The Problem of Poverty

by Abraham Kuyper, James W. Skillen, ed.
Center for Public Justice and Baker Books (1991)
Paperback, 94 pages

One man who firmly belived that Christians must have a unique social agenda was Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), the Dutch statesman, philosopher, churchman, and journalist. Kuyper was a rising young preacher in The Netherlands when he turned to politics as a ministry. In parliament he fought for sweeping social reform and educational reforms and went on to found the Free University.

James Skillen, president of the Center for Public Justice, sees in the text of a speech Kuyper delivered 100 years ago a powerfully relevant message for concerned Christians today.

"This speech not only illuminates with stark simplicity many of the enduring problems of poverty," Skillen writes, "it also brings a strong and pointed biblical message that has outlived Kuyper's time and place. I doubt that anyone, after reading this speech, can walk away believing that Christianity is out-of-date and powerless to address the complex questions of poverty today."

"The Social Problem and the Christian Religion" opened the first Christian Social Congress in The Netherlands on November 9, 1891. Skillen's translation strives to accurately reflect modern usage and the fervent spirit of this exploration of Christian versus humanistic ethics. His introduction reflects on how Kuyper foresaw the inevitable failure of socialistic governments of today.


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