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I wanted to let my CRCNA church family know about a new book that I've just published titled The Power of the Church: The Sacramental Ecclesiology of Abraham Kuyper. Here is a short summary, the table of contents, and some endorsements. The book is listed here on the publisher's website and will be making its way to places like Amazon very shortly.


It is fascinating that in all the media reports and discussions of the church’s abuse of power in the early years of the twenty-first century, few if any seemed to notice that the accusation of the church’s misuse of power presupposed a shared understanding of the positive use of power within the church that had been violated. Rather than an interest in the sociological aspect of this question, this book examines the more ontological and normative aspects of it. That is, it investigates and discerns the foundational theological framework of culture and society and the location and purpose of the church within them. As a cultural force and societal institution, what does the church constructively bring to the human community?

Table of Contents


1. Introduction: The Disappearance: Church, Power, and Abraham Kuyper

2. Power: An Historical Survey of the Conceptual Landscape

3. Disappearing No Longer: The Ecclesiology of Abraham Kuyper

4. Sovereignty, Authority, and Power: Abraham Kuyper’s Worldview

5. The Ecclesial Sphere and Kerygmatic Power

6. The Nature of Ecclesial Power: Further Philosophical, Theological, and Biblical Investigations

7. The Sacramental Nature of Ecclesial Power: Abraham Kuyper’s Ecclesiology and Vatican Council II

8. Conclusion 

Appendix 1: A Chronology of Abraham Kuyper

Appendix 2: The Church in the Reformed Confessions




“Today some lament the church’s loss of power and others see the church exercising political power inappropriately. Michael Wagenman explores the implications of Abraham Kuyper’s view of the church as grounded in creation and as both an institution and an organism for larger questions about the church’s power and role in society. Following Kuyper, Wagenman highlights the church’s power in proclamation, sacraments, and discipleship as grounding for the organic church to serve the world.”
—Ronald Feenstra, Heritage Professor of Systematic and Philosophical Theology, Calvin Theological Seminary

“Mike Wagenman’s The Power of the Church is an extraordinary work of public theology. In it, he provides a compelling account of the church’s role and its unique ‘power’ among other societal institutions such as government, education, and family. Highly recommended for readers interested in being public witnesses in our secular age when orthodox Christianity is relegated to the social, cultural, and political margins.”
—Bruce Riley Ashford, Professor of Theology & Culture, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“What hope is there for the church? What has the church to do with power and what has power to do with the church? These are the important questions Wagenman raises in this important and engaging work. By drawing on and developing the inchoate insights of the Dutch polymath, Abraham Kuyper, Wagenman address these key issues of church and power—issues that are perhaps more relevant today than they were when Kuyper was writing in the nineteenth century. Kuyper had a multi-aspectual view of power and Wagenman takes Kuyper’s seminal views and produces a much needed critique of power in the church today. With this book, Wagenman establishes his position as one of the leading Kuyper scholars. If you are interested in Kuyper, ecclesiology, or power—then get the book!”
—Steve Bishop, co-editor of On Kuyper

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