—Kenneth Cragg, The Call of the Minaret, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oneworld, 2000), 183
Unlike some anglophone scholarship on Kuyper (which seems to have no qualms about offering sweeping judgments about the man’s thought without engaging his primary sources), the following translation of S. U. Zuidema’s “Common Grace and Christian Action in Abraham Kuyper” is well worth reading. (Translated by Harry Van Dyke presumably for Communication and confrontation; a philosophical appraisal and critique of modern society and contemporary thought; originally published in Anti-Revolutionaire Staatkunde 24 (1954): 1–19, 49–73.)
Reading this piece should at least cause the thoughtful Reformed anglophone to think twice before dismissing Kuyper as a “transformationalist,” as has become quite fashionable in some American Reformed circles.
This is our acquittal: the guilt that held us liable for punishment has been transferred to the head of the Son of God [Isa. 53:12]. We must, above all, remember this substitution, lest we tremble and remain anxious throughout life–as if God’s righteous vengeance, which the Son of God has taken upon himself, still hung over us.
–John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, 2 vols., Library of Christian Classics (Westminster John Knox Press, 1960), 1:509-10.
The love, therefore, wherewith God loveth, is incomprehensible and immutable. For it was not from the time that we were reconciled unto Him by the blood of His Son that He began to love us; but He did so before the foundation of the world, that we also might be His sons along with His Only-begotten, before as yet we had any existence of our own. Let not the fact, then, of our having been reconciled unto God through the death of His Son be so listened to or so understood, as if the Son reconciled us to Him in this respect, that He now began to love those whom He formerly hated, in the same way as enemy is reconciled to enemy, so that thereafter they become friends, and mutual love takes the place of their mutual hatred; but we were reconciled unto Him who already loved us, but with whom we were at enmity because of our sin. Whether I say the truth on this, let the apostle testify, when he says: “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He, therefore, had love toward us even when we were practising enmity against Him and working iniquity; and yet to Him it is said with perfect truth, “Thou hatest, O Lord, all workers of iniquity.” Accordingly, in a wonderful and divine manner, even when He hated us, He loved us; for He hated us, in so far as we were not what He Himself had made; and because our own iniquity had not in every part consumed His work, He knew at once both how, in each of us, to hate what we had done, and to love what He had done.
Books by Augustine
This Lord’s Day evening I had the privilege of attending the inaugural service for Sovereign Grace URC, a new church plant meeting on the northeast side of Grand Rapids in the Vos Chapel at Kuyper College. If you live on the northeast side and are looking for a Scripture-based, Christ-exalting, God-centered church, then come join the brothers and sisters who are gathering for worship just off the Beltline.
The Orthodox Presbyterian Church recently announced the publication of an online archive for The Presbyterian Guardian (1935-1979). All 611 issues can be downloaded individually, and the entire archive can be downloaded as one large PDF (~1 GB).
This is a welcome resource not only for historians and historical theologians, but also for the third generation of upcoming OPC leaders, many of whom, like myself, were not reared in Presbyterian faith or practice. The Guardian is a large part of our small denomination’s story, and to ignore this publication is to distance ourselves from our own identity. As we seek to advance the vanguard, we ought not remove the rearguard–the pens of the patroi tou pistou whose steady hands laid the foundation upon which we seek to build.
In the first place we shall, of course, remember that all that we have received has been by grace. And if those who hold the Reformed faith do greater justice to the idea of God’s grace in the salvation of sinners, then they ought to be the humblest of all men. They ought to enter most sympathetically into the mind and heart of him who makes this objection. Did they not themselves kick against the pricks and rebel against the overtures of God’s grace?
And this attitude of humility holds over against those who with him name the name of Christ, as well as over against the unbeliever. With Bavinck let us say that all true Christians are at heart Augustinian and with Warfield let us say that every Christian who calls out unto God in anguish of heart is really a Calvinist.
Books by Van Til
Augustine is often cited as the patron of “just war” theories, a role that fits him awkwardly. Good men bewail every war, even the just ones, he thinks. And the bloodthirstiness of the Hebrew patriarchs was often carried out at divine behest, so there must be some good wars. Such texts offer a grudging form of patronage, and he is far more eloquent on the theme of peace, even if he lived in hard times and accepted the support of a brutal imperial regime.