The Calvinistic Conception of Life: Its Consequences

Although the Calvinistic Culture Association has held several meetings this past year in connection with the drafting of a Declaration of Principles and a description of our Work Program, the publication of the document which follows this introduction means that the real action of this new organization is just now getting under way.

We are happy to state that since the propaganda meeting held in February the membership of C.C.A. is steadily increasing.

Yet we can easily understand that many who became superficially acquainted with C.C.A. are anxious to know why this action had to be started and what aims and future action it envisions.

In the above-mentioned Declaration of Principles one can find a sufficiently clear expression of our convictions, we believe. And in articles to come we intend to enter more deeply into the various aspects of our Declaration and Work Program. In view of the present publication of this material we wish now to offer a short explanation of the reason for our action.

We do not hesitate to say that the movement which C.C.A. has initiated is considered to be necessary because it follows from the Calvinistic conception of our life and task.

The first two things which must be considered in this connection are: What does the term Calvinism mean? and, What do we mean when we speak of culture?

It is obvious that if we are to use these terms it is of great importance that we know precisely what we want to express by using them, since it seems to us that the meanings seen in them by many among us are not always identical.

What is Calvinism?

True Calvinism, we would state, is not only a particular interpretation of Holy Scripture and a certain type of ecclesiastical organization. Calvinism means also to be a world and life view, whose interpretation seeks to cover every one of life’s spheres. The true Calvinist as a result of his basic view of life is bound to test every single human cultural expression in the light of the demands of Holy Scripture. He has a critical attitude at every point of human existence and action. His judgment as he submits everything that appears within his view to the demand of the ordinances of God is a critical judgment. This is an inevitable result of the principle of obedience which has been re-established in his heart by the working of the Holy Spirit.



The Calvinist, realizing that he is a citizen of the Kingdom of God by virtue of the working of the Holy Spirit and as a result of the saving work of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, respects the institution of that Kingdom, the law of God, as the only rule for human life that is justifiable under his Creator-God. According to this conception of life he cannot be content with any expression of human life in the world which is not based upon or directed to the ordinances which God gave to the human race. Therefore his attitude cannot be merely one of negative rejection toward every man-centered or godless culture, but his entire life must constitute a strong effort for the development of a God-centered culture, that is, life in all its dimensions must be consecrated to God and his Holy Law as revealed in the infallible Bible.

Therefore the attitude of the Calvinist towards life is antithetical that is, positively to struggle for the recognition of God’s Law, and, at the same time, to reject every anti-Christian or humanistic system of life and thought.

In that way he can be a salting salt in human society, in cultural life.

What is Culture? 

We consider culture in the light of the mandate given by the Creator to man in Paradise.

According to this mandate the development of culture is a natural impulse of man as creature; this activity is part of his very existence, and so his activities in every sphere of life must be seen in the light of this mandate given in Paradise.

Even after the Fall into sin, God by his common grace made it possible and inevitable for the human race to fulfill this mandate in spite of the principle of wickedness and disobedience which had begun to reign in the hearts of men. Dr. Abraham Kuyper expressed it this way: “Man fallen away from God must in spite of his sin be subservient to the great design of God, namely, the development of the world in its enormous possibilities and unexpected secrets.” And so we see that already before the Flood mankind developed a culture, although it was not to the honor of the Creator.

Culture before the Fall was in the service of God, and it was therefore a religious activity. After the Fall culture is at bottom still religious, but its religion is false religion. We can see repeated in the culture of our time the elements of that false religion.

Fundamentally the culture of the natural man is a resistance against the forces o[ destruction which have come into the world by his own sin. Culture on the part of the natural man is the expression of disobedient pride against the Creator, a pride which ever incites him to greater effort and achievement. In cultural activity so described we can find as a principal aim the overcoming of the curse with which God visited the whole o[ creation. In the development of culture we can witness the terrible element of fear in the heart of man—fear for the curse which is resident in creation, for the results of sin, for punishment and judgment sure to come.

True culture is a service of God. Some day in the empire of the Antichrist there will arise a distorted culture in which mankind will be compelled to worship “the beast.” No one shall be able in that time to buy or to sell without his mark.

That will be the fulfillment of the false religion. Can we, Christians, take part in the development of a culture which is not based on the original, Paradise mandate? May we compromise with it?

The true Calvinist answers No!

Are we then compelled to hate or despise culture?

Again the Calvinist says No!

Calvinism has a message. A message not only as an evangel of “glad tidings” for the soul, but also a message for man in his cultural activity. The saving message which God gave in Jesus Christ includes this claim: Jesus Christ is the only Savior of human culture.

As believers, as Church of Christ in this world, where the spirit of Antichrist comes increasingly to manifestation taking possession of the hearts of millions, we as confessional Christians must determine what our attitude toward life shall be. We must take for our own the mandate given in Paradise also with respect to our life here in our time.

That is the task of the Christian as he seeks to obey the commandments of God.

And that is why we have organized the C.C.A., whose platform and work program you find printed below.

Declaration of Principles and Work Program of the Calvinistic Culture Association

The C.C.A. accepts as the foundatIon for its existence. the unchanging Word of God, which it understands in the sense of the Reformed or Calvinistic confessions. Further, the C.C.A. acknowledges the principles of Calvinism to be valid for all the cultural life of mankind.

By culture here is meant the form in which men eXpress the several actions of their life. That is, culture is viewed as the crystallization of human life as this is expressed in spiritual and moral standards, in religion, natural tradition, in forms of science and art, in legislation and government, in social, economic, and political systems, and in mutual relations among the people.

The aim of the C.C.A. is expressed in the following Declaration of Principles.

Declaration of Principles In the beginning GDd subjected the heaven and earth, which he had created, to his holy ordinances. As the realm of nature, for example, is subject to his law for the physical world, so the whole universe is under the divine economy. Man was king of the creation, crowned by his Creator with responsibility. The welfare of the whole creation depended upon tile responsible acts of man.

We see the purpose of human life to be that man, looking in faith to his Creator, does the Creator’s will, thus to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Only by a life lived in accordance with the divine ordinances can man glorify the Name of God.

From Holy Scripture we know that by the willful disobedience of Adam and Eve the harmony between Creator and creature as well as the harmony of the creation was disturbed; that this principle of disobedience worked through in the hearts of mell and resulted in hatred toward God and the neighbor; that God in his great mercy did not directly deliver man and creation to death and destruction but in the promise of the woman’s seed provided a way of salvation for all who believe (which promise was fulfilled ill Christ), and thus re-established the principle of obedience;

That, in addition, God in his common grace checked sin and corruption in its effect, by which means, notwithstanding the element of wickedness in the heart of man, a development of the world could take place.

Herewith is revealed the great contrast, the Antithesis, which ever has been since Paradise and will continue to the world’s end.

Thus we see in history the two-fold development of the human race; the working out of the two principles of obedience and disobedience—the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent -the church and the world—the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan.

The enmity between these two poles, prophesied in Genesis 3, we find also in our day. On the one hand we see the working out of the principle of disobedience in the culture of our time, which disobedience will one day reach its culmination in the appearance of the Man of Sin, the Antichrist. On the other, we can observe the growth of God’s Kingdom, and we believe in the ultimate triumph of Christ, the Horseman on the white horse. Our calling in the world as citizens of this Kingdom of God lies in taking an active part in the battle against the kingdom of Satan. As church we do this in preaching the Gospel to every creature.

In the other areas of life we do it in joining battle with the spirit of this world, the anti-christian tendencies in the culture of our day. Against the principle of revolution we preach the gospel; against the lawlessness of modern culture we preach the ordinances of God for all aspects of our human existence.

A knowledge of these principles we view as a requirement for every Christian. The complex relations in the entire cultural life of human society demand, if our Calvinistic life and world-view is to have any force and relevance, thorough knowledge of those relations and substantial study of the principles for human life contained in God’s Word.

The C.C.A. adopts the following viewpoints with respect to:

Marriage and Family

According to the clear teaching of Holy Scripture, we are to see marriage as instituted by God. Based on this institution. the family is the organic structure of human society, the God-ordained pillar and cornerstone of national life.

The breakdown of morals to be witnessed in our time degrades marriage, is a great threat to the existence of family life and is directed to the destruction of our people’s vital strength. In this connection we condemn the system of Neo-Malthusianism which constantly is gaining ground. We reject the arbitrary and systematic limitation o[ births (birth control) as being contrary to the divine command: Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. The application of such practices therefore we see as a despising of the divine blessing of children, and thus as a scorning of the covenant of grace, since God says: I am thy God and the God of thy seed.

Rearing and Education of Children

Since the institution of parenthood is the God ordained agency to which authority with respect to children has been bestowed, we look upon the parents as responsible for the rearing of their children. This rearing finds its basis in the family, its extension in the instruction given in school. Such instruction must be positively Christian, the only kind justifiable in the light of the promise made at baptism.

Social Organization

In accordance with its antithetical dewpoint, the C.C.A. regards separate Christian organization as demanded by our Calvinistic principles, based on the divine revelation. Only by means of Christian Organization shall we be able to give shape and form to the Calvinistic principle of life living in our hearts.

Science, Literature, Art and Sports

With respect to such cultural products as science, literature, art and sports we maintain that they all must be directed to the honor and glory of God’s Name. The development of all the human functions must be carried out under—the discipline of the ordinance of the Lord. In all these cultural benefits God the Creator must be served. Everything in the cultural life of our time that is not in accordance with this standard is for us unacceptable. With respect to every sphere of life we declare that as Christian people we can bear no responsibility for, or make any compromise with a cultural form which denies the God-ordained rule for our life. Our duty and calling is rather to build up and develop a form of cultural life in conformity with the divine ordinances. To the extent that we cannot develop this cultural program, to that extent we must abstain from the existing ungodly cultural life.

Christian Press

We feel in the U.S.A. and Canada the great need of a Christian Press which will comment on the happenings of the day, interpret them from a Christian point of view, and test them by the demand of God’s law. We need a press which will stand for the honor of God’s Name in the public areas of life and which propagates the principles of the Bible which ought to regulate human activity in society and State.

International Relations

As Calvinists we feel also our calling in international affairs, namely our obligation to point to the only way that can lead to good relations among the nations. The false theories of unity in the revolutionizing ideologies which bring only dictatorship, force, slavery within a country, will also lead to tyranny and subjugation in international relation. The life of the nations too must be directed to the ordinances of the Lord and must be based on his law.

Authority and Liberty

The C.C.A. looks upon the constitutional State as a very valuable cultural possession and we find such a State existing where authority and liberty are properly related. According to the teaching of Scripture we recognize God as the Sovereign and Source of all authority.

All earthly authority derives from him, as, for example, the authority of government and of parents.

Freedom is in principle enjoyed only there where governments, parents and other repositories of authority perform their several tasks in conformity with the law of God. The disregarding of the divine ordinances leads irrevocably to injustice and the loss of freedom.

Work Program

Calvinism charges us with the universal mandate of the Word of God, to be witnesses of the truth of that Word, to be a city On a hill, the light of the world, a salting salt. Calvinism means acceptance of the ordinances of the Lord in our whole life.

It means an antithetic attitude of life towards the world with respect to the whole life of culture.

It means that Our Christian principles should be applied always and everywhere in every circle of life.

Calvinism means that love toward God and his service burns in Our hearts, prompting us to action for the sake of God’s Kingdom. To carry out this mandate, the C.C.A. will go into action for:

• The study of the Reformed and Calvinistic principles.

• A Scriptural conception of marriage and family.

• Education in accordance with the demand of the Word of God.

• Christian social and political organization.

• A Christian Press, Literature, science etc.

• Further, the C.C.A. is committed to every action which accords with its Declaration of Principles.