Did Dutch Theology have to go liberal?

Something I’ve always wondered: why did some of the most robust Reformed philosophical schools, which sometimes bordered on the theocratic, go liberal in Holland?  Now, the Anchorites will say that because they are Reformed and are dialectically destined to go liberal.  If the study were simply limited to Holland its step-children in North America (Grand Rapids, Toronto), it appears they would have a point.

However, Kuyperian onlookers have always narrowed their field of vision.    Francis Nigel Lee, however, suggests something else.  Calvinist South Afrika over the past 300 years (pre-Mandela) was very conservative and very Calvinistic.  So much so that it was targeted for destruction by Satan’s institution on Earth–the United Nations.

There’s an element  of Kuyperian thought that appears troubling, though.  It’s North American tendency towards statism has already been noted.   Kuyper’s view of sphere-sovereignty is often criticized in that while there is a separate sphere for the state, the fact of the matter is that the State can do whatever it wants and can transgress (presumably with impunity) into the other spheres.    Admittedly, Kuyper didn’t seem to have an answer to this.  As I reflect on the matter, though, this really isn’t a problem for Kuyper’s view: it’s just a sad fact of life, whatever your worldview paradigm may be (Gary North has his own response:  God places sanctions on criminal states and destroys them.  I agree.  Kuyper wasn’t clear on that point).

The reason it appears to go “liberal” probably happens along these lines:  1) a young Kuyperian seminary student chants that Christ is Lord over all (which is true).  2) He wants to apply his theology to politics.   3) He is contacted (made?) by high ranking members within a political party.   4) He accepts, thinking he is applying his faith to politics.   5) He then wakes up one day and realizes he is speaking at Bilderberg Conferences.

Kuyperianism needs to be buttressed by a robust, Scottish-Puritan-theocratic worldview or it will go liberal.

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One comment on “Did Dutch Theology have to go liberal?

  1. SLIMJIM says:

    It seems that it needs to be moored with the WORD. While appreciating Dooyeweerd’s insight, I was blown away at how he defined religion and theology that allowed room for a sphere where the WORD was normative.

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