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Keeping Kuyper Current

James D. Bratt In 1985, Richard Mouw left his teaching post at Calvin College for Fuller Theological Seminary, where he has taught ever since and for the past twenty years has served as president. Though leaving the heartland of the Dutch Reformed, he still intended to hone "a neo-Calvinist perspective" that was both "indigenous ecumenically enriched" for contemporary American application. This collection of fourteen previously published essays testifies that Mouw has been faithful to that call and that taking this…
July 1, 2013

An Obsolete Political Faith

NOVEMBER 2012: AS WE SEE IT by James Bratt The most common theme running through postmortems of the presidential election has been demographic: the Republican Party's mortal dependency on an eroding white male power base, mirrored by its pitiful share among the rising Latino sector in American society. Some 60 percent of whites voted GOP, and fully two-thirds of white males—the most lopsided outcome in that demographic in all American history. Yet these figures shrink next to the one adding…
November 1, 2012

The Prism of Calvin’s Political Legacy in the United States

The writers of the American Constitution were guided by the theology of Calvin and the philosophy of Hobbes. On the contrary, they were resolute secularists who cared neither for nor about the doctrine of predestination. The American polity grew organically from roots planted by the Pilgrim Fathers in 1621 and continued to manifest that Reformed original in spirit and shape at least until the 1960s. On the contrary, the separation of church and state, mandated for the federal government in…
June 1, 2009

The Coming of the Lord?

The Thanksgiving Day service was almost over. The singing had been inspiring, the sermon right on point, the prayers plain and heartfelt. Then the Congressman mounted the pulpit. "A Proclamation by the President of the United States," he announced. I listened until my count of the half-truths and hypocrisies in the script reached five, then tuned out to save the spirit of the day. That particular harbor was not to be found this day, however. Arriving home I clicked on…
December 16, 2006

Warriors and Public Servants

My father died this past February. After several years of slow decline, he passed away free of pain, surrounded by three generations of family, and confident of life everlasting in Jesus Christ. Those circumstances, along with the enduring good bonds he helped instill in our family, made the visitation and services that followed less difficult. The only glitch, for me, came at the interment, where the funeral director, an able and friendly man, sat waiting to present my mother with…
May 16, 2006

Tribute to David Timmer

This month we complete a line change on the Perspectives hockey squad. In an accompanying column we offer homage to Fran Fike, our outgoing poetry editor. Here it is my pleasure, but also sad duty, to say farewell to David Timmer in his role as co-editor of this journal. A pleasure because David is exactly the sort of unassuming but skilled craftsman that goes under-noticed in our culture, until his absence begins to tell. Just the sort, therefore, that deserves…
January 16, 2006


Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, and I've given a fair bit of thought as to why that is so. After all, authorities tell us that real Christians live in and out of Easter, while churches as they are have converged entirely with the culture in making Christmas #1. Worse still, by the measure of faith, Thanksgiving is the one religious holiday in the United States that gets its warrant from state instead of church. Doubtless, memories--especially childhood memories--have…
November 16, 2005

Transition and Tradition

With this issue Roy Anker rotates off Perspectives' team of co-editors, and the bearer of the above by-line rotates on. Nothing personal: it's Board policy, and a good one. Leanne Van Dyk and David Timmer, the rest of the current troika, will follow in due time, to be replaced by players to be named later. Perspectives is a journalistic trade built entirely on draft choices, with seven-figure contracts filled in only to the right of the decimal point and with…
August 1, 2004

The Sound of Silence

Now that The Passion of the Christ is playing in the theaters, we can reflect a moment on how it played in the culture prior to its Ash Wednesday release. Most obviously, it provoked another dust-up in the culture wars. From the Left came warnings of anti-Semitism, warnings apparently borne out when director Mel Gibson's father asserted that the Holocaust was "mostly fiction." The real fiction, retorted some critics, lay with the original four gospels, to which Gibson was naïvely…
March 16, 2004