Does theological inquiry belong to the church or the university? Is God properly understood within the Church, or within secular contexts? As an unapologetic Calvinist, Kuyper offers a sweeping overview of the history, the task, the method, and the organization of theology. He places theology alongside the sciences, and calls for more interaction between theology and the other disciplines. The Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology: Its Principles helped fuel the rise of Neocalvinism in the twentieth century and continues to undergird Reformed theology in the twenty-first. The Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology: Its Principles also includes an introduction by B. B. Warfield.
“Thus in the complete object of science we have four antitheses and five independent parts: (1) God and his creation; (2) in that creation the rest of creation and man; (3) in man first the distinction between his material and spiritual existence, and, again, (4) the antithesis between unity and multiplicity.” (Page 212)
“First, because the treasure of knowledge which we obtain by our thinking does not originate first by our thinking, but exists before we think; and, on the other hand, because the knowledge to be arranged in order stands in relation to a world of phenomena which is independent of our thought.” (Page 28)
“We speak none too emphatically, therefore, when we speak of two kinds of people. Both are human, but one is inwardly different from the other, and consequently feels a different content rising from his consciousness: thus they face the cosmos from different points of view, and are impelled by different impulses. And the fact that there are two kinds of people occasions of necessity the fact of two kinds of human life and consciousness of life, and of two kinds of science; for which reason the idea of the unity of science, taken in its absolute sense, implies the denial of the fact of palingenesis, and therefore from principle leads to the rejection of the Christian religion.” (Page 154)
“This entire recreative action of the Divine energy is one continuous miracle, which shows itself in the radical renewal of the life of man by regeneration, in the radical renewal of the life of humanity by the new Head which it receives in Christ, and which finally shall bring to pass a similar radical renewal of life in nature. And because these three do not run loosely side by side, but are bound together organically, so that the mystery of regeneration, incarnation and of the final restitution forms one whole, this wondrous energy of re-creation exhibits itself in a broad history, in which what used to be interpreted as incidental miracles, could not be wanting.” (Pages 414–415)
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.