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Jesu, Juva

Kuyper on Calvinism

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Following are some notes and quotes from Abraham Kuyper’s Lectures on Calvinism.

  • A key element of Christian revolutions (Dutch, American) was a gradual undermining of kings, not by lowering esteem, but by raising it; not by opposing God but by worshipping Him (through p. 28)
  • 3 fundamental measures of unique world views (p. 31)
    • relationship to God – immediate fellowship through Christ + HS
    • relationship to man – divine image, intrinsic worth, equality of men
    • relationship to world – curse restrained by grace; “discover treasures and develop potencies hidden by God in nature and in human life.”
  • common grace – do we define things, relative to power of sin or power of God?  Which is more potent: pollution of sin or redemptive movement?
  • Kuyper strikes me as being exceptionally enamored with progress (pp. 32, 34, 35, 40)
  • God’s authority over, and necessary glorification in, all spheres of life (p. 53)
    • “Coram Deo”, no such thing as private religion, … one-ness of all human life
    • C.f. Mark Horne, “public relationship with Jesus Christ”
  • Importance of Church in God’s redemptive plan; covenant = church
  • God’s supreme sovereignty flowing down in sovereignty given to state/society/church (p. 79)
  • Assumes one-world gov’t is best in absence of sin (p. 80) … some logic given to this
    • “God has instituted the magistrates, by reason of sin.” (p. 81)  Nations exist for God (p. 81)
  • Calvin regarded republic as best, but not categorically so; others will work.  Commends gratitude for privilege of electing magistrates (pp. 83-84)
  • Contrasts God’s sovereignty w/ false ideas of popular sovereignty or state sovereignty (as rejection of God) (pp. 85ff)
  • Calvinism “makes it easy for us to obey authority, because, in all authority, it causes us to honor the demand of divine sovereignty.” (p. 90)
  • “Principal characteristic” of gov’t is “the right of life + death” (p. 93)
    • Sword for -> justice, war, order
  • Much discussion of self-organization of spheres, natural leadership of “masters” in spheres
  • Political sphere should not rightfully interfere in natural God-given operation of these other spheres (family, art, science, education, business) (p. 96)
  • The state interferes to (p. 97)
    • Mediate clashes between spheres
    • Defend the weak against abuse of power in other spheres
    • Coerce all to bear personal + financial burdens of maintaining unity of the state
  • Government may not take on absolute authority, nor may other spheres overstep their bounds into arena of government
  • Pp. 99ff — admission of the propriety of a plurality of churches
    • Against the state church (even as expressed by Calvin)
    • Proper Calvinism promotes plurality, and understands the government’s role as protecting it.
  • Pp. 103ff — magistrates’ duty
    • to God – acknowledge and confess authority, rule by God’s ordinances, restrain blasphemy
      • magistrate understands God’s law personally, not under authority (strictly speaking) of church
      • blasphemy addressed not for religious reasons but as undermining God’s establishment of law and state
      • “The sphere of the state is not profane.  But both church and state must, each in their own sphere, obey God and serve His honor.” (p. 104)
    • to church – may not exercise judgment as to true and false churches
    • to individual
      • some individual sovereignty exists, but conscience is not entirely liberated from state, church, word, family (p. 107)
      • magistrate respects liberty of conscience, ensures church does so (particularly regarding those outside church)
  • Science
    • p. 118, “A dualistic conception of regeneration was the cause of the rupture between the life of nature and the life of grace.”
    • p. 125, “Not only the church, but also the world belongs to God.”
    • p. 132, is the world normal, or abnormal seeking regeneration?  fundamental distinction striking at the heart of the scientific conception

Written by Scott Moonen

May 12, 2007 at 7:14 pm

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