of Theology, 27(1): 43-54.
Brummel, N.C. 2018. Dutch Reformed Theologians: Explorations in Prominent Theologians and their Central ideas. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (ISBN 978-1982037925).
Charles, J.D. 2018. The Kuyperian Option: Cultural Engagement & Natural Law Ecumenism. Touchstone May/ June: 22-28.
Dagley, L., Greeson, D. and Ng, M. 2018. Review of five of the recent translations in the Kuyper Translation Project. Themelios, 43(1): 147-150.
Henderson, R. 2018. Review of The Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition: A Systematic Introduction, by Craig G. Bartholomew. Philosophia Reformata, 83(2). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1163/23528230-08302006.
Himes, B.M. 2018. For a Better Worldliness: Abraham Kuyper, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Discipleship for the Common Good. Eugene, OR: Pickwick.
Kaemingk, M. 2018 Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Ma, L. 2018. Review of The Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition: A Systematic Introduction, by Craig G. Bartholomew. Calvin Theological Journal, 53(1): 190-192.
O’Donovan, O. 2018. Every square inch - Review of Pro Rege. First Things (November) Available at: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2018/11/every-square-inch.
Pahman, D. 2018. Toward a Kuyperian Ethic of Public Life. Journal of Reformed Theology, 12(4). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1163/15697312-01204001.
Park, J.-E. 2018. Driven by God: Active Justification and Definitive Sanctification in the Soteriology of Bavinck, Comrie, Witsius, and Kuyper. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Gmbh & Co.
Pass, B.R. 2018. Review of On the Church. Calvin Theological Journal, 53(1): 200-202.
Seerveld, C. 2018. WANTED: Vegetarian Kuyperians with Artistic Underwear. Pro Rege, 46(3): 24 - 28. Available at: https://digitalcollections.dordt.edu/pro_rege/vol46/iss3/3.
Wagenman, M. 2018. Review of: Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition: A Systematic Introduction by Craig Bartholomew. Themelios, 43(1): 160-161.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Interview (part2) with Marinus Dirk Stafleu



This is the second part of an interview with Professor Stafleu - the first part is here.
His personal website has access to the majority of his work http://www.mdstafleu.nl/

- You were a visiting scientist at the H.H.Wills Physics Laboratory in Bristol for a while - did you have any contact with any British reformational scholars at that time? What was your impression of the UK?

During this visit of ten months in 1968-1969, I studied extensively Herman Dooyeweerd’s New Critique, and I wrote Analysis of time in modern physics (see below). However, I did not meet British reformed scholars. It is a remarkable fact that their number is significantly larger than in any other European country, with the exception of the Netherlands. I benefitted from several fruitful contacts with British scholars interested in Christian philosophy.

- Which of your books (or articles) do you regard as the most important - and why?

I have the habit of publishing my views first in a paper, next in a book. During my development as a philosopher, five papers have been pivotal:

* ‘Analysis of time in modern physics’ (1970), Philosop­hia Reformata 35:1-24,119-131. Introducing subject-subject relations, I amended Dooyeweerd’s philosophy of time.
* ‘Some problems of time - some facts of life’ (1986), Philos­op­hia Reformata 51:67-82, is the first paper in which I put forward that evolution is consistent with Christian philosophy. 
* ‘On the character of social communities, the state and the public domain’ (2004), Philosophia Reformata 69:125-139, proposed the political relation frame.
* ‘Philosophical ethics and the so-called ethical aspect’ (2007), Philosophia Reformata 72:21-33, argues that ethics is not qualified by a specific relation frame.
* ‘Time and history in the philosophy of the cosmonomic Idea’ (2008), Philosophia Reformata 73:154-169, presents my philosophy of history.

My most important books are:

* Time and again, A systematic analysis of the founda­tions of physics, Toronto: Wedge; Bloemfon­tein: Sacum 1980; revised 2019: www.mdstafleu.nl. Some friends in Canada and South-Africa made the publication of my first book possible. For several natural scientists in The Netherlands and abroad, it became their first introduction to PCI. It was discussed during a summer seminar at the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto, 1975, where each participant commented on a chapter of the book. 

* Theories at work, On the structure and functioning of theories in science, in particular during the Copernican revolution, Lanham 1987: University Press of America. This book is based on a series of lectures given at a summer school at the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto, 1985 and on lectures delivered at the University of Potchefstroom, South-Africa, where I was a guest in 1981 and 2001. This book reports on my study of the philosophy of science from a historical perspective. It was revised in 2016 as Theory and experiment, Philosophy of science in a historical context, www.mdstafleu.nl.
 
* Chronos & Clio, Time in history, Buijten & Schipperheijn, Amsterdam 2011. (Translation 2012 on my website.) This book contains my mature views on the meaning of time and human history. 

* Encyclopaedia of relations and characters. I. Natural laws. II. Normative principles, 2018-2019, www.mdstafleu.nl. This book summarizes my views on relations and characters, both natural and normative, in their dynamic development. The unravelling of the architecture of relation frames and character types is like solving an interlocking puzzle.
* A strong state and a strong society, www.mdstafleu.nl, 2019, discusses my views of the political relation frame, the state, and civil society.

- Which of your books (or articles) do you think provides the best introduction to your work?

I should recommend The open future, Contours of a Christian philosophy of dynamic development, 2017, www.mdstafleu.nl.

- Which books have been most influential in your development as a scholar?

Besides Herman Dooyeweerd’s works, these are books by critical realists like Mario Bunge and Karl Popper, and by realist historians of science like Eduard Dijksterhuis, Alexandre Koyré, Stillman Drake, and David Wootton. The philosophy of dynamic development is based on a realistic reading of the history of science, rejecting Enlightenment philosophy, romanticism, positivism, historism, and relativism alike, as I discussed in Nature and freedom, Philosophy of nature, Natural theology, Enlightenment and Romanticism (2018), www.mdstafleu.nl.

- What advice would you give to budding reformational scholars?

Be critical and creative, not believing in anyone’s self-appointed authority. Enlarge the Enlightenment’s ‘Dare to think’, into ‘dare to believe that the world is created according to natural laws and normative principles to be discovered and to be elaborated’. Keep an open mind to the future. Evolution and history will never end, nor will philosophy.

- What challenges do you see facing the reformational movement at the moment?

To take distance from conservatives like the creationists, and to develop a truly progressive and dynamic view of our time and history.

- What do you like to do for fun?

Reading history. Travelling, visiting ancient and medieval historical sites. I like puzzles, reading and viewing thrillers. My philosophical project is a puzzle-solving activity.

- And finally, in true desert-island-discs style: If you were on a desert island what two luxuries would you take with you?

A computer and a reliable broadband internet connection.