Abraham Kuyper on How Churches Must Be Rooted and Grounded

“And yet, I may not deny that there is something in this restless drive that disturbs me. Conversion is pressed, but instruction of the converted must be postponed—how could it be otherwise?—there is no time, for eyes and hearts are already focused on making more new converts. People rejoice especially in the number of converts. So they think they can dispense with any test and they welcome with nebulous indeterminacy every person as an ally who, on whatever basis, along whatever path, from whatever motive, simply wants to march in our ranks and join us in talking about the Lord, as though prevenient grace has stopped working, covenant blessing has lost its power, the church’s past is purposeless, and every conversion, beyond the influence of God’s faithful covenant, is an isolated fact, an incidental work of the Lord’s Spirit. Sometimes it appears as though God’s elect are not generated through rebirth from the one Christ in shared parentage, but are plucked from the river like drowning victims by the arm of the Spirit.

“That may not remain unchallenged, beloved! Spiritual revival is an extraordinary grace, I know, sometimes the only saving means, but when it is made the rule it subverts Jesus’ church. Then it is nothing but cuttings planted together here and there in beds, but then there is no root, and the vine has no stem that binds the branches into a unity. “Together with all the saints,” says the man from Tarsus in the verse following our text, and that connection is never neglected without very serious injury. For the bitter fruit is already manifested. We already see how each one wants to travel under his own flag, to privateer under his own ensign. Already the many-headed monster of that all-fracturing individualism is sticking out its horns. O, if people only realized that in this way bricks are indeed brought in and piled up, but that pile of bricks cannot stack itself up into a wall. Without design, cement, and builder, a house will never emerge from those stones.

Abraham Kuyper, Rooted and Grounded: The Church as Organism and Institution


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