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, 29 December 2015

Elaine Storkey is Kuyper Prize Winner for 2016

Elaine Storkey has been awarded the 2016 Kuyper Prize from the Kuyper center at Princeton Theological Seminary.

She will deliver her lecture on Thursday April 14, 2016 at 7:00 PM in Miller Chapel on the seminary campus. She will then receive the 2016 Kuyper Prize for excellence in reformed theology and public life.

More details here.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Best books of 2015

Marcus Verburg Herman Dooyeweerd
Bruce Ashford Every Square Inch
Glenn Friesen Neo-Calvinism and Christian Theosophy
Willem Ouweneel Wisdom for Thinkers
Richard Middleton New Heavens and New Earth
Five Views on the Church and Politics

Best books of 2013
Best books of 2012
Best books of 2011
Best books of 2009
Best books of 2008

Around the Old World Sea - now with English subtitles

The documentary based on Kuyper's book Om de oude wereldzee (Around the Old World Sea) is now available with English subtitles here: When Kuyper lost the elections in 1905 he went on a trip around the 'Old World Sea', for several months. In part he went on this trip to examine and understand the rise of Islam in the area.

A fascinating documentary series on clashing cultures and religions in past and present, in which we travel through 16 countries around the Mediterranean Sea, focussing on the roots of religious, political and social conflict in this region.
The series is based on the books by one of the most influential statesmen in the history of The Netherlands: former Prime Minister Abraham Kuyper. In 1905 he embarked on an epic nine-month journey through a region that has always been in motion and turmoil from the very beginning of history. Well over a century later, this development still has not come to a halt. On the contrary. Almost every day, the areas Kuyper visited dominate the headlines in the news.
This 8-episode documentary series was produced by Martin Maat and Hans Hermans of ICU Documentaries for IKON TV in The Netherlands and was broadcasted in May and June 2015 on Dutch Public Television. The full series is now available, with English subtitles, exclusively on VIMEO.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Five Views on the Church and Politics

Five Views on the Church and Politics
Amy E. Black general editor
Grand Rapids: Zondervan (Counterpoints)
ISBN 978-0-310-51792-4; 240pp; pbk; £12.99

The views series is an extremely helpful series. This one is no exception. It follows the usual format of one advocate expounding a particular view and the others responding to it. This way, at least in theory, we see the strengths and weaknesses of each position. In this volume we have five different views expounded by five different experts: Thomas Heike (Associate Dean and Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia) on the anabaptist;  Robert Benne (formerly Professor of Church and Society at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago) on the Lutheran; Bruce Fields (Associate Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, TEDS) on the Black Church; Jamie Smith (Professor of Philosophy, Calvin College) on the Reformed; and Brain Benestad (D’Amour Chair of Catholic Thought at Assumption College in Worcester, MA) on the Roman Catholic view.
Each author does a great job of explaining their own perspective and the responses are fair and friendly— each respondent takes time to note what they do agree with and then highlights areas of disagreement. In each of the chapters we are given an historical and theoretical overview of the position and a case study on how that position deals with poverty.

Amy Black, the general editor and professor of Political Science at Wheaton, provides a helpful introduction and closes the book with an overview section ‘Christian witness in the public square’. She notes number of areas of agreement between the respondents; these include: the centrality of the church and its witness to the gospel; the importance of governing institutions; the importance of civil society/ free associations; and a concern for cultivating virtue in individuals and working toward(s) a more virtues society (228). She also notes a number of tensions and disagreement centred around some key enduring questions:
• When addressing the societal problems and making collective decisions, what are the proper roles for individuals, churches, and political authorities? How and to what extent should they relate to one another?
• What is the proper level for Christian political engagement? In what ways should individual Christians participate in the political community? Do churches have a proper political role?
• In what ways should Scripture (and its interpretation), reason, historical perspective, and contemporary experience guide Christian political thought?
• In what ways does sin corrupt government, politics, and Chris­tian interaction in the public sphere? What are the best ways to counteract the effects of individual and systemic sin? (229)
The one downside to the book is that there is no traditional old-school Calvinistic position. Smith provides a Kuyperian neo-Calvinist perspective. However, given the choice of the two I’d plump for the Kuyperian view — though it’s a shame the Reformed Calvinist view is not represented. Smith is an interesting choice for the Kuyperian chapter — he had recently taken to task Jim Skillen’s excellent book The Good of Politics, but Smith redeems himself and draws on Skillen’s book in his chapter here. Smith’s chapter and critiques of the other positions for me were the highlights of the book.

Benestad makes an important observation:
A survey of the Catholic laity as a whole and of Catholic clergy would, no doubt, reveal that most Catholics could not give an adequate account of the church’s position.This widespread ignorance stems largely from lack of education. Seminaries have, for the most part, not done a good job of preparing future priests to think about the relation of the Catholic faith and politics Only a few of the laity would study the subject in a Catholic university or hear about it in a Sunday homily (180-181).
This I suspect is sadly true of most Christians - let alone Roman Catholics. This book will provide an excellent place to start to remedy the situation. Particularly if they start with the biblical position expounded so ably by Smith! A good bibliography would not have gone amiss (though there are copious footnotes) but the book does contains an author, subject and scripture index (surprisingly Rom 13 only occurs only once in the index).

Overall this is a great introduction to the different perspectives not only for those new to these topics but also for those who are familiar with the approaches will find much to think and chew over. 

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Kuyperania 2015 - works by and on Kuyper

2015 has been a good year for new translations of Kuyper's works and for articles and books about him.

By Kuyper

Kuyper: God's Angels: His Ministering Spirits. (Translated by Richard Stienstra) Victoria, BC: Friesen Press.

Dr. A. Kuyper, Het heil in ons (1879; repr. Kampen: Kok, 1910), pp. 165–225. (Translated by Harry van Dye)

Kuyper, Abraham, 2015. The Worship of the Reformed Church and the Creation of Its Service Book. Translated by James A. De Jong. Calvin Theological Journal (April):59-90.

Our Program: A Christian Political Manifesto. Bellingham, WA:  Lexham Press
This is a reissue of the 2013 version published by Christian's Library Press as  Guidance for Christia Engagement in Government.

Common Grace Vol 1.1 Lexham Press. 
Again this is a reissue of the 2013 Christian's Library Press publication.

On Kuyper

Books/ Theses

J. Glenn Friessen Neo-Calvinism and Christian Theosophy: Franz von Baader, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Dooyeweerd Aevum Books, 2015.

Brant Himes.
 For a better worldliness: The theological discipleship of Abraham Kuyper and Dietrich BonhoefferPhD Thesis Fuller Theological Seminary, Center for Advanced Theological Study.

Mark J. Larson. Abraham Kuyper, Conservatism, and the Church and State. Eugene, OR: Wipf &  Stock.

Chapters in Books

Joel R. Beeke. The Life and Vision of Abraham Kuyper. In  Common Confession: Essays in Honor of James M. Renihan edited by R.S. Baines, R.C. Barcellos and J.P. Butler. Reformed Baptist Academic Press.

Mike Wagenman 2015. Abraham Kuyper, the Institutional Church, and Socio-Political Engagement. In Jordan Ballor and Rob Joustra eds. The Church's Social Responsibility. The Church's Social Responsibility. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian's Library Press.

Journal articles

Renato Coletto. 2015.Kuyper’s razor? Rethinking science and religion, trinitarian scholarship and God’s eternityIn die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi 49(1) doi: 10.4102/ids.v49i1.1891

Thomas Harvey. 2015. Sphere Sovereignty, Civil Society and the Pursuit of Holistic Transformation in Asia. Transformation: An International Journal of Holistic Mission Studies.

Peter S. Heslam. 2015. The Spirit of Enterprise: Abraham Kuyper and Common Grace in Business.  Journal of Markets & Morality 18(1) (Spring 2015): 7-20

John L. Hiemstra 2015. A Calvinist Case for Tolerant Public Pluralism: The Religious Sources of Abraham Kuyper’s Public Philosophy. Religious Studies and Theology, 34(1):53-84

Simon P. Kennedy 2015. Abraham Kuyper: Calvinist Anti-Revolutionary Politician and Political Thinker. Australian Journal of Politics and History 61(2):169-183.

Mark Rathbone 2015. Sphere sovereignty and irreducibility: The ambiguous use of Abraham Kuyper’s ideas during the time of apartheid in South Africa. Koers 80(1)

Jeffrey Skaff 2015. Common Grace and the Ends of Creation in Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck. Journal of Reformed Theology 9(1): 3 – 18.

Daniel Strange 2015 Rooted and Grounded? The Legitimacy of Abraham Kuyper’s Distinction between Church as Institute and Church as Organism, and Its Usefulness in Constructing an Evangelical Public Theology Themelios 40(3).

Friedrike van Oorscht 2015. Common Grace as a Hermeneutical Approach to Globalization? Philosophia Reformata 80:78-98.

The Kuyper Center Review  vol 5 includes:

Michael Bräutigam 'A queen without a throne? Harnack, Schlatter, and Kuyper on theology in the university'
Gijsbert van den Brink 'Evolution as a bone of contention between church and academy'
Ad de Bruijne 'Not without the church as institute'
Dylan Pahman F.W.J. Schelling: a philosophical influence on Kuyper's thought'
Harry Van Dyke 'Kuyper on the teaching of history'
Gordon Graham 'Abraham Kuyper and the idea of a Christian scholar'


Cory Brock. Review of Bratt's Abraham Kuyper in Journal of Theological Studies 66 (1): 496-499. 

doi: 10.1093/jts/flu202

Robert Covolo. Review of Kuyper's Scholarship. Themelios 40(1)

Mathew Kaemingk. Review of Bratt's Abraham Kuyper in 'Bold, beautiful and broken' Books & Culture

James Kennedy. Review of James Bratt Abraham Kuyper. Low Countries Historical Review 130(3)  DOI:

James Kennedy Review of  John Harvey Wood's Going Dutch. Perspectives.

Kathryn Lofton. Review of  Bratt's biography of Kuyper here: Church History 84(2): 462-446.

John Halsey Wood Jr. Review of Bratt's Abraham Kuyper  in Journal of Ecclesiatical History 66(02) (April 2015): 454.

Christopher G. Woznicki. Review of  Kuyper Center Review 4Themelios 40(1)

Blog posts

Bruce Ashford, 2015, Lessons from Father Abraham (Kuyper): Christianity, Politics, & the Public Square. Canon and Culture (6 March).

Simon P. Kennedy Review of Larson's Abraham Kuyper, Conservatism, and Church and State at Calvinist International blog.

David Koyzis When we turn inwards First Things.

David Koyzis What would Kuyper do? First Things.

David Koyzis Abraham Kuyper and the 'bearer of principle'  Acton Commentary

David Koyzis, Abraham Kuyper’s moment. Christian Courier. (14 December) 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Hallowed be thy name in ...

Around the old Coventry Cathedral are a number of prayer panels. They give expression to a broad view of the gospel:

Hallowed be Thy name in industry.
God be in my hands and in my making.
Hallowed be Thy name in arts.
God be in my senses and in my creating.
Hallowed be Thy name at home.
God be in my heart and in my loving.
Hallowed be Thy name in commerce.
God be in my desk and in my trading.
Hallowed be Thy name in suffering.
God be in my pain and in my enduring.
Hallowed be Thy name in Government.
God be in my plans and in my deciding.
Hallowed be Thy name in education.
God be in my mind and in my growing.
Hallowed by Thy name in recreation.
God be in my limbs and in my leisure. 
(Refrain prayed after each section)
Holy, Holy, Holy; Lord God of Hosts;
Heaven and earth are full of Thy Glory

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Kuyperania December 2015

A little earlier than usual; here's the monthly round-up of Kuyperania.
Later this month a summary of the year's Kuyperania will be published.

Daniel Strange 2015 Rooted and Grounded? The Legitimacy of Abraham Kuyper’s Distinction between Church as Institute and Church as Organism, and Its Usefulness in Constructing an Evangelical Public Theology Themelios.
This piece is reviewed in a blog post over at Exegesis and Theology.  

Mike Wageman 2015. Abraham Kuyper, the Institutional Church, and Socio-Political Engagement. In Jordan Ballor and Robert Joustra eds. The Church's Social Responsibility. The Church's Social Responsibility. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian's Library Press.

James Kennedy reviews John Harvey Wood's Going Dutch. Perspectives.

David Koyzis Abraham Kuyper and the 'bearer of principle'  9 December Acton Blog.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Kuyper: God's Angels: His Ministering Spirits from Friesen Press

Of the making of Kuyper translations, thankfully, there seems to be no end - Revd Richard Stienstra has translated Kuyper's God's Angels and it now available from Friesen press in Victoria BC, Canada.

The book was originally published in Dutch as De Engelen Gods and then republished in a second edition in 1923.

According to the Preface:

[Kuyper]  covers all possible features and tasks of angels – of the good angels and of the evil ones. He consults the Bible on all the numerous avenues he pursues. Who is Satan, and why did he and his angels fall into sin? Would Eve have fallen into sin without Satan being there to tempt her? What is the specific task of angels? How can bodiless spirits talk when they do not have speech organs? The book is fascinating, challenging, and certainly edifying and thought provoking.


Preface vii
1. The Existence of Angels. 1
2. Angels in Their Obscurity. 9
3. No Worship of Angels. 19
4. Tribute at the Appearance of Angels. 29
5. Appearance of Angels Related to Speci c Revelation. 41
6. No Personal Relations with Angels. 51
7. The Nature of Angels. 61
8. The Sons of God in Genesis 6. 69
9. Sethites and Canaanites. 77
10. The Daughters of Men. 85
11. Ethereal and Incorporeal. 93
12. Spiritual Creatures. 101
13. Ministering Spirits. 109
14. Creature and Personality. 119
15. No Personal Process. 127
16. The Moral Orientation of Angels. 137
17. The Knowledge of Angels. 147
18. The Realm of the Angels. 157
19. Cherubim and Seraphim. 167
20. Thrones and Authorities. 177
21. The Dwelling Place of Angels. 187
22. The Angels and Christ. 197
23. Gabriel. 207
24. Michael. 217
25. The Angel of the Lord. 227
26. The Fallen Angels. 237
27. Satan. 247
28. Satan’s Fall. 257
29. The Nature of Satan’s Fall. 267
30. Anti-Satanism. 277
31. The Antichrist. 287
32. The Satanic Appearance that still tarries. 297
33. The Calling of the Angels. 307
34. The Battle of the Angels. 317
35. The Ministry of the Angels. 327
36. The Activity of the Fallen Angels. 337

Monday, 30 November 2015

Kuyperania November 2015

Simon P. Kennedy reviews Larson's Abraham Kuyper, Conservatism, and Church and State at Calvinist International blog.

He concludes:
However, the main problem I see with Larson’s project is the lack of “counter-evidence”. The “counter-evidence” is not so much counter to Larson’s claims. I am looking for counter-evidence to contemporary conservatism’s claims. New readers of Kuyper will quickly discern a number of policy positions in Kuyper, like pro-trade unionism and strong critcisms of lassez faire capitalism, which don’t readily fit the contemporary ‘conservative’ framework. Perhaps most alarmingly to the modern liberal-conservative mind, Kuyper was in favour of full household suffrage. That is, every head-of-household has a vote. This illustrates well that modern individualism would have been anathema to Kuyper. But modern individualism is a sacred cow to many on the conservative end of the political spectrum these days, and Kuyper serves as a strong and welcome challenge to this. I suppose that Larson would have needed to write a much longer book in order to provide a full-orbed ‘conservative’ picture of Kuyper. But in doing so, he could have provided, not only a solid defence of Kuyperian conservatism on religious liberty and limited government, but also could have provided a truly, “classical” conservative challenge to the rather tired and compromised conservatism we observe in contemporary western politics.

Joel R. Beeke. 2015. The Life and Vision of Abraham Kuyper. In  Common Confession: Essays in Honor of James M. Renihan edited by R.S. Baines, R.C. Barcellos and J.P. Butler. Reformed Baptist Academic Press.
This is a republishing of an article that appeared in 2004 Church & Society 14(1):24-31.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Christian Political Action in an Age of Revolution

Authored by Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer
Translated by Colin Wright
A companion volume to Rougemont’s The Individualists in Church and State, this outline of Christian political action was written by the nineteenth-century pioneer of the genre, the Dutchman Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer. Groen not only developed a political philosophy based solidly in Reformation truths but he also formed a political party to bring those truths to bear in the political forum of his day.
Then, as now, the battle was against the Revolution: “the invasion of the human mind by the doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of man, thus making him the source and centre of all truth, by substituting human reason and human will for divine revelation and divine law.” It is “the history of the irreligious philosophy of the past century; it is, in its origin and outworking, the doctrine that-given free rein-destroys church and state, society and family, produces disorder without ever establishing liberty or restoring moral order, and, in religion, inevitably leads its conscientious followers into atheism and despair.”
Against the Revolution there is only one antidote: the Gospel. To proclaim and elaborate this truth was Groen van Prinsterer’s life work. This volume - never before published in English - is an adept summary of it.
Details are available from the publisher's website
I recently interviewed Colin about another of his translations here

Saturday, 28 November 2015

M D Stafleu a new book and website

Dick Stafleu writes: It is my pleasure to announce my new book: Laws for dynamic development. ... The book will not appear in print, but is available from

General introduction

Part I: Time and again 
General laws for the development of relations

  1. Framework
  2. Number and space
  3. Metric and measurement
  4. The dynamic development of kinematics
  5. Interaction
  6. Irreversibility
  7. Wave packets
  8. Individuality and probability
  9. Probability in quantum physics

Part II: Emerging structures 
Specific laws for natural evolution

10. Structures of individuality 
11. Physical characters 
12. Biotic characters 
13. Inventory of behaviour characters

Part III: Acts, artefacts and associations
Dynamic principles for historical development

14. Ethics and normativity 
15. Time and history 
16. Dynamic engines of historical development 
17. The development of human-made structures 
18. The open future of the public domain

Miracle Maker: Dave Brons and John Biglands in conversation #WYSOCS


Miracle Maker

Music, mulled wine and mince pies: Dave Brons and John Biglands in conversation


Miracle Maker
Join us for a magical evening of music, mulled wine and mince pies. Enjoy local musicians Dave Brons and John Biglands sharing their music, as well as hearing how their music, lives and faith interact.
Dave Brons ( is a professional guitarist who has just crowd-funded his first album. Fresh from touring with Dave Bainbridge (Iona), Dave teaches guitar - including to young people on the margins. Dave will share some of the story behind his album as well as his calling to be a professional musician.
John Biglands is an expert in medical physics and imaging, as well as a multi-talented musician. From worship leading to the bright and funky Motif band (, John’s faith and music go hand in hand.
Venue: St Chad's Church, Otley Road, Far Headingley, Leeds, LS16 5JT
Dates: Friday 4th December 2015
Time: 20.00-22.00
Cost: £15 (£10 for students)

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Philosophia Reformata 80(2) 2015.

Philosophia Reformata 80(2) is now available on the Brill website. It contains the following:

The Contribution and Philosophical Development of the Reformational Philosopher, Dirk H. Th. Vollenhoven 159
Jeremy G.A. Ive

Action and Reflection (ii) 178
Sander Griffioen

Book Reviews

Pierre Marcel, The Christian Philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd, Volume i: The Transcendental Critique of Theoretical Thought: Prolegomena to the Philosophy of the Law-Idea of Herman Dooyeweerd; The Christian Philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd, Volume ii: The General Theory of the Law-Spheres: Introduction to the theory of the structure of temporal reality in the framework of Herman Dooyeweerd’s Philosophy of the Law-Idea 205
Henk G. Geertsema

B.J. van der Walt, At the Cradle of a Christian Philosophy in Calvin, Vollenhoven, Stoker, Dooyeweerd; Constancy and Change: Historical Types and Trends in the Passion of the Western Mind 214
Steve Bishop

J.B. Stump and Alan B. Padgett (eds), The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity 218
Marc de Vries

David T. Koyzis, We Answer to Another: Authority, Office, and the Image of God 224
Philip D. Shadd

Martin J. Jandl, Praxeologische Funktionalontologie, Eine Theorie des Wissens als Synthese von H. Dooyeweerd und R.B. Brandom 228
Danie Strauss

Rob A. Nijhoff, De logosfilosofie van Jan Woltjer (1849–1917). Logos en wijsbegeerte aan de vroege Vrije Universiteit 232
Roger Henderson

J. Glenn Friesen, Neo-Calvinism and Christian Theosophy. Franz von Baader, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Dooyeweerd 236
Rob Nijhoff

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Herman Dooyeweerd's Philosophy by Danie Strauss

Danie Strauss has produced a new introduction to Dooyeweerd's philosophy. It is available on the all of life redeemed website 


WESTERN PHILOSOPHY ............................................................................................................4
ULTIMATE COMMITMENTS......................................................................................................5
  THEORETICAL AND SUPRA-THEORETICAL ASSUMPTIONS .......................................... 6
GROUND-MOTIVES ..................................................................................................................8
  THE GREEK GROUND-MOTIVE OF MATTER AND FORM................................................. 8
  THE BIBLICAL GROUND-MOTIVE..........................................................................................10
  THE SCHOLASTIC MOTIVE OF NATURE AND GRACE...................................................... 11
  DOOYEWEERD AND KANT...................................................................................................... 14
  POST-KANTIAN PHILOSOPHY ................................................................................................ 17
THE BASIC CONTOURS OF DOOYEWEERD'S PHILOSOPHY .......................................18
THE THEORY OF MODAL LAW-SPHERES...........................................................................19
  SUBJECT FUNCTIONS AND OBJECT FUNCTIONS................................................................. 19
  THE MULTI-ASPECTUAL NATURE OF HUMAN BEINGS ..................................................... 20
  PRIMITIVE TERMS...................................................................................................................... 23
  DISCLOSURE AS A DEEPENING OF MEANING....................................................................... 29
  CONTRADICTION AND ANTINOMY......................................................................................... 32
THE DIMENSION OF ONTIC TIME .........................................................................................35
  DO WE LIVE IN A “SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM”?.................................................................. 36
  TIME AND THE IMPASSE OF POSITIVISM.............................................................................. 37
THE DIMENSION OF (NATURAL AND SOCIETAL) ENTITIES ........................................42
  UNDIFFERENTIATED SOCIETIES.............................................................................................. 45
  THE STATE WITHIN A DIFFERENTIATED SOCIETY............................................................. 47
THE LEGACY OF REFORMATIONAL PHILOSOPHY............................................................51

Friday, 30 October 2015

Kuyperania October 2015

Lexham Press have recently announced the publication of several newly translated volumes by Kuyper, under the title: Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology

They include: the three volumes of Common Grace, three volumes of Pro Rege, Our Program and a series of anthologies:
On Charity and Justice - which includes a new translation of The Problem of PovertyOn Islam - pieces gathered from his reflections on a lengthy tour of the Mediterranean world
On the Church - with selections from Kuyper’s doctrinal dissertation on the theologies of Reformation theologians John Calvin and John a Lasco, 'Rooted and Grounded', 'Twofold Fatherland' and 'Address on Missions'.
On Business and Economics - with various meditations onthe evils of the love of money and pieces that provide Kuyper’s thoughts on stewardship, human trafficking, free trade, tariffs, child labour, work on the Sabbath and business.
On Education - this includes the essay 'Bound to the Word.'

A new book about Kuyper is:

Mark J. Larson 2015. Abraham Kuyper, Conservatism, and the Church and State. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock.

Larson has an interesting and controversial hypothesis:

While contemporary Kuyperians at times reflect a leftward political orientation, Kuyper was a champion of political conservatism who stood in the trajectory of fundamental conservative principles affirmed by Edmund Burke and more recently by Ronald Reagan.

Thomas Harvey 2015. Sphere Sovereignty, Civil Society and the Pursuit of Holistic Transformation in Asia. Transformation: An International Journal of Holistic Mission Studies.
 doi: 10.1177/0265378815595246

Abstract. This article examines the relative efficacy of Abraham Kuyper and Herman Dooyeweerd’s sphere sovereignty for holistic transformation in Asia. It examines interest in China and Malaysia in Neo-Calvinism, Civil Society, and sphere sovereignty and its social, cultural, and political implications. It considers the strengths and weaknesses of sphere sovereignty in a secular age particularly in light of the sharp antithesis Kuyper and Dooyeweerd posited between the epistemological and ethical frameworks of secular modernist versus Christian approaches to understanding and social, cultural, and political engagement. The article concludes that although this antithesis marginalizes Christian perspectives in a secular age, Herman Bavinck’s softening of Neo-Calvinist emphasis on antithesis offers a fresh way to consider transformational engagement.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

A 'family tree' of Calvinistic philosophy

A 'family tree' of Calvinistic philosophy taken from
Bas Hengstmengel 2011. Herman Dooyeweerd & Alvin Plantinga: Philosophy and Rationality in the Reformed Tradition. Thesis. Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Dooyeweerd Archives

Jasper Verhoogt,  archivist at the VU, has recently completed his 23-page index to the Dooyeweerd Archive. He organized and numbered 9.5 meters of boxes containing Dooyeweerd’s literary remains. It is available online here.

Online at

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Interview with Marcel Verburg

Marcel Verburg's intellectual biography of Herman Dooyeweerd has recently been published in English translation by Paideia Press. We hope to have a review of it posted shortly. In the meantime here's an interview with Marcel, who provides some of the background to the book.
Many thanks for agreeing to this interview Marcel. 
Could you please tell us something about yourself?
Well, I was born in Amsterdam, where I lived for 53 years. It will always be my hometown.
I studied law and specialized in constitutional law and the history of law. When I was busy with Dooyeweerd's archive there was a historian at the Free University George Puchinger who kept trying to persuade me to write Dooyeweerds biography. I finally did it and I defended it as a dissertation in the philosophy department.
Your book on Dooyeweerd has recently been translated into English and published. Could you tell us why you wrote it in the first place?
I already explained above, but I have to add that I had known Dooyeweerd personally. He was my grandmothers brother and they were rather fond of each other. After my grandmother had died I often visited Herman Dooyeweerd, who lived only a ten-minute walk from where I lived with my parents in the Museum Quarter of Amsterdam.
He sometimes dined with us and I was always impressed about the ease with which he could explain to me, a law student, the most difficult philosophical problems. If only he had been able to write this comprehensible.
Why has it taken so long for it to be translated into English?
I often heard people say: it should be translated in English, but it was only when Theodore Plantinga wrote to me that he wanted to translate it, that it really started. After I hadn't heard from him for quite some time I decided to telephone him. As I didn't have his number, I googled his name and the first thing I came across was his obituary. I then called on Harry Van Dyke, whom I had known when both he and I were connected to the Dooyeweerd archive. Harry and the late Donald Morton have translated the book.
Have any of your ideas changed since then? If you were writing it now would you have made any major changes or adaptions?
Later on I came to understand that the period during Dooyeweerd's youth, when he temporarily lost his faith, and when he came under the influence of Nietzsche, must have been of very great importance to the development of his thought, of his way of thinking. I think it has been decisive in his realizing the importance of faith, of world and life view, on man's thought.
Alas, I have to confess that I haven't been able to follow all the publications about Dooyeweerd, as my own work took another direction.
Why are Dooyeweerd and his work so important? 
Whether you're a Christian or an atheist, it's important to know that your way of thinking is dependent on your world and life view.
Do you use any of Dooyeweerd’s approach in your current work?
In my work it is very useful to be able to distinguish between different aspects of juridical problems. The aspects often allow me a new insight.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
In a few months my fifth book about the history of the Dutch Department of Justice is being published. Its all about the 2nd World War. And it's all about people, most of them trying to do their best. Nobody was all good or all bad. It's a confusing and difficult time to write about.
What do you like to do for fun?
My better half and I love to spend time in France. In December we always spend a week in a Paris apartment, living with the Parisians, visiting exhibitions and loving to practise our knowledge of that most beautiful of languages: French. During the warmer months we like to drive to the more southern provinces of France.
What books are you reading at the moment?
I'm reading Der Totale Rausch by Norman Ohler. It's about drug use in the Third Reich. Not only by Hitler himself, but by all German soldiers. This book throws a new light on many things that happened during the war.
By the way, the Dutch queen Wilhelmina, living in London during WW2, also used pervitin, methamphetamines, crystal meth etc.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Review of Owen Strachan Awakening the Evangelical Mind

Awakening the Evangelical Mind
An Intellectual History Of The Neo-Evangelical Movement
Owen Strachan
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015
ISBN 9780310520795
240 pp; Hbk, £15.99

In 1994, Mark Noll wrote that ‘The the scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind'. His complaint echoed that of Harry Blamires who in 1963 wrote more starkly: ‘There is no longer a Christian mind’. This was typified in the approach of evangelist Billy Sunday: 'I don’t know any more about theology than a jack-rabbit does about ping-pong … but I’m on the way to glory.' (72) However, as recent years have shown that scholars such as Noll, Alvin Plantinga, George Marsden, have demonstrated that there is a distinctly evangelical scholarship and that Christianity can hold its place at the academic table. Here Strachan traces this awakening to the work of Harold Ockenga, Edward Carnell, Carl Henry and those who Strachan designates as the ‘Cambridge Christians’ (these include Kenneth Katzner and George Eldon Ladd). I found this designation confusing at first because none of them did go to Cambridge University, but it becomes clear he means Cambridge, MA. The clear hero of Strachan’s story is Ockenga, he writes:
Ockenga’s name has slipped the evangelical memory. In this time, however, he was a movement leader of nearly unparalleled influence. … Ockenga must be reevaluated and restored to the position of prominence he enjoyed in his own. No other figure save for [Billy] Graham played a larger role in envisioning the cornerstone institutions of neo-evangelicalism; no figure, including Graham, did more than Ockenga to run, establish, and invigorate the premier institutions of the movement. (p 23)
This work is obviously focussed on the North American situation - as evidenced by his Cambridge designation - and on big personalities. It reinforces the notion that evangelicalism has tended to be personality-driven. Elsewhere Christians such as Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven and H. G. Stoker have clearly demonstrated what Christian scholarship looks like. Unfortunately, their voices have often been unheard. Hence, Strachan writes of a reawakening rather than a rediscovery.

The impetus or catalyst for this work appears to be the discovery of archival letters, writings and documents of Ockenga, Henry and Carnell. Strachan worked at the Carl F. Henry Center for Theological Understanding and has been able to access letters and documents from many of the key players.  The strength of this is that we are given new insights into these men but the weakness is that it can become something of a patchwork of the material gleaned from the archives. For example, we are given several extracts from letters to Ockenga’s one-time girlfriend Virginia Ray - but then suddenly Ockenga is married to Audrey Williamson. The only mention of the marriage is in a footnote which references Ockenga’s Who Who application.

The period in which Ockenga and Carnell operated was initially not a great time for evangelicals. As Douglas Frank has pointed out evangelicals entered the twentieth century as ‘Less than conquerors’. They were caught in conflict with both fundamentalists and modernists. It was the formation of the National Association of Evangelicals in 1942 that marked the distinction between fundamentalists and (neo)evangelicals. The Scopes trial in 1923 and the end of Prohibition in 1933 were not high spots! Yet, the 30s saw a proliferation of Bible schools (75). It was then in the 40s around the Boston area that saw a number of soon to be influential evangelicals flourish. These included Samuel Schultz, Kenneth Kantzer, Merrill Tenney, John Gerstner, Burton Goddard, Roger Nicole, Terelle Crum, Edward John Carnell, Gleason Archer, George Eldon Ladd, Paul King Jewett, George Turner, J. Harold Greenlee, Jack P. Lewis, Lemoine Lewis, Lloyd Dean, and Glenn Barker (77). Most of them came, Daniel-like, into the modernist den of Harvard to study. Ockenga was clearly a great influence on these budding evangelical scholars. 

The strength of the book is the highlighting of the importance of the Plymouth Scholars’ Conferences launched by Ockenga in 1944 (Chapter 4) and the initiative of Crusade University by Henry (Chapter 6). The Plymouth Conferences at first led to grand visions and the intention to have an annual lectureship, a series of Old and New Testament commentaries printed by a ‘reputable publisher’, and a conservative version of the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia; sadly none of these materialised. As Strachan notes: ‘Aside from a few press releases, we can trace few public products of the gatherings themselves’ (103). 

At the first meeting of  the Evangelical Theological Society in 1949, Henry was the keynote speaker. He called for ‘distinctly Christian scholarship’ (122). His call was for the establishment of an evangelical Harvard. Strachan narrates the story of the plans to form what became known as Crusade University. Sadly, it never materialised. In part for lack of funding and disagreement over the geographical location, but it seems primarily because those involved could agree on the level of morality that was to be imposed on the campus students. Sadly, this reflects the narrow parochial, moral approach of many evangelicals. This chapter makes for a fascinating but ultimately, sad reading - let us hope lessons will be learned from it.

As Strachan notes in his introduction:
In Awakening the Evangelical Mind, we eavesdrop on the founding fathers of scholarly neo-evangelicalism as they share their frustration with one another over fundamentalism’s perceived academic shortcomings. We see their intellectual insecurity, their sometimes preening ambition, their considerable interest in proving themselves before a non-Christian audience that likely took less stock of the group than they might have wanted to admit. This is a quixotic, lively, and conflicted story. It is full of contradictions and paradoxes. (24)
Particularly with its discussions on the Plymouth conferences and Crusade University it makes an important contribution to the history of neo-evangelicalism. The Ockenga-Carnell-Henries in different ways paved the way for other evangelical academics, not least because they helped establish the NAE, Fuller Theological College, The Institute for Advanced Christian Studies (IFACS), Christianity Today, and the Evangelical Theological Society; it is good to see that they are being honoured in this book. 

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Irving Hexham on What is a worldview?

Irving Hexham in a series of YouTube clips supporting his book Understanding World Religions  looks at the term worldview.

He rightly states that Kuyper used it as an analytic term with the aim of understanding others people's beliefs, today a flip has occurred and it is an excuse for non-communication and name calling. It is used as an excuse for not engaging in debate: we have a different worldview so we disagree. He sees the need to rethink worldview; it needs to be linked to an understanding of other perspectives, which is hard work.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Kuyperania September 2015

Kennedy, James 2015. Review of James Bratt Abraham Kuyper. Low Countries Historical Review 130(3)  DOI:

Kennedy, recently appointed the Dean of University College Utrecht, concludes:
To Kuyper specialists, Bratt’s biography may not yield radically new insights. But it is a signal achievement to bring the life and thought of this eclectic and productive statesman into a comprehensive study characterized by intellectual depth and subtlety. It is, moreover, well-written, even witty. And despite the limitations of his approach, Bratt rescues Kuyper from a narrow Netherlandic focus and allows for new reflection about the historical significance of this outsized and controversial figure.
Himes, Brant Micah 2015. For a better worldliness: The theological discipleship of Abraham Kuyper and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. PhD Thesis Fuller Theological Seminary, Center for Advanced Theological Study. 

Abstract This study investigates the theological concept of Christian discipleship in Abraham Kuyper and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It begins with a historical-theological study of Kuyper and Bonhoeffer, and then provides an ethical consideration of a resulting four-movement hermeneutic of discipleship. Part I explores the development and practice of Kuyper's discipleship in the years 1894 to 1905, with particular analysis of important works from this period, including his Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology, "Dienst des Woords," Christ and the Needy, Lectures on Calvinism, "The South African Crisis," The Work of the Holy Spirit, To Be Near Unto God, "Common Grace," and "Sphere Sovereignty." These works are placed alongside key personal and political episodes in Kuyper's life in order to understand the influence of his concept and practice of discipleship on his public actions. Similarly, in Part II, Bonhoeffer's theological notion of discipleship is investigated between the years 1935 to 1945. His book Discipleship is analyzed for its theological and practical implications to his work directing the preacher's seminary at Zingst, Finkenwalde, and then "underground." To further explore Bonhoeffer's efforts at theological education, his writings on the Sermon on the Mount, the House of Brethren, the Guide to Scriptural Meditation, and numerous letters and lectures are investigated in terms of their relationship to specific historical issues and events related to the Confessing Church. Bonhoeffer's 1939 trip to America and his decision to participate in the conspiracy are also studied. Finally, Bonhoeffer's Ethics and Letters and Papers from Prison provide significant insight into his culminating understanding and practice of discipleship. The final part of the dissertation compares and contrasts Kuyper's and Bonhoeffer's theology of discipleship via a four-movement hermeneutic of discipleship: revelation is the foundation of discipleship; Jesus Christ is the reality of discipleship; belief-obedience is the action of discipleship; and the possibility of discipleship is participating in God's work in and for the common good of the world. These four movements provide a historical and theological framework for comparing and contrasting Kuyper's and Bonhoeffer's theology and practice of discipleship. In addition, the four movements promote an ethical and theological approach to the contemporary question of discipleship. Throughout, the study maintains focus on a central question: what does it mean to follow-after Jesus Christ?

Monday, 31 August 2015

Kuyperania August 2015

Mathew Kaemingk reviews Bratt's Abraham Kuyper in 'Bold, beautiful and broken' Books & Culture

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Philosophia Reformata: English articles from 1937-1967

Name Date Title Vol Pages
Van Til, C. 1937 Recent American Philosophy 2(1) 1-24
Freeman, D.H. 1953 Some Problems In Logical Empiricism 18(1-4) 171-179
De Jongste, H. 1956 On Symbols 21(1-4) 162-174
Friedman, D. 1956 Aspects Of Indian Epistemology, Logic And Ontology 20(1-4) 49-58
Hughes, P.E. 1956 The Jewish Cabala And The Secret Names Of God 21(1-4) 81-94
Dooyeweerd, H. 1957 Del Vecchio's Idealistic Philosophy Of Law Viewed In The Light Of A Transcendental Critique Of Philosophical Thought 22(1) 1-20
Dooyeweerd, H. 1957 Del Vecchio's Idealistic Philosophy Of Law Viewed In The Light Of A Transcendental Critique Of Philosophical Thought 22(3) 101-124
Freeman, D.H. 1957 The Philosophical Theology Of Paul Tillich 22(2) 53-77
Hughes, P.E. 1958 Pico Della Mirandola: 1463-1494 23(3) 108-135
Hughes, P.E. 1958 Pico Della Mirandola: 1463—1494 23(4) 164-181
Veldkamp, J. 1958 Milton's Philosophy 23(3) 97-107
Hughes, P.E. 1959 Pico Della Mirandola: 1463—1494 24(1) 17-44
Hughes, P.E. 1959 Pico Della Mirandola: 1463—1494 24(2) 65-73
Hughes, P.E. 1961 Christianity And The Problem Of Origins 26(1-3) 59-80
Freeman, D.H. 1962 Some recent developments in "philosophical theology" 27(1-2) 58-69
Mekkes, J.P.A. 1964 Introductory: The Transcendental Critique In The Field Of Biology 29(3-4) 111-113
De Wit, J.J.D. 1964 Pierre Teilhard De Chardin The Founder Of A New Pseudo-Christian Evolutionary Mysticism 29(3-4) 114-149
De Wit, J.J.D. 1964 Reflections On The Architecture Of The Organic World And The Origin Of Man 29(304) 150-170
Hart, H. 1965 Dewey's logic: 30(1) 13-52
Reid, W.S. 1965 Calvinism In Sixteenth Century Historiography 30(3-4) 178-197
Mansfield, J. 1966 A reply to prof. Vollenhoven 31(3-4) 124-125
Kuyk, W. 1966 The Irreducibility Of The Number Concept 31(1-2) 37-50
Vollenhoven, D.H.Th. 1966 Methodical Dangers In The Parmenides Interpretation 31(1-2) 68-71
Olthius, J. 1967 Values And Valuation 32(1-2) 37-54
Knudsen, R.D. 1967 The Ambiguity Of Human Autonomy And Freedom In The Thought Of Paul Tillich 32(1-2) 55-67
Hart, H. 1967 Analysis Of A Reply 32(1-2) 68-70