KUYPER SPHERE SOVEREIGNTY PDF

We participate in a vast array of social structures, yet their roles, privileges, and obligations are not addressed in the social contract. Be prepared. The old Boy Scout motto rings true in the boardroom as well as it does on the camp site. It's not that I wasn't prepared for the question; in a sense, I've been preparing my whole life for this sort of question. Still, one's language and examples must be appropriate to the situation.

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The fourth post in a series introducing the thought of Abraham Kuyper. He thought it was the bedrock of creation, as shown previously. We discussed what not to do with diversity and unity and now it falls on us to examine what the proper use of the two realities is. Sphere sovereignty, at its base, is quite easy to understand.

Kuyper posited that there are multiple spheres of influence in life. Mouw defines spheres like this:. Mouw, Kuyper himself did not name all the spheres, as this was not his intent, but he gave examples. Some of these examples include: State, Church, Family, and Work.

We all live in these different realms, and can see how they interact and stay separate. We follow different rules in the home, the workplace, and the State. These sometimes are in contrast, but exert some authority over us. We have an example of having a father working for their son. In the home, the father is the head of the household and can properly tell the son what to do and not to do without overstepping any boundaries. However, when at work, the roles must be reversed.

The son becomes the authority over the father and can should dictate what behavior is appropriate for the father.

This can lead to tension, but if we respect the spheres properly, there should be no tension. Another violation we see in this day and age, is the business world taking over education. Kuyper, in his day, fought a similar battle in the area of education. He founded his own school, called the Free University to combat the influence of the State inside of the University.

The schools and colleges are there to educate, not to make money. We colloquially refer to these as diploma mills. Education in these institutions is not the goal, the making of money is the goal. In allowing these to operate, we lose what the university is for. Where do these spheres come from? Kuyper does not have any prooftexting that he can do. Kuyper cannot state a particular verse as evidence for the creation of the spheres. Yet, as we showed in the previous article, Kuyper thought that diverse aspects of life are grounded in the act of Creation.

Kuyper continues to argue that. God has ordained that these diverse spheres have their own places in the creation because they fulfill different creational purposes. Creation is singular, but it has multiple aspects that all come together to a final goal, but how they execute that goal is different. We have in the day to day world two main approaches.

The first approach which the medieval world tried to instill was on of the church running every aspect of life. Instead of a secular government running the political arena, the Church stepped in and made decision of a political nature. This attitude manifested itself into the church collecting taxes, dictating the ownership of land and regulating the economy.

Further, all art was to be used in service of the church. There ceased to be secular art or music in a sense. We can see this in the re-assignment of drinking songs by Martin Luther and making them into Christian hymns. The Wesley brothers also followed this practice. Even though this is in a sense redeeming the world and bringing everything into the worship of God, it also puts the Church in a place that it does not belong, according to Kuyper.

The church not in essence artistic. Yes, people in the church can create art, however creating art is not the essential job of the church. This overstepping of the boundaries of the church manifests itself today in the turning the church into a business. One can look around and see that some contemporary churches are dictated not by the creational mandate but by the financial bottom line. What matters in some churches is that there is no debt and that it is turning a profit.

The Church in these cases is no longer a church. It is a business. One only has to look at the practice of selling indulgences in the Catholic church, pre-counter reformation, or Jesus driving the money changers out of the Temple. There is a place for making money and profiting, but that place is not in the institution known as the Church. We see this in our day as trying to remove prayer from all public events, in essence, the reaction was to remove religion from the public square.

Those that hold to this idea believe that the church has no place in making decisions and should not show up in any forms of work, politics, or interactions with each other. Religion, according to some, is fine in the home, but should not leave the home. You can hold to whatever view you want, as long as it does not leave the church building or your private residence.

All of the cultural spheres in place coram deo , before the face of God. On first glance, this third way can look like the first. However, this is not the case. Yet, they all have their sub-sovereignty, their own authority inside of themselves. What he means by this is that the State should, and in reality, not exercise any power over the Church. The State cannot dictate how the Church operates.

The Church is free from the authority of politics. To explain this more, Kuyper would have a problem with the non-profit status given to Churches by the American government. By the state setting up non-profit regulations for the church, the State is inside the Church dictating how they can run their ministries.

It may be subtle, but the influence is still there and felt. On the opposite side of the coin, the Church should not, and in cannot, run the Political arena. This is not to say that the Church is apolitical. What Kuyper means is that the Church should not dictate the laws that the government puts in place. We see the Church trying to be an authority over the State in many ways. One such way is trying to pass laws against so-called sins, such as Prohibition.

The State is in the wrong by trying to dictate Morality, and the Church is in the wrong by trying to have the State bend to its will in such manners. The Church can preach against drunkenness and taking to strong drink; the State cannot. Why so? The State is not set up to educate us on Morality.

It is set up to ensure the continuation of the Union. As members of the State, we trust those in power to guarantee our money and how it does in the market. We look to the Secretary of Finance to keep the currency stable and operational. God, in a way, has nothing to do with the fluctuations of the stock market.

Yes, overall, God is sovereign over all, but God imparted responsibility to humans for matters such as this. We should not go for the Church to get tips on how to invest.

We should go to accountants and stockbrokers for such advice. The Church can and should teach us the concept of stewardship and leave the working out of that to the business professionals. We then have a world that is structured not in tiers of responsibilities where one arena is responsible for the flourishing of other arenas. They are all before the face of God, yet they all approach differently.

More Posts. Thanks for this discussion. In his essay introducing Sphere Sovereignty he does not cite this example.

From the lecture I was dealing with, he offered no scriptural support. I am aware that he does elsewhere, like you cited; but it seems odd to me that he waits until part 3 of a later work to offer two texts. Do I think sphere sovereignty is backed by scripture? Do I think Kuyper did a good job making sure that we saw how it is?

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Mouw defines spheres like this: [A sphere] It is an arena where interactions take place, and where some sort of authority is exercised. Mouw, 23 Kuyper himself did not name all the spheres, as this was not his intent, but he gave examples. Photo by nikolayhg Another violation we see in this day and age, is the business world taking over education.

Kuyper continues to argue that God has ordained that these diverse spheres have their own places in the creation because they fulfill different creational purposes. Electric Sphere by spettacolopuro We then have a world that is structured not in tiers of responsibilities where one arena is responsible for the flourishing of other arenas. Comments Thanks for this discussion. Leave a Reply Cancel reply. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Cookie Policy.

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Sphere sovereignty

T his is the idea that different parts of creation have legitimately different rules, tasks, and duties, given them by God for the proper functioning of the world. It is useful in helping determine what unique role each institution is to play within society. This, in turn, helps us know both what things an institution should legitimately be involved with, and how, and what things an institution should not legitimately be involved with, or how it should not be involved with them. Politically, the notion of sphere sovereignty is often invoked as a way of understanding the proper limits to the authority of the state or government.

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Sphere Sovereignty

The fourth post in a series introducing the thought of Abraham Kuyper. He thought it was the bedrock of creation, as shown previously. We discussed what not to do with diversity and unity and now it falls on us to examine what the proper use of the two realities is. Sphere sovereignty, at its base, is quite easy to understand.

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Sphere Sovereignty 101

In Neo-Calvinism , sphere sovereignty Dutch: souvereiniteit in eigen kring , also known as differentiated responsibility , is the concept that each sphere or sector of life has its own distinct responsibilities and authority or competence, and stands equal to other spheres of life. Sphere sovereignty involves the idea of an all encompassing created order, designed and governed by God. This created order includes societal communities such as those for purposes of education, worship, civil justice, agriculture, economy and labor, marriage and family, artistic expression, etc. The principle of sphere sovereignty seeks to affirm and respect creational boundaries, and historical differentiation. Sphere sovereignty implies that no one area of life or societal community is sovereign over another.

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