An Analysis of Kuyper’s Lecture: Calvinism a Life System, Part 3

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How Shall We Then Live: Concluding Remarks on Predestinarianism and Christian Living from Kuyper’s Lectures

The Calvinistic world-and-life-view is undergirded by one principal theological dogma: God is sovereign over the affairs of men. This dogmatic assertion carries over to the realm of Soteriology. It is in the doctrine of salvation that Calvinism is mostly known. Far from a mere abstract doctrinal proposition, the sovereignty of God in election and predestination furnishes the Kuyperian worldview with plenty of theological ammunition. Since God is the protagonist in the Calvinistic worldview, then He must be preeminent in developing any approach to living the Christian faith.

Kuyper wishes to emphasize that Calvinism is not to be confused with an ethereal doctrine left for the armchair theologian. Rather, as he asserts, “Calvinism has everywhere left…its trace in social and political, in scientific and aesthetic life…”[1] Calvinism belongs to the people, not simply to the magistrates. It is a doctrine oriented around Christian living. It is the beginning and the end of Christianity. It is the beginning because God initiates a work of grace in each of His chosen ones and it is the end because God in His sovereignty carries His own people through life and to ultimate glory. As Kuyper notes:

This all- embracing predestination, the Calvinist places, not in the hand of man, and still less in the hand of a blind natural force, but in the hand of Almighty God, Sovereign Creator and Possessor of heaven and earth.[2]

This sovereignty over all can only serve as a motivating factor in the Christian activity. The Christian is to defend boldly his Apostolic Creed in an immoral society, lest it loses it honor.[3] Calvinism served as an inspiring call to missiological zeal in previous centuries and must continue to encourage and embolden the Church to march forward as Christian soldiers and ambassadors of her King. The great Dutch theologian well understood the consequences of a weak Church when he wrote: “…Christianity that does not prove its worth in practice, degenerates into dry scholasticism and idle talk.”[4]

Let Calvinism and its world-view suffer a million deaths if it is not quickened by the work of the Holy Spirit. In Kuyper’s own words: “Unless God send forth His Spirit, there will be no turn, and fearfully rapid will be the descent of the waters.”[5]


[1] Lectures on Calvinism, pg.192.

[2] Lectures on Calvinism, pg.197.

[3] Lectures on Calvinism, pg. 195.  “Such a Church does not dishonor Calvinism, but itself.”

[4] Lectures on Calvinism. Pg. 187.

[5] Lectures on Calvinism, pg. 199.

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
This entry was posted in Abraham kuyper, Calvin/Calvinism, Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

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