On this day in 1907, the entire nation of theNetherlands celebrated the seventieth birthday of Abraham Kuyper. A nationalproclamation recognized that “The history of the Netherlands, in Church,in State, in Society, in Press, in School, and in the Sciences the last fortyyears, cannot be written without the mention of his name on almost every page,for during this period the biography of Dr. Kuyper is to a considerable extentthe history of the Netherlands.”
The boy who was born in 1837 was at first thought tobe dull, but by the time he was twelve he had entered the Gymnasium. Yearslater he would graduate with highest possible honors from LeydenUniversity. In short order heearned his masters and doctoral degrees in theology before serving as ministerat Breesd and Utrecht.
The brilliant and articulatechampion of Biblical faithfulness was called to serve in the city of Amsterdamin 1870. At the time, the religious life of the nation had dramaticallydeclined. The church was cold and formal. There was no Bible curriculum in theschools and the Bible had no real influence in the life of the nation. Kuyperset out to change all of this in a flurry of activity.
In 1872, Kuyper founded the dailynewspaper, De Standard. Shortly afterward he also founded De Heraut, a weekly devotionalmagazine. He continued as editor of both newspapers for over forty-fiveyears—and both became very influential in spreading the winsome message of aconsistent Christian worldview.
Two years later, in 1874, Kuyperwas elected to the lower house of Parliament as the leader of theAnti-Revolutionary Party—and he served there until 1877. Three years later hefounded the Free University of Amsterdam, which asserted that the Bible was thefoundation of every area of knowledge.
Following a stunning victory at thepolls, Kuyper was summoned by Queen Wilhelmena to form a cabinet and becomePrime Minister of the nation in 1902—a position he held for three years. Anumber of politicians were dissatisfied with Kuyper’s leadership because herefused to separate his theological and political views separate. To him, theywere identical interests since Christ was king in every arena of human life. Hebelieved that Christ rules not merely by the tradition of what He once was,spoke, did, and endured, but by a living power which even now, seated as He isat the right hand of God, He exercises over lands, nations, generations,families, and individuals.
Kuyper was undoubtedly a man oftremendous versatility—he was a noted linguist, theologian, universityprofessor, politician, statesman, philosopher, scientist, publisher, author,journalist, and philanthropist. But amazingly, in spite of his manyaccomplishments and his tremendous urgency to redeem the time, Kuyper was alsoa man of the people.
In 1897, at the 25th anniversary ofhis establishment of De Standaard, Kuyper described the ruling passionof his life: “That in spite of all worldly opposition, God’s holyordinances shall be established again in the home, in the school, and in theState for the good of the people; to carve as it were into the conscience ofthe nation the ordinances of the Lord, to which Bible and Creation bearwitness, until the nation pays homage again to God.”