Redeemer to Host Kuyper Conference Featuring Makoto Fujimura
The annual Kuyper Conference, founded in 1998 at Princeton Theological Seminary, acknowledges the stream of Calvinist thought represented by Abraham Kuyper, Dutch theologian and statesman (1837-1920), and explores the tradition he helped to form, commonly known as Neo-Calvinism.
5 min. read
November 8, 2022

Redeemer is hosting the Kuyper Conference May 9 to 11, 2023, with keynote speaker and 2023 Kuyper Prize winner Makoto Fujimura on the theme, Kuyper and Kintsugi: Public Theology for Repair, Reconciliation, and Restoration. The Kuyper Prize is awarded by Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary. Fujimura is the first visual artist to receive the prize, which has been awarded annually since 1998.

“Receiving the Kuyper Prize is quite an unexpected honor,” said Fujimura. “I hope this recognition will lead to a renewed connection between the artist and the church towards Culture Care and the development of a robust Theology of Making.”

Makoto Fujimura

“We are thrilled to host the Kuyper Conference next year, and particularly to hear from Makoto Fujimura,” said Dr. David Zietsma, president of Redeemer. “Fujimura, his art, and his work present us with an opportunity to engage the intersection of art and theology from a Reformed Christian perspective, which is central to Redeemer’s mission in teaching and scholarship. Artistic endeavour shows us that, as image-bearers of God the Creator, we are also creators, inspiring us to explore the renewing hope of the gospel in unique and powerful ways.”

The Kuyper Prize was established in 1998 by Rimmer and Ruth de Vries and named after Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper. It is awarded each year to a scholar or community leader whose outstanding contribution to their chosen sphere reflects the ideas and values characteristic of the Neo-Calvinist vision of religious engagement in matters of social, political and cultural significance in one or more of the spheres of society.

I hope this recognition will lead to a renewed connection between the artist and the church towards Culture Care and the development of a robust Theology of Making.

Fujimura is a world-renowned modern artist, author and speaker, and founder of the International Arts Movement and the Fujimura Institute. His work expounds on, popularizes and builds upon Kuyperian theology. He uses the art of kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery (often with precious metals), to take what is shattered and make it whole again; not to return the object to its original state, but to represent an even more beautiful restoration of wholeness.

“It is with great excitement that we award Makoto Fujimura this distinct honor,” said Dr. Wiebe Boer, president of Calvin University. “It is clear that his work is heavily inspired by Kuyperian theology and through his work his audiences are drawn to reflect upon deeper truths about brokenness and restoration which were central to Kuyper’s theology.”

“As Christ followers, we are called to the work of renewal,” said Rev. Jul Medenblik, president of Calvin Theological Seminary. “What Fujimura is doing through his work is reminding us of the Kuyperian perspective that ‘The final outcome of the future … is not the merely spiritual existence of saved souls, but the restoration of the entire cosmos, when God will be all in all in the renewed heaven on the renewed earth.’”

Fujimura joins an esteemed group of past winners of the award, which include a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Templeton Prize-winning philosopher, a prime minister, and a pair of US ambassadors, to name a few.

Fujimura, his art, and his work present us with an opportunity to engage the intersection of art and theology from a Reformed Christian perspective, which is central to Redeemer’s mission in teaching and scholarship.

A $10,000 monetary prize accompanies the award, which Fujimura says he’ll donate to IAM Culture Care and Embers International for their collective Kintsugi Peacemaking work. He will be awarded the prize during the conference, which Redeemer is excited to present in collaboration with Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary. Plenary sessions will feature John G. Stackhouse Jr. (Crandall University), Haejin Shim (Kintsugi Academy), and Vincent Bacote (Wheaton College).

Proposals for presentations and roundtable sessions at the conference can be submitted to Jordan Ballor at jballo79@calvin.edu by January 15, 2023. More information is available on the Kuyper Conference call for papers page.

Redeemer’s Albert M. Wolters Centre for Christian Scholarship is pleased to be offering 12 $1,000 scholarships for Canadian students and early career scholars to attend the conference, underwritten by the Reid Trust. Scholarships will cover travel and lodging and details will be forthcoming on the Wolters Centre website.

Resound is Redeemer’s online, multi-faceted publishing hub for the wide variety of stories coming out of Redeemer year-round. It is also offered in a print edition.