Dutch Calvinist statesman and theologian
Abraham Kuijper (Maassluis, 29 October 1837– Den Haag, 8 November 1920) generally known as Abraham Kuyper, was a Dutch politician, journalist, statesman and theologian. He founded the Anti-Revolutionary Party and was prime minister of the Netherlands between 1901 and 1905.
Widely recognized as historian, theologian, philosopher, writer, and professor-educator, Kuyper was born in Maassluis, the son of a State Church (Reformed) pastor, later to accompany his family to the university town of Leyden, where his father accepted a charge. In 1862 Kuyper was awarded the doctor of theology from Leyden University. Having fully embraced orthodox Calvinism, Kuyper held pastorates in Utrecht, Amsterdam, and elsewhere. Prompted by his interest in the legitimacy of private schools, he became affiliated with the Anti-Revolutionary Party (opposition to godless revolution and support for the Word of God and its implications for life), ultimately becoming its head. He edited a weekly De Heraut (The Herald), "for a free church and a free church school in a free land," as well as a daily party organ, De Standaard (The Standard).
Beginning in 1874, Kuyper served repeatedly as a member of one or the other of the two houses of the Netherlands' legislature. He continued to champion the recognition of private education (common and higher) by government. On October 20, 1880, through the work of Kuyper and cofounders, the Amsterdam Free University was opened, dedicated to a Calvinistic orientation, a tribute to Kuyper's persistence in striving for the right of private higher education in the Netherlands.
In 1886 he led the break from the State Church, establishing the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands. Kampen became the seminary of the denomination. Kuyper's close association with Herman Bavinck, professor of systematic theology at the seminary, came during this period. In 1901 Kuyper became prime minister of his homeland, a position he held for four years.
Kuyper's copious writings include some 16,800 Standard editorials, nineteen major convention addresses, sermons, the Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology (1898), Calvinism (1899), and The Work of the Holy Spirit(1900).
Works by Abraham Kuyper
Abraham Kuyper, the widely respected Dutch theologian, offers the world a book of deep spiritual meditations in The Ascent of the Son—The Descent of the Spirit. Each of the twenty-six meditations focuses on the pouring out of the Holy Spirit through ascension, as well as understanding gifts and spiritual calling that each Christian has. This book is highly engaging and will be especially useful to those interested in Christ’s Ascension and Pentecost.
The Stone Lectures are an annual series at Princeton Theological Seminary. They seek to invite internationally-renowned speakers, and have hosted such names as Nicholas Wolterstorff and Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper's lectures, gathered here, are an outline of his Calvinist theology and its impact on every aspect of society (Kuyper is known for his phrase "every square inch"). His first lecture is "Calvinism A Life System," and the remaining five relate Calvinism to religion, politics, science, art, and the future. Kuyper is an important figure in Calvinism and a leader in theology development. His passion for education resulted in the founding of Amsterdam Free University and numerous other colleges. Readers familiar with this tradition will appreciate these six foundational lectures.
Besides an introduction by the translator, this writing comprises the Introduction and Chapter 1 of Volume 2 of Kuyper’s Om de Oude Wereldzee (Around the Ancient Mediterranean Sea). The entire work is Kuyper’s reactions to and thoughts about the Mediterranean Muslim civilization that he traversed. Some of the same subjects that captivated his attention a century ago have returned to the limelight today: the role of Turkey, the position of women, Muslim education, and the unrelenting march of Islam, often at the expense of Christian communities. Above all, he seeks an answer to the mystery of the dynamics that seem to make Islam unstoppable.
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This beloved devotional classic, which has blessed Christians for over one hundred years, contains 110 meditations on just one verse from Psalm 73: "But as for me, it is good to be near unto God." This intimate and contemplative devotional emphasizes that the reality of being near unto God must be the foundation upon which all else lies, the driving force of our very existence. These meditations, written during Kuyper's years as Prime Minister of the Netherlands (1901-1905), embody Kuyper's dedication to the unity of doctrinal loyalty and the spiritual vigor in his writing. As such, these meditations are trusted reflections of Kuyper's continual reflections and readings of Psalm 73:28, and are a true source of wisdom and spiritual encouragement.
"Even though we honor the Father and believe on the Son, how little do we live in the Holy Spirit!" Throughout the history of the Christian tradition, the Holy Spirit has been one of the most elusive aspects of the faith. During Kuyper's time, very little attention had been given to the person and works of the Holy Spirit. Kuyper recognized this void, and as the editor of the weekly religious publication entitled The Herald, Kuyper dedicated approximately one hundred short entries to the works of the Holy Spirit. The Work of the Holy Spirit is a compilation of these entries organized into three Volumes. Volume One addresses the influence of the Holy Spirit in the Church as a whole, while Volumes Two and Three focus on the works of the Holy Spirit in the individual. Kuyper's entries provide a comprehensive study of the Holy Spirit, exploring in detail how the Holy Spirit sanctifies both the Church and its members.
This selection from Kuyper’s Pro Rege was translated primarily for Nigerian Christians. They are squeezed between their old Animistic worldview and the new Christian one. The new worldview itself has a rift between Western traditional Christians and Charismatics. Kuyper’s treatment of miracles plays a holistic mediating role between these three perspectives. His holistic perspective on miracles, demons and science has turned out to be of great interest for Western readers as well.
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