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Lectures on Calvinism

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,603 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Kuyper presents Calvinism as a life-system of comprehensive and far-reaching effect, discussing its relationship to religion, politics, science, and art, and inquiring into its prospects for the future. Though based on lectures delivered in 1898, Kuyper's book retains its relevance even today.
Paperback, 200 pages
Published October 4th 1943 by Eerdmans (first published 1932)
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Jeremy
PDF available here. Online here. If you want to read more by/on Kuyper, see here. Useful quotes here.

Very helpful book. Kuyper, who was prime minister of the Netherlands for four years, was invited by B. B. Warfield to Princeton in 1898 to participate in the Stone Lectures. An annual prize was named in his honor, and there's even a Center for Public Theology named after him. Kuyper delivered these lectures between Oct. 10–21, approximately one month before the birth of C. S. Lewis (Nov. 29, 1898
...more
Matthew Hunter
I’m not exaggerating when I say reading Lectures on Calvinism has changed my life. Kuyper blew my Wesleyan-Holiness-trained mind regularly, so much so that I had no choice but to take two weeks to fully soak in the 200-page wonder.

Kuyper delivered these six talks in 1898 as a Stone Foundation lecture series at Princeton Theological Seminary. Taken together, the lectures provide a thorough outline of Kuyper’s Calvinist thought and its impact on “every square inch” of society. He starts with “Calv
...more
Scott
May 28, 2012 rated it liked it
First time reading Kuyper. Some of the content flew straight over my head while some of it was really, really great. I feel like Kuyper is a good example of looking at how worldview shapes how we act/think, etc. To him, Calvinism is not just a theologically system but a life system.

A couple of other cool things found in reading Kuyper...
-I'm almost certain he helped to develop the doctrine of common grace. With his understanding of the activity of God over all things, it makes total sense that
...more
Jeff Hart
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism are a must-read for anyone interested in worldview studies. His basic claim is that the Calvinistic system provides a comprehensive life-system, beginning first and foremost with our relation to God, then proceeding to our relation to fellow men, and finally to our relation to the world. He demonstrates his thesis by outlining the connections between Calvinism and religion, politics, science, and art (each in their own lecture) while touching on a number of other t ...more
Rick Sam
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Chuck Colson recommended this book in an interview. I like it how he integrates Calvinism within his worldview. He has a high view of Calvinism, frequently says it is the reason for many changes in Western Society. This is interesting; However I couldn't find sources to back his claims.

Kuyper emphasizes giving God everything, an unflinching service; He adds saying, In everything God is present, our thoughts, our actions. He explains influence of Calvinism in Protestant countries, concepts of So
...more
David Bruyn
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wishful

One wonders how Kuyper would have adjusted these lectures had he seen Calvinistic nations 100 years later. Insightful but also wishful.
Matthew Colvin
May 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Has the virtue of elaborating a single powerful theme: God's sovereignty in human life. Puts forth the important ideas of common grace and sphere sovereignty. But the book is marred by the prominent role accorded to some of Kuyper's worst ideas. He gerrymanders Calvinism in order to claim that the suppression of heretics like Servetus is not compatible with it (he advocates a sort of principled pluralism). His chapter on art is almost wholly vitiated by the gnostic idea that higher sorts of wors ...more
Alex Stroshine
Abraham Kuyper is arguably one of the greatest Christian thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries. A journalist, theologian and politician (including prime minister of the Netherlands from 1901-1905), here Kuyper delivers six dense, informative, profound lectures on the impact of Calvinism upon the world. Kuyper's writing is excellent and full of flair and flourish but I feel as if upon examination from a 21st-century lens, his excessive praise for Calvinism is vulnerable to critiques. One of the ...more
Andrew Willis
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Its not an exposition of Calvinistic theology per se, but on Calvinism as a life system. Kuyper persuasively argues that the underlying tenets of Calvinism (such as unrestricted access to God, the curse upon creation, the original perfect state of man and nature) led to great advancements in art, politics, science, and religion. There are a few downsides. First, maybe its the natural result of time, but it's a bit dense and cerebral. Second, its void of footnotes and concrete examples ...more
Maggie
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Either this second coming, therefore, is near at hand, and what we are witnessing are the death-throes of humanity; or a rejuvenation is still in store for us; but if so, that rejuvenation can only come through the old and yet ever new Gospel which, at the beginning of our era, and again at the time of the Reformation, has saved the threatened life of our race.”

That quote felt prophetically relevant to the current time we find ourselves in, as did the majority of the last lecture. If you take a
...more
Max
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good read, even though many of his examples and arguments were a little too scholarly for me to follow. He labors to show how Calvinism is not just a theology, but a life system developed from the Bible. He believes and convincingly shows how Calvin’s understanding of God and His control and involvement in this world is the highest, richest, and most fruitful theological system from its benefits to all of life from the natural to the spiritual. He believes that our world today would be much ...more
Luke McEwen
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was very fascinating. Kuyper does such a great job of weaving the theology of Calvinism into 5 different major aspects of life. A lot of this book was over my head and difficult to read, however it was very thought provoking.
Phillip Howell
This book is fascinating. It is not about T.U.L.I.P. (in fact the 5 points of Calvinism were not organized like that until the early 1900s after Kuyper's time).

The chief purpose of these lectures was to eradicate the wrong idea that Calvinism represented an exclusively dogmatical and ecclesiastical movement.

Outline of the Book:

First Lecture – Calvinism A Life-System

Calvinism is incontestably entitled to take its stand by the side of Paganism, Islamism, Romanism, and Modernism, and to claim for
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John
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Kuyper argues that Calvinism is not just a theological system, but is in fact a complete world and life view on the order of Islam, Roman Catholicism, and paganism. Not only is it a world and life view, but it is the highest and most mature of world and life views. It is a complete system that gives order and structure to the world based on the Bible and its teaching.

Kuyper builds upon and describes the import of this fact by demonstrating how Calvinism answers the basic questions of how man re
...more
Andrew Mcneill
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was a really curious book. There were of course, some excellent sections which I thoroughly enjoyed, but throughout the book, Kuyper lives in a bizarre fantasy that Calvinism is and has the potential to be, the greatest worldview the world has ever seen. Consequently, he continually glorifies Calvinism and its incarnation in the Netherlands and shows how wonderful it is. But this involves a rather simplistic view of history, current affairs and science (among other things). He should at lea ...more
Josiah
Feb 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a reason that there's a whole school of thought named after Kuyper with regards to the intersection of Christ and culture. Abraham Kuyper is absolutely brilliant, and this book well-evidences this fact as he shows how the worldview of Calvinism impacts all areas of life. While I didn't agree with him in all his conclusions, his lectures made me think. Particularly good were his lectures on Calvinism and Worldview, Calvinism and Politics, and Calvinism and Art. At points he elevates Calvi ...more
Anita
Jan 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Calvinism
As a baby Calvinist, I found this book inspiring because it showed me how the Prostetant Reformation has deeply impacted Western Civilization and Culture. Not only was the impact in the past, but I could see that it is still and will always impact society in every area. I love Kuyper's ability to speak to the heart and mind of man. I kept checking the date of when the lectures were given in disbelief. I would have thought the book was written in the twentieth century by the way he spoke. I suppo ...more
Jacob Aitken
I guess it was exciting when it first came out. And worldview manual today will give you more bang for your buck and probably do it in a clearer and more succinct manner.

While it is true that Calvinism is an active faith, and one can even urge that it is a transforming faith, the problem with this line of reasoning is that was not the Reformers' primary goal. They sought to reform worship in the church. A lot of Kuyperians simply miss that observation.
Ryan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dan
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rts
Kuyper was the Prime Minister of Netherlands (1901-05) and a reformed theologian. In this book, he discusses the impact of Calvinistic thought on broader society. He carefully argues that Calvinism isn't just a soteriological concept; rather, it is a comprehensive life-system with implications extending into politics, science, and the arts. In understanding the relationship of each of these areas of life, he posits the concept of sphere-sovereignty, which helpfully delineates the distinct respon ...more
Dustin
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith
"And when your President proclaims
a national day of thanksgiving, or when the houses of Congress assembled in Washington are opened with prayer, it is ever new evidence that through American democracy there runs even yet a vein which, having sprung from the Pilgrim Fathers, still exerts its power at the present day. Even your common school system, inasmuch as it is blessed with the reading of Scripture and opening prayer, points, though with decreasing distinctness, to like Calvinistic origin. S
...more
Andrew Harrison
Jan 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was told a while ago that I MUST read this book. Excitedly I dug in and within a matter of minutes I found myself at odds with most of Kuyper's teachings. Page after page of philosophical speculation poured out of Kuyper's. His ideas were firmly rooted in something other than the bible. Ultimately, this book is what actually lead me to abandon "reformed theology". By "reformed theology" I don't mean the doctrines of grace and/or covenant theology which I wholeheartedly agree with. What I mean ...more
Jeffrey
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
God is sovereign. If you understand that, you understand Calvinism and how it necessarily penetrates our livelihood.

However, sin is the dominating force upon creation. Only God can overcome it. In comes Calvinism, the only tradition that adequately weights sin and God's holiness against each other.

Kuyper defends the Calvinistic expression of Protestantism and its effects in all of life. Whether in general human flourishing, modernism, atheism, consistent Protestantism, purpose of the church, r
...more
Leila Bowers
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
These series of lectures are enough removed from our time and thought that they itch a scratch you didn't even know you had and cause you to work potentially flabby brain muscles. Kuyper is both brilliant and concrete in discussing and pushing his theology out into the tips of his fingers and his toes, and applying in writing and life the principle that there is not one square inch of Creation that God does not declare, "mine!" I may love the theatre and swing dancing, but it is still good to ge ...more
Peter Clegg
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a great introduction to Biblical worldview. Kuyper shows the sovereignty and supremacy of God in all spheres of life. My only criticism is that he does not separate the Biblical Calvinistic worldview from that of Rome. Calvinism and Biblical theology are vastly different from the popish religion.
svarog
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Incredible introduction to Calvinism not just as theology, but as the root of a philosophical, political, scientific, and artistic perspective as well. The doctrine of predestination, while simple to state, brings new perspectives on how God influences every sphere of life. The Kindle version is unproofread OCR garbage, though.
Briana Grenert
Jul 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
He has some really useful and insightful thoughts but those are buried in thoughts that are inaccessible or did not age well (19th century anthropology). Language was at times poignant and most of the rest of the time pretentious (to a modern audience). He does not support his points about Calvanism's significance to the sciences and the arts in a way that is convincing to me.
Jordan Shirkman
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not an easy read—very philosophical and cerebral at times, but prophetic considering the lectures were given in 1898. Interesting connections and arguments for the impact of Calvinism on our modern world.
Laurent Dv
Good overview of the applications of calvinism (during the Reformation and the Post-Reformation era) to diverse domains regularly considered as "secular" : art (music, sculpture, painting), politics, science, religion. You can consider it as a work on cultural apologetics.
Ryan Watkins
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
This book gave me a great deal of respect for Kuyper even though I won't consider myself a Kuyperian. I think a charitable reading of both Kuyper and the two kingdom advocates would make both sides realize they aren't as far apart as many would want you to think.
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Abraham Kuyper was a Dutch politician, journalist, statesman and theologian. He founded the Anti-Revolutionary Party and was prime minister of the Netherlands between 1901 and 1905.

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