Abraham Kuyper, the most influential Dutch Reformed thinker and politician of the last century, discusses religion versus faith in this short lecture. Delivered at the Historical Presbyterian Society in 1890, Kuyper puts forth his views on the pitfalls of religious rituals as opposed to the direct faith that the Reformers held to as the most important doctrines. In true Reformed fashion, he argues that ritual in religion is mere symbolism, hindering the believer in drawing near to God. Tracking this line of thought in German and English thought, Kuyper provides a solid argument for God’s direct involvement in the salvation of Christians.
This is a succinct discussion of the opposition between salvation by works and salvation by faith alone, and is essential for any student of Reformed thinking or anyone wanting a greater understanding of this doctrine. With the Logos edition, all the Scripture references are linked to the Bibles in your library and you can study it side by side with all your other Reformed resources.
“This subject is the antithesis between Symbolism and Revelation, or the current of symbolical religion, which of late is becoming almost dominant in England, and now already in a considerable degree menaces our Calvinistic church-life.” (Page 5)
“this ritualistic action must of necessity develop for itself; viz., the going back to Rome” (Page 7)
“In this new religious tide there is no demand at all for deliverance from sin; there is no longing whatsoever after redemption; nowhere the desire for a conscious personal reunion with the living God, our Father in heaven, declares itself. The adherents of this new religion, belonging almost all to the highly cultured class, are well satisfied with themselves and with their position in this world, leaving their future lot in the world to come, if there is such a one, an open question.” (Page 11)
“The idea of the Infinite becoming phenomenal in the finite, by means of a material process, adapted itself to the Anglo-Saxon mind; and from that moment on the modern theory of the pantheistic relation between the Infinite and the finite has mastered the public mind, and encompassed the rising generation all over the world, sweeping everything before it.” (Page 14)
“principle. Both have in view to establish a perceivable relation between the Infinite and the finite, bu” (Page 16)
Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920) was the Prime Minister of the Netherlands between 1901 and 1905. 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 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 secession from the Dutch Reformed Church and united several disparate Reformed churches in the Netherlands.
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.
Some of Kuyper’s publications, which are available in Logos, include Wisdom & Wonder: Common Grace in Science & Art, The Antithesis between Symbolism and Revelation, and Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology: Its Principles.