The newest issue of the Journal of Markets & Morality, vol. 23, no. 2 (2020), has been released. This issue’s theme commemorates the centennial of Abraham Kuyper’s death in 1920.
The issue is guest edited by Jessica Joustra, the assistant professor of religion and theology at Redeemer University in Toronto, and Robert Joustra, the associate professor of politics and international studies at Redeemer. In their editorial in this issue, they provocatively cast Kuyper in a mischievous and combative light:
Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920), newspaper and university founder, pastor, church maker and breaker, and Dutch prime minister, was, truth be told, a troublemaker. Don’t get us wrong: He was a true “renaissance man” as at least one, a little overly rosy biography has put it, a man of deep piety and a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, but he also had that quality of driven, singularly gifted men, of alienating those closest to him. His theology provoked spirited backlash in people like Klaas Schilder, who did not suffer from an inability to express his own feelings. In politics, Kuyper alienated rivals, allies, and even the Queen herself, especially after one incident in which Kuyper published Her Majesty’s private remarks in his newspaper. The consequences of Kuyper’s views on pillarization, the idea that modern society should not erase difference but create distinct, meaningful space for differences, created a Dutch education system still much in debate today, and – of course – also became a rallying call for racial segregation in former Dutch colonies such as South Africa. Its specter looms very dark and has led some to conclude that Kuyper’s ideas are irredeemably colonialist and racist. Even in his own time, Kuyper became a stand-in for bourgeois capitalist militarism to the socialist activist and political cartoonist Albert Hahn (1877–1918), whose artwork features on the cover of this issue.
Yet they argue that though “Kuyper is hardly the panacea for faithful Christian cultural and political engagement today in North America … he is a very solid signpost, a guide, to help us in the increasingly turbulent and treacherous waters of polarized politics and tribal religion.”
To that end, the issue features seven articles exploring Kuyper and his legacy:
- George Harinck examines the origins of Kuyper’s signature phrase “sovereignty in its own sphere” or “sphere sovereignty”;
- Richard J. Mouw builds upon Kuyper’s understanding of the good of national diversity to argue for a renewed politics of compassion today;
- Peter S. Heslam details Kuyper’s colonial policy during his time as prime minister of the Netherlands and his approach to the Islamic peoples of the Dutch East Indies, i.e., modern-day Indonesia;
- William E. Boyce builds upon the theology of Kuyper’s younger contemporary, Herman Bavinck, to develop a theology of diversity and racial reconciliation for the church;
- Matthew J. Tuininga casts Kuyper’s unique approach to politics as a form of Christian liberalism, as distinct from the secular liberalism of the French Revolution;
- The Acton Institute’s own Jordan J. Ballor elucidates Kuyper’s exposition of the economic teaching of the Heidelberg Catechism on the Ten Commandments – the fourth (“Honor the Sabbath”), eighth (“You shall not steal”), and tenth (“You shall not covet”) in particular; and
- Lastly, in my own article, I offer a foray into Kuyper’s Calvinist philosophy of education, particularly as it shaped the structure of the Free University, determined the vocation of the sphere of science, and undergirded his social thought more broadly.
The issue also contains our regular slate of reviews of the newest academic books exploring the morality of the marketplace.
You can learn how to subscribe to the journal on our website.
Lastly, I must address the unfortunate delay in the print copies of our previous issue, vol. 23, no. 1. We faced many challenges in the printing and shipping of this issue. My understanding is that they have been addressed, and the issues should finally be in the mail. I appreciate our subscribers’ patience and apologize that such patience has been necessary. Thankfully, I can say that such will not be necessary for the current issue, as many domestic subscribers have already received it.