Honoring Christ in a Divisive Political Season

cityPostmodern culture often celebrates diversity, but the multitude of viewpoints can make sensible dialogue challenging. As American Christians endure yet another fiery political season, the temptation to throw up our hands in defeat and frustration may be stronger than ever. But Christians don’t have to fear pluralism, and shouldn’t simply walk away from political engagement. In his book Common Grace, early-twentieth-century Dutch politician and theologian Abraham Kuyper demonstrates that pluralism offers Christians an unprecedented opportunity to engage in politics, culture, and indeed every domain of human existence. After all, as Kuyper famously said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!'”

Recently, we sat down with Richard Mouw, professor of faith and public life at Fuller Theological Seminary, and James Bratt, professor of history at Calvin College, to talk about Kuyper’s legacy, and how Kuyper’s thought may throw a lifeline to Christians swamped in a culture of political rancor.

What others are saying

Scholars are raving about the wisdom and insight that permeates Kuyper’s work. Now that it’s available in English for the first time, you too can benefit from his vast experience and deep understanding of the kingdom of God. Here are a few endorsements we’ve received for the first volume of Common Grace:

God’s redemption is as wide and high and deep as the expanse of his creation. This is the central message of Abraham Kuyper that has been heard anew by a generation of young evangelicals who have a new appreciation for the importance of Christian culture-making. This book is a wonderful way to meet Kuyper face to face and hear from him firsthand. I look forward to pointing friends and students to this wonderful anthology. It’s just what we need.”

—James K.A. Smith, The Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview, Calvin College

Abraham Kuyper navigates with a sure hand on the tiller, taking us through the waters of culture, church and state, calling, and collaboration, with theological wisdom. Kuyper knows of no separation between warm piety and cultural commitment, nor of biblical texts and issues in the contemporary world. This fresh translation of Common Grace is a most welcome addition to the growing body of Kuyper’s oeuvre available in English. No one wrestling with issues of church and society can afford to ignore it.”

—William Edgar, professor of apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia

How do we make sense of the contributions of, say, a Steve Jobs to human culture? How do Christians account for the rather immeasurable amount of good achieved by those presumably uncovenanted with God? Common grace is the answer: God’s mercies are over all his works. This first-ever English translation of Abraham Kuyper’s work on common grace hits the sweet spot for Christians seeking answers to questions about the breadth of the gospel, their own roles in public life, and the beneficial contributions of others, especially in science and art. Highly needed and recommended.

—David K. Naugle, Distinguished University Professor and Chair of Philosophy, Dallas Baptist University

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The first volume of Common Grace is now available in all formats—get it today!


  1. One who takes his marching orders from the King of kings may well be interested in the affairs of this world, but not for the sake of this world. Redemptive interests will rule that man’s/woman’s thinking, no matter what eschatological position.is held. I myself am a conscientious non-participant who suspects Jesus’ return means a new, non-earthly system.

    There are strong scriptural and historical (I speak here of many early “church fathers,” Anabaptists, and most of the leaders of the American Restoration Movement in the 19th century, for example) precedents for remaining outside the political machine. The phrase “walk away from political engagement” is loaded with the assumption that a disciple of Jesus would have been politically engaged at some point, and that is not a necessary inference from scripture.

    To be engaged in the world as salt and light does not necessitate political engagement, and I applaud those who are thinking outside the box such as Stanley Hauerwas, Lee Camp (Mere Discipleship 2003), John Mark Hicks and Bobby Valentine (Kingdom Come: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding), and others.

    In all of the above, I certainly support the notion that everything is under God’s sovereignty.

    Luke Bretherton (Christianity & Contemporary Politics) says this: “Hauerwas writes that ‘while I am not opposed to trying to harness the resources of state power to alleviate the needs of people, I think it is unfortunate when we think only in those terms.’ For Hauerwas, the call to work together with the state risks compromising the true gift of the church to the state: that is, its ability to open new horizons, provide new languages of description, and embody alternative practices.”