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kuyper essay - Henk Meijers History 100 03 Professor...

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Henk Meijers History 100 – 03 Professor Krygsman November 20, 2006 Kuyper and the Social Problem The late nineteenth century was full of poverty and social unrest. Many people, including Abraham Kuyper, were searching for an answer to the social question; what needs to be done in order to solve these problems that plague our society? Many people were searching for the answers in secular ideas such as socialism. Kuyper argued that the answer to the social question can only be found in the true Christian faith. Abraham Kuyper was born in 1837 in the town of Maassluis, in the Netherlands. His father was a Calvinist preacher. Kuyper was also trained in Christian theology but spent most of his life working in politics. He worked for a short time in a small parish, but later, under influence of Groen van Prinsterer, a protestant political leader as well as Kuyper’s mentor, he started devoting his time and energy to many different cultural and political activities (Skillen 12). From the 1870's to early 1900's Kuyper was the editor of the Anti-Revolutionary paper De Standaard as well as the church paper De Heraut . In both of these papers Kuyper sought to teach and motivate all of his Christian readers to serve God with their entire being (Skillen 13). From 1901 to 1905 Kuyper served as prime minister of the Netherlands, under the Anti-Revolutionary party. He worked to organize a Christian Social Congress to unite all reformed Christians from all walks of life in order to address the "social problem" (Skillen 14). Kuyper wrote The Problem With Poverty (or The Social Problem and the Christian Religion ) in 1891 as a Christian response to the growing socialist movement of the time. In Europe and America the effects of the Industrial Revolution could be seen in the wide spread poverty and social disorder. Kuyper wrote this speech for the of the very first Christian Social Congress, but the message that he gives can be applied both out side of congress and in this day and age (Skillen 12). This speech was written for the Christian upper class and politicians. It
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described their place, and the role of their faith, in the answering of the “social question”. It was written for those who believe that Christianity is out of date and no longer able to deal with the problem of poverty (Skillen 12). In the book Kuyper says that the answer to the “social question” can only be found in true Christianity. “The direct relationship between the social problem and the Christian religion is simply undeniable” (Kuyper 28). Christian’s need to be on guard so that they do not fall into the beliefs of liberal individualism or socialist collectivism. Instead, they need to view the world through the lenses of God’s word (Skillen 18).
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