Lectures on Calvinism
This series of lectures was delivered by Abraham Kuyper at the Princeton Theological Seminary in 1898. Over the course of the lectures, he discusses Calvinism and the way it pertains to many aspects of life including politics, science, and art. According to Kuyper, Calvinism has a natural affinity for scientific investigation, because like scientific inquiry, Calvinism seeks to unify the cosmos under universal laws. Predestination, he says, proves that a set of laws exist to govern the world, and science is merely trying to figure them out. When it comes to art, Kuyper launches into a defense of Calvinism, which is often maligned as a religion that seeks to stamp out art and its significance. Readers will find here a thorough and elegant explanation of Calvinism and its particular outlook on life. Anyone wanting to know how the religion is unique among the many Christian sects will find it an enjoyable and informative read. Dutch theologian ABRAHAM KUYPER (1837-1920) was prime minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905. He developed Neo-Calvinism, which emphasizes the sovereignty of Jesus over all mental pursuits and supports the idea that there exists a grace given by God to all things in order to sustain the continued unfolding of creation. Kuyper wrote a number of books including Conservatism and Orthodoxy (1870), The Social Question and the Christian Religion (1891), and Common Grace (1902).
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... it disapproved of a woman debasing herself as an artists model or casting
away her honor in die ballet, its moral seriousness has clashed with the
sensualism of those who deemed no sacrifice too sacred for the Goddess of Art.
All this, however, concerns only the place which art has to occupy in the sphere
of life, and the boundaries of its domain, but does not touch art itself. • — from
Lecture Five: "Calvinism and Art" CONTENTS I. Calvinism a Life-system 9 II.
Calvinism and Religion.
... and of human liberty, all derived from God."2* Only in this last-named, strictly
scientific sense do I desire to speak to you on Calvinism as an independent
general tendency, which from a mother-principle of its own, has developed an
independent form both for our life and for our thought among the nations of
Western Europe and North America, and at present even in South Africa. The
domain of Calvinism is indeed far broader than the narrow confessional
interpretation would lead us ...
sion to naming the Church after a man gave rise to the fact that though in France
the Protestants were called "Huguenots," in the Netherlands "Beggars," in Great
Britain "Puritans" and "Presbyterians," and in North America "Pilgrim Fathers," yet
all these products of the Reformation which on your Continent and ours bore the
special Reformed type, were of Calvinistic origin. But the extent of the Calvinistic
domain should not be limited to these purer revelations. Nobody applies such an
damental relation of man to God, which is required as the first condition of a real
life-system. Meanwhile I anticipate two objections. In the first place, it may be
asked whether I do not claim honors for Calvinism which belong to Protestantism
in general. To this I reply in the negative. When I claim for Calvinism the honor of
having re-established the direct fellowship with God, I do not undervalue the
general significance of Protestantism. In the Protestant domain, taken in the
historic sense, ...
... nationality who by God Himself were admitted into communion with the majesty
of His eternal Being. Thanks to this work of God in the heart, the persuasion that
the whole of a man's life is to be lived as in the Divine Presence has become the
fundamental thought of Calvinism, By this decisive idea, or rather by this mighty
fact, it has allowed itself to be controlled in every department of its entire domain.
It is from this mother-thought that the all-embracing CALVINISM A LIFE-SYSTEM
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Invited to speak at the Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1898, Kuyper took the opportunity to deliver this message on the importance of Calvinism as a comprehensive life-system, or ... Read full review
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A powerful book worth reading over and over again. Read full review