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