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, 31 May 2012

odds and sods

Taste Good Cakes - ideal if you are in the Bristol area
A response to Jamie Smith on 2K by Daryl Hart
Creately - an online chart/ diagram maker
An outline of Michael Horton's The Christian Faith
Renewing Minds: A Journal of Christian Thought
May issue of Perspective
Old Testament History - a chart from Joseph Torres:

The celebrity illusion:

Monday, 28 May 2012

Bavinck's organic motif: mindmap of Eglinton's Trinity and Organism Ch 3

Mindmap of James Eglinton's Trinity and Organism chapter 3 'Bavinck's Organic Motif'.

Eglinton examines Bavinck's organic motif and finds that Veenhof's use of it flawed. The motif is not as universally defined or as homogeneous as supposed. Van Eck's examination of it has shown that such a view is wrong. Veenhof's approach is to assuem that Bavinck's use is defined by a historical-etymological approach. A better way is to see how Bavinck uses the metaphor. Mattson suggests that it comes from  Reformed theology. This is supported by the fact that Kuyper sues such a term and that Josef Bohatec has traced it sue to Calvin.

The organic motif is best seen in the light of a reformed trinitarianism rather than Idealism - contra Veenhof.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

How many Bavinks? Mindmap of Eglinton's Trinity and Organism Ch 2

Mindmap of James Eglinton's Trinity and Organism ch 2: "How many Bavinck's?"

Eglinton examines the thesis that has dominated Bavinck studies, the idea that there are two Bavinck's. The Reformed, orthodox theologian and the Modern, progressive academic. This bipolar reading of Bavink has been the lens through which Bavinck has been read. It is found in Jan Veenhof and more recently in VanDrunen's two-kingdom approach.

Eglinton draws upon Nelson Kloosterman to show how flawed this model is.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Where was Bavinck? Mindmap of Eglinton's Trinity and Organism Ch 1

A mindmap of the first chapter of James Eglinton's Trinity and Organism

This first chapter of Eglinton's important book - based on his New college, Edinburgh PhD - looks at the key question: where was Bavink? He provides the theological and cultural background to Bavink and late 18th century and early 19th century Dutch theology. This background is important to the rise of neo-Calvinism developed by Kuper and Bavinck.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Odds and sods

An interview with Bavinck scholar Brian Mattson

Questions JW's pose regarding the divinity of Jesus

Bible and Jesus FAQ

Three more additions to my Christian mathematicians series at God and math:

Riemann                             Venn                              Salmon

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Mindmap of Part II of Kuyper's Wisdom & Wonder

A mind map of Abraham Kuyper's Wisdom & Wonder (Christian's Library, 2011) Part II on art.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Kuyper on beauty

Abraham Kuyper nicely summarises his conclusions regarding wonder and beauty in these eleven points (Wisdom and Wonder, Christian's Library Press, 2011, p. 139-140):

1. Despite the fact that it is repeatedly abused by sin and Satan, the realm of beauty, together with the beauty in and of the world, proceeded in its origin and essence from God’s decree, and is to be valued as his creature.
2. By the term beauty we are to understand what Scripture calls the “divinity” that shines through in the creation in terms of God’s eternal power, involving not merely its wise plan but also its outward appearance.
3. In paradise all creatures were beautiful, without blemish or defect, but for that reason nevertheless still not displaying divine beauty in its consummate perfection.
4. After humanity’s fall from God in sin, when the curse spread across the earth, beauty diminished and ugliness and hideousness emerged.
5. Had the outworking of this curse continued unrestrained, all beauty would have been replaced by ugliness, even as hell is always accurately portrayed as consummate ugliness.
6. Meanwhile this fatal outworking did not continue unhindered, but was arrested by common grace, and thereby a world exists that displays that triad: the beautiful, the ugly, and the ordinary that neither repels nor attracts.
7. At creation a sense of this divinity that is located in the form and the appearance of things was created within human beings, such that one of the features of our creation according to God’s image consisted in the sense of beauty.
8. This sense of beauty was darkened by sin, and would have been lost entirely if common grace had not preserved it for us in part.
9. As a consequence of this, a threefold variety is found among people, namely, a very refined sense of beauty in a few people, indifference toward finer beauty among many people, and pleasure in what is unsightly among depraved people.
10. This state of affairs is not destined to last forever, but will be terminated by a universal cosmic fire, and from this cosmic fire a new world will come forth that will give us to see nothing but perfected beauty, and this perfected beauty is called the “kingdom of glory.”
11. In that kingdom of glory, reborn people will exist not only with a sinless soul but also with a glorified body, and with that glorified body will be given the capacity for enjoying and treasuring in a manner that is complete this perfected beauty, namely, glory itself. Thus we will not enjoy a return to the paradise situation, but will enter a situation far surpassing paradise.

The Young Bull by Paulus Potter - mentioned by Kuyper on p. 150.
"... a wonderful creation, but exists only on the canvas."

"A landscape by van Ruisdael is beautiful; it represents nature before your eyes, but it is merely the display of colors and lines of plants and animals" (p. 150-151).

Friday, 11 May 2012

New book on Bavick: Trinity and Organism by James Eglinton

Trinity and Organism: Towards a New Reading of Herman Bavinck’s Organic Motif
(T&T Clark Studies in Systematic Theology Edited by John Webster, Ian A. McFarland and  Ivor Davidson Volume 17)
T&T Clark, 2012
ePub ISBN: 978-0-5676-3271-5
ISBN: 9780567124784
240 pp
James Eglinton

This book is based on Eglinton's Edinburgh PhD, supervised by David Fergusson.

Abstract. This book provides a new reading of the organic motif as found in the works of the Dutch neo-Calvinist theologian, Herman Bavinck (1854–1921). Noting the recent collapse of the previously dominant ‘two Bavincks’ hypothesis, it explores the impact of this now defunct hermeneutic on the normative reading of Bavinck’s organic motif in the work of Jan Veenhof. In probing Veenhof’s general reliance on the failed ‘two Bavincks’ model and view of the motif through this lens, it becomes evident that a new general reading of Bavinck (which will be used to interpret specific portions of his theology) is required. One must ‘reunite’ the ‘two Bavincks’ by tracing the basis for conceptual unity in his thought.
This basis for unity is located in Bavinck’s doctrine of God. In handling the divine paradigm of unity-in-diversity via both triadic and non-triadic emphases, one argues that Bavinck attempts to understand all of nature and history as a broad sweep of Trinitarian divine self-revelation. The redemption and modification of the Augustinian notion of the vestigia trinitatis enables Bavinck to see the Trinity revealed in all of life. He thus commandeers the common organic language of nineteenth-century Europe and, in so doing, loads it with Trinitarian meaning. The working hypothesis developed is that, for Bavinck, a theology of Trinity ad intra leads to a cosmology of organism ad extra.
Such a hypothesis is probed in chapters on Bavinck’s doctrines of God, general revelation, Scripture and ecclesiology. In all of these, one finds that Bavinck invokes the organic motif to explain the sense in which the archetypal unity of the Godhead acts as the foundation for all consequent ectypal unity in the creation. As such, the organisch is understood to be Bavinck’s motif of choice when accounting for the triniformity which abounds in all created reality.
In this exploration, it becomes apparent that as Bavinck uses the organic motif, he draws on the heritage of both Patristic and Reformation theology. However, he does not merely repristinate this tradition. Rather, his use of the motif is a highly creative development in the intellectual context of the late nineteenth-century.
1. Where was Herman Bavinck?
2. How many Herman Bavincks?
3. Bavinck's Organic Motif
4. The Organic Motif and the Doctrine of God
5. The Organic Motif and General Revelation
6. The Organic Motif and Special Revelation
7. The Organic Motif and Ecclesiology

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Mouw hits the spot - again

Some great thoughts from Richard Mouw [HT Antony Billington]

“My pastor has no idea of the kind of world I live in six days a week.” That came from a prominent businessperson, a venture capitalist, during a lunch we had together when I visited the city where he works.
And even though that particular comment was clearly a complaint, it was expressed in a larger context in which he was speaking quite warmly about his involvement in the local church.
His congregation has good programs for his children, and he and his wife are involved in a small group they find spiritually nurturing. His pastor preaches good, biblically based sermons. All of that is very positive in his mind. What is missing, though, is any sort of connection to his actual daily work experience.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Mindmap of Kuyper's Wisdom and Wonder Ch 1-4

My first draft of a mindmap of the chapters on science from Abraham Kuyper's Wisdom and Wonder - click on the image to enlarge it.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Groen van Prinsterer on politics

Groen van Prinsterer's approach to politics:

To engage in politics as a Christian meant for him ... not just to work from a personal inspiration based on the Bible, but to pursue a Christian politics, a Christian state, a Christian public school. For Groen, politics and government were not neutral, technical areas where Christians too, motivated by their personal beliefs, could be active. Politics, government, education were institutions that ought to fall entirely under the law of God.

From Gerrit J. Schutte Guillame van Prinsterer: His Life and Work (translated by Harry van Dyke), Publisher's imprint

Monday, 7 May 2012

Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer - a time line

Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer (1801-1876) was a statesman, an aristocrat, a historian - he was the Royal Archivist - politician and journalist - he published De Nederlandsche Gedachten and Nederlandsche Gedachten.
He was extremely influential upon Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper took up Groen's mantle in the setting up of the Anti-Revolutionary Party as the first Dutch national political party
A recent important article by Harry van Dyke has described Groen as the godfather of Kuyper and Herman Bavinck (Calvin Theological Journal 47 (1) (2012)).

Many of Groen's works in Dutch and French are available here.

1797 Groen's parents Pieter Jacobus Groen van Prinsterer and Adrinana Hendrika Caan marry
1799 Birth of eldest sister Cornelia Adriana (aka Keetje)
1801 Birth
1805 Spends winter season in mansion on Korte Vijverberg
1806 Birth of youngest sister Maria Clazina
1808/9 attends private school run by the Hague chapter of the Society for the Common Utility
1813 Spends short time at a boarding school in Haarlem
1815 Hieronmymus School, Utrecht
1816 Saves girl from drowning
1817 Enrols at Leyden University to study both law and letters
1817 Poet Willem Bilderdijk comes to live in Leyden
1818 Attends Bilderdijk’s private seminar
1821 Sister Keetje marries Mari Hoffman
1822 Touched by the baptism of Da Costa
1823 Passes qualifying exams – decides to do two doctorates
1823 Defends two doctorates dissertations
1924 Barrister in The Hague
1826 General History of Netherlands invitation by the King issued
1827 Appointed to post of Secretary in King’s Cabinet
1828 Marries Elizabeth Maria Magdalena van der Hoop (b 1807) (21 May)
1829 Moves to small house on Haagse Voorhout, The Hague
1829 First issue of De Nederlandsche Gedachten published (122 issues in total published in its 3 year life)
1830 Belgium revolt
1832 Moves house to Plein Square, The Hague
1832 De Nederlandsche Gedachten ceases publication (July)
1832 Writes to Minister pointing out the inherent injustice of the Education Act.
1833 January mother dies
1833 January seriously ill
1833 July travels to Switzerland for convalescence – meets Merle d’Aubigne
1833 December discharged from role of Secretary to the King – but charged with supervision of family archives
1833 Becomes a Christian
1834 Secession (Afscheiding) movement begins
1835 March first volume of Archives ou correspondance inédite de la Maison d'Orange-Nassau published. He edited 13 volumes, covering the period 1552 to 1688
1837 Father dies
1837 Tract: Measures Against the Seceders Tested Against Constitutional Law
1838 Lives in mansion on Korte Vijverberg
1840 Elected to the Double Chamber of parliament
1841 First instalment of Handboek der Geschiedenis van het Vaderland [Handbook of the History of the Fatherland] published
1842 May wrote an open letter to the Synod with 6 others
1845 Begins to deliver the lectures that became Unbelief and Revolution to an invited audience in his home
1845 The Christian Friends begin to meet in Amsterdam
1846 Handbook completed: over 1100 numbered paragraphs
1848 Writes a series of pamphlets: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Explanation of the Slogan of the Revolution
1848 Essays on Constitutional Revision and National Concord
1849 January takes up seat in the lower house of parliament
1850 Begins editorship of daily De Nederlander and becomes co-owner
1850 Surrenders manorial rights in the village of Ursem
1853 Leyden history teacher, Robert Fruin, launches a written attack on Groen
1855 De Nederlander ceases publication
1855 Re-elected to a seat in Second Chamber
1855 Visits England and Scotland with wife
1857 Second Chamber passes the Primary Education Act (votes 47 to 13)
        Groen resigns his seat in protest by walking out of the chamber
1860 Devotes energy to Association for Christian National Primary Education
1862 Returns to Second Chamber
1862 December becomes ill
1864 Election year
        Begins correspondence with Abraham Kuyper
1865 Resigns seat in Second Chamber because of illness
1861 Publishes the French tract The Anti-Revolutionary and Confessional Party in the Reformed Church of the Netherlands.
1866 Groen’s friend Levinus Keuchenius. Keuchenius previously secretary-general of the Department of Colonial Affairs and a member of the Council of the Netherlands East Indies takes seat in Second Chamber
1867 Writes two brochures condemning Prussian Chancellor Otto van Bismark’s politics and the idolatry of nationalism
1869 He begins a new series of Nederlandsche Gedachten
1871 Elections – he  endorses only Kuyper, Van Otterloo and Baron van Wassenaer
        Resigns from the post of Royal Archivist
        Fourth edition of Handbook – distributed free to hundreds of school teachers
1872 Kuyper begins De Standaard. Groen had contributed 3000 guilders towards the set up.
1875 Publishes Maurice et Barnevelt
1876 Published a collection of letters related to the conflict with Van der Brugghen over the 1857 Education Bill
1876 19 May death. Buried in Ter Navolging cemetery.
1879 14 March Betsy, his wife, dies

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer's view of history

Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer, was a journalist, politician and historian.  Schutte in his biography of Groen has this to say about Groen's approach to history:
For Groen van Prinsterer, the study of history was a matter of great importance as well as practical usefulness. "In the past lies the present," as Bilderdijk had said, giving voice to a common notion of the time that was also warmly affirmed by Groen. The study of history is a means of getting to know one's own time; it is a school for everyone who wants to become familiar with the processes and structures of human affairs. It also helps one to gain insight into the power of evil and the limits to what man can do. But besides these practical lessons, the study of history in particular had religious value for Groen. History realizes God's plan with the world. He guides earthly events to their appointed end, and along the way He does not withhold trials and hardship from his children. He also punishes those who go their own way—for those who depart from God can expect griefs and sorrows. History, therefore, is the story of God's guidance of and God's involvement with humankind; it is the confirmation of the promises and threats which Revelation has attached to His covenant with man. To study history, therefore, is for Groen not just a pleasant pastime that can yield many interesting things. It is an essential work for a Christian, who should leave no means unused to learn to know God better. It stands written! It has come to pass! That is how Groen loved to summarize his Christian-historical world-view. Notice how Groen's aphorism puts Holy Scripture first, as God's indisputable proclamation of the truth. But God also reveals himself in what comes to pass in history, although on that score human knowledge is limited and imperfect, which is why the book of history will always have to be read while constantly testing it against the written Word. What has happened is not good just because it happened. That was the view, basically, of many of Groen's contemporaries, the conservatives of the so-called Historical School. They accepted the existing order as having been realized in the historical process under God's providential rule and therefore as good. Those conservatives forgot about evil and about testing history against fixed norms. Thus they were often uncritical admirers of the status quo and, by the same token, terribly afraid of the continuation of the historical process. The distinctiveness of Groen's position was that he wanted to apply the standards of God's law to the historical process—in which, after all, anti-godly, diabolical forces are active as well. 
In this way Groen in principle freed himself from many difficulties and took up a special place over against the conservative worshippers of the status quo as the product of a sacrosanct historical development. Groen would always be different. Neither conservatism nor progressivism appealed to him. While he fought a life-long battle against what passed for progress and renewal, on the other hand he shocked conservatives more than once by his surprisingly modern standpoints on all sorts of practical questions. That he took distance from a conservatistic wish to preserve everything as is, without change, is all the more striking because that attitude was widespread precisely among his Christian friends. But neither did he fall into the trap which, then and later, amounted to a belief in a progressive evolution of human society. Groen held that those who believed in progress might differ among themselves about the question whether economic developments alone determined the course of history or whether people of good will could exert some influence over it, nevertheless they too arrived at a misreading of historical reality. 
Given his view of history, it was inevitable that an engaged historian like Groen should want to share the results of his journey into the past with as many people as possible, precisely for the sake of the present. He wanted to share his findings not just with fellow professionals who were able to read the Archives, but also with ordinary people.

From Gerrit J. Schutte Guillaume van Prinsterer: His Life and Work (translated by Harry van Dyke), Publisher's imprint, 2005, pp. 41-42.

As well as editing Archives et Correspondance de la Maison d'Orange (12 vols., 1835-1845) Groen wrote an influential history book for teachers and school children: Handboek der Geschiedenis van het Vaderland. The first instalment was published in 1841 and was finally completed in 1846. It comprised of over 1100 numbered paragraphs and almost as many pages. The book is still in print.

Music for a Sunday morning

Saturday, 5 May 2012

WYSOCS: Religious Roots for Secular Law

10.15 Registration and coffee 

10.45 On being a Christian in Law 

Christians worship a law-giving God who is faithful and just, as revealed throughout the Bible and supremely in the wisdom of Jesus of Nazareth. How, then, might a relationship with Jesus influence our study and practice of law? What does it mean to be called to work in law? 

11.45 Refreshments 

12.00 Shari’a in the West 

In a multicultural society, we may find communities living by principles that conflict with the established legal system. How should true justice be administered in such situations? Prof. Aroney will share perspectives from his co-edited book (copies of which will be on sale). 

 13.00 Close 

 NICHOLAS ARONEY is professor of law at the University of Queensland and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at its Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law.  This year he is in the U.K. as a MacCormick Fellow at Edinburgh University's Europa Institute and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of European and Comparative Law at Oxford 
University. He has published widely on constitutional law and is co-editor, with Rex Ahdar, of Shari'a in the West (2010).

Please download the FLYER, and BOOK here

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Philosophia Reformata volume 77 (2012), no. 1

The most recent issue of Philosophia Reformata is out, included is my review of E. M. Conradie's book:   
Lambert Zuidervaart, How Not To Be an Anti-realist: Habermas, Truth, and Justification
Sander Griffioen, On worldviews
Jacob Klapwijk, Nothing in Evolutionary Theory Makes Sense Except in the Light of Creation

Andrew Basden, Philosophical Frameworks for Understanding Information Systems (Marc J. de Vries)
Ernst M. Conradie (editor), Creation and Salvation: Dialogue on Abraham Kuyper’s Legacy for Contemporary Ecotheology (Steve Bishop)
Daniel Strauss, Philosophy: Discipline of the Disciplines (Alan M. Cameron)

A newly found image of Kuyper c. 1910

Kuyper Photo - 2009 - Historical Documentation Centre for Dutch Protestantism (1800-present), VU University Amsterdam
HT @georgeharinck