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
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
"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.
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.
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
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) Calvinism, London, 1932, p. 89,90.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
saw Kuyper lead a secession from the state church, the Nederlandse
Hervormde Kerk over the climate of theological liberalism.
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. "
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.