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Christ and Culture

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Almost twenty-five years ago, on March 23, 1952, the LORD took unto Himself His servant Klaas Schilder. The present translation of one of his works thus appears at a very appropriate time.

Christ and Culture is the English translation of Schilder's Christus en Cultuur. The original version of this publication was issued in 1932 under the title "Jezus Christus en het cultuurleven": it was included in Jezus Christus en het menschenleven, a collection of contributions by various authors. In 1947 it was published separately as Christus en Cultuur: a reprint followed in 1953.

The author was born on December 19, 1890, in Kampen, The Netherlands. In his native city he later studied at the Theologische School of De Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland, from which he graduated cum laude in 1914. After having served as minister in several congregations, he was in 1933 awarded the doctoral degree summa cum laude at the Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen, Germany. His dissertation was entitled Zur Begriffspeschichte des "Paradoxon," mit besonderen Berucksichtigung Calvins und des Nach-Kierkegaardschen "Paradoxon." In the same year he was appointed Professor of Systematic Theology at the Kampen Seminary, which post he held until his death in 1952.

Dr. K. Schilder wrote numerous books and articles. His trilogy Christus in Zijn lijden became internationally known especially in its English version, Christ on Trial (1938). He regularly contributed to the weekly De Reformatie ever since it began publication in 1920, becoming one of its editors in 1924: from 1935 on, he was its only editor. The strong stand that he took, not only in theological and ecclesiastical matters but also over against the anti-christian philosophy of National-Socialism, led to his arrest by the Nazis in August, 1940 Soon after his release he was forced to go into hiding, for he was among those wanted by the German occupying forces. He remained in hiding almost until the end of the Second World War.

Twice, in 1939 and in 1947, Schilder visited the United States of America. The return voyage in 1947 provided him with the opportunity to revise and expand his above-mentioned 1932 essay. The preface to the new edition of Christus en Cultuur was signed and dated: "On board s.s. Veendam, August 24, 1947." This Dutch publication attracted attention also in the English-speaking world, particularly in the U.S.A.: for example, Schilder's ideas, together with those of Aurelius Augustine, John Calvin, and Abraham Kuyper, were thoroughly discussed by Henry R. Van Til in his The Calvinistic Concept of Culture (1959; repr. 1972). A Japanese translation by Professor Y. Yamanaka of Kansaigakuin, University, Takarazuka, Japan, was published in 1974.
The present English translation was made possible by the kind permission of Mrs. A.J. Schilder-Walter and the cooperation of the original publisher, T. Wever, Franeker, The Netherlands.

May the LORD bless this publication and use it in the battle for true culture.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A. -- G. van Rongen

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada -- W. Helder