Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kuyper on common grace

Abraham Kuyper didn't invent the concept of common grace, but he pushed it further than anyone before or since, even writing a three volume treatise on the subject. Here's a bit of "Calvinism and Religion" -- the second lecture from Lectures on Calvinism -- that gives an idea of Kuyper's massive view of common grace.

Religion concerns the whole of our human race. This race is the product of God's creation. It is his wonderful workmanship, his absolute possession. Therefore the whole of mankind must be imbued with the fear of God—old as well as young—low as well as high—not only those who have become initiated into his mysteries, but also those who still stand afar off. For not only did God create all men, not only is he all for all men, but his grace also extends itself, not only as a special grace, to the elect, but also as a common grace (gratia communis) to all mankind. To be sure, there is a concentration of religious light and life in the church, but then in the walls of this church there are wide open windows, and through these spacious windows the light of the Eternal has to radiate over the whole world. Here is a city set upon a hill, which every man can see afar off. Here is a holy salt that penetrates in every direction, checking all corruption. And even he who does not yet imbibe the higher light, or maybe shuts his eyes to it, is nevertheless admonished, with equal emphasis, and in all things, to give glory to the name of the Lord.

You can hear echoes in that of Kuyper's most famous line: "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!"

Quote from pp. 42-3 of this edition of Lectures on Calvinism

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