By Theuns de Bruyn
We will ourselves. This is the cry that rings out at the Solidarity Movement’s institutions. This is what is needed now for Afrikaners.
No one else is going to build our universities. No one else is going to provide services for us. We will ourselves.
The cry states positively what we will do, but also implies what we will not do. We are not going to wait for the state to look after our interests. The state is not going to do that. We will ourselves, free from the state.
So there are many unique institutions developing. These are “own” institutions. The question we must ask, however: What basic principle should underpin this development?
Sovereignty in own circle
At the end of the nineteenth century, the slogan “sovereignty in one’s own circle” began to become particularly popular in reformed circles. This is also the title that Dr. Abraham Kuyper gave the inauguration speech of the Free University of Amsterdam in 1880.
In this speech he stated “sovereignty in one’s own circle” as a principle for the free society. When each so-called circle of life has sovereign control over itself, there will be a healthy balance of power in the community.
According to this, for example, the state must govern in accordance with its own nature and purpose. The state must also recognize and respect the sovereignty of every other circle of life. Thus the state will not prescribe the church, the science or the school.
This principle was also very thoroughly explained theologically by Kuyper. God is the sovereign or sovereign ruler of the universe. However, he crowned man to rule over creation. Man then has the authority that is required to exercise power over creation and break all resistance to God’s will(1).
However, this authority spreads out in different circles of life. Each circle of life must practice its vocation in accordance with its God-given purpose. In this way, man’s rule over the earth must be manifested. Then the community will be free from state absolutism.
The state must determine itself to its own circle. The community will also be free from dominance by the church, which was often the case in the Middle Ages. Science will be free to practice science and thus exploit the creative revelation of God.
For Kuyper, this principle was also anchored in faith. Nothing or no one is faithless. Everyone believes something. Every circle of life has a starting point of faith as a foundation(2). It must of course be true faith in Jesus Christ. All circles of life must be subject to his feet. Only then will a community be truly free.
“Sovereignty in one’s own circle” has become a very convenient and effective slogan. Slogans can be very dangerous. Who is it really that is sovereign in each circle? Is the state sovereign in the circle of government? Is the church sovereign in the ecclesiastical circle?
If we believe that God transfers or delegates his sovereignty to man, we will very comfortably be able to answer these questions positively. However, man cannot have a quality that God alone possesses. Ultimately there can only be one Sovereign Ruler.
Freedom will no longer be freedom if everyone possesses it. Only God can do what He wills. God is under no obligation to account for Himself. Man must answer to himself, precisely to God as sovereign Ruler. Man therefore has no sovereignty(3). Man must acknowledge God’s sovereignty in every circle of life. Because it is indeed the case that every person lives from a point of departure of faith.
The circles of life that form in our communities will indeed also be subject to a point of departure of faith. Mutual coherence between the circles of life, harmony and freedom, will be the result of the correct starting point of faith. This is then faith in the living God. He is sovereign in every circle.
Man must therefore bow before Him in every circle. The person who does not bow down before Him is eventually cast down by Him(4). This applies to all people, sexes, authorities and powers(5).
May this belief underlie the Afrikaner’s quest for freedom. May we, under the impression of God’s sovereignty, hold on to the words of Psalm 147:6 – “The LORD raises up the humble; He humbles the wicked to the ground.”
(1) A. Kuyper, Sovereignty in one’s own circlep. 9.
(2) A. Kuyper, Sovereignty in one’s own circlep. 32.
(3) JAL Taljaard, Polished Lenses, p 199.
(4) Psalm 75:7
(5) Colossians 1:15-18
- Theuns de Bruyn is a 5th year student at the Theological School in Potchefstroom.