Prime minister. Pastor. National church leader. Founder of a major university. Member of Parliament. Father. Developer of the idea that we now call “worldview.”
Abraham Kuyper, the nineteenth-century Dutchman for all seasons, seems to have had his hands full. But somehow he also found time to be a journalist, founding a daily newspaper and writing regular commentary.
Like so many of his activities, Kuyper’s calling as a journalist grew out of a passion to apply the Lordship of Christ to all areas of life. God put a vision for a Christian worldview on his heart, and he carried that vision into the church, political activism, and education. Journalism was just a natural outgrowth of that passion.
Kuyper’s journalistic endeavors started with his appointment as associate editor of The Herald, a weekly that covered religious and political issues. He followed in the footsteps of his mentor, Groen Van Prinsterer (1801–1876), the founder of the Anti-Revolutionary Party and a leading Christian thinker in Holland in the generation before Kuyper.
A year after joining The Herald, Kuyper became the editor-in-chief. The newspaper’s motto expressed the Anti-Revolutionary Party’s aspirations this way: “For a Free Church and a Free School in a Free Land.” Modern Americans might be forgiven for thinking he was calling for a bunch of free lunches, at government expense, but what Kuyper actually wanted was freedom from a humanistic or liberal government-supported monopoly on churches or schools. His political party advocated more parental control over education through what might be called vouchers today.
Journalism was a vital tool for explaining and promoting these views, week by week, in Kuyper’s various careers in politics, the church, and education. In an era before radio and television, political parties in Holland, and most of Europe, depended on daily newspapers to articulate their views. The challenge was not only to offer opinion, but also to provide news and information to attract readers. Kuyper and his political party started The Standard as their daily newspaper, with Kuyper as editor. He also continued as editor-in-chief of The Herald, with its more religious emphasis.