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Redeemer to Host Kuyper Conference Featuring Makoto Fujimura

May 10, 2023
Makoto Fujimura
Makoto Fujimura
Photo courtesy of Redeemer University

Redeemer is hosting the Kuyper Conference May 9-11 featuring keynote speaker and 2023 Kuyper Prize winner Makoto Fujimura on the theme “Kuyper and Kintsugi: Public Theology for Repair, Reconciliation, and Restoration.” The Kuyper Prize is awarded by Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary. Fujimura is the first visual artist to receive the prize, which has been awarded annually since 1998.

“Receiving the Kuyper Prize is quite an unexpected honor,” said Fujimura. “I hope this recognition will lead to a renewed connection between the artist and the church towards culture care and the development of a robust theology of making.”

“We are thrilled to host the Kuyper Conference this year, and particularly to hear from Makoto Fujimura,” said Dr. David Zietsma, Redeemer University president. “Fujimura, his art, and his work present us with an opportunity to engage the intersection of art and theology from a Reformed Christian perspective, which is central to Redeemer’s mission in teaching and scholarship. Artistic endeavor shows us that as imagebearers of God the Creator we are also creators, inspiring us to explore the renewing hope of the gospel in unique and powerful ways.”

The Kuyper Prize was established in 1998 by Rimmer and Ruth de Vries and named after Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper. It is awarded each year to a scholar or community leader whose outstanding contribution to their chosen sphere reflects the ideas and values characteristic of the Neo-Calvinist vision of religious engagement in matters of social, political, and cultural significance in one or more of the spheres of society.

Fujimura is a world-renowned modern artist, author, and speaker, and he is the founder of the International Arts Movement and the Fujimura Institute. His work expounds on, popularizes, and builds on Kuyperian theology. He uses the art of kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery (often with precious metals) to take what is shattered and make it whole again – not to return the object to its original state but to represent an even more beautiful restoration of wholeness.

“It is with great excitement that we award Makoto Fujimura this distinct honor,” said Dr. Wiebe Boer, president of Calvin University. “It is clear that his work is heavily inspired by Kuyperian theology, and through his work his audiences are drawn to reflect upon deeper truths about brokenness and restoration which were central to Kuyper’s theology.”

“As Christ followers, we are called to the work of renewal,” said Rev. Jul Medenblik, president of Calvin Theological Seminary. “What Fujimura is doing through his work is reminding us of the Kuyperian perspective that ‘the final outcome of the future . . . is not the merely spiritual existence of saved souls but the restoration of the entire cosmos, when God will be all in all in the renewed heaven on the renewed earth.’”

Fujimura joins an esteemed group of past winners of the award, which include a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, a Templeton Prize-winning philosopher, a prime minister, and a pair of U.S. ambassadors, to mention a few.

A $10,000 monetary prize accompanies the award, which Fujimura says he’ll donate to IAM Culture Care and Embers International for their collective Kintsugi peacemaking work. He will be awarded the prize during the conference, which Redeemer is excited to present in collaboration with Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary. Plenary sessions will feature John G. Stackhouse, Jr. (Crandall University), Haejin Shim (Kintsugi Academy), and Vincent Bacote (Wheaton College).

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