In Pro Rege, Abraham Kuyper shows how the kingship of Christ affects all areas of life, building upon the work he began in Common Grace. For this Dutch theologian, politician, journalist, and educator, it was nonsense to distinguish between Christian life inside and outside the church. If Jesus is indeed King of creation, he should be honored as such; his authority must be advanced in all spheres, both sacred and secular. In his view, seeing Jesus as King is foundational to bridging the gap between the believer’s life inside the church and outside the church.
As we gain access to a growing volume of the writings of Abraham Kuyper in English translation we are ever more able to consider his life and work as an intriguing case study in discipleship. In Pro Rege we see Kuyper trying to figure out what it means to follow Jesus in his place and time: the Netherlands of the late 19th and early 20th century. In retrospect some of his moves seem obviously misguided, others startlingly prescient. For me Kuyper's reflections raise one big question, and it is a question of practice: What does it mean to follow Jesus here, now?
—Gideon Strauss, Associate professor of worldview studies, Institute for Christian Studies; senior fellow, The Center for Public Justice
This English translation of the first volume of Kuyper's Pro Rege unveils for us his mature thinking on the multiple dimensions of Christ's reign in the face of gifts and challenges of the modern world. This first volume creates great anticipation for the publication of the remaining translations and offers the church an insightful and challenging series of reflections that have relevance far beyond Kuyper's day.
—Vincent Bacote, Associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics, Wheaton College
In the early years of the 21st century, full as they are of pluralization, secularization, and globalization, we feel certain that a biblically-born faith has never been more difficult to work out in the public life of the world. While our moment in history has its complex, even immense challenges, the great gift of Kuyper’s magisterial work is the profound way that he took on these same questions in his time and place. With historical and sociological insight, with psychological and philosophical attentiveness, reading the world as he read the Word, he set forth an exhaustively-imagined account of the sovereignty of God over all things in heaven and on earth. Theologically rich, biblically grounded, Kuyper was passionately committed to helping ordinary people in ordinary places understand the meaning of their faith for life, always speaking to “the real world in which most people live their daily lives.” Pro Rege is a masterpiece, and my hope is that people all over the world will become his students, entering into his wisdom about the perennial challenge of understanding the world and our place in it.
—Steven Garber, Principal, The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture
Lexham Press is pleased to announce the publication of a major series of new translations of Kuyper’s writings in public theology. Created in partnership with the Abraham Kuyper Translation Society and the Acton Institute, the Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology will mark a historic moment in Kuyper studies, and we hope it will deepen and enrich the church’s interest and engagement in public theology.
In Pro Rege, Kuyper shows how the kingship of Christ affects all areas of life, building upon the work he began in Common Grace. In his view, seeing Jesus as King is foundational to bridging the gap between the believer’s life inside the church and outside the church. In this first volume, Kuyper examines how the kingdom of Satan opposes, undermines, and obscures the kingship of Christ. He follows this by laying out the Scriptural foundation for the kingship of Christ and beginning to uncover its implications for all of creation.
In the second volume of Pro Rege, Kuyper continues his work of explaining the scope of Christ’s kingship by examining how Jesus’ rule functions in the regenerated human heart. He then begins to explore how Christ’s authority should manifest itself —beginning with the life of the church and the Christian family.
In previous volumes of Pro Rege, Kuyper examined Christ’s universal kingship and its implications for the life of the church and the family; in this third volume, he extends his analysis of Christ’s kingship and rule to areas of society not encompassed by the family and the church—specifically, culture and the arts, civil society, and government.
Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920) was one of the most extraordinary individuals of his time. A prolific intellectual and theologian, he founded the Free University in Amsterdam and was instrumental in the development of Neo-Calvinism. He was also an active politician, serving as a member of Parliament in the Netherlands beginning in 1874 and serving as Prime Minister from 1901 to 1905.
At this intersection of church and state, he devoted much of his writing towards developing a public theology. His passion was to faithfully understand and engage culture through a Christian worldview. The most famous example is his articulation of the doctrine of common grace. His work has influenced countless others, including Francis Schaeffer, Cornelius Van Til, and Alvin Plantinga.
Jordan J. Ballor (ThD, University of Zurich; PhD, Calvin Theological Seminary) is a research fellow at the Acton Institute and serves as executive editor of the Journal of Markets and Morality. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.
Melvin Flikkema (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is Senior Advisor at the Acton Institute. He coordinated the translation of the Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. He was previously the Provost of Kuyper College.