Lectures on Calvinism 1

jpegIn his Lectures on Calvinism, Abraham Kuyper says, “under the hierarchy of Rome the Church and the World were placed over against each other, the one as being sanctified and the other as being still under the curse.”  

Calvinism brought about a challenge to this “dualistic social state” by honoring not only “man for the sake of his likeness to the Divine image, but also the world as a Divine creation.”  Calvinism emphasized that, while there is “particular grace which works Salvation,” there is also “a common grace by which God, maintaining the life of the world, relaxes the curse which rests upon it, arrests its process of corruption, and thus allows the untrammelled development of our life in which to glorify Himself as Creator.”  

The result?  “The Church receded in order to be neither more nor less than the congregation of believers, and in every department the life of the world was not emancipated from God, but from the dominion of the Church.”  “Domestic life regained its independence, trade and commerce realized their strength in liberty, art and science were set free from every ecclesiastical bond and restored to their own inspirations, and man began to understand the subjection of all nature with its hidden forces and treasures to himself as a holy duty, imposed upon him by the original ordinances of Paradise: ‘Have dominion over them.’”

Ultimately, this meant “the curse should no longer rest upon the world itself, but upon that which is sinful in it, and instead of monastic flight from the world the duty is now emphasized of serving God in the world, in every position in life.”  Since “in the whole world the curse is restrained by grace, the life of the world is to be honored in its independence, and we must, in every domain, discover the treasuries and develop the potencies hidden by God in nature and in human life.”

(This was especially an “antithesis to Anabaptism” which adopted “the opposite method” of “evad[ing] the world,” “confirming the monastic starting-point” and “generalizing and making it a rule for all believers.”)

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