State & Society Watch – Calvin Center for Personal Faith and Democracy

The 44th president of the United States of America (2009 – 2017) in his ancestral village, Kolego, Nyanza, Kenya. The visit was around 1980.

State & Society Watch – The Calvin Center for Personal faith and Democracy promotes a renewal in public theology following the dawn of the post-Western period in the world. Democracy is on the verge of global expansion. Humans matter. Countries are responsible for their populations. Government is answerable to citizenry. But does the society allow to reinforce cooperation in the state?

The Calvinist tradition today has been swallowed largely by more dominant forces. This is a pity as it has a record of building on the rise of political institutions during 30 centuries. It arrived 500 years ago at a typical time of imperial overreach, not unlike the first quarter of the 21st century. In their countries of influence Calvinism elaborated an organic but practical organization of society, in which independent spheres exist that all contribute to society. This is a protection against totalitarian rule and more importantly, theocracy. 

For the first time in political history in 1579 the ruler was kept at bay and individual religious choice was constitutionally protected (Article 13, Union of Utrecht). Westphalian sovereignty was also a typical result of Calvinist social contract thinking.

These features are an asset in the quest for a global renewal of public theology in the 21st century and the pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal 16.

We connect to contemporary best practices: human rights, U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and the fraternity of church denominational structures.

“To annul the self as an intelligent actor is a terrible thing, objectively considered.”

Marilynne Robinson, The Sacred, the Human, page 53 in What are We Doing Here.


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