Abraham Kuyper was trained as a theologian and self-trained as a political thinker and organizer. This comprehensive Program, which Kuyper crafted in the process of forming the Netherlands' first mass political party, brought the theology, the political theory, and the organizational vision together brilliantly in a coherent set of policies that spoke directly to the needs of his day. 'Ons Program' / Our Program served for decades as an inspiration to Kuyper's followers and set a high standard for his opponents to match. For us it sets out the challenge of envisioning what might be an equivalent witness in our own day.
--JAMES D. BRATT, Professor of History, Calvin College, Author, Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat
It is a scandal and a disgrace that we have all read Burke's response to the French Revolution, but few in the English-speaking world have read the equally profound and equally consequential response of Abraham Kuyper--a response that has at least as much to say to twenty-first-century readers as Burke's. It has been truly said that America never produced a really great political philosopher and has had to borrow them from Europe; Kuyper deserves a place beside Locke and Tocqueville as a titanic European intellect whose thought can help us understand the American experiment in religious liberty and constitutional democracy.
In this book Kuyper lays out the intellectual architecture of what we now call 'sphere sovereignty,' staking out a democratic and republican alternative both to aristocratic traditionalism and to the implicitly totalitarian logic of secularism. Kuyper's rare talent for simultaneously giving due weight to the claims of both revelation and human culture uniquely equips him to explore the central paradoxes of modern politics: that religious freedom can be justified only on the assumption that we are responsible to God and that the state can rightfully rule over its subjects as individuals only if it acknowledges that it is in turn ruled by them in their social capacity as an organic community and culture. Kuyper's application of his political theology and philosophy to the particular situation of his own country in his own time illustrates how these paradoxes play themselves out in practice in ways that cast an invaluable light upon the problems of our own time and place.
--GREG FORSTER, Director, Oikonomia Network; Visiting Assistant Professor of Faith and Culture, Trinity International University
Though Our Program is a work of its time rather than a work of enduring theological significance, this translation is to be warmly welcomed because of the new insight it gives English readers into the extraordinary mind and times of Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper's 'antirevolutionary' vision, worked out here at length, provides an illuminating historical lens through which to see contemporary debates between Christianity and secularism.
--GORDON GRAHAM, Henry Luce III Professor of Philosophy and the Arts, Princeton Theological Seminary
This early work of Abraham Kuyper was the intellectual basis for the first Christian political party in modern democracy and presented a new, modern way of doing politics. Our Program illustrates how Kuyper turned politics from an elite business into a public affair, how he changed the public involvement in politics from a single issue activity into permanent action, and how he challenged liberal politics based on reason and consensus by introducing a debating culture in parliament based on conflicting worldviews. It is amazing how relevant this monument in political history still is. Read it and you will be encouraged to make your voice heard!
--GEORGE HARINCK, Professor of History and Archivist, VU University Amsterdam
Abraham Kuyper ranks as one of the most important Christian intellectuals of the modern era, not least because he represents an unusual blend of theological orthodoxy and cultural progressiveness. His writings cover not only the church but spheres such as politics, education, scholarship, journalism, and the arts. He was also actively involved in these spheres, sparking developments that have long outlasted him. His influence continues to grow worldwide as more of his works are translated from Dutch. An English translation of Kuyper's political manifesto Our Program is long overdue and will be welcomed by scholars and practitioners alike. It unlocks some of the key ideas of Kuyper's creative genius.
--PETER S. HESLAM, Director, Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative, University of Oxford, Senior Member, Trinity College, University of Cambridge
Even though modernity has discredited itself morally, despite its merciful insights by common grace, Kuyper outlines a biblically Christian alternative, or at least the beginning of one, for those who are searching down various postmodern trails and finding only greater despair and false promises. In this 1879 manifesto, Abraham Kuyper offers a biblically Christian understanding of political life that attempts to remedy what is still our crisis: the failure of modernity to satisfy the human spirit and its propensity to establish monstrous tyranny.
If modernity, despite by common grace its merciful insights, has discredited itself morally, Kuyper outlines a biblically Christian alternative, or at least the beginning of one, for those who are searching down various postmodern trails and finding only greater despair and false promises. We can be grateful to Harry Van Dyke for making this translation of Our Program available to our generation.
--D. C. INNES, Associate Professor of Politics, The King's College
Coming so soon after the publication of James Bratt's magisterial biography of Abraham Kuyper, readers will welcome this new translation of the great Dutch statesman's seminal foray into political theory and practice. Although some elements of the Anti-Revolutionary Party's Program are obviously dated and culturally specific, there is much here that is surprisingly current, given the striking parallels between Kuyper's world and our own. Christians in the English-speaking world seeking wisdom for their own political efforts would do well to read Our Program.
--DAVID T. KOYZIS, Professor and Chair of Political Science, Redeemer University College
Abraham Kuyper's Our Program has been much quoted by those who share his convictions about the lordship of Christ over all times, places, things, people, and societies. It is, therefore, a real advantage to see a capably translated and helpfully introduced edition of the whole document appear in English. For those concerned about Kuyper's own historical situation, as well as about contemporary social and political controversies, this edition should be a real boon.
--MARK NOLL, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame