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Fuller Hosts Visiting Scholar from Amsterdam

Published on Monday, April 2, 2012 | 12:05 pm
Dr. van der Kooi
The Fuller community welcomed Dr. Cornelis van der Kooi, professor of systematic theology and director of the Centre for Evangelical and Reformation Theology at the Free University in Amsterdam, as a visiting scholar for several weeks during the winter quarter. Since Dr. van der Kooi and his wife, Margriet, arrived in mid-January, he has co-supervised some of President Richard J. Mouw’s doctoral students who are interested in neo-Calvinism.Along with neo-Calvinism, van der Kooi’s areas of expertise include Reformed theology, the pneumatology of Calvin, and Karl Barth’s theology.
Besides several books written in Dutch, van der Kooi has published a book in English, As in a Mirror: John Calvin and Karl Barth on Knowing God (2005).Lately, though, van der Kooi has been studying the intersections of Pentecostalism and the Reformed faith. He participated in a dialogue at Fuller, “A Pentecostal Moment?”, on March 8, with Pentecostal scholar Dr. Amos Yong and hosted by Dr. Mouw. “I’m asking in what way can the two faiths blend or merge,” explained van der Kooi, “or are their theological backgrounds too different?” He has been a member of a dialogue-along with Fuller Professor of Church History and Ecumenics Cecil M. Robeck-between representatives of the Presbyterian and Pentecostal churches, and observes, “I think the two traditions can learn from each other, but it is not an easy merger.” One of their natural connections, points out van der Kooi, is an acknowledgement of a broad activity and working of the Holy Spirit in our real life.
In a recent interview, van der Kooi mentioned that the interdisciplinary nature of Fuller’s program falls in line with the neo-Calvinist tradition. “There is an explicit attempt to relate theology, psychology, the arts, and intercultural studies to each other-I really appreciate that,” he said. His wife Margriet, who was present at the interview, added, “It’s just like Abraham Kuyper says, ‘There is not an inch of life over which Christ does not say, Mine,'” paraphrasing the neo-Calvinist thinker’s famous quote.”You have a wonderful place here,” said van der Kooi, “and there is a big difference between Fuller and many other institutions in Europe or America that I know.” He described a strong suspicion of theology from the side of psychology and the arts, and vice versa, that is refreshingly absent at Fuller. Margriet agreed: “The arts are not something strange and far away; no, the Holy Spirit is there, too, and we should explore it.”

Margriet van der Kooi has also been making the most of their time at Fuller; a hospital chaplain for over 25 years, she is also the author of several books on pastoral care. She co-wrote a book on children who diverge from their parents’ faith, and planned to gather information for a third edition from the Fuller Youth Institute’s (FYI) Sticky Faith initiative and meetings with FYI executive director Kara Powell. However, she says, “I came across so much material that I am planning on writing a whole new book!”

The van der Koois will return to the Netherlands in mid-March.

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