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Lectures on Calvinism Paperback – October 4, 1943
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HENDRICKSON CHRISTIAN CLASSICS
Hendrickson Christian Classics is intended to include all the timeless books that generations of believers have treasured. Each volume in the series is freshly typeset, while thoughtful new prefaces explore their spiritual and historical contexts. For contemporary readers, here is an essential library of Christian wisdom through the ages. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Kuyper may seem dated on first reading (as may Weaver) but if you hang in there with him you will begin to see the significance of his thought. Essentially his attempt is to "take every thought captive." His presupposition is that God has made all things good and that this goodness can be developed and appreciated when carefully appropriated in a manner which does not obscure the goodness. Whether it is politics or art, there can be nobility in the enterprise even as there can also be depravity. What Kuyper enables us to do is understand how to approach life such that nobility is in greater proportion.
Be prepared for turn of the century (19th-20th) prose and language. Kuyper expects a certain level of literary acumen in his readers (and hearers, these were originally lectures). Once you settle in to his style though, you will find his thought stimulating even if you don't agree with everything.
Abraham Kuyper was a Dutch theologian, but he was also a journalist and primer minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905. He was deeply influential in a number of areas, likely reflecting his broad biblical worldview. He delivered the six Stone Lectures on Calvinism at Princeton in 1898. The lectures were entitled: 1) Calvinism: A life system, 2) Calvinism and religion, 3) Calvinism and politics, 4) Calvinism and science, 5) Calvinism and art, and 6) Calvinism and the future.
Kuyper attempts to demonstrate that John Calvin never intended his writings to be merely for church or religious life, but rather, to be a whole life system. In other words, Christians were to have a faith that affects all of life. His prescience of the future was remarkable. The things he observed happening or believed would happen are in full swing in America today. He wrote, "If this battle is to be fought with honor and with hope of victory, then principle must be arrayed against principle; then it must be felt that in modernism, the vast energy of an all-embracing life-system assails us, then it must be understood that we have to take our stand in a life-system of equally comprehensive and far-reaching power." He saw the implications of modernism and the importance of having a robust response.
Near the end, he makes an observation of the "Christian" church and his indictment is right on. He writes, "A theology which virtually destroys the authority of the Holy Scriptures as a sacred book; which sees in sin nothing but a lack of development; recognizes Christ for no more than a religious genius of central significance; views redemption as a mere reversal of our subjective mode of thinking; and indulges in a mysticism dualistically opposed to the world of the intellect,--such a theology is like a dam giving way before the first assault of the inrushing tide. It is a theology without hold upon the masses, a quasi-religion utterly powerless to restore our sadly tottering moral life to even a temporary footing." He calls the church back to its roots, to realize that it is to affect all of life, a call that is sorely missing in many churches today. Even if you are not a "Calvinist" per se, I would commend this book to you.