Abraham Kuyper - Dutch Calvinist statesman and theologian
Widely recognized as historian, theologian, philosopher, writer, and professor-educator, Kuyper was born in Maassluis, the son of a State Church (Reformed) pastor, later to accompany his family to the university town of Leyden, where his father accepted a charge. In 1862 Kuyper was awarded the doctor of theology from Leyden University. Having fully embraced orthodox Calvinism, Kuyper held pastorates in Utrecht, Amsterdam, and elsewhere. Prompted by his interest in the legitimacy of private schools, he became affiliated with the Anti-Revolutionary Party (opposition to godless revolution and support for the Word of God and its implications for life), ultimately becoming its head. He edited a weekly De Heraut (The Herald), “for a free church and a free church school in a free land,” as well as a daily party organ, De Standaard (The Standard).
Beginning in 1874, Kuyper served repeatedly as a member of one or the other of the two houses of the Netherlands’ legislature. He continued to champion the recognition of private education (common and higher) by government. On October 20, 1880, through the work of Kuyper and cofounders, the Amsterdam Free University was opened, dedicated to a Calvinistic orientation, a tribute to Kuyper’s persistence in striving for the right of private higher education in the Netherlands.
In 1886 he led the break from the State Church, establishing the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands. Kampen became the seminary of the denomination. Kuyper’s close association with Herman Bavinck, professor of systematic theology at the seminary, came during this period. In 1901 Kuyper became prime minister of his homeland, a position he held for four years.
Kuyper’s copious writings include some 16,800 Standard editorials, nineteen major convention addresses, sermons, the Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology (1898), Calvinism (1899), and The Work of the Holy Spirit(1900).