Men's Forum

Next Meeting: “Brighton and Breakdown”: Abraham Kuyper’s Foray into Evangelical Revivalism

  • MAY 10, 6:30 PM @ PURC Fellowship Hall 

  • dinner & soft drinks provided.

Text: Brighton and Breakdown” (.pdf)


As pastors, Michael and I have tried to keep our discussions balanced in terms of content. Some of our discussions have been theological and others ecclesiastical and practical in orientation. Our next topic combines both theology and history. It revolves around a revival meeting in Brighton, England in 1875. It was attended by a delegation of Dutch Reformed folk, including the venerable Abraham Kuyper. 

This month's article offers some perspective on the revival, Kuyper's initial support of it, and his later reservations about it. The article also spells out some of Kuyper's warnings about Christian perfectionism.

A few thoughts before you read: first, the article is somewhat broken up (you'll see what I mean) but try glean as much as you can from it 2) I have asked Pastor M to give us a five-ten minute synopsis of Christian perfectionism so we can better interact with the article and Kuyper's concerns 3) I will send you a list of questions that will provide the catalyst for what I trust will be an engaging discussion.

Do read the article as a fruitful discussion will be greatly hindered without doing so. It's not very long.

The Lord's blessings on your week, — Pastor G.

Questions for study:

  1. What was Kuyper facing personally, ecclesiastically, and politically prior to the Brighton meetings that appear to have shaped his initially favorable response?

  2. Do you think Kuyper’s many challenges may have contributed in some way to his response? If not, why not? If so, how?

  3. The Brighton meetings occurred approximately 25 years before Kuyper wrote his book entitled “The Work of the Holy Spirit.” What lessons did Kuyper learn from his Brighton experience that may have shaped his writing on the Holy Spirit?

  4. What is your response to Christian perfectionism?

  5. Imagine having attended the Brighton meetings. What elements of the meetings would you have found positive? Negative?

  6. Our assigned reading recounts the rise and fall of the very popular Pearsall Smith. What are some of the unique dangers ecclesiastical celebrities face?

  7. Historian James Bratt wrote: “To the main current of Anglo-American
    evangelicalism Kuyper’s hard-nosed Calvinism offered a clear alternative.” In your estimation, what clear alternatives did Kuyper’s “hard-nosed Calvinism” offer Anglo-American evangelicalism?


What it is

The Men's Forum provides a great occasion for study and fellowship, for long-term members as well as those considering PURC as a church home.

Each meeting revolves around different articles (appx. 5-25 pages) from classic Christian thinkers. Articles are posted here in advance. After an a brief introduction we discuss the material, followed by fellowship. We compare Scripture and talk about real-life implications of these ideas. 

WHY WE LIKE this format...

Since topics change monthly, those who miss a meeting aren't “cut out” of future gatherings. Also, reading is limited to brief articles (under 20 pages). This allows us to encounter a wide variety of voices and topics ranging from biblical and cultural issues, history, systematic theology, and practical ministry.


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Past Topics

Apr 12, 2018


Text (.pdf): Imitating the Incarnation” by B. B. Warfield


Numerous pastors and professors count this short essay, on the meaning and implications of Christ's humility in Phil 2:5-8, to be among the most potent and cherished of Reformed writings. Warfield writes, “Do we not rightly say that next to our longing to be in Christ is our corresponding longing to be like Christ; that only second in our hearts to His great act of obedience unto death by which He became our Saviour, stands His holy life in our world of sin, by which He becomes our example?” A few sections are somewhat dense, but build to a crescendo. I strongly suggest reading this twice, perhaps on the two Sundays leading up to the Forum. In any case, come and discuss with us! 

Questions for study:

  1. What does Paul mean when he says Christ had “the form of God”?
  2. What kind of nature did Christ assume in the incarnation? 
  3. In what spirit did Christ perform his task?
  4. In what manner are believers now called to imitate Christ's incarnation? 

Mar 15, 2018

Reformed And american

Text: “Reformed and American” by George Marsden (.pdf)

This introduction lays out various currents that have shaped the Reformed stream in America and may help us understand the various currents that affect our personal lives as well as PURC as a church.

Feb 15, 2018

A Reformed View of Sanctification

Text: A Reformed View of Sanctification by Wilhelmus a Brakel (.pdf)

It might be one of the most insightful things you ever read on sanctification. Wilhelmus a Brakel, a Dutch Reformed theologian, really brings the goods. He makes clear and biblical distinctions of Old and New Man, divine sovereignty and human responsibility, and how we practically wage war on sin.

Jan 18, 2018

"order vs ardor"

Timothy Keller on Ardor vs. Order in the ministry of Francis Schaeffer (.pdf) from City Church.

Dec. 14, 2017

"Job: Mystery and Faith," by D. A. Carson

Is there a straightforward answer for why God allows his children to suffer? According to D. A. Carson, there is always a mystery to the question, but there can also be faith. In this essay, Carson explores themes of suffering, sovereignty, and faith in the book of Job.

Job: Mystery & Faith.pdf

Nov 9., 2017

"Silence and Solitude," by Don Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life

Life in the digital age can feel like a relentless stream of updates and distractions. This time around, we're considering the spiritual benefits of silence and solitude based on a chapter from Don Whitney's Spiritual Disciplines.

Silence & Solitude .pdf

Oct 12., 2017

“The Letter of Mathetes to Diognetus,” Author Unknown

This month's article was the wonderful So-Called Letter to Diognetus (this version is specially abridged for the Forum). It's short but substantial, touching on themes related to Christian culture and Christ's atonement.

Sep 14., 2017

“A Simple Guide to Prayer,” by Martin Luther.

We kicked things off with Martin Luther's memorable letter to his barber, A Simple Way to Pray. It's short but rich.

Supplementary resources: