New, seasoned and emeritus Redeemer faculty came together last week to study some of the history and theology of the Reformed tradition on which the institution was built 40 years ago. The semiannual faculty conference welcomes all Redeemer faculty, with a particular emphasis on mentoring new faculty as part of a larger mentoring program at the university.
Redeemer welcomed Dr. George Harinck and Rev. Dr. Marinus DeJong, both of the Netherlands, to lecture, participate on discussion panels and launch their new book, The Klaas Schilder Reader: The Essential Theological Writings. Schilder was a Dutch Reformed theologian, pastor and professor, working in the tradition of Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck, whose work spread to North America in the 1940s and 1950s with a wave of post-war Dutch immigration, but is only regarded today in small pockets of Reformed believers around the world. DeJong shared perspectives from Schilder’s work on Christ and Culture, including his thoughts on common grace and secularism and faculty discussed Schilder’s in-the-family critiques of Kuyper’s Neo-Calvinism.
Harinck discussed Kuyper’s vision for an independent university and his leading of the Anti-Revolutionary Party in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Kuyper founded the Free University in Amsterdam and was appointed professor of theology. He is considered the father of Dutch Neo-Calvinism and has had a significant influence on many prominent North American theologians and institutions, including Redeemer. Faculty spent time discussing the relationship between the Free University’s origin story and Redeemer’s origins, after immersing themselves in Redeemer’s early years through the reading of Stepping Forward in Faith by founding president Henry deBolster. Harinck and DeJong also discussed The Cross and Our Calling, a publication that explains the identity and vision of Redeemer.
Faculty also heard from president Dr. David Zietsma about the academic mission of Redeemer, Al Wolters about his formational book Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview and Redeemer’s new faculty fellows hosted by the recently renamed Albert M. Wolters Centre for Christian Scholarship. Fellows Dr. Russ Kosits, Dr. Jonathan Juilfs and Dr. Kevin VanderMeulen discussed Creation Regained, as well as teaching in their respective fields from a Reformed Christian perspective.