By James D. Bratt
The definitive biography of Abraham Kuyper, mammoth of Dutch Calvinism
This is the 1st full-scale English-language biography of the hugely influential and astonishingly multifaceted Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) — theologian, minister, baby-kisser, newspaper editor, academic innovator, Calvinist reformer, and top minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905.
James Bratt is the precise student to inform the tale of Kuyper's extraordinary lifestyles and paintings. He expertly strains the beginning and improvement of Kuyper's signature suggestions — universal grace, Christian worldview, sphere sovereignty, Christian engagement with modern tradition — within the dynamic context of his life's story.
Based on voluminous fundamental and secondary Dutch assets, Bratt's Abraham Kuyper: sleek Calvinist, Christian Democrat will turn out to be the go-to biography of this significant determine whose principles and impression expand a long way past his personal time and position.
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Additional info for Abraham Kuyper. Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat
I hope as a consequence to have enriched a Dutch audience’s self-understanding and to have translated some of their fascinating history, and this one fascinating man, into terms that an international audience can more readily appreciate. A biography also invites the reader (as it demands of the author) to come to terms with the person at the center of the story. Readers are free to draw their own conclusions about Kuyper as they move along through this volume; I only hope to have supplied ample, nuanced evidence to make theirs a balanced judgment.
Where paradox gives over to self-contradiction or outright duplicity is each observer’s right to judge. Kuyper in his lifetime was often accused of both. In my opinion he was neither entirely consistent nor abjectly pragmatic; instead, he operated in a third mode, moving through a force-field suspended between opposite poles, the very opposition making for creative tension. Paradox characterized him nonetheless, in substance as well as style. Thus the generous Kuyper who could espouse a beauty contest among a dozen ideological flowers in the garden of public life was more often the movement builder mobilizing his forces in tones of alarm: the tares of error and unbelief were threatening to take over all of God’s Dutch acres, and the Calvinist faithful were a righteous remnant called to win back as much as they could.
But what should observers make of Kuyper’s own great project, the Free University of Amsterdam, which secularized quite rapidly a half-century after his passing? And not least, to whom in the contemporary maelstrom of American politics does Kuyper belong? To the Right with his strong advocacy of traditional values and his ardent defense of family rights? Or to the Left with his relatively large role for government and his suspicions of the rich and powerful? Attentive readers of this landmark biography will come away learning a great deal about a noteworthy individual.
Abraham Kuyper. Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat by James D. Bratt