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, 28 June 2012

Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism Ch 2 mindmap

Mindmap of Abraham Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism ch 2: Calvinism and Religion.

Here Kuyper raises four important questions:

  • Is religion for humanity's sake or God's?
  • Does religion operate directly or indirectly?
  • Is it partial or universal?
  • Is it abnormal or normal?

In the case of Calvinism, for Kuyper, religion is for God's sake; it operates directly from the heart and not via intermediaries such as priests or a church; religion is to do with our whole existence; and it is soteriological in character - we need regeneration and revelation.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

H Richard Niebuhr on history

"All attempts to interpret the past are indirect attempts to understand the present and its future. Men try to remember the road they have traveled in order that they may gain some knowledge of the direction in which it is leading."
H. Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962)
The Kingdom of God in America (1937)

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Four more Christian mathematicians

There are four more of my brief biographies of Christian mathematicians up at God and math:

    George Stokes                                     Henry Martyn                        Henry Martyn Cundy                             Isaac Milner

Monday, 25 June 2012

EPS Blog - interview with Peter Heslam

EPS Blog - Evangelical Philosophical Society: "On Entrepreneurship, Poverty and Abraham Kuyper: An Interview with Peter Heslam

It is often rare to find a scholar with a practitioners heart. Peter Heslam, though, is as much 'into' ideas as he is practices. In fact, he says that "The best ideas are rooted in practice and the best practice is rooted in ideas"

In my wide ranging  interview with Peter Heslam, we discuss his Cambridge multidisciplinary project, “Transforming Business,” the value of entrepreneurship, thinking about enterprise solutions to poverty, and the wisdom of Abraham Kuyper and John Wesley when helping us think about the current economic crisis and recovery in light of the value of thrift, magnanimity and magnificence. We close our conversation with him by offering some encouragement for emerging scholar types concerning how they might think about their academic pursuits 'beyond' academe."

'via Blog this'

Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism Ch 1 mindmap

Mindmap of Abraham Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism chapter 1: Calvinism as a life-system.

For Kuyper Calvinism is a life-system, a world- and life-view.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Kuyper Centre for Emerging Scholars

The Kuyper Centre for Emerging Scholars is run by Mike Wagenman and is well worth checking out if you are thinking of studying in Canada.

Also on the site are a number of helpful resources.

Check out these excellent essay titles:

  • Essay 1: What is the current state of the discipline? What is the creational order for this area of life? Where is there creational insight in ‘secular scholarship’? And, what benefits does the discipline offer (to scholarship, the Church, and life holistically understood)? 
  • Essay 2: Where or how has this area of life/scholarship been twisted by cultural idolatry? What do you or others in the field believe to be unhelpful aspects within the discipline?
  • Essay 3: Taking a long view of the development of the discipline, please sketch the history of the discipline, paying special attention to sub-currents within it over the last century or two. Answer the question: How did we get to today - the positives and the negatives?
  • Essay 4: What healing paths are open for this area of life/scholarship? What insights/contributions does Christian faith offer to the discipline to correct any perceived unhelpful developments and move the discipline forward in the positive areas?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism 1

In his first lecture of his Stone Lectures (1898) Abraham Kuyper identifies three important relations:

our relationships to God, humanity and the world. He also examines five life-systems and how they respond to these three conditions. The table below provides a summary of his observations.
It must be remembered that Kuyper is writing in the nineteenth century (hence his use of ‘man’) and from a distinctly Reformed Calvinist position – he is taking a polemical stance to make his point of the superiority of the Calvinistic worldview. If he was writing today his observations may be a little more nuanced.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Steve Stockman's Kuyper benediction prayer

A Kuyper Benediction prayer written by Steve Stockman, minister of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church in Belfast, N. Ireland,  at Soulsurmise:

Lord, we have so often got stuck in the bawn,
Defending reductionist dogma
Instead of contributing
To the cutting edge of the contemporary issues of our day.
May we be a community of believers
That develops a vocational calling
Seeing every member as being in a vital missional place
In whatever they do in our city, society and world.
May we be a people who believe
That there is not one inch of our Universe
Over which Jesus doesn’t say, “This is Mine”
And may we be shaped and honed by the Holy Spirit
To be those who can restore, redeem and reform
Every inch of that Universe
Not to prove our greatness
But to make Jesus what he was, is and always will be
Lord of all!

Abraham Kuyper The Problem of Poverty (Dordt College Press, 2011)

The Problem of Poverty
Abraham Kuyper
Edited and introduced by James Skillen
Dordt College Press, 2011
ISBN 978-0-932914-87-3
94pp; pbk

In 1891 Abraham Kuyper opened the first Christian Social Congress in the Netherlands with an address "The social problem and the christian religion". This speech has now been made available by Dordt College Press (DCP).

This version was translated by James Skillen and was originally published by Baker Book House and The Center for Public Justice in 1991. A previous translation by Dirk Jellema was made available by under the title Christianity and the Class Struggle (Piet Hein, 1950). The original Dutch version Het sociale Vraagstuk en de Christelijke Religie was published in 1891 by Wormser.

Skillen's updated translation reads much more fluidly than Jellema's. The advantage of this DCP edition is that it includes Skillen's excellent introduction and concludes with a reprint of an excellent article on 'How Abraham Kuyper became a Kuyperian' by Roger Henderson. These two pieces are worth the price of the book alone and help place Kuyper within the historical, political and cultural milieu in which he was speaking.

The mind map below gives a summary of Kuyper's ideas in the book.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

2012 Kuyper Conference Lectures

The 2012 Kuyper Conference lectures are now available to listen to and download from Princeton's Kuyper Center

Ian Buruma,Kuyper Prize Lecture "Abraham Kuyper and the Muslim Question"

George Harinck  Plenary 1 "Neo-Calvinism and Democracy"

David Little, T.J. Dermot Plenary 2 "Calvinism, Constitutionalism, and the Protection of Rights"

Jeffrey L. Stout  Plenary 3 "Christianity and the Class Struggle"

Music for a Sunday morning - Catherine Feeny

Saturday, 16 June 2012

An educational creed

In a world of diverse religious traditions and influences on life there is a need for a Reformed understanding of God's kingdom for learning. To that end the following educational creed will be the confessional basis for ARIHE.

1. In harmony with the ecumenical creeds and the historic Reformed confessions, we affirm:
God has manifested himself in creation, in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.
Holy Scripture, God's own word, is of infallible divine authority, without error in all its teaching. It is to be believed in all that it affirms, obeyed in all that it requires, and embraced in all that it promises.
2. The origin, meaning, and purpose of creation, including humanity, consist of covenantal dependence upon the Creator, rootedness in Jesus Christ, and life through the Holy Spirit.
3. Because human life is religion, the calling of humanity always to acknowledge its Creator entails that life, including academic pursuits, unfolds itself since Adam's fall either obediently as service in Christ to the God of the Scriptures or disobediently as bondage to the idols of the sinful human heart.
4. In making possible true knowledge and in giving rise to a knowing activity of the human heart enlightened through the Word and by the Spirit, the Christian religion plays a decisive role in the understanding of everyday experience and theoretical pursuits.
5. Christian scholarship, in obedient response to the God-given cultural mandate, may explore all created reality and should promote an integrative understanding and faithful ordering of everyday life in the human community.
6. Although, through God's grace, scholarship which rejects God's Word as the ordering principle of life provides valuable insights into the structure of created reality, nevertheless, faithful Christian scholarship calls for reformation of all knowledge and instruction by letting Scripture direct thought and by bringing it into obedience to Jesus Christ.
7. Academic freedom, made possible by voluntary submission of the entire Christian academic community to the Word of God, must be protected against internal constraints as well as from external domination of non-academic institutions.

Friday, 15 June 2012

10 reasons why men shouldn't be pastors

From the archives:

10. A man's place is in the army.

9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.

8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be "unnatural" for them to do other forms of work.

7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.

6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.

5. Some men are handsome; they will distract women worshipers.

4. To be ordained pastor is to nurture the congregation. But this is not a traditional male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more frequently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.

3. Men are overly prone to violence. No really manly man wants to settle disputes by any means other than by fighting about it. Thus, they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.

2. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, and maybe even lead the singing on Father's Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church.

1. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinated position that all men should take.

Från Karin Långström Vinges blog [HT Christian Carnival CLXI]

Mindmap of James Eglinton's Trinity and Organism Ch 7

Mindmap of chpater 7 of James Eglinton's Trinity and Organism. Here herman Bavinck's ecclesiology is examined in light of the organic motif. The link between contemporary debates in the Netherlands and with neo-calvinism are made. Kuyper's distinction between church as organism and as institution and the distinction between the invisible and visible church are drawn upon.

This book of Eglinton provides an excellent overview of Bavinck's theology.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Acton Institute guest post on Kuyper and mindmaps

I have a post up at The Acton Institute blog on the mindmaps I drew for Kuyper's Wisdom and Wonder:

After Sunday

After Sunday is  a charity that had its origins in the diocese of Durham. The website has many resources for moving from a part-time Christianity.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Pierre-Charles Marcel (1910–1992)

Pierre-Charles Marcel (1910–1992) was a leading French Reformed Christian theologian. He was influenced by Auguste Lecerf (1873–1943), who had suggested that Marcel study Herman Dooyeweerd's Christian philosophy.

Marcel was a pastor of the de l'Eglise Réformée de France at St. Germain-en-Laye for about fifty years. He was for a while the secretary of the French Bible Society. In 1950 he founded La Revue Réformée and was its editor. After his death Paul Wells took over editorship. Marcel was also an associate professor at Faculté Libre de Théologie Réformée d'Aix-en-Provence.

He wrote two works on Dooyeweerd's philosophy.These are currently been translated into English by Colin Wright. (For more details see here ) Wright writes:
The first thesis : The Transcendental Critique of Theoretical Thought: Prolegomena to Herman Dooyeweerd's Philosophy of the Law-Idea, was completed in 1956. For this he was awarded the Licencié en Théologie at the Faculté Libre de Theologie Protestante in Montpellier.

The second thesis : General Theory of the Law Spheres: Introduction to the theory of the temporal structure of reality in Herman Dooyeweerd's Philosophy of the Law-Idea, was completed four years later and for which he was awarded the degree of Doctor en Theologie.

Select bibliography

Books available in English

The Biblical Doctrine of Infant baptism : The Sacrament of the Covenant of Grace
The Relevance of Preaching
In God's School

Works online
 “Our Lord’s Use of Scripture,” Carl F.H. Henry, ed., Revelation and the Bible. Contemporary Evangelical Thought. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1958 / London: The Tyndale Press, 1959. pp.121-134.

Articles from La Revue Réformée


Monday, 11 June 2012

Kuyper lecture 2012 Miroslav Volf

2012 Kuyper Lecture by Miroslav Volf “A Public Faith: A Christian Alternative to Secular and Religious Political Exclusivism"with responses by Vincent Bacote, Paul Brink, and Julia Stronks

mindmap of James Eglinton's Trinity and Organism Ch 6

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Abraham Kuyper by Richard Mouw (updated with a new review link)

Abraham Kuyper
A Short and Personal Introdction
Richard J. Mouw
Eerdmans, 2011

For my brief review of this excellent book on Abraham Kuyper see here.

Other reviews:
On Goodreads
On Open Library
On Google books

Excerpts available from here.


Section One
Kuyper on Theology and Culture: An Overview

Kuyper’s Calvinism
“Filling the Earth”
Celebrating Many-ness
The Spheres
Cultural “Dykes and Dams”
“Placing” Kuyper Politically
A Third Way
Spheres in the Bible?
Politics and Creation
The Church’s Place
The Antithesis
God’s “Excellent Gifts”

Section Two
Kuyper for the Twenty-First Century

Kuyperian Aggiornamento
Race: Adding Another “Neo”
Kuyper for Evangelicals
Will the Bell Still Toll?
Enhancing the Church’s Role
Nurturing Cultural Patience
Beyond “Christendom”
When Spheres “Shrink”
The Challenge of Islam
A Kuyperianism “Under the Cross”

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Bavinck review 3 (2012) preview

The Bavinck institute has a preview of the Bavinck Review 3 (2012). Contents include:
“Created Over a Second Time” or “Grace Restoring Nature”? Edwards and Bavinck on the Heart of Christian Salvation
Dane C. Ortlund
Beyond the Schleiermacher-Barth Dilemma: General Revelation, Bavinckian Consensus, and the Future of Reformed Theology
Robert S. Covolo
Working with the Grain of Nature: Epistemic Underpinnings for Christian Witness in the Theology of Herman Bavinck
Steven J. Duby
Herman Bavinck, Lesslie Newbigin, and Reformed Mission in the Global Workplace
Matthew Kaemingk
Johan H. Bavinck’s Missiology and Its Implications for the Term Question in Korean Bible Translation
Daniel Sung-Ho Ahn

Mindmap of Eglinton's Trinity and organism ch 5

Mindmap of James Eglinton's Trinity and Organism chapter 5. Eglinton examines Herman Bavinck's notion of general revelation in light of the organic motif.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Auguste Lecerf (1872-1943)

Auguste Lecerf was a French Reformed theologian. He was born in 1872 in London.
He studied at the Faculty of Protestant Theology in Paris. His thesis was on determinism and responsibility in Calvin's system. He was involved in pastoral ministry for almost twenty years in Normandy and for four years was a military chaplin. In 1932 he returned to Paris to become professor in the Protestant Faculty of Theology, University of Paris. He remained there until his death in 1943.

His main work is An Introduction to Reformed Dogmatics it was translated into English by André Schlemmer (London: Lutterworth Press, 1949). He also wrote Catéchisme de Genève (1934) and Études Calvinistes (1949).

He was a major influence on two other key French Reformed theologians Pierre-Charles Marcel and Pierre Courthial. It was Lecerf who encouraged Marcel to study Herman Dooyeweerd.

Lecerf was the founder of the French Calvinist Society and was editor of its Bulletin.

Excerpts (and short introductions by Kevin Davis) from An Introduction to Reformed Dogmatics are available here.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Pierre Courthial (1914-2009)

The French Reformed theologian Pierre Courthial was born in 1914. He studied theology at the Protestant Faculty of Theology (1932-1936) and then in 1937 entered the pastoral ministry in Lyon.  In 1938 he was a delegate to the synod of the Reformed Church of France.

He enjoyed pastoral ministry in the Ardèche and in Germany and then in 1951 became the pastor of the Eglise de l’Annociation in Passy, Paris. From there in 1974 he became the professor of apologetics, ethics and practical theology at the Free Faculty of Reformed Theology in Aix-en-Provence, an institution he helped establish. He taught their until his retirement.

In 1979 he was awarded a honorary doctorate from Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. In retirement he continued to author several books many of them are being translated into English by Zurich Publishing.

He has written pieces in French on Groen van Prinsterer,  Herman Dooyeweerd and theonomy.

A talk he gave at the 50 year jubilee of WTS is available here.

Books being translated into English include:
Day of Small Beginnings 
Bible in the Bible

On-line articles (all in French)

MP3s online include the following, accessible from here about half way down:

  • L'avenir du protestantisme, une nouvelle réformation (15,8 M).
  • Une nouvelle réformation (11 M).
  • Origine, place et finalité de la Faculté libre de théologie réformée d'Aix-en-Provence (FLTR) (29 M). A l'occasion du 20e anniverssaire de la Faculté, en octobre 1994.
  • Le combat de la Foi réformée (9 M). Allocution prononcée lors du 10e anniversaire de la Faculté libre de théologie réformée d'Aix-en-Provence, en 1983.
  • L'Église, sel de la terre et lumière du monde (15.3 M). Causerie donnée lors de la journée annuelle de la société évangélique de Genève. Novembre 1987.
  • L'autorité de la Parole de Dieu (22.3 M).
  • Qu'est-ce qu'un pasteur ? (11,5 M). 18 avril 1985, au centre Guillaume Farel (Marseille).
  • La Bible, source de la morale et du droit.
  • La catholicité de la Loi de Dieu 1
  • La catholicité de la Loi de Dieu 2
  • La catholicité de la Loi de Dieu 3
  • La catholicité de la Loi de Dieu 4
  • La noutesie (ou doctrine de la cure d'âme).
  • La foi chrétienne et l'histoire .
  • La psychanalyse à la lumière de la Bible.
  • Le Conseil trinitaire 1Le Conseil trinitaire 2.
  • Cours de philosophie réformée.
  • Révolution ou Réformation
  • A special issue of La Revue Réformée 2010 no 253 was devoted to Courthial: 


    Monday, 4 June 2012

    Mindmap of James Eglinton's Trinity and Organism Ch 4

    Mindmap of chapter 4 of James Eglinton's trinity and Organicsm.
    Here Eglinton, after rejecting the bipolar view of Herman Bavinck, looks for an alternative reading. Bavinck is rightly placed in the neo-Calvinist tradition. Bavink's theology is thoroughly reformed and Trinitarian. The unity-in-diversity of the Trinity is used by Bavinck as a key component. To misunderstand the Trinity is to  grossly misappropriate the creation. 

    The emphasis here is on the neo-calvinist distinction between the Creator and creation. God's existence is not self caused or dependet on anything. God is wholly unlike anything - but everything else is like God. This is why there are vestiges of the Trinity within the creation.

    After the ground clearing of previous chapters, Eglinton here is beginning to lay a new pathway for the understanding of Bavinck.