Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bavinck & Kuyper Relevant To Afro-Americans

Thanks to the interview "Abraham Kuyper is dead" I discovered Vincent Bacote's intriguing fascination with the work of Abraham Kuyper. This associate professor of theology at Wheaton writes for example on his webpage at Wheaton and on his website:

"One of Abraham Kuyper's most famous quotes is: "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry: Mine!" This quote gets to the heart of the way I view theology and the Christian faith. It is important to recognize that our faith is not reserved for some kind of Christian ghetto."
Recently I stumbled, on a similar fascination with neocalvinism by Anthony Bradley (who wrote the book "liberating black theology"), associate professor of Theology & ethics at King's College who wrote:

"Really wish there existed a celebrity pastor who got Bavinck, Kuyper, & Hoekema. Would make life easier for reaching blacks & Latinos."
This demonstrates to me that the context of class struggle and revolution in which the neocalvinist theology and it's antirevolutionary party emerged (second half of the 19th century until the second world war) is closer to the experience of Afro-Americans then it is to (contemporary) middle class suburbian America (and Holland).

Most contemporary scolars prefer to mold Kuyper's relevance in politics to being the precursor of a communitarian (or civil-societarian) "third way" as Peter S. Heslam would want us to believe.  A theologian who appeals to the middle class and doesn't rock the boat. In the process the sharp edges of the anti-revolutionary two-edged "anti-thetical" sword are usually inadvertently (or purposely) ignored. Kuyper's "dialectics", as James D. Bratt calls it, is considered a nuisance to most contemporary middle class moderates. This "antithese" is considered main culprit of the hated and ridiculed pillarization.

However, the emphasis on Calvinism in Kuyper's political thought was  both strategic and principled. Influenced by Hegel and Marx AND Groen van Prinster. Kuyper's speech Maranatha is a good introduction to Kuyperian dialectics, "the antithese", and it's original answer to Marxist dialectics in which class struggle is the central contradiction to be resolved.

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