Kuyper’s classic work on Calvinism is derived from the content of his Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary delivered during the academic year of 1898–1899. The domain of Calvinism, he argues, is broader than narrow confessionalism. Rather, it is a system of principles which are rooted in the past, strengthen us in the present, and provide confidence for the future with regard to three fundamental relations in all of human life—our relation to God, our relation to one another, and our relation to the world. He then articulates this all-of-life approach in the context of religion, politics, science, and art. His final lecture discusses the possibilities for the future of Calvinism.
“Have dominion over them’. Henceforth the curse should no longer rest upon the world itself, but upon that which is sinful in it, and instead of monastic flight from the world the duty is now emphasized of serving God in the world, in every position in life. To praise God in the Church and serve Him in the world became the inspiring impulse, and, in the Church, strength was to be gathered by which to resist temptation and sin in the world.” (Page 31)
“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 life system of Calvinism sprang.” (Pages 24–25)
“Luther also continued to consider the Church as the representative and authoritative ‘teacher’, standing between God and the believer, while Calvin was the first to seek the Church in the believers themselves.” (Page 20)
“This dominating principle was not, soteriologically, justification by faith, but, in the widest sense cosmologically, the Sovereignty of the Triune God over the whole Cosmos, in all its spheres and kingdoms, visible and invisible. A primordial Sovereignty which eradiates in mankind in a threefold deduced supremacy, viz., 1. The Sovereignty in the State; 2. The Sovereignty in Society; and 3. The Sovereignty in the Church.” (Page 99)
“But by the side of Romanism, and in opposition to it, Calvinism made its appearance, not merely to create a different Church-form, but an entirely different form for human life, to furnish human society with a different method of existence, and to populate the world of the human heart with different ideals and conceptions.” (Page 13)
The reader will not fail to perceive the depth of [Abraham Kuyper’s] insight, the breadth of his outlook, the thoroughness of his method, the comprehensiveness of his survey, the intensity of his conviction, the eloquence of his language, the directness of his style, the pith and wealth of his illustrations, the force, completeness, and winningness of his presentation.
Donizeti Rodrigues Ladeia