A Conference on "Common Grace and 'A Common Word'"
Princeton, New Jersey
15th-17th April 2010


A conference devoted to exploring the resources of Neo-Calvinism
for inter-faith dialogue and understanding


April 15-16, 2010

"Common grace" is a key concept in the thought of Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck. It signals a conceptual space in which the grace of God is to be found at work in people, spheres and institutions outside the Church and beyond the extended circle of Christian believers. Between 1905 and 1907 Kuyper made a grand tour around the Mediterranean as a result of which he wrote a long essay on the significance of Islam. The purpose of this conference is to explore the concept of common grace with a view to uncovering the theological role it might have in furthering the aspirations of A Common Word Between Us and You, a 2007 document affirming the common ground that exists between Christianity and Islam.

The conference will open with a lecture by the winner of the 2010 Kuyper Prize, Lord Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth.

PAPER PROPOSALS are invited in the disciplines of theology, religious studies, history, philosophy and the social sciences on any aspect of the conference theme. Papers that aim to extend the dialogue to include Judaism in all its varieties are especially welcome. Papers selected for inclusion will run concurrently. Proposals from graduate students are encouraged, and financial support is available. Each block of concurrent sessions will include a session reserved for a graduate student paper.

Proposals should take the form of an abstract of not more than 300 words and be submitted as an e-mail attachment to [email protected] by December 15, 2009. Decisions will be notified by mid-January, 2010.



Princeton Theological Seminary

The Abraham Kuyper Center for Public Theology


A conference devoted to exploring the resources of Neo-Calvinism for inter-faith dialogue and understanding


April 15-16, 2010

Thursday April 15

7:30 p.m. Kuyper Prize Lecture

"Covenant and Hope in Civil Society"

Lord Sacks,

Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth

Friday April 16

9:00 a.m. Mackay Center Main Lounge

Opening Welcome : "Common Grace and a 'Common Word'"

John Bowlin,

Chair of the Kuyper Center Committee, Princeton Theological Seminary

9:15 a.m. Opening Plenary: "Love and Law: Some Thoughts on Judaism and Calvinism"

Leora Batnitzky,

Professor of Religion , Princeton University

10:15 a.m. Coffee break

10:30 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions I

Group 1, Mackay Center Main Lounge

"The Vicissitudes of Abraham Kuyper's Concept of Common Grace in Europe and the US before WWII"---George Harinck, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

"Making the Private Church Public, or Whence Common Grace Came"---John Halsey Wood, St. Louis University

Group 2, Gambrell Room, Scheide Hall

"Why Christians Need Jews: Franz Rosenzweig and the Path to Redemption."----Jennifer Rosner, Fuller Theological Seminary

"The "Broader Sense" of the Image of God in Bavinck and Berkouwer: What the Dutch Reformed Tradition Can Learn from the Talmud's Anthropology"---Cory Wilson, Fuller Theological Seminary

"A Common Covenant: Grounding Common Grace and Inter-religious Politics in the Noahic Covenant"---Matthew Tuininga, Emory University

Group 3, Cooper Conference Room, Erdman Hall

"Common Grace: A Distinctive Resource for 'A Common Word'"---Emily Dumler-Winkler, Princeton Theological Seminary

"Understanding the Teachings of Common Grace in the Chinese Context: Its Possibilities and Difficulties"---Zhibin Xie, Shanghai Normal University

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-2:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions II

Group 1, Mackay Center Main Lounge

"From talking about to speaking with: The Reformed Churches in The Netherlands (Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland) and Islam"---Dirk van Keulen, Protestant Theological Seminary

"The Creation Structure Objection to Common Grace: First Article and Antithetical Alternatives for Interfaith Dialogue"---Nathan Brummel, Pastor in the United Reformed Churches in America

"As Common as Grace: Reflections on Bavinck's De Gemeene Genade "---James Eglinton, New College (University of Edinburgh)

Group 2, Gambrell Room, Scheide Hall

"Kuyper's Practical Principle of Coherent Diversity"---R.D. Henderson, Dordt College

"(Common) Grace and Pagan Virtue: Is Kuyperian tolerance possible?"---Andrew Harmon, Princeton Theological Seminary

"Antithesis, Common Grace, and the 'Reciprocity of Transformation': Towards a Neo-Calvinist Account of Religious Plurality and Inter-Faith Dialogue"---Jon Stanley, Institute for Christian Studies

2:45-4:15 p.m. Concurrent Sessions III

Group 1, Mackay Center Main Lounge

"The Concept of Culture in Abram Kuyper, Herman Bavinck and Karl Barth."---Kees van der Kooi, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

"Assessing the Christological Foundation of Kuyper's Doctrine of Common Grace"---Cambria Kaltwasser, Princeton Theological Seminary

"Bavinck and Barth: Unlikely Conversation Partners in Inter-Faith Dialogue"---Sung-Sup Kim, Princeton Theological Seminary

Group 2, Gambrell Room, Scheide Hall

"Christianity and Non-Christian Religions: A Neo-Calvinist View"---Jeroen de Ridder, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

"Graced Encounters: The Neo-Calvinian Concept of Common Grace and Interreligious Dialogue"---Jeffrey Hocking, Institute for Christian Studies

"Advancing a Kuyperian Pneumatology of Religions: The Role of Recent Yongian Contributions"---R.S. Covolo, Fuller Theological Seminary

4:30-5:30 p.m. Closing Plenary. Mackay Center Main Lounge

"Sharia and the (Em)Brace of Difference: From Theology, to Law, to Identity Politics"

Anver M. Emon

Professor of Law, University of Toronto

5:45-7:00 p.m. Conference Reception, 98 Mercer Street.