On Being Proudly Neo-Reformational



In the current atmosphere of conservative Christian cultural engagement, the Center for Cultural Leadership stands squarely within the neo-Reformational (or neo-Calvinist) paradigm (most notably in the thinking of Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, Herman Dooyeweerd, and Cornelius Van Til, today championed also by John M. Frame).

Its leading features with reference to culture are:

  1. The inescapably religious character of humanity
  1. The antithesis between righteous cultural thinking and acting and unrighteous cultural thinking and acting
  1. The Lordship of Jesus Christ over all things
  1. The Bible as providing the basis for society
  1. Each sphere of culture (family, church, state, education, science, arts, etc.) fulfilling its own Christian tasks, related, but not subordinate, to other spheres (“sphere sovereignty”)
  1. The calling of Christians to Christianize culture (“cultural mandate”)

The nearly unforgivable and embarrassing scandal of this neo-Reformational paradigm among many Christians, including many Christians rightly working to reverse the secular trends in our culture, is its:

  1. Appeal to special and not merely natural revelation for governing a society (they don’t want the Bible involved)
  1. Refusal to privilege the church vis a vis other spheres (they want the church to be the fountainhead of God’s working in culture)
  1. Commitment to (non-coercive) Christian hegemony (they are often committed to structural pluralism and recoil at any suggestion that biblical Christianity should dominate a culture)

Prominent Christian conservatives invested in natural law alone or in the Two-Kingdom theory or in merely traditional non-neo-Reformational approaches to cultural engagement are often our allies in the cultural battles of our time, and we are grateful for them.

But we are convinced that the neo-Reformational paradigm alone furnishes the most consistent, God-honoring, potentially permanent program for turning back our regnant cultural apostasy.


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