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June 2020

Today is a day of national tragedy, made all the more poignant by the fact that few will regard it as such. This afternoon Members of Parliament in Westminster voted 253 to 136 to impose radical new abortion laws on Northern Ireland. These regulations will make abortion on-demand available until 24 weeks of gestation, allow the killing of disabled babies up to birth, and provide scant safeguards against sex-selective abortion, and no conscience clauses for medical practitioners unwilling to be accessories in the deaths of pre-born children. The law in Northern Ireland will no longer teach and protect the value of all human lives, provide a safeguard for women who may be confused, overwhelmed or pressured into having an abortion, or serve as an official affirmation of the equality of disabled children in the womb. The law has become anti-life.  Until now, Northern Ireland has been a life-affirming province. Precisely because it did not adopt the 1967 Abortion Act, an act which has led to the deaths of over 9 million unborn children in England and Wales alone, it has maintained a commitment to the value and dignity of each individual human being from the moment of conception. Northern Ireland’s legal...

The title Abraham Kuyper gave to his third Stone lecture, Calvinism and Politics, could be misleading. While he did have much to say about politics, he emphasised that political authority was just one ingredient in the governance of a healthy society. His key concept, you will remember, was sovereignty. We saw in our first post that Calvinism’s ‘dangerous idea’, according to Kuyper, is the sovereignty of God over all things. This sovereignty is delegated and expressed in various ways in His creation. Kuyper’s second lecture looked at how God’s sovereignty transforms religion, and in the third he explored how it was expressed in human society as a whole. Kuyper wanted to show that it was only the Calvinist who could consistently preserve a healthy tension between the state's desire to order human life, and the determination of people everywhere to maintain their liberties and flourish in the different spheres of free society.  Two key insights guide Kuyper's approach to society: first, the belief that since all authority comes from God, any power possessed by human beings is held ‘in trust’. Second, the observation that there are different types of sovereignty, which belong to distinct spheres of human society. The family is...

In today's guest post, Kevin Moss, Christian Heritage trustee and PhD candidate in intellectual history, sheds light on the threat posed by a largely unchecked culture of death. It’s never very far away, that opportunistic nihilism, venturing forth under cover of COVID-19 in order to bulk up its trophy-bag.  Whilst the NHS and even the Government, are beavering away to save as many lives as possible, it is odd to think that there are organisations that exemplify radically different ideological commitments.  BPAS, one of the biggest providers of abortion services in the UK, has (according to media reports) been agitating for perhaps the biggest liberalisation in the regime, since 1967.  And, very likely they’ll succeed, given that our attention is quite naturally focused on sustaining and protecting life, rather than snuffing it out. And, last Saturday, as I opened the little plastic bag that contained my weekend newspaper supplement, what should drop out, but a flyer promoting the services of ‘Dignity in Dying’ (DID), the ultimate expression of cultural nihilism.  The usual pampered celebs looked earnestly out of the leaflet, attempting to convince us that, only through the administration of a lethal cocktail of barbiturate and anti-emetic, we may have any hope...

Joshua Kellard continues our series introducing Abraham Kuyper’s influential 1898 Stone Lectures on Calvinism. Abraham Kuyper, as we saw in the last post, had an expansive view of what Calvinism was meant to be. Far more than a set of beliefs about salvation, it was a total worldview of its own, standing tall and providing compelling answers to life’s deepest questions. At the centre was its ‘mother principle’: the sovereignty of God over all things. Working from this axiom, it addressed every area of life with a God-centred program for renewal. A skilled vision-caster, Kuyper would use the rest of his Stone lectures to demonstrate the real difference that Calvinism could make in each area of life, and he began, quite understandably, with religion.  In his second lecture, Kuyper set out to answer three basic questions:  - What difference does Calvinism make in the sphere of religion?  - What sort of Church organisation is encouraged by applying Calvinism?  - How does Calvinism transform morality?  We will briefly summarise Kuyper’s answers to these questions, thinking as we go about their relevance to us today.  Religion: Of God, by God and For God  Is religion primarily for people or for God? When Kuyper posed this question, Karl Marx had recently...