1998 Abraham Kuyper Centennial
On the 100th anniversary of Abraham Kuyper’s Stone Lectures, Princeton Theological Seminary co-sponsored an ecumenical conference (with The Center for Public Justice, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and Calvin College) titled “Religious, Pluralism, and Public Life: Abraham Kuyper’s Legacy for the 21st Century.” The centennial celebration featured the 1998 Stone Lectures by Nicholas Wolterstorff and panel talks by twenty scholars, including James Bratt, Peter Heslam, John Bolt, Elaine Botha, Peter Paris and Bob Goudzwaard.
During the conference, Dr. George Puchinger of the Vrije Unviersiteit was awarded the first Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life. In a moving ceremony, which concluded with the spontaneous signing of the “Het Wilhelmus,” the Dutch National Anthem, Max Stackhouse praised Dr. Puchinger for his contributions to the history of the Dutch Reformed tradition and his insightful scholarship about Abraham Kuyper.
The conference drew more than four hundred participants from around the globe, including Britain, Canada, The Netherlands, and South Africa. The speakers and participants were not uncritical of Kuyper; a formal motion to dissociate modern scholarship on Abraham Kuyper from the racist and sexist elements of his thought was proposed and passed by a large majority. Nevertheless, the centennial conference demonstrated above all else the living vitality of the Kuyperian tradition, both in the United States and abroad. The strong display of interest in the scholarly study of Abraham Kuyper during the 1998 centennial conference was a major factor in the subsequent decision to organize the Abraham Kuyper Center for Public Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. The proceedings of the conference have been edited by Dr. Luis Lugo and published by Eerdmans Publishing Company. Copies are available for purchase from the Theological Book Agency at Princeton Theological Seminary.