What Kuyper Said

What Abraham Kuyper said about religion can be said about the gospel. Here’s Kuyper:

Of course, religion, as such, produces also a blessing for man, but it does not exist for the sake of man. It is not God who exists for the sake of His creation; — the creation exists for the sake of God (Lectures on Calvinism, 45).

Now let me adapt Kuyper’s words to show that our proposal about the gospel, in The King Jesus Gospel, by making christology first and soteriology second, is doing the very same thing Kuyper thinks Calvinism is doing when it comes to the point of religion.

Of course, the gospel, as such produces also a blessing for all humans, but the gospel does not exist for the sake of humans. It is not God who exists for the sake of His creation; — the creation exists for the sake of God.

That is, the point of the gospel is to tell us something about God — more pointedly, about God in Jesus Christ and that Jesus Christ is the Lord, the Messiah/King, the one who saves — and not first about us. This is why what I call the soterian gospel needs to be seen for what it is: the conversion of something about Christ into the benefits Christ brings. “Of course, the gospel, as such, produces also a blessing (salvation), but it does not exist for the sake of the blessing but the blessing for the sake of the King himself.

No, this is not an either-or but a first-second, and those who don’t think first-second doesn’t matter when it comes to gospel could perhaps consider that Kuyper was making the very same point: first God, then the blessing.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

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  • http://twitter.com/jordanmantha Jordan

    Thanks Scot, this was very helpful. I have struggled at times to see the distinction between the King Jesus gospel and the soterian gospel but I think this post makes it much clearer.

  • Susan_G1

    I’m sorry, mark it up to my density, but I’m not sure of the point you’re making. If the gospel does not exist for us, for all generations to come after Him to know him, why is there a written gospel? Was the Sabbath created for Man, or Man for the Sabbath?

  • scotmcknight

    First tell me what the Sabbath is, though. But the real problem with your comment is “not for us.” I have never come remotely close to say it is “not for us.” It is. It is not an either-or, either salvation or not. It is a both-and, both salvation and christology. Read 1 Cor 15:1-8. Is the gospel about Jesus first and foremost or about us first and foremost?

  • Susan_G1

    The gospel is about Jesus, first and foremost. Creation exists for the sake of God. The Sabbath is a day of rest that was made for us to reflect on God. And forgive me, please, I was not trying to put words into your mouth, I was trying to understand your post. If creation exists for God, then the gospel, which preaches His salvation, also exists for God?