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