The Kuyper Prize Lecture

April 14, 2016

The distinguished scholar and journalist Dr. Elaine Storkey will deliver a lecture on Thursday April 14, 2016 at 7:00 PM in Miller Chapel on the seminary campus. She will then receive the 2016 Kuyper Prize for excellence in reformed theology and public life.


 Kuyper Center Annual Conference

 April 15-16, 2016

"Religion and Journalism"


Click HERE to Register

In honor of Kuyper’s journalistic activities, the Abraham Kuyper Center for Public Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary is sponsoring a conference on religion and journalism. The conference seeks to identify and analyze major trends in journalism today. How is religion treated in the secular media? What role does Christian journalism play in the public sphere today? How are changing trends in journalism such as blogging and tweeting affecting religious public opinion? Among his many vocations, Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) was a leading journalist of his era. He was the editor of the daily paper, De Standard, and the weekly church paper, De Heraut, from the early 1870s until his death. He also served as chairman of the Dutch Association of Journalists from 1898 to 1901.

The conference on religion and journalism will reflect back on the rough-and-tumble world of Dutch religious journalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries while exploring new possibilities for religious news, commentary, and social media in the 21st century.


Registration and Costs


Click HERE to Register


Program and Meals

$110 (April 15 Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner - April 16 Breakfast)


Non-PTS Student

$25 (Program Only)


PTS Student / Community

(Program Only - No Fee)

Please contact [email protected] for additional information.





April 15 – Friday



9:00 AM – 10:30 AM       1st Plenary Session

Cooper Conference Room, Erdman Center


Welcome and Introductory Remarks


 “The Challenge of Religion as News”

Gustav Niebuhr, director of the Carnegie Religion & Media Program at Syracuse


In the United States, religion occupies a contested public space, in which practitioners often perceive themselves as doing battle with hostile forces. Historic religious pluralism complicates this perception while also seeming at times to affirm it.



10:30 AM – 11:00 AM      Coffee Break


11:00 AM – 12:15 PM     2nd Plenary Session

Cooper Conference Room, Erdman Center


Film Documentary: “The Journalist at Work: Abraham Kuyper and His Trip Around the Mediterranean in 1905 and 1906”

George Harinck, Professor of Neo-Calvinist History at the Free University of Amsterdam


This excerpt from a newly released documentary film series Around the Old World Sea offers a fascinating exploration of clashing cultures and religions in past and present. The film focuses on the roots of religious, political and social conflict in this region though tracing the steps of Kuyper’s own epic nine-month journey in the early 20th century.



12:30 PM – 1:15 PM        Lunch

Mackay Student Center


1:30 PM – 2:45 PM         1st Concurrent Session Papers:


Session 1A:  Cooper Conference Room, Erdman Center

“Abraham Kuyper and the Refugees: Welcoming Strangers in the Name of Christ”

Michael Bräutigam, University of Melbourne


‘In the Calvinistic Netherlands . . . all those who were persecuted for religion’s sake found a harbor of refuge.’ Kuyper’s words, delivered at the Stone Lectures at Princeton Seminary in 1898, present a considerable challenge for us today as we are faced with thousands of refugees who are ‘persecuted for religion’s sake’ and who seek refuge on the European continent. If Abraham Kuyper were Dutch Prime Minister in 2016, how would he have handled the present refugee crisis? This paper will argue that Kuyper’s ecclesiology in particular offers great potential as we seek to find a response to the refugee crisis that is theologically sound and politically viable.


Session 1B:  Clarke Conference Room, Erdman Center

“‘In a time of unclarity, there can be no conversion without polemics’: Klaas Schilder’s Argument for the Need of Polemics in Christian Journalism”

Marinus de Jong, TU Kampen


An example of a theologian who cherished polemics as a vital element of Christian fellowship was the Dutch Neo-Calvinist Klaas Schilder (1890-1952). In this paper the life and thought of this pastor, journalist and theologian serves as an historical case study in order to assess the use of polemics in Christian journalism.


Session 1C:  Art Studio, Erdman Center

“The Debate Between Objective Journalism and a Journalism of Attachment: A Neo-Calvinistic Approach”

Nathaniel Sutanto, University of Edinburgh


The norm of “detached” journalism can express an impersonal approach that not only veils one’s inevitable subjectivity, but also neglects to uphold ethical norms of justice. This motivates an alternative “attached” model: an activistic and interpretive form of journalism. This paper leverages Herman Bavinck’s work to offer a theological warrant of attachment journalism, thereby vindicating the neo-Calvinistic approach to journalism.


2:45 PM – 3:15 PM         Coffee Break

3:15 PM – 4:30 PM         2nd Concurrent Session Papers:


Session 2A: Cooper Conference Room, Erdman Center

“The Political Economy of Kuyper’s Newspapers”

Clifford Anderson, Vanderbilt


Working from archival sources, this paper charts the financial development of the two primary papers of the Neo-Calvinist movement from their inception in 1871/1872 until Kuyper’s assumption of financial responsibility in 1887. How did these papers – unlike their competitors – defy the odds to turn a profit? Who bought them and what was Kuyper’s role? This paper demonstrates how techniques from the digital humanities shed light on questions in church history. In particular, the financial analyses draw on the author’s experience as a participant in a NEH/DFG sponsored seminar titled Modeling semantically Enriched Digital Edition of Accounts.


Session 2B:  Clarke Conference Room, Erdman Center

“Divine images and political representation: towards an evaluation of the role of the media in post-Christian democracies”

A.L.Th. de Bruijne, Theological University of Kampen


This paper engages the present threats for Post-Christian democracies that are implied in the development of modern media, using the work of Kuyper and Oliver O'Donovan. The latter offers a political-theological theory of representation, which emphasizes both images and affectivity through referencing the second commandment. Christians could contribute to the survival of democracy by paying renewed attention to the transcendent, potentially idolatrous, character of both politics and media and to the ‘image’ of Christ as ultimate ‘political’ representative and ruler. 


Session 2C: Art Studio, Erdman Center

“Taking Journalism to Seminary: Bavinck on Human Action as Theology”

Cory Brock, University of Edinburgh


To form a correspondence between the story on the one hand and the fact on the other journalists must see beyond the self-evident, the phenomenological. Bavinck suggested that one must understand that action is derivative of an encounter with one’s self in which the unity of organic and intellectual being is confronted with that on which they depend: the revelation of self, world and God. Focusing on Bavinck’s own journalism, this paper analyzes Herman Bavinck’s theological philosophy of the self and human action.


4:45 PM – 6:00 PM         3rd Concurrent Session Papers:


Session 3A: Cooper Conference Room, Erdman Center

“A republic of letters for the Kingdom of God: Journalism in the service of the Protestant religious imagination, 1800-1830”

Andrew Kloes, University of Edinburgh


Early nineteenth-century popular print culture enabled Protestants on both sides of the Atlantic to exchange news with unprecedented frequency and scale. During this period there occurred several religious ‘awakening movements’ in Continental Europe, Britain, and North America. By implying that there existed a spiritual bond between all of those who had had the same religious experience of awakening, religious magazines promoted an early form of both transconfessional and transnational Christian identity. This paper explores these themes through the contents of British, German, Swiss, and American Protestant newsmagazines and periodicals.


Session 3B:  Clarke Conference Room, Erdman Center

“Islam according to Journalist Abraham Kuyper”

Jan van Vliet, Dordt College 


Kuyper’s recently-translated two-volume work Om De Oude Wereldzee richly chronicles his journalistic-driven insights of early-twentieth century Islam gleaned from his trip around the Mediterranean Sea. This paper opens with a survey of Kuyper’s own extremely colorful portrait of the civilization and faith of the Near East and concludes with comments on the value of Kuyper’s careful thinking on Islam for today’s global, multicultural, and pluralistic society.



Session 3C: Art Studio, Erdman Center

“A Shy Hope in the Heart? Religious Journalism in Australia and the Kuyperian legacy”

Bruce Pass, University of Edinburgh


That religion has never enjoyed a prominent place in mainstream Australian journalism can largely be attributed to the place religion occupies in the Australian psyche. In the words of historian Manning Clark (1915-1991), religion in Australia is but 'a shy hope in the heart'. This paper will explore the place of religion in Australian secular journalism with specific reference to the points of contact that may be observed between the work of Centre for Public Christianity and the legacy of Abraham Kuyper.


6:15 PM – 7:00 PM         Dinner

Mackay Student Center


7:15 PM – 9:00 PM         Wine and Cheese Reception

Erdman Center Gallery


April 16 – Saturday


8:00 AM – 9:00 AM          Breakfast

Mackay Student Center


9:00 AM – 10:15 AM        3rd Plenary Session

Cooper Conference Room, Erdman Center


“Journalism and Religion in a Late-Modern Context: A View from the Dutch Neo-Calvinist Tradition”

Koert Van Bekkum, Asst. Professor of Old Testament at the Theological University of Kampen


Recent debates on journalism focus on the pitfalls and possibilities of new digital platforms, the increasing influence of capital on the selection and presentation of the news and its interpretation, and on civic and constructive journalism as answers to these trends. The lecture offers a sketch of Abraham Kuyper’s view of journalism and the history Christian journalism in the Dutch Neo-Calvinist tradition, and then elaborates on the recent discussions from this perspective.


10:15 AM – 10:45 AM      Coffee Break


10:45 AM – 12:00 PM       4th Plenary Session

Cooper Conference Room, Erdman Center


“Understanding Religious Art in a Journalistic Context: Definitions Matter”

Alissa Wilkinson, Critic-at-Large at Christianity Today,

Asst. Professor of English & Humanities at The King’s College


The recent discovery of the "faith-based" industry has contributed to a spike in coverage of the religious audience for mass media - and though it's often full of good-will, it's usually under-informed. What would it look like to contribute to the journalistic record regarding culture as a person of faith? What are the challenges and opportunities that face the journalist of faith?





 Kuyper Prize Winner: Elaine Storkey       

Dr. Elaine Storkey is a distinguished scholar and journalist from the United Kingdom. Her 40-year career in the academy has crossed the disciplines of sociology, philosophy and theology including appointments at the University of Oxford, King’s College London, and Calvin College in Michigan.  In 2013 the University of Aberystwyth elected her as a Fellow.  She has authored several books including What’s Right With Feminism and Mary’s Story, Mary’s Song and Created or Constructed. Among her many humanitarian efforts across the globe she has served as the president of Tearfund (an aid and advocacy organization in the Global South) and co-founded Restored (an organization combatting violence against women).

Storkey began broadcasting with the BBC in 1986 and has since been involved in many documentaries, arts, news and current affairs programs. She was a presenter on Radio 4′s “Thought for the Today” for over 25 years and has written many scripts for the BBC World Service and Radio Ulster. She was also a member of the General Synod of the Church of England from 1987, to November 2015, serving on the Archbishops Rural Commission and the Cathedrals Commission. For many years she wrote for The Independent and then for the Swedish newspaper Dagen, the Christian Herald and for the Church Times. During the 1990s she collaborated with Catholic author and theologian Margaret Hebblethwaite, to co-author a book exploring Christian feminism from two different traditions. Their writings on women are widely used within the Catholic as well as protestant churches.

She has served on many other boards and councils, including the Crown Nominations Commission, the environmental agency A Rocha, the global advocacy group Micah Challenge, and as Vice President of the University of Gloucestershire. She is currently President of Fulcrum, the Church of England think-tank. She became a member of High Table at Newnham College, Cambridge University, in January 2008, and from February 2009 to July 2012 also took on the Directorship of Education and Training for the Church of England’s Church Army. In the summer of 2009 she held a Cambridge Templeton Fellowship in Journalism and from 2010 to 2012 she served as Chair of The Church and Media network, chairing also a Church and Media 'summit' in 2014 in St George's House, Windsor Castle.  Her latest book Scars across Humanity is a Christian analysis and response to global violence against women; published in November 2015, it was launched to the media and UK parliamentarians in the Speaker's Rooms at the House of Commons. 



Plenary Speaker: Gustav Niebuhr


Professor Niebuhr is the director of the Carnegie Religion & Media Program at Syracuse University where he is also a faculty member. During a 20-year career in journalism, most recently at The New York Times and, prior to that, at the Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.  Gustav Niebuhr has established a reputation as a leading writer about American religion. His work has been published in books, magazines and online, and he provides occasional commentary on religion for The Huffington Post.

Niebuhr is the author of Beyond Tolerance: Searching for Interfaith Understanding in America (Viking, 2008  and Lincoln’s Bishop: A President, a Priest and the Fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Indians (HarperOne, 2014).

He has been honored with an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Elmhurst College (1997); the Frederic Melcher Book Award of the Unitarian Universalist Association (2008); a Distinguished Writer Award from the Presbyterian Writers' Guild (2000); a Religious Liberty Award from the Associated Baptist Press (1997); the Templeton Religion Writer of the Year Award from the Religion Newswriters Association (1993); and the Supple Memorial Award from the Religion Newswriters Association 1993, 1991 and 1988).

He was previously a visiting fellow and scholar in residence at Princeton University and holds a joint appointment with the religion department in the College of Arts & Sciences at Syracuse.


Plenary Speaker: Alissa Wilkinson


Prof. Wilkinson is the chief film critic at Christianity Today and an assistant professor of English and humanities at The King’s College in New York City. She is co-author of How to Survive the Apocalypse: Zombies, Cylons, and Politics at the End of the World (Eerdmans, May 2016) and author of the forthcoming Orphaned Believers: Reframing Religion in the Age of Faith-Based Film (The Critical Press).Her essays and criticism appear in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Vulture, Paste, Pacific Standard, Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Movie Mezzanine, The Marginalia Review of Books, Litro NY, Art House America, and Christ & Pop Culture, among others.

Previously she was co-editor of Comment, a journal dedicated to public theology. She served as the founding editor of the cultural commentary web magazine The Curator and the founding editor of Fieldnotes, a magazine dedicated to the intersection of faith and organizational leadership.

Wilkinson holds an M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction at Seattle Pacific University, an M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, and a B.S. in Information Technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. At King’s, she lectures on topics ranging from Postmodern Theory & Culture to Cultural Criticism.



Plenary Speaker: George Harinck


A native of Rotterdam, Prof. Dr. Harinck is the Professor of Neo Calvinist History at the Free University of Amsterdam and Extraordinary Professor of History at the Theological University of Kampen. He is also the Director of two significant Dutch archives: the Archives and Documentation Centre for the Reformed Churches of Kampen and the Historical Documentation Center at the Free University.       

Most recently Harinck has completed an 8-part TV documentary, entitled Om de Oude Wereldzee, on Abraham Kuyper in collaboration with the acclaimed Dutch filmmaker Hans Hermans. The documentary retraces Kuyper’s 1906 tour of the Mediterranean recorded in his popular book of the same title. In 2012 Harnick edited and translated the book Kuyper in America: “This is where I was meant to be,” which collects Kuyper’s correspondence during his 1898 journey to deliver the Princeton Seminary Stone Lectures. 

He is a columnist for the Dutch newspaper Nederlands Dagblad and widely published scholar in academic literature on the themes of Dutch religious history and Neo Calvinism.
Harinck studied history at Leiden in 1993 and obtained his doctorate from the Free University of Amsterdam. He serves as president of multiple academic foundations ranging in theme from South African culture to the work of the theologian and Dutch patriot Klass Schilder.


Plenary Speaker: Koert van Bekkum


Dr. van Bekkum is a well-known scholar of the Old Testament in the Netherlands and former Assistant Editor-in-Chief of the Dutch daily newspaper Nederlands Dagblad. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Old Testament at the Theological University of Kampen and is the author of From Conquest to Coexistence: Ideology and Antiquarian Intent in the Historiography of Israel’s Settlement in Canaan (Culture and History of the Ancient Near East, 45; Brill: Leiden–Boston 2011).

Van Bekkum is a widely published commentator whose work spans the public square and the academy. During his tenure at the Nederlands Dagblad he supervised the publication of a series of lectures named in honor of the Neo-Calvinist theologian Herman Bavinck. This projected reflected on the roles of religion, common good, pluralism and political theology in modern-Western society. He has contributed to a number of volumes dealing with theological themes for a popular audience and has also offered scholarly contributions to the history of the Neo-Calvinist tradition.

Holding a PhD from Theological University of Kampen, Van Bekkum’s current research explores the historical and theological meaning of Biblical-historical narratives, with the help of synchronic, diachronic and contextual analysis. His ongoing research concentrates on the literary and theological conceptions, social background and historical development of the descriptions of ‘Promised Land’ in the Old Testament canon.