Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kuyper Common Grace Translation Project

Post 37

My intention for this post was to do another one on the Vancouver hockey riots. However, unexpected intrusions into my week over which I had little control, made it impossible for me find the time. So, hopefully next week I will fulfill that promise.

What's in this Post
In the meantime, today I introduce you to some new kindred spirits along with a translation project of one of Abraham Kuyper's major works. Kuyper, you may remember, is the father of the Kuyperian movement of which this blog is a member. Apart from this introduction, the rest of this post is simply copied from the website of the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. The information below will inform you of an important translation project not only, but also acquaint you with the Acton Institute, and will enable you to become part of their network. Some of it is info you generally do not get in a blog.

Qualified Kindred Spirits
Though I refer to the Roman Catholic Acton as a kindred spirit, that must be taken with some qualifications. I feel a kindred spirit with them in that they are very aggressive in promoting a full-orbed Christian approach to society, but they often do so within a framework for which I have considerable respect but sometimes is too dogmatic for my Kuyperian soul and too one-sidedly capitalist. Anyone acquainted Kuyper's angry Christianity and the Class Struggle or its various English translations, will know that Kuyper was very aware of the negatives associated with capitalism.

Then there is mention of Kuyper College as a partner in the translation project. I confess to not being "up to snuff" when it comes to this Calvinist institution, also in Grand Rapids. It started out as a Bible college, a notion more Evangelical than Reformed, let alone Kuyperian. They have since adopted the name of Kuyper, but to what extent they now espouse Kuyperianism, I do not know. If interested, check out their website. Perhaps some time in the future I can devote a post to them and introduce them better.

Acton's Summary re the Kuyper Translation Project
There is a trend among evangelicals to engage in social reform without first developing a coherent social philosophy to guide the agenda. To bridge this gap, Acton Institute and Kuyper College are partnering together to translate Abraham Kuyper's seminal three-volume work on common grace (De gemeene gratie). Common Grace was chosen because it holds great potential to build intellectual capacity within evangelicalism and because a sound grasp of this doctrine is what is missing in evangelical cultural engagement. Common Grace is the capstone of Kuyper's constructive public theology and the best available platform to draw evangelicals back to first principles and to orient their social thought.

Acton Press Release: Fuller Explanation
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (April 19, 2011)—The Acton Institute and Kuyper College are collaborating to bring for the first time to English-language readers a foundational text from the pen of the Dutch theologian and statesman, Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper’s three-volume work, Common Grace (De gemeene gratie) appeared from 1901-05, during his tenure as prime minister in the Netherlands. These works are based on a series of newspaper editorials intended to equip common citizens and laypersons with the tools they needed to effectively enter public life. The doctrine of common grace is, as Kuyper puts it, “the root conviction for all Reformed people.” “If the believer’s God is at work in this world,” says Kuyper, “then in this world the believer’s hand must take hold of the plow, and the name of the Lord must be glorified in that activity as well.”

Dr. Stephen Grabill, director of programs at the Acton Institute, serves as general editor of the project. He points to the contemporary need to understand Kuyper’s comprehensive and cohesive vision for Christian social engagement. “There are a host of current attempts to try to describe how evangelicals should be at work in the world,” Grabill said. “Kuyper’s articulation of the project of common grace shows how these efforts must be grounded in and flow naturally from sound doctrine.”

Placing social engagement, particularly within the context of business activity, in the broader context of sound theology is a large part of what led Kuyper College to partner in this translation project. “Abraham Kuyper’s project in Common Grace helps provide a reliable and engaging theological basis for our new business leadership program,” said Kuyper College president Nicholas Kroeze.

John Bolt, professor of systematic theology at Calvin Theological Seminary and author of A Free Church, a Holy Nation: Abraham Kuyper’s American Public Theology, will serve as a theological advisor to the project. He describes Kuyper’s work as intended “to challenge the pious, orthodox, Reformed people of the Netherlands to take seriously their calling in Dutch culture and society. His basic argument was: God is not absent from the non-church areas of our common life but bestows his gifts and favor indiscriminately to all people.”

The translation and publication project will cover a two year period, and the three volumes total over 1,700 pages in the original. Dr. Nelson Kloosterman of Worldview Resources International and translator of numerous Dutch works will oversee the translation of the texts. The completed translation will be published by Christian’s Library Press, the recently acquired imprint of the Acton Institute. Volume one of Common Grace is scheduled to appear in the fall of 2012.

Additional Miscellaneous Info from the Acton WebsiteResources
• Kuyper Common Grace Brochure (PDF)
• Kuyper Common Grace Table of Contents (PDF)
• Kuyper Common Grace Volume 1 Foreword (PDF)

Stay Connected
Follow the Kuyper Common Grace Project on Facebook.
Acton Institute: Facebook | Twitter
Kuyper College: Facebook
Christian's Library Press: Facebook | Twitter

Abraham Kuyper: 1899
Kuyper & Leo XIII

Journal of Markets & Morality 5.1
A Century of Christian Social Teaching: The Legacy of Leo XIII and Abraham Kuyper
(print / electronic)
CFP: Modern Christian Social Thought (PDF)

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