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.
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.
Abraham Kuyper was born in 1837 in Maasslius in the Netherlands. He studied at the University of Leiden, and received his doctorate there in 1863. He became a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church in 1863, and consistently called for the separation of church and state. He also led a succession from the Dutch Reformed Church and united several disparate Reformed churches in the Netherlands. In 1880, he founded the Free University in Amsterdam and served as a professor of theology. At the invitation of B. B. Warfield, Kuyper traveled to the United States to deliver the Stone Lectures at Princeton and address Reformed congregations in Michigan and Iowa.
Kuyper also led an active political life. He served as a member of Parliament in the Netherlands beginning in 1874 and served as prime minister from 1901–1905.
Abraham Kuyper was instrumental in the development of Neocalvinism, and is remembered for his articulation of common grace and for popularizing the notion of a Reformed worldview. He has influenced such notable figures as Francis Schaeffer, Cornelius Van Til, Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and Chuck Colson.
Abraham Kuyper died in 1920.