A Free Church, a Holy Nation: Abraham Kuyper's American Public Theology By John Bolt

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    This volume uses the thought of Abraham Kuyper as a model for American evangelicals engaged in today's cultural debate. Offering a new interpretation of Kuyper's public theology that emphasizes its rhetorical and poetic aspects, John Bolt builds a credible public theology that directly applies to Christian political activism.In considering such key issues as poverty, wealth and power, theocracy and pluralism, civil religion, the culture wars, and political cooperation between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics, Bolt also compares Kuyper's views with the thought of Alexis de Tocqueville, Lord Acton, Pope Leo XII, Walter Rauschenbusch, and Jonathan Edwards. Bolt shows that focusing on Kuyper's rhetorical and mythopoetic perspective, rather than on his theological and philosophical ideas, provides contemporary evangelicals with a more meaningful and effective theology for the public square. A Free Church, a Holy Nation: Abraham Kuyper's American Public Theology

    Better titled, How Free, How Holy? One could see this book as the best and last gasp of any serious neo-Calvinist movement in America. It covers the neo-Calvinist ethos in a nutshell. These guys want the kingship of Christ but aren't too clear on how to get there.

    Bolt recognizes this as he surveys the religio-political options available to Americans. He doesn't like theonomy but he also realises he doesn't have a really good critique of them. He wants socialism but he is also aware of the Reconstructionists' blistering critique of socialism in the form of David Chilton. At least he did his homework in that regard.

    The book is good as an exposition of some of Kuyper's political themes, but, if one may wax Hegelian, that appears to be part of the problem. After Kuyper--and I want to be sensitive to the complex political struggles in the Netherlands--the Netherlands not only did not become a Free City on the Hill, but today is arguably the most degenerate country in Europe.

    Is Kuyper at fault? Probably not, but his vision of the kingship of Christ lacked any specific biblical and legal content.

    Evaluation of the book:

    The reader was uncomfortable with the repeated references to Lincoln and Martin Luther King. The former openly rejected Christianity and the latter espoused an extremely liberal version of it. The reader is left confused with what specifically to do. How does one appropriate a Kuyperian vision in an increasingly violent and anti-Christian culture? 0802842542 This is a tremendously helpful resource for anyone who wants to study Kuyper in great depth. The book not only provides valuable insight into Kuyper's viewpoints and teachings, but provides excellent discussions of the views of his predecessors and contemporaries, and a wonderful study of American Public Theology as a whole. There are lots of good viewpoints to interact with here and much that will challenge and broaden the mind, especially in regards to society and politics. Recommended. 0802842542

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