Join Redeemer on November 1 for the 2023 Albert M. Wolters Centre for Christian Scholarship Social Sciences Lecture. This year’s speaker is Dr. Jordan Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary), director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute, and the associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin University.
Evening Lecture: “Abraham Kuyper and the Economic Teachings of the Heidelberg Catechism“
Executive Dining Room (EDR), 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
This lecture explores the economic teachings of the Heidelberg Catechism, a key confessional document in the Reformed tradition, through the lens of historic Reformed commentary, particularly that of the Dutch theologian and statesman Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920). The Catechism’s teachings concerning the origin, essence, and nature of economic activity are captured in the themes of superabundance, stewardship, and sabbath. These themes are reflected in the Catechism’s explication of the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Lord’s Day 50); the eighth commandment, “Do not steal” (Lord’s Day 42); and the fourth commandment, “Remember the Sabbath Day” (Lord’s Day 38).
There are three additional speaking engagements accompanying the evening lecture:
Chapel: “The Deceitfulness of Wealth” (Matthew 13:22)
Auditorium, 11:00 – 11:45 a.m.
By almost any measure, we live in the most prosperous and affluent society in world history. But at the same time as we are seeing a momentous rise in the variety and availability of material goods, there are all kinds of other indicators of spiritual poverty and distress. In the parable of the sower, Jesus talks about seed landing in different environments. One place that seed lands is among the “thorns,” which describe, “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth.” We ought to be thankful for all the good gifts that God gives us, even as we seek to be faithful with those gifts, keeping our primary focus on the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
Lunch Talk: “Adam Smith’s Moral Philosophy and Political Economy”
Executive Dining Room (EDR), 12 – 1:30 p.m. Invite only; For faculty and invited guests.
The relationship between Adam Smith’s two major works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and The Wealth of Nations (1776), has been the source of much consternation and controversy in scholarship on the history of economic thought. These two works are best seen not as antagonistic or in opposition to one another, but as expressions of a unified perspective in the emerging disciplines of moral philosophy and political economy.
Class Lecture: The Protestant Ethic Reconsidered: Kuyper, Weber, and Reformed Thought on Economic Life”
Founders Hall – Room 214, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
The German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920) and the Dutch polymath Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) both died in the same year. The two were presumably unaware of each other’s work, and yet there are many common elements that connect the two. Weber’s most famous work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, might well have used Kuyper as a model for some of the claims concerning the implications of Calvinist theology for economic ethics. A fuller understanding of Kuyper’s views in connection with the broader Reformed tradition (including Calvin) provides a helpful corrective to some of the caricatures and errors of Weber’s argument.