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"Why Chalet Kuyper" - From Graham

In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, 'That is mine!'."
Abraham Kuyper

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) is the Christian who in modern times had the most influence in both the theory and practice of Christian political involvement. He also came to influence the thought and work of Francis Schaeffer.

"One desire has been the ruling passion of my life. One high motive has acted like a spur upon my mind and soul. And sooner than that I should seek escape from the sacred necessity that is laid upon me, let the breath of life fail me. It is this: That in spite of all worldly opposition, God's holy ordinances shall be established again in the home, in the school and in the State for the good of the people; to carve as it were into the conscience of the nation the ordinances of the Lord, to which Bible and Creation bear witness, until the nation pays homage again to God. "
Abraham Kuyper, 1897.

Kuyper was a man in the reformed Christian tradition for whom all of life must be lived in submission to Christ. No sphere of life, certainly not the political, was to be excluded.

"God, is present in all life, with the influence of His omnipresent and almighty power, and no sphere of human life is conceivable in which religion does not maintain its demands that God shall be praised, that God's ordinances shall be observed, and that every labour shall be permeated ... in fervent and ceaseless prayer. Wherever man may stand, whatever he may do, to whatever he may apply his hand, in agriculture, in commerce, and in industry, or his mind, in the world of art, and science, he is in whatsoever it may be, constantly standing before the face of his God, he is employed in the service of his God, he has strictly to obey his God, and above all, he has to aim at the glory of his God."
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) Calvinism, London, 1932, p. 89,90.

When Kuyper began his first work in 1863 as a pastor in the Dutch Reformed Church he was a liberal Christian. Before long, soundly converted, he was an evangelical Calvinist He believed that only a Calvinist world view could counter the liberalism of the day.

In 1872 Kuyper became editor in chief of The Standard, a daily paper and official organ of the Anti-Revolutionary Party which opposed the godless secularism of the political heirs of the French revolution. For 45 years Kuyper worked for this daily, and also a weekly newspaper.

1874 saw Kuyper elected to parliament for the Anti-Revolutionary Party. Kuyper, the theologian politician taught the divine origin of the state but also its dangers.

"...first--we have gratefully to receive from the hand of God the institution of the state with its magistrates as a means of preservation...and on the other hand also that by virtue of our natural impulse, we must ever watch against the danger which lurks for our personal liberty in the power of the state."
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920)

Kuyper taught that the state is subject to a higher authority.

"The sovereignty of the state as the power that protects the individual and that defines the mutual relationships among the visible spheres, rises high above them by its right to command and compel. But within these spheres another authority rules, an authority that descends directly from God apart from the state. This authority the state does not confer but acknowledges."
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920)

The state is but one authority. Other spheres of life do not derive from the state but are still subject to God's rule.

"We understand hereby, that the family, the business, science, art and so forth are all social spheres, which do not owe their existence to the State, but obey a high authority within their own bosom; an authority which rules, by the grace of God, just as the sovereignty of the State does."
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) Calvinism, London, 1932, p. 143

This doctrine of sphere sovereignty is one of the hallmark's of Kuyper's thought.

The Free University of Amsterdam was founded by Kuyper in 1880.

1886 saw Kuyper lead a secession from the state church, the Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk over the climate of theological liberalism.

"When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith. "
Abraham Kuyper

From 1901 to 1905 Kuyper was Prime Minister of the Netherlands, leading a coalition of his own party and the Catholic Party. Kuyper believed that he could make common political cause with other Christians with whom he had deep theological differences.

When Schaeffer talked of co-belligerents not allies, he showed his debt to Kuyper.

So it is Chalet Kuyper - in honour of a great Christian pastor, theologian, reformer, journalist and statesman.

For more information about Abraham Kuyper refer to the Chalet Kuyper Resources page.

Posted 19 Feb 2000

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