Abraham Kuyper and the ‘twoness theses’
Religion & Liberty Online

Abraham Kuyper and the ‘twoness theses’

In the academic world there are several well-known “twoness theses”, says Acton research fellow Andrew McGinnis, arguments by scholars that there are in one historical person two identifiable and contradictory lines of thought that warrant depicting the individual as divided.

It seems that anyone who writes and publishes enough material will be susceptible to a twoness thesis. In some ways it is a mark that you have made it as an author. It means you have published, lectured, or preached so much that people can find contradictions in your work and pit you against yourself. The Dutch Reformed pastor, theologian, and statesman Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920) certainly made it as an author. Much like Luther, Kuyper seems not only to have thought about everything, but also to have written nearly all those thoughts down and published them for all to see. So, naturally, we find scholars referring to “two Kuypers” or worrying about “other Kuypers.” The recent appearance in English of Kuyper’s meditations, Honey from the Rock, may add fuel to the fire for those who want to set Kuyper against himself. In these meditations we seem to find a different Kuyper than many of us thought we knew. We do not find Kuyper the public theologian striving to redeem all of life—and every sphere—for the sake of Christ the King. Instead we find Kuyper the pastor, Kuyper the exhorter, and—if we can use the term in a positive sense—Kuyper the pietist. Is this a different Kuyper?

Read the rest of the review at The Green Room.

Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).