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.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

On Vollenhoven: a bibliography

A list of books and articles on D. H. Th. Vollenhoven 

Bril, K.A., H. Hart, J. Klapwijk (eds.). 1973. The Idea of a Christian Philosophy: Essays in Honour of D. H. Th. Vollenhoven. Wedge: Toronto.

Bril, K.A. 1973. A selected and annotated bibliography of D. H. Th. Vollenhoven. Philosophia Reformata 38: 212-222.

Bril, K.A. 1995. A comparison between Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven on the historiography of philosophy. Philosophia Reformata 60:2.

Bril, K.A. 2005. Vollenhoven’s problem-historical method; introduction and explorations. (Transl. by Vulderink, R.W.) Sioux Center, Iowa: Dordt College Press.

Friesen, J.G. 'Monism, dualism, nondualism: a problem with Vollenhoven's problem-historical method'.

Griffioen, S. 2013. Treasure hunting in Vollenhoven. Paper delivered at the School of Philosophy, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University on 24 August 2013.

Ive, J. 2012. A critically comparative Kuyperian analysis and in trinitarian perichoretic reconstruction of the reformational philosophies of Dirk H.T. Vollenhoven and Herman Dooyeweerd. Ph.D. thesis. Amsterdam: Free University.

Kampof, E.J. The triunity of life: on the unity of the Vollenhovian project. ICS, Toronto MPhil.

Kok, J.H. 1988. Vollenhoven and scriptural philosophy. Philosophia Reformata 53(2): 101-142.

Kok, J.H. 1992. Vollenhoven: his early development. Sioux Center, Iowa: Dordt College Press.

Runner, H. Evan.  1972. Abraham Kuyper’s influence on Dr Vollenhoven. Perspective Newsletter 6: 7-10.

Runner, H. Evan. 1972. Vollenhoven celebrates his eightieth birthday. Perspective Newsletter (Dec).

Seerveld, C.G. 1973. Biblical wisdom underneath Vollenhoven’s categories for philosophical historiography. Philosophia Reformata, 38:127-143.

Seerveld, C.G. 1975. The pedagogical strength of a Christian methodology in philosophical historiography. Koers 40:4-6.

Seerveld, C. 1980. Towards a cartographic methodology for art historiography. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 39:2.

Seerveld, C.G. 1993. Vollenhoven’s legacy for art historiography. Philosophia Reformata, 58:49-79.

Taljaard, J.A.L. 1978. In memoriam prof. D.H.Th Vollenhoven: 01/11/1892-06/06/1978. Perspectief, 17(3 & 4):1-4, Sept.

Tol, A. 1978. In memoriam: Dirk Hendrik Theodor Vollenhoven. Philosophia Reformata, 43:93-100.

Tol, A. 1979. ‘Foreword’ in D.H.Th. Vollenhoven: Ancient philosophical conceptions in problem-historical lay-out, 6th Century B.C. – 6th Century A.D. Amsterdam: Filosofisch Instituut, Vrije Universiteit.

Tol, A. 1995. Time and change in Vollenhoven. Philosophia Reformata 60:99-120.

Tol, A. 2007. Vollenhoven on Early Classical Antiquity. In Sweetman, R. (ed.). In the Phrygian Mode; Neo-Calvinism. Antiquity and the lamentations of Reformational Philosophy. Toronto: ICS/ Lanham: Univ. Press of America, pp. 127-160.

Tol, A. 2010. Philosophy in the making; D.H.Th. Vollenhoven and the emergence of Reformed Philosophy. Sioux Center, Iowa: Dordt College Press.

Tol, A. 2011. Reformational philosophy in the making. Philosophia Reformata, 76:187-214.

Tol, A. 2011. Vollenhoven and Dooyeweerd: their emerging difference. Unpublished paper delivered at the International Symposium of the Association for Christian Philosophy, Amsterdam, 16-19 August 2011.

Tol, A. 2012. Vollenhoven on philosophy, worldview and religion. Philosophia Reformata, 77:

Tol, A. 2013. Vollenhoven, Dirk Hendrik Theodoor. Wikipedia http://en/

van der Walt. B.J. 1978. Historiography of philosophy: the consistent problem-historic method. In Heartbeat. Potchefstroom: IRS.

van der Walt, B.J. 1982-83. The consistent problem-historical method of philosophical historiography. Anakainosis, 5 (2 and 3): 1-21.

van der Walt, B.J. 2006. The philosophy of D. H. Th. Vollenhoven (1892-1978), with special reference to his historiography of philosophy. Tydskrif vir Christelike Wetenskap 42(1-2): 35-39.

van der walt, B.J. 2014. At the cradle of a Christian philosophy. Potchefstroom: ICCA.

van der walt, B.J. 2014. Constancy and Change: historical types and trends in the passion of the western mind. Potchefstroom: ICCA.

Wolters, A.M. 1979. On Vollenhoven’s problem-historical method. In Kraay, J. & Tol, A. (eds.). Hearing and doing; philosophical essays dedicated to H.Evan Runner. Toronto: Wedge Pub. Foundation. pp. 231-262.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

British Calvinists: John Brine (1703-1765)

John Brine (1703-1765) was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire. He was converted under the preaching of John Gill. He was baptised by Thomas Wallis and became a member of the Little Meeting congregation.

He began a preaching ministry and married Anne, the daughter of John Moore the pastor of a congregation in Northampton. Brine then became the pastor of a Particular Baptist congregation in Queen's Rd, Coventry. In 1730 he moved to London to be the pastor at Curriers' Hall, Cripplegate. Brine remained there until his death in 1765. 

Previous minsters at Currier's Hall included: Hanserd Knollys, David Crossley (from 1705-1721), John Skepp (from 1712-1721), William Morton (from 1722-1730) and then Brine (from 1730-1265).

Robert Oliver maintains was hyper-Calvinist in theology, but this is disputed by George Ella. He was supralapsarian and had been described by some as an antinomian.
He is buried in Burnhill Fields. 

Some of his writings are available here:

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The drama of Scripture II: The fall

Here are the slides and notes from my talk on Sunday. It was the second in a series based on the excellent book by Goheen and Bartholomew.

It’s been said that the history of the world can be told with three apples:
The apple Adam ate, the apple that fell on Newton’s head and the Apple Steve Jobs gave us. Of course, that’s not quite true as nothing in the biblical text suggests that it was an apple Adam ate! The apple is a good image for what happened.

…And then there was sin.

One thing is certain sin has tarnished, disrupted and distorted God's good creation.

Because of the "apple" humanity, God and the world are estranged (Gen 3:17; 9:2). This decisive biblical event is well described by Walther Eichrodt:

This event has the character of a "Fall", that of a falling out of line of the development willed by God.

The fall is a falling out of line of the development willed by God. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be. As Romans 8 has it the creation is now groaning. God’s intention in creation was for humans to fill and subdue the earth, to till and to keep it: in other words to build civilisation. When we think of creation we think of solar systems, sun, sea, sky, sharks, starfish and spiders. But creation is more than that; within the creation order there is culture and civilisation. Humans were to develop and help the whole of creation to flourish. This unfolding of creation was to result in institution such as government, education, farming, art and music, business, science and technology.

However, Adam and Eve disobeyed God. They didn’t want to do things God’s way, they wanted to be their own bosses. That is the essence of sin – it wasn’t just what they did it was about the heart, an act of the will, an act of defiance. In essence it’s: We don’t want to be ruled by God we want to rule ourselves.

It might seem odd to suggest that science, technology, government, work and so on were part of creation. But look at the activities that Adam was doing before the fall.

Genesis 2: 19
God bought the animals to Adam – and Adam had to name them. He would have to distinguish between each animal, numbering them – the start of mathematics, he had to name them, observation and classification, the start of science.  We could go on.

Genesis 2: 5
There was no man to work the ground – so humans were created. We were created to work! We don’t work to get money, we work as part of our God-given creational task.

So what went wrong? There was a falling out of line of the development willed by God. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be!

God placed humans in a garden. The Bible ends in a city, the new Jerusalem. That involves development and the production of culture and civilisation. But then came the fall – a falling out of line. That, fortunately, is not the end of the story. God is in the business of redemption.

Structure and direction
The distinction between structure and direction is important here. Structure refers to the form in which things have been created; direction refers to the pull of sin or grace on that structure. The fall means that it is the direction not the structure of the world that has altered.

In Genesis 1:28 we were given what has been called the cultural mandate; it has not been annulled because of the fall.

Be fruitful and increase in number
Fill the earth
Subdue it
Rule over the animals

Genesis 2: 15
Placed in the garden of Eden to
Work it and
Take care of it

That is still our task and our calling.
What has happened, though through the fall, is that it has been made all the more difficult.

Genesis 2: 16
Filling the earth is made all the more painful as childbearing pains are increased.

Rulership becomes deformed: "the husband shall rule over the wife".

Genesis 2:17-18
Subduing is made all the more difficult as work in the garden will be a "painful toil".

Most initiatives of the development of creation such as cities, music and technology (metal working) arise out of the line of Cain (in Genesis 4). The development of clothes also comes as a result of the fall (Gen 3:7, 21). Were humans intended merely to remain in a pristine garden?

If we take the example of cities we cannot declare them inherently evil, because the new heavens and earth are pictured as a city in Revelation. To see all human post-fall development as evil is to confuse the structure and direction of creation. Cities, music, fashion, science, technology, art ... all have a creational structure, the fall has not affected this but has changed their direction of these God-given aspects have been distorted and mis-directed. They can be developed obediently or disobediently to creational norms.

The task of civilisation, however is rooted in the creation narrative. When God created the heavens and the earth he first formed it and then began to fill it. It is this task that humans have to continue. This is what civilisation is about; it is part of the human task to be the image bearers of God.

Ironically it seems that it is a step of rebellion that leads to a development of "civilisation". God works all things together for good. God wasn't taken by surprise.

No area of life is left untainted by sin. Sin affects every area of life.

All relationships are broken: with God, with the world, with other humans and with ourselves.

Adam and Eve are banished from the garden. It appears that out of defiant rebellion God is working out his purposes for the fulfilment of the cultural mandate. Adam's expulsion from the garden means that the rest of the world can be "civilised"; similarly with the tower of Babel it means that humanity is scattered throughout the globe and as they are they take the image of God with them.

We may live in a world that is not the way it’s supposed to be, a world that has fallen out of line of the development willed by God. But God is working on that. The expulsion from the garden is the beginning of redemption. The remainder of the Bible is the story of God redeeming, through Christ, his good but fallen creation.

As sin has affected every area and aspect of life, so too does redemption.

And that’s the story that will be unfolded in the next few weeks.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Focus: Hocus Pocus

The Dutch show they can make good music as well as Christian philosophy:

Thursday, 11 September 2014

British Calvinists: John Gill (1697-1771)

John Gill (1697-1771) was born Kettering. He started at the local grammar school but the head instead that the students attend the local Anglican church, his parents couldn't agree to this as so removed John form the school. In 1716 he was baptised on confession of his faith at Little Meeting Baptist Church. 

He moved to Higham Ferrerrs, near Rushden, Nothnaptonshire to live with John Davis the Welsh pastor of the newly founded Baptist Church. While there he married Elizabeth Negus who was one of the congregation. In 1719 he became the pastor of Horsleydown Particular Baptist Church in Southwark, a congregation planted by Keach. Gill was the pastor there until his death in 1771. During that time Gill became the foremost Particular baptist theologian and a leader of the London Particular Baptists. 

Gill was good friends with John Skepp and bought many of Skepp's books when he died. He agreed with Skepp over that the free offer of the gospel was not scriptural.

Gill was a controversialist and wrote many books and gave many lectures with the aim of refuting erroneous theological views. Those he took issue were: John Wesley over predestination; Abraham Taylor and Job Burt over the view that eternal justification led to antinomianism; and Daniel Whitby (the Anglican Arminian) over the issue of election. Gill also defended the Baptist cause. He was also the first person to complete a verse by verse commentary in English of the Bible it comprised of nine volumes.

He was also great friends with the Baptist John Collett Ryland (1723-1792), but differed with him over the nature of communion - Ryland was an advocate of open communion - and the Anglican Augustus Toplady (1740-1778).

Peter Toon maintains that Gill was a hyper-Calvinist. Daniel Curt describes Gill's A Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity as 'the definitive expression of Hyper-Calvinist Covenant Theology' and Gill as the 'archetypical Hyper-calvinist'. Tom Nettles (By His Grace and for His Glory) and George Ella disagree that Gill was a hyper-Calvinist.

Gill was a supralapsarian.

Many of Gill's writings are available here:

The one-volume A Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity (as are others of Gill's works including a CD of his works) are available from the Christian bookshop, Ossett.

Some of his writings are available here:

Monday, 8 September 2014

British Calvinists: Anne Dutton (1692-1765)

Anne Dutton (1692-1765) was born in Northampton, her maiden name was Williams. In her teenage years she attended the Baptist congregation pastored by John Moore. She married a Mr Catrell in 1713 and moved with him to London where they attended a Calvinistic Baptist congregation founded by Hansard Knollys.  In 1714 John Skepp became the pastor. It was through Skepp that Anne became influenced by hyper-Calvinsim.

In 1720 her husband died so she returned to her family in Northampton where she married a clothier, Benjamin Dutton (1691-1747). Benjamin Dutton became the pastor of a congregation in Great Gransden, Huntingdonshire. He died at sea in 1747 returning from North America where he gone to raise money.

During her widow years, the wisdom and piety of Anne Dutton became renowned.  Her ministry was mainly in writing letters, poems and tracts. Many looked to her for spiritual direction. Those she had correspondence with many included Howel Harris, Selina Hastings, William Seward, George Whitfield and Philip Doddridge.

Some of Dutton's writings are available here:
and here:

Michael Haykin, 2006, A Cloud of Witnesses (ET Perspectives 3), Darlington, Evangelical Times.


Friday, 5 September 2014

British Calvinists: John Skepp (1675-1721)

John Skepp (1675-1721) of Little Wilburn was a miller. He attended John Hussey's congregation in Cambridge where he was converted under John Hussey's ministry.
He became the pastor of a congregation in Curriers' Hall, Cripplegate, London that included Anne Dutton (1692-1765), it was a congregation founded by Hanserd Knolly's. 

Skepp was influential on John Gill, who edited the 1751 edition of Skepp's posthumously published Divine Energy or the Operations of the Spirit of God upon the soul of man in his effectual calling and conversion, stated, proved, and vindicated ... being an antidote against the Pelagian error (original 1721). Skepp took part in the ordination of Gill in 1720. 

Skepp's  influence on the development of hyper-Calvinism was significant.  

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

British Calvinists: Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

Matthew Henry (1662-1714) is almost synonymous with his one-volume commentary. He was born in Broad Oak, Iscoyd on the Wesh Borders. He gave up his legal studies at Gray's Inn to become a presbyterian minister in Chester. 

He moved in 1712 to Mare Street, Hackney but died in 1714 suddenly from apoplexy at Nantwich when travelling from London to Chester.

Some of his writings are available here:

Monday, 1 September 2014

Kuyperania August 2014

The exciting news this month is that Christian's Library Press have announced the imminent publication of Kuyper's Common Grace 1.2. Full details here.

Working Prototype has been running a series on Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism

David A. Booth2014. 'The Kuyper Center Review edited by Gordon GrahamOrdained Servant Online (August-September).

A damming review of volume 3 of the Kuyper Center Review. He writes: 'Those interested in investigating the relationship between Calvinism and culture, or in this case Neo-Calvinism and culture, will be much better served by reading scholars such as Nicholas Wolterstorff and David VanDrunen.'! has the recordings of James Bratt's presentations on Kuyper at the 2014 Convivium Calvinisticum