Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Two Faces Of Common Grace

It's intriguing how Abraham Kuyper's concept of "common grace" is considered by many to be at the heart of neocalvinism and it's openness to art and science. A quote from "Book Review: Abraham Kuyper, Wisdom and Wonder" to illustrate this:

"For Kuyper, art is a reflection of the beauty and truth of God. After the Reformation, art began to be a reflection of God’s grace to the world (p. 120). Where there is beauty, there is God. Kuyper refers to “our Dutch school” as an example of secular art which is intrinsically beautiful, or reflects the beauty of creation, and is therefore “common grace.”

Dr. Klaas Schilder criticizes this concept of "common grace" in his commentary on the Heidelberger Catechism. Does that mean he feared and distrusted science and artists? No.

That makes me conclude the link between neocalvinism and openness towards science and art is not through common grace. It's something else.

But some people clearly understood it that way, as this article on Hoeksema  illustrates:
"His paper became the best read in the land, and the services at which he preached were always thronged—while to the intelligentsia which controlled the churches he had become the most non grata (unwanted) of all. In fact, even as he traveled to America the word had gone before that his speeches should be ignored, and his presence shunned. "
This article on the exchanges between Hoeksema and Schilder gives us insight in Klaas Schilder's understanding of the covenant in his "Bovenschriftuurlijke binding - een nieuw gevaar". A very instructive read for someone who wants to understand how Schilder arrives at his conclusions. His discussion of supra- and infra lapsarism is terrific. He says he wants to be neither a infra- nor a supralapsarier.

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