Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat

Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat

Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat

Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat


The definitive biography of Abraham Kuyper, giant of Dutch Calvinism

This is the first full-scale English-language biography of the highly influential and astonishingly multifaceted Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) -- theologian, minister, politician, newspaper editor, educational innovator, Calvinist reformer, and prime minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905.

James Bratt is the ideal scholar to tell the story of Kuyper's remarkable life and work. He expertly traces the origin and development of Kuyper's signature concepts -- common grace, Christian worldview, sphere sovereignty, Christian engagement with contemporary culture -- in the dynamic context of his life's story.

Based on voluminous primary and secondary Dutch sources, Bratt's Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat will prove to be the go-to biography of this major figure whose ideas and influence extend far beyond his own time and place.


The interwoven questions that this splendid biography answers are, “Who was Abraham Kuyper, and why should we care?” Answering the first question is not easy, since Kuyper’s career was as filled with noteworthy achievement as that of any single individual in modern Western history. From his birth in 1837 in the Dutch seaport of Maassluis to his death in the Hague in 1920, Kuyper’s life encompassed an extraordinary range of enterprises. As only a partial list, he was a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, the driving force behind a major schism in that church, a professor of theology, the longtime editor of a daily newspaper, the founder of the Netherlands’ first mass-based political party, an effective advocate for public funding of religious schools, the founder of a university, a much celebrated traveler in Britain and America, a member of the Dutch Parliament (and later Senate), from 1901 to 1905 the prime minister of the Netherlands, and throughout his adult life an absolutely indefatigable author on topics political, theological, cultural, and devotional. Somehow he also managed to fit time for several long collapses from nervous exhaustion that seemed only to bring him back with larger ambitions for longer agendas.

If Kuyper’s ideas had been entirely humdrum, his list of achievements alone would make him worthy of sustained attention. But since his ideas were well articulated beliefs that propelled his many activities, trying to answer “who was Kuyper?” requires full attention to his thought. He was first a convinced Protestant who held the image of Reformation guided by the word of God as the highest ideal. Almost as intensely he believed that the French Revolution had un-

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