Acton Institute partners with Kuyper College to translate Abraham Kuyper’s 1920 treatise ‘Common Grace’ |

Acton Institute partners with Kuyper College to translate Abraham Kuyper’s 1920 treatise ‘Common Grace’ |

This past Saturday the Grand Rapids Press carried this news item about the new work of translating Abraham Kuyper’s three (3) volume work on common grace (De Gemeene Gratie). This is an important and significant development, since Kuyper’s work on “common” grace has never been translated into English before (though parts of it have) and because most modern advocates of common grace appeal to Kuyper as their spiritual father.

For those in the Protestant Reformed Churches this translation work is also significant, for we owe our ecclesiastical origin to the denial of common grace as set forth by the Christian Reformed Church back in 1924. And we too appeal to Kuyper for a defense of particular grace and a rejection of common grace (bear with me here!). That’s because Kuyper himself made a sharp distinction between the two “graces”, unlike the CRC in 1924. The CRC dragged God’s saving grace into the mire of “common” grace, making God’s favor in Christ a saving favor not only to the elect but also to the reprobate (evidenced especially in the “free offer” of gospel preaching, they said).

But A.Kuyper strongly and sharply distinguished God’s saving grace to His elect people in Christ (“particular” grace) from what he called God’s “general favor” to the ungodly. He even used two different Dutch words for these in his writings. For his idea of “general” grace he used the word gratie (as in the title mentioned above). But for God’s particular, saving grace he used the word genade. And in the opening pages of his major work on “general grace” he also made this distinction and warned his readers not to be confused about this “double” grace he was advancing. We know this because Kuyper also authored an important book on God’s sovereign, particular saving grace prior to his other work on “general grace”. That book is titled Dat De Genade Particulier Is, which has been translated by Marvin Kamps and published by the Reformed Free Publishing Association under the title Particular Grace: A Defense of God’s Sovereignty in Salvation (2001 – see In his introduction to this publication and in a special appendix Kamps also takes pains to show Kuyper’s true position on grace. I urge you to get this book and read it carefully. Rare is the Reformed churchman today who will with honesty (or maybe it’s simply ignorance) point to this important distinction in Kuyper’s works.

In any case, we welcome this news and look forward to the final English product on Kuyper’s “general grace”, in hopes that it will bring clarification to his true position on what today is called “common” grace. While we wait for this work, you have plenty of time to read his work on particular grace. 🙂 If you wish to pursue this matter further, do a search for Kuyper’s common grace at the RFPA website under the magazine The Standard Bearer.

To read the story as the Press reported it, click on the link above. Here’s just a few lines from it:

Abraham Kuyper likely would have found the political discord of his time similar to the modern-day rancor that reduces some evangelicals to finger-pointing polarization, said Stephen Grabill, director of a local Christian think tank.

The ecumenically minded Dutch politician, journalist and theologian who wrote his persuasive three-volume treatise, “Common Grace” before his death in 1920, dedicated much of his life to fanning a theology that warned Reformed-minded Christians not to develop a “siege mentality” as they sought to weave their influence in business, education and government.

The lessons in “Grace” remain relevant today and are the reason why the free market think tank, the Acton Institute, and Kuyper College, both of Grand Rapids, are collaborating to translate Kuyper’s work from Dutch to English, said Grabill, director of programs at the Acton Institute, who is overseeing the two-year translation project.

“In terms of the way Christians have brought their faith into the public sphere in the last 30 years, Kuyper represents a much more thoughtful and reflective way of building a constructive public theology,” Grabill said.

Published in: on May 31, 2011 at 2:55 AM  Leave a Comment  

Motivational Posters from the Band of Brothers | The Art of Manliness

Motivational Posters from the Band of Brothers | The Art of Manliness.

In my email box this morning was this post about the “Band of Brothers” from WW II. I felt it was worth linking here on Memorial Day, because the virtues described here are certainly applicable to the Christian life, with this distinctive difference: all we do in life in sacrifice for others is done in obedience to our sovereign Savior and King, by the grace of God in Jesus Christ, and for His glory.

You will have to excuse at least one of the “motivational” posters for its crude language. Vices are also a part of war, for natural man is totally depraved (Isn’t that why there are wars and killing in the first place?!).


And yes, if you have never read Stephen Ambrose’s book, Band of Brothers, by all means do. Forget the HBO series – read the book! I am reading another terrific WWII story right now – Unbroken: A WW II Story of Suvival, Resilience, and Redemption, (Random House, 2010) by Laura Hillenbrand (author of Seabiscuit). It is the story of former Olympic runner turned B-24 bombardier Louis Zamperini, who survives a plane crash and capture by the Japanese against unbelievable odds. I have yet to discover how it ends (about halfway through), but it too is worth your read.

Memorial Day 2011

I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day.  I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it.  We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.  ~Benjamin Harrison


Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” – John F. Kennedy



Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Rest for the Weary

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,

and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

He is the rest-giver because he accomplished the task. He put his shoulders under our burdens, the burdens of our guilt and sin and condemnation. For the Father gave to him a people from before the foundation of the world, a people whose savior he was to be, their head and their redeemer, and whom he was to bring from the horrible slavery of sin and death into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

…He was able to bear these burdens even unto the accursed tree of the place of skulls, to enter with them into the dark abyss of death and hell, to toil and labor with them until he had shaken off the load of guilt and the shackles of death. First from Calvary, then soon from Joseph’s garden, he might send forth the glad tidings: It is finished!

He accomplished the task.

With him there is rest.

And the rest-giver he is, too, because he causes us, by the irresistible operations of his Spirit, to enter into his rest.

By nature we would not even seek to enter into that rest. Surely, we may seek rest, but we do not desire his rest. We seek and imagine that we possess rest in the accomplishment of our own righteousness, which is abominable to Jehovah. But he never forgets his people, never leaves them alone. He enters into their hearts and minds by the Spirit of grace. in their hearts he knows how to create unrest and worry. He reveals unto them the greatness of their sin, the abomination of their vain righteousness, their impotency to fulfill the demands of the law, their proneness to all evil, and the corruption of their heart and mind.

With unrest he fills the heart until every last basis of self-confidence is removed, until from the heart the cry is wrung, ‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

When all the wisdom and prudence, all the righteousness of works, all self-conceit and self-confidence to carry our own burdens and remove them is uprooted, and the heart longs for a righteousness that is not its own but God’s, he stands forth in all the beauty of his salvation, in all the glory of his power and says, ‘Weary toiler, it is finished. The task you labor to accomplish is completed. The work is done!’

“It was done for you.’

‘Completely finished by me.’

‘I will give you rest!’

Peace for the Troubled Heart: Reformed Spirituality, Herman Hoeksema, edited by David J. Engelsma, Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2010, pp.49-51

Vaughan Williams – O Taste and See

YouTube – Vaughan Williams – O Taste and See.


For our music accompaniment today, we feature this beautiful presentation of R.Vaughan Williams, “O Taste and See” based on Ps.34:8. It is often used for communion services in other churches, for obvious reasons. It is brief but taken directly from the text of Scripture.

Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 34

For this final Lord’s Day in May we turn to the Word of God in Psalm 34 to help prepare ourselves for worshiping Our God and Savior. Psalm 34 is a psalm of David, according to the heading, and was penned “when he changed his behavior before Abimelech (i.e., Achish, king of Gath – CJT); who drove him away, and he departed” (see I Sam.21:10-15 for the historical context). Here are the inspired words of the prophet:

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

3O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

4I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

5They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

6This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

7The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

8O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

9O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

10The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.

11Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

12What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?

13Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.

14Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

15The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

16The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

17The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

18The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

19Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

20He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

21Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.

22The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.


There are many things worthy of note here; we point out a few of them. First, note David’s opening words of personal praise to the Lord (vss.1,2). Such is the way we ought to come to the house of God today. And then he addresses the congregation, calling her to join him in exalting God’s name (v.3). This is the way we too must come for worship, speaking to one another out of our personal desire to glorify the Lord. David also enumerates his reasons for blessing God: He answered his prayers (vss.4-6); He protected him and provided for all his needs, even in the time of trouble (vss.7-10); He taught David lessons about trust and godliness, which David in turn desired to teach the people of God (vss.11-14); David was encouraged by the faithfulness of God to him, and so he encourages God’s children with the same (vss.15-22). Notice here too the antithetical nature of God’s dealings with men – how the Lord is against the wicked but for His own (vss.15,16; 21,22).


And finally, let us see Christ in this psalm. V.7 is a clear reference to Him as the angel of Jehovah through Whom the Lord protects and delivers His people. And v.20 contains a striking detail about the crucifixion of Christ, that a bone of Him would not be broken, proving that He was the perfect Lamb of God slain for us sinners (Jn.19:36). Marvelous is this Word of God! Fitting to lead us into worship! May these words feed our souls this day, and lead us to magnify the Lord!


For our further meditation, here are some comments of John Calvin on v.1:

1. I will bless Jehovah at all times. David here extols the greatness of God, promising to keep in remembrance during his whole life the goodness which he had bestowed upon him. God assists his people daily, that they may continually employ themselves in praising him; yet it is certain that the blessing which is said to be worthy of everlasting remembrance is distinguished by this mark from other benefits which are ordinary and common. This, therefore, is a rule which should be observed by the saints — they should often call into remembrance whatever good has been bestowed upon them by God; but if at any time he should display his power more illustriously in preserving them from some danger, so much the more does it become them earnestly to testify their gratitude. Now if by one benefit alone God lays us under obligation to himself all our life, so that we may never lawfully cease from setting forth his praises, how much more when he heaps upon us innumerable benefits?

Deadly tornadoes strike again – The Big Picture –

Deadly tornadoes strike again – The Big Picture –


A deadly spring continued in the American South and Midwest as more tornadoes cut swaths of destruction through Missouri and Minnesota. The death toll in Joplin, Mo. was near 100 and expected to rise. As much as 30 percent of the town was damaged. In Minneapolis, a tornado killed one resident as it caused heavy damage and led to school closures and a curfew. The death toll from 2011 tornadoes stands now at 455, the deadliest year for tornados since 1953. — Lane Turner (24 photos total)


It was another tragic week of ferocious tornadoes in the Midwest (Joplin, MO and Minneapolis, MN). This latest collection from the Boston Globe’s “The Big Picture” captures the devastating impact of these storms. Looking at these images as Christians, we are struck again by the power of God and the fierceness of His anger (who can stand before Him?!). We are humbled to know we have been delivered in Christ by pure grace from the  greater destruction we deserve. And this also comes to mind: Christ may not have come in the way Harold Camping thought this past weekend, but our Lord continues His victorious march to the end of this world. Of this too, these tornadoes (and all the “groanings” of creation) are a sign (Romans 8). May we hear the Lamb’s roar and keep ourselves in His love as we await His return in glory.

Thinking Theologically About Memorial Day – Kevin DeYoung

Thinking Theologically About Memorial Day – Kevin DeYoung.


A few days ago (May 26, 2011) Kevin DeYoung posted the above article on his blog at the Gospel Coalition (“DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed”). You may not agree with everything in his “5 points”, but much of what he says is worth hearing and reflecting on. At least he will make you think about how to keep this holiday weekend properly. I will quote his last point here and let you read the rest at the link above. For those of you who remember the young CRC pastor (at that time) Herman Hoeksema’s position on the American flag on display in the church building, you will appreciate DeYoung’s position stated here:


5. All this leads to one final point: while patriotism can be good, the church is not a good place for patriotism.

We should pray for service men and women in our congregations. We should pray for the President. We should pray for the just cause to triumph over the evil one. We are not moral relativists. We do not believe just because all people are sinners and all nations are sinful that no person or no nation can be more righteous or more wicked than another. God may be on America’s side in some (not all) her endeavors.

But please think twice before putting on a Star Spangled gala in church this Sunday. I love to hear the national anthem and “God Bless America” and “My Country, Tis of Thee,” but not in church where the nations gather to worship the King of all peoples. I love to see the presentation of colors and salute our veterans, but these would be better at the Memorial Day parade or during a time of remembrance at the cemetery. Earthly worship should reflect the on-going worship in heaven. And while there are many Americans singing glorious songs to Jesus there, they are not singing songs about the glories of America. We must hold to the traditions of the Apostles in our worship, not the traditions of American history. The church should not ask of her people what is not required in Scripture. So how can we ask the Koreans and Chinese and Mexicans and South Africans in our churches to pledge allegiance to a flag that is not theirs? Are we gathered under the banner of Christ or another banner? Is the church of Jesus Christ–our Jewish Lord and Savior–for those draped in the red, white, and blue or for those washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Adult Baby Syndrome |

Adult Baby Syndrome |

Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin wrote this article a week ago (May 20, 2011) about a “disabled” man who reaps the benefits of our nanny state. If this isn’t a commentary on our current culture, I don’t know what is! Read and weep, as they say. And yet, I include it in my “Friday Fun” posts, because, …well, it is sadly funny.

Welcome to the land of the freeloaders and the home of the depraved. No image captures America’s regressive ethos better than that of 30-year-old Stanley Thornton Jr., self-proclaimed “Adult Baby.”

Profiled on a recent National Geographic reality television show, Thornton claims to suffer from a bizarre infantilism that leads him to wear diapers, lounge around in an oversized crib and seek constant coddling.

The nappies may be extreme, but let’s face it: Thornton Jr. — let’s just call him Junior — is a symptom of our Nanny State run amok, not an anomaly.

Junior came to Washington’s attention this week when Oklahoma GOP Sen. Tom Coburn challenged the Social Security Administration to probe into how the baby bottle-guzzling 350-pound man qualified for federal disability benefits. A former security guard, Junior is handy enough to have crafted his own wooden high chair and playpen.

Published in: on May 27, 2011 at 4:37 AM  Leave a Comment  

Calvinistic Cartoons: The Calvin Quiz

Calvinistic Cartoons: The Calvin Quiz.

For our Friday Fun today we will all take this little quiz on John Calvin, compliments of Eddie Eddings at “Calvinist Cartoons”. This should be a good judge of your Calvinism. Have fun! Here’s the first part of the quiz; complete the rest at the link above.

In each of the five categories below find the one true statement.
And as John Calvin would say, “Chercher les indices secrets !”

1. The first book Calvin wrote was on an ancient philosopher.
2. Calvin wrote a fictional series entitled, “Anna Baptist – the Rebel Nun”.
3. John Calvin used an Underwood typewriter for most of his manuscripts.
4. When Calvin moved to Geneva, he first became a reporter with The Geneva Daily Planet.
5. Writing every night for five years, Calvin finally completed his “Chronicles of Noyonarnia”.
1. Calvin was buried at sea.
2. Unknown is his grave site.
3. John Calvin was frozen, then cremated. Sort of an ice cremation.
4. Calvin died in a hospital in Mentone, France.
5. The tombstone of John Calvin reads, “Here lies a man whose two lips spoke volumes.”