In Common Grace Abraham Kuyper presents to the church a vision for cultural engagement rooted in the humanity Christians share with the rest of the world.
Kuyper fills a gap in the development of Reformed teaching on divine grace, and he articulates a Reformed understanding of God's gifts that are common to all people after the fall into sin. This first volume contains Kuyper’s demonstration of the biblical basis for common grace and how it works.
Abraham Kuyper’s Common Grace is founded on a deep devotion to the notions of God’s sovereignty and our obligation to participate in the divine call to be obedient to the lordship of Jesus Christ in all areas of life. The release of this multi-volume series is timely because many Christians these days—Wesleyans, Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics, Mennonites, and others beyond the boundaries of Reformed/Presbyterian life and thought—are looking for resources for equipping Christians to find alternatives to the various ‘world-flight’ spiritualities that have long afflicted the broader Christian community. This work gives us a much-needed opportunity to absorb Kuyper’s insights about God’s marvelous designs for human cultural life.
—Richard J. Mouw, professor of faith and public life, Fuller Theological Seminary
Abraham Kuyper was a profound theologian, an encyclopedic thinker, and a deeply spiritual man who believed that it is the believer’s task ‘to know God in all his works.’ In a day when secular science is seeking to establish hegemony over all knowing, and when postmodern art is threatening to bring an end to art, Kuyper’s solid, biblical insights can help to restore perspective and sanity to these two critical areas of human life.
—Chuck Colson, founder, Prison Fellowship and Colson Center for Christian Worldview
God’s redemption is as wide and high and deep as the expanse of his creation. This is the central message of Abraham Kuyper that has been heard anew by a generation of young evangelicals who have a new appreciation for the importance of Christian culture-making. This book is a wonderful way to meet Kuyper face to face and hear from him firsthand. I look forward to pointing friends and students to this wonderful anthology. It’s just what we need.
—James K. A. Smith, The Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview, Calvin College
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.
“The Reformed paradigm has suffered no damage greater than its deficient development of the doctrine of common grace.” (Page xxxiv)
“There is an antithesis, he taught, that runs through the entirety of human life and thought in our present world. Once we have been taken hold of by the salvation that can only come by God’s sovereign grace, our lives are meant to take a very different direction than the ways of fallen humanity. Salvation is meant to impact the totality of our lives: Our moral dealings, political perspectives, economic practices, and the ways in which we farm and create art and shape the patterns of our family lives. In all areas of human interaction we are to honor God’s revealed will for his creation.” (Pages xviii–xix)
“If some Christians in the English-speaking world only know one thing about Kuyper, it is likely his oft-quoted manifesto: ‘There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’ ’15 That simple but profound affirmation of Christ’s supreme lordship over all of creation—including what human beings are commissioned by God to add to the creation in their cultural engagements—has to be seen as what undergirds Kuyper’s theology of common grace. Christ rules over all—that is basic. But we also need the theology of common grace as a practical fleshing out of how we can best understand the implications of our affirmation of Christ’s lordship.” (Page xxviii)
“By contrast, after the flood it states the matter entirely differently: ‘the intention of man’s heart is evil’ [Gen 8:21]. Here we have a description not of human development during a particular period, but of the orientation of the heart of the sinner in general. Because sin takes refuge so deeply in the root of the human heart that from birth onward it poisons the soul—for that reason God will never again provide redemption by means of a flood. Rather, he will take an entirely different route for the salvation of his church.” (Page 26)
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.