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Abraham Kuyper and the Rise of Neo-Calvinism in the Netherlands

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2009

Justus M. van der Kroef
Affiliation:
Michigan State College, East Lansing, Mich

Extract

Few men in modern Dutch history have played such a significant role as Abraham Kuyper. A theologian of European renown, a church reformer whose activities lastingly changed the existing church order in his country, a statesman who during five decades of an active political career combined his religion with a unique theory of government, and last but not least, a journalist and outstanding man of letters, Kuyper, during the course of his long life, placed a stamp upon the civilization of the Netherlands which it never was to lose. The immense breadth of his intellect, sustained by a tremendous energy, allowed him to speak with authority on subjects ranging from Calvin's concept of grace, through Islamic architecture, to the future of colonial reform, and earned him the epithet of Abraham de Geweldige (Abraham the Magnificent). His greatest achievement, however, was the foundation of a system of religious dogma upon which he erected a political and social philosophy which in the Protestant Netherlands since 1850 was the only one of lasting influence.1

Type
Research Article
Information
Church History , Volume 17 , Issue 4 , December 1948 , pp. 316 - 334
Copyright
Copyright © American Society of Church History 1948

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References

1 Roessingh, K. H., Het Modernisme in Nederland (Haarlem, 1922), 98.Google Scholar

2 Herderschee, J., De Moderne Godsdienstige Richting (Amsterdam, 1904), 233ff;Google Scholar and Knappert, L., Geschiedenis der Nederlandsch-Hervormde Kerk (Amsterdam, 1912), II, 265.Google Scholar

3 Kuyper, Abraham, Het Modernisme (Amsterdam, 1871), 280.Google Scholar

4 Knyper, A., Disquisitio Historico-Theologica exhibens Joannis Calvini et Joannis a Lasco De Ecclesia sententiarum inter se compositionem (Amsterdam, 1862), 185 ffGoogle Scholar. Cf. also Kasteel, P., Abraham Kuyper (Kampen, 1938), 28.Google Scholar

5 Handelingen der Staten-Generaal, Zitting van 14 Juli, 1902, Eerste Kamer.

6 Rullmann, J. C., Abraham Kuyper, een Levensschets (Kampen, 1929), 31.Google Scholar

7 Ibid., 15.

8 Kuyper, A., Het Modernisme, 45.Google Scholar

9 Brugmans, H., ed., Geschiedenis van Nederland (Amsterdam, 1938), VIII, 5669;Google ScholarKnappert, L., Geschiedenis der Nederlandsch-Hervormde Kerk (Amsterdam, 1912), 555 ffGoogle Scholar; Reitsma, J., Geschiedenis der Hervormde Kerk (Groeningen, 1893), 375;Google Scholar and de Bruyne, J. and Japikse, N., Staatkundige Geschiedenis van Nederland (Leyden, 1937), I, 310318; II, 285 ff.Google Scholar

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15 Although Bilderdijk never concisely formulated his political theory, his position is clear in his Bezwaren Toegelicht (Leyden, 1823), 1023,Google Scholar and his Geschiedenis des Vaterlands (Amsterdam, 1851), XII, 103 ffGoogle Scholar. Excellent treatments of his views can also be found in Vogel, Leroy, Die politischen Ideen Abraham Kuypers und seine Entwicklung als Staatsmann (Würzburg, 1937), 4447;Google Scholarvan der Does, J. C., Bijdrage Tot de Geschiedenis der Wording van de Anti-Revolutionaire of Christelijk-Historische Staatspartij (Amsterdam, 1925), passim.Google Scholar

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17 Cf. Van Prinsterer, G. Groen, Handboek der Geschiedenis van het Vaderland (Leyden, 1841) V, 814;Google Scholar and his Ongeloof en Revolutie (Amsterdam, 1903)Google Scholar, passim. His political development and his interpretation of the party he describes in his Le Paryi-Anti-Révolutionnaire et Confessionel dans L'Église Réformée des Pays-Bas (Amsterdam, 1860), 2549.Google Scholar See also Fokkema, E. J., De Godsdienstig Wijsgierige Beginselen van Mr. G. Green van Prinsterer (Groeningen, 1907), 9497, 233 ff.Google Scholar; and Vos, G. J., Groen van Prinsterer (Dordrecht, 1891), II, 544 ff.Google Scholar

18 H. Brugmans, op. cit., VIII, 63 ff.

19 Knappert, L., Gesehiedenis der Nederlandsch Hervormde Kerk (Amsterdam, 1912), 294310;Google Scholarde Gaay Fortman, B., Réveil En Doleantie, Stemmen des Tijds (Utrecht, 1936), 7892;Google Scholarde la Sauassaye, D. Chantepie, La Crise Religeuse en Hollande (Leyden, 1860), 1046;Google Scholar and by the same author, Het Protestantisine als Politiek Beginsel (Rotterdam, 1871), 4449.Google Scholar

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21 van Prinsterer, G. Groen, Briefwisseling met Dr. A. Kuyper (Kampen, 1937), 106Google Scholar—a valuable collection of Groen's correspondence with Kuyper.

22 Quoted in Vogel, L., Die politischen Ideen Abraham Kuypers und seine Entwicklung als Staatsmann, 18.Google Scholar

23 Kuyper, A., Predikatien (Kampen, 1913), 303.Google Scholar

24 Kuyper, A., Starrenflonkering (Amsterdam, 1936), 6.Google Scholar

25 Kuyper, A., De Vrijmaking der Kerk (Amsterdam, 1870), 15ff.Google Scholar and his Enige Kamaradviezen uit de Jaren 1874 en 1875 (Amsterdam, 1890), 290297;Google Scholar and Kasteel, P., Abraham Kuyper. (Kampen, 1938), 44.Google Scholar

26 Kuyper, A., Tractaat van de Reformatie der Kerken (Amsterdam, 1883), 177.Google Scholar

27 Notably the relation between Paul and the communities in Acts, 11, 15, makes Kuyper's position invalid. Cf. Vos, G. J., Het Keerpunt in de Jongste Geschiedenis van Kerk en Staat (Dordrecht, 1887), 62–6.Google Scholar

28 Brugmans, H., Geschiédenis van Nederland (Amsterdam, 1938), VIII, 70;Google Scholar and Rullman, J. C., De Doleantie in de Nederlandsch Hervormde Kerk der 19e Eeuw (Amsterdam, 1916), 7577, 97 ff.Google Scholar

29 Algemeen Handelsblad, January 8, 1886, quoted in Kasteel, P., Abraham Kuyper (Kampen, 1938), 47.Google Scholar

30 van Malsen, H., A. F. de Savornin Lohman (Haarlem, 1931), 98.Google Scholar

31 Quoted in Brugmans, H., ed., Geschiedenis van Nederland (Amsterdam, 1938), VIII, 70.Google Scholar

32 Rutgers, H. V., ed., De Reformatie van 1886 (Kampen, 1936), 163.Google Scholar

33 Kuyper, A., Het Conflict Gekomen (Amsterdam, 1886), 2438.Google Scholar

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35 Vogel, L., Die politischen Ideen Abraham Kuypers und seine Entwicklung als Staatsmann, 41.Google Scholar

36 Kuyper, A., De Gemeene Gratie (Leyden, 1901)Google Scholar, passim. This summary from Vogel's, L. work, Die politischen Ideen Abraham Kuypers und seine Entwicklung als Staatsmann, 41.Google Scholar

37 Kuyper, A., Anti-revolutionnaire Staaikunde (Kampen, 1917), 573602.Google Scholar

38 For his early political addresses cf. Kuyper, A., Parlemrntaire Redevoeringen (Amsterdam, 1910), I, 32118.Google Scholar

39 Kuyper, A., Ons Program (Amsterdam, 18781897), 3 vols.Google Scholar

40 Notably the following: Antirevolutionnaire Staatkunde (Kampen, 1916)Google Scholar; Souvereiniteit in eigen Kring (Amsterdam, 1880)Google Scholar; and Christelijke Politiek (Kampen, 1904)Google Scholar.

41 Kuyper, A., Ons Program, 36;Google ScholarNiet de Vrijheitsboom Maarhet Kruis (Amsterdam, 1897), 12 ff.Google Scholar; and his Antirevolutionnaire Staatkunde, I, passim.

42 “The roots of our liberties are to be found in the fundamental Calvinistic principle of the absolute sovereignty of God. With this stands convicted in the first place the concept of popular sovereignty as held by Grotius and Mirabean. But condemned also is the concept of “droil Divin” of the followers of Stuart, of the French Legitimists and of the Prussian Junkers.” Cf. Kuyper, A., Het Calvinisme, Oorsprong en Waarborg Onzer Constitutionele Vrijheden (Amsterdam, 1874), 5153.Google Scholar

43 Kuyper, A., Der Calvinismus und die Protestantische Staatsidce (Leipzig, 1919), 61.Google Scholar As Vogel has noted, Kuyper relied on Bancroft to substantiate this concept in American History. Cf. Bancroft, , History of the United States, I, 464;Google ScholarVogel, L., Die politischen Ideen Abraham Kuypers und seine Entwicklung als Staatsmann, 40.Google Scholar

44 Kuyper, A., Het Calvinisme, Oorsprong en Waarborg Onzer Constitutionele Vrijheden, 10.Google Scholar

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46 Ibid., 467, quoted in Vogel, L., Die politischen Ideen Abraham Kuypers und seine Entwicklung als Staatsmann, 28.Google Scholar

47 Kuyper, A., Parlementaire Redevoeringen, I, 563565,Google Scholar and by the same author Het Calvinisme (Amsterdam, 1899), passimGoogle Scholar. Vogel's contention that the family is the basis of Kuyper's political theory has been repudiated by Kuyper, H. H. in De Heraut 01 9, 1938Google Scholar (no. 3129), and by Kasteel, P., Abraham Kuyper, 79.Google Scholar In view of Kuyper's suffrage extension program in later years, Vogel's point of view seems to have considerable foundation, however. Cf. Vogel, L., Die politischen Ideen Abraham Kuypers and seine Entwicklung als Staatsmann, 29.Google Scholar

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50 Kuyper, A., Niet de Vrijheidsboom Maar het Kruis, 1325.Google Scholar

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53 Kuyper, A., Der Calvinismus und die Protestantische Staatsidce, 67.Google Scholar

54 Kuyper, A., Het Caluinisme, Oorsprong en, Waarborg Onzer Constitutioneele Vrijheden, 49.Google Scholar

55 Kuyper, A., Eenvormigheid, De Vloek van het Moderne Leven (Amsterdam, 1870), passim.Google Scholar

56 An antipathy apparently not confined to the Dutch alone. The position of the contemporary German bourgeoisie is well expressed in Mann, Thomas, Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen (Berlin, 1918).Google Scholar

57 Oosterlee, P., Geschiedenis van het Christelijk Onderwijis (Haarlem, 1929), 1598;Google ScholarStrang, A., Eene Historische Verhandeling over de Liberale Politiek en het Lager Onderwijs (Utrecht, 1930), 31127.Google Scholar

58 Chiefly from Protestant teachers' organizations, notably the Vereeniging voor Gereformeerd Schoolonderwijs, founded in 1865 with chapters throughout the nation. Cf. de Wilde, H., De Antirevolutionnaire Partij en Haar Programs van Beginselen, 207 ff.Google Scholar

59 Notably in the issues of the Heraut of 1871, and Ons Program, 5–7.

60 Cf. Feikema, R. E., De Totstandkoming van de Schoolwet van Kappeyne (Amsterdam, 1929)Google Scholar, Chap. II-III, passim; and van der Mandele, K. E., Het Liberalisme in Nederland (Amsterdam, 1937), 184189.Google Scholar

61 Witlox, J. H., De Katholieke Staatspartij in Haar Oorsprong en Ontwikkeling Geschetst (Hertogenbosch, 1919, 1927), I, 145187;Google Scholar II, passim; Schaepman, H. J., Een Katholieke Partij (Utrecht, 1883), 1243;Google Scholar and van Staay, J. A. M., De Katholieke Partij en de Handeispolitiek (Amsterdam, 1933), passim.Google Scholar

62 Brom, Gerard, Romantiek en Katholicisme in Nederland (Groeningen, 1926), II, 354.Google Scholar

63 Kuyper, A., Rome en Dordt (Amsterdam, 1876), 523.Google Scholar

64 For the history of the Mackay cabinet, cf. van Welderen Rengers, W. J., Schets eener Parlementaire Geschiedenis van Nederland (The Hague, 1906), II, 345381.Google Scholar

65 de Savornin Lohman, A. F., De Scheidslijn (The Hague, 1922), 5860;Google ScholarDiepenhorst, P. A., Onze strijd in de Staten-Generaal (Amsterdam, 19271929), II, 207210;Google ScholarKasteel, P., Abraham Kuyper, 164195.Google Scholar

66 Kuyper once poked fun at Lohman's aristocratic followers by calling the Christian Historical Party the “party of those with double names.”

67 de Beaufort, J. A., Vijftig Jaren uit Onze Geschiedenis (Amsterdam, 1928), I, 284.Google Scholar

68 Ibid., II, 61.

69 For Kuyper's last years, cf. H. H., and Kuyper, J. H., De Levensavond Van Dr. A. Kyper (Kampen, 1921)Google Scholar, a sympathetic if uncritical treatment by Kuyper's daughters. Also Diepenhorst, P. A., Dr. A. Kuyper (Haarlem, 1931), 55 ff.Google Scholar

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