The Kuyperian Option
Cultural Engagement & Natural Law Ecumenism
Considered a century removed, Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920) lived a life that defies categorization. He was a parliamentarian, a prime minister, a pioneer and founder, an administrator, an editor, and an educator. Perhaps most significantly, Kuyper was a public theologian, and in some quarters of Protestant Reformed Christianity his legacy endures with surprising potency.
Kuyper is best known for three emphases: "sphere sovereignty," "antithesis" (between faith and the world), and "common grace." In contrast to antithesis, common grace (de gemeene gratie) places an accent on our shared humanity and common moral ground, and hence on public participation and social responsibility. Common grace may be summarized as God's preserving and sustaining work in the created order. In Kuyperian thought, common grace both justifies and bridges the antithesis.
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J. Daryl Charles is the Acton Institute Affiliated Scholar in Theology & Ethics. He is the author or editor of twenty books, including Retrieving the Natural Law (2008), Natural Law and Religious Freedom (2018), and, most recently, Just War and Christian Traditions (forthcoming). He is also co-editor of Abraham Kuyper, Common Grace: God's Gifts for a Fallen World, Volume 3 (2020). He is a contributing editor to Touchstone.
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