The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the tag “Kuyper”

Why We Need More Kuyper

By Uri Brito

Dr. W. Geensink observed of Abraham Kuyper that he was ” a man of his time as for his time.” God placed him in an uniquely suitable time for his gifts and wisdom. Kuyper published over 150 works ranging from the Holy Spirit to Art. Kuyper saw life as a display of the artistic nature of the Triune God he worshiped. For Kuyper, creation was God’s art show. He understood the need to wrestle with the needs of his countrymen, who were the beneficiaries of his wisdom. There was nothing left untouched by God. And this presupposition propelled him to not only articulate the Reformed faith in a remarkably comprehensive fashion, but also made it appealing to the common people.

We need more Abraham Kuyper because Kuyper understood that the whole man needs a whole gospel. Every square inch is tattooed with Jesus’ Name, and so every man must also. Though Kuyper understood that the unbelieving man lives a life of inconsistency, Kuyper believed that he too could benefit from the goodness of God. This common grace was the natural outflow of a God who created and who sustains his creation.

It is true we could offer some critiques of Kuyper and his policies. But what Kuyper accomplished was monumental. He was not just a savvy politician and a brilliant theologian, he laid the roots for a consistent Calvinism. His lectures lay out these principles. Calvinism for him was not just a set of theological ideas, but a comprehensive system that exalted Jesus as Lord and called us as servants to declare that reality to the world. The world may be blinded to that truth, but Kuyper taught us that the Holy Spirit is in the business of opening blind eyes. Kuyper was certainly a man of and for his time, but I’d like to argue that he is a needed man for our time.

Uri Brito is the founder of Kuyperian Commentary.

A Note from the Founder: 700th Post

Greetings Kuyperians,

If you have been following the progress of this humble bunch you know that we enjoy life; more importantly, we enjoy the good life. We treasure angels, we despise angel-killers, we favor truth, and have an intense allergy for falsehood and hypocrisy. Above all, we like a good party! Part of this party-spirit stems from the inspiration to carry on our noble tasks as ambassadors of the Most High God. When we say we believe in God the Father Almighty, we are doing more than creedal recitation, we are challenging the world to a duel. This is why we are Christians. We refuse to give ground to unbelieving thought. Neutrality is one of those words we dare not utter unless we negate it.

Our purpose is to echo Kuyper’s words “Not Once Square Inch,” into every word and argument we make in this endeavor. I realize it’s a noble and difficult task to live so consistently with such a robust vision, but it’s what we aim for around here.

In this 700th post, we celebrate also over 50,000 hits. This may not seem much, but at the very least it says that our labors are not in vain, and that there is a legitimate need to discuss the issues we are discussing in this virtual lecture hall. So as we aim toward the next 50,000 hits, let me encourage you to spread the word! Share our posts on Facebook and Twitter. Leave comments and feedback on how we can better improve your reading experience. We really do believe what we say is worth listening to. And so on behalf of the 16 writers of Kuyperian Commentary, I would like to say thanks for your support and continual encouragement! Party on!

Why Kuyperians Won’t Secede

You say you want a secession; well you know, we all want to change the world. Hopefully, your reaction to the recent post-election secession petitions included at least a little laughter—after all, asking the white house for permission to secede is pretty funny. However, considered as acts of symbolical protest, the petitions are another significant indication of the deep dissatisfaction and division within our nation. And while the authors of some of those petitions may have conceived of them as nothing more than protests, there was and is a seriousness among some of the folks involved—a “wouldn’t it be nice if we could secede” kind of sentiment. The reality of state secession in the near future is probably very slim, especially considering the responses of some governors, but the principle may still warrant some consideration.

I call this little essay—or foray, or attempt, or what-you-will—“Why Kuyperians Won’t Secede” because Kuyperian thought seems to offer one of the more obvious challenges to the remarks I’m about to make. I want to claim that secession is at odds with the religious duty of a Christian. Immediately, the notion of sphere sovereignty could be invoked in order to argue that, in fact, secession is a question for the civil/political sphere while Christian duty is a question of the religious sphere; that our civil citizenship should be considered distinct from our (religious) Kingdom citizenship. This is only a problem on the surface, though. The important (Kuyperian) distinction between those two citizenships is precisely what makes the possibility of justifiable secession so unlikely.

Only when we begin to conflate our Kingdom citizenship with our civil citizenship can we seriously conceive of guarding the former (and the privileges thereof) with the intensity we ought to reserve for guarding the latter (and the privileges thereof). The discussion gets a little awkward, however, when we realize that our own nation was conceived out of something very closely resembling that conflation. A conviction that the state ought to safeguard life, liberty, etcetera is right and good, but our particular formulation of those goods as certain “inalienable rights” is a formulation that smacks of Deism—a belief system in which the political sphere takes on a truncated importance because God is not an immanent deity interested in defending or vindicating His Church. If the privileges safeguarded by our civil citizenship come to encompass not only life, liberty, etc. but the life of the soul, the liberty of the spirit, etc. then secession—trading a government that safeguards those privileges poorly for one that safeguards them well (we’re still assuming, for the sake of argument, that any civil govt. could safeguard them at all)—is not just an option, it’s an imperative. However, keeping the sphere-distinction in mind like good Kuyperians, we realize that civil citizenship only confers the kinds of privileges we are called to hold loosely.

Our civil citizenship is the gift that allows us to serve and bless the city. We don’t see St. Paul making use of his civil citizenship to hold property or to vote, but to get to Rome with the Gospel. And it’s no good nodding in agreement and then maintaining that secession is simply there as a “last resort,” because that does as much good for fostering good statesmanship as keeping a divorce attorney on retainer does for fostering marital cooperation. God is faithful; bless the city (excellent practical guidance for doing so can be found here) and the city will become (or return to being) a place worth living.

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