Groen’s and Kuyper’s Scottish relations: not beyond Chalmers

George Harinck


This article explores the relations between Reformed leaders in Scotland and the Netherlands in the nineteenth century. Both countries experienced Reformed revivals and the creation of free churches. An important debate in both countries was on the relation between these free churches and the state. The ideas of Groen van Prinsterer in the Netherlands were influenced by the Scotsman Thomas Chalmers. Confronted with the Free Church, they both advocated the Christian character of the nation, and the Christian character of the public domain. However they both underestimated the influence of secularization and both lacked political support for their ideas. The future was to the Free Church and a secular or plural character of the public domain.


Abraham Kuyper, Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer; Thomas Chalmer; Scottish-Dutch religious relations; Reformed theology

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