Over the last 10 years, Kuyper College has been part of an effort to translate the work of its namesake, Abraham Kuyper, into English. The College is pleased to announce that this effort has finally come to fruition. Publication of a significant series of Kuyper’s writings on public theology was recently completed. The “Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology,” never available in English, introduces a new audience to one of Christianity’s most thoughtful public theologians. The collection comprises eight important works and is divided into 12 volumes, representing a historic moment in the study of Kuyper. The College is honored to have been part of the process.
Back in 2011, Dr. Melvin Flikkema, then provost at Kuyper College and now co-editor of the completed collection of works, began participating in talks with a group of scholars from the United States and Europe to discuss the formation of the Kuyper Translation Society. The vision for the formation of this group came from Dr. Rimmer DeVries, a longtime friend of the College. In the fall of 2011, he initiated a meeting at Calvin Theological Seminary, where this idea was solidified. “For some time, the idea of establishing a Kuyper Translation Society has been in the minds of several friends,” he said. “So it is with great satisfaction that it now may become a reality.”
This made the College the perfect fit to take on the responsibility of administering the Kuyper Translation Society. “If Abraham Kuyper were to visit Grand Rapids today, he most likely would hang his top hat at Kuyper College,” said Dr. DeVries.
The College partnered with The Acton Institute, a think tank that promotes a free, virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles, to accomplish its goal. By the year 2015, they had found a publisher, Lexham Press, and announced the publication.
The “Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology” includes such publications as Kuyper’s “Common Grace,” printed in three volumes. Within its pages, Kuyper presents to the church a vision for cultural engagement rooted in the humanity Christians share with the rest of the world. He articulated that belief by saying, “The non-Christian world has not been handed over to Satan, surrendered to fallen humanity, or consigned to fate.” Kuyper firmly believed that, though many people in the world will remain unconverted, God still shows His grace to the world.
As Abraham Kuyper’s influence on public philosophy and Christian thought continues to grow, the importance of this newly translated work cannot be overstated. First, it provides an in-depth view of Kuyper’s thinking in an accessible format, illuminating a Kuyper who continually addressed his day’s culture, context and church. It also provides an opportunity for a new generation of readers to hear his message of Christian culture-making. As Dr. DeVries said, “Translations are not an end in themselves, but a means to be better servants in God’s world.”