Lambertus Verberg Prize recipients announced

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Lambertus Verberg Prize recipients announced

Dordt University is pleased to announce the recipients of the Lambertus Verberg Prize for Excellence in Kuyperian Scholarship, one of the largest scholarships made available to Dordt students.

Joya Schreurs, a sophomore studying theology and English, will receive a one-year $15,000 scholarship. Anna Herman, a sophomore studying accounting, is runner-up and will receive a one-year $10,000 scholarship. Eoghan Holdahl, Bri Blevins, and Kara Jasper wrote essays that received honorable mention.

These students each submitted a 3,500-4,500-word scholarly essay that engages with theologian Abraham Kuyper as a primary source and identifies a contemporary issue.

Schreurs’s essay is titled “The Depth of Depravity and the Remedy of an All-Embracing Life System: A Kuyperian Response to the Crisis of Sexual Abuse in the American Evangelical Church.” Schreurs was inspired in part by a quote from Kuyper: “When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.”

“I was drawn in, as this idea is something I had not before heard of Kuyper perpetuating,” she says. Examining a speech by activist Rachael Den Hollander who drew upon Kuyper’s teachings in a lecture she gave at last year’s Kuyper Conference, Schreurs dug into Kuyper’s theology and applied it to the crisis of sexual abuse in the American evangelical church.

“Kuyper's philosophy surrounding church function and societal involvement provides a remedy for this pervasive issue if we are willing to wholeheartedly counter it,” she says.

Herman, whose paper is titled “Love your Neighbor: The Church’s Response to Individualism’s Impact on Interpersonal Engagement,” was familiar with Kuyper’s writings from readings in the Kuyper Honors Program. When she heard about the scholarship, she was interested in integrating his thoughts into a modern-day issue.

“I remembered Kuyper wrote on his concern about the rise of individualism negatively impacting society and was interested in exploring if the polarization and lack of civility of our society as seen in the last election and the pandemic could be related,” says Herman. “What I found fascinating is that the church is a major key in the solution to the problem.”

Donald Roth, professor of criminal justice and co-director of the Kuyper Honors Program, is thrilled with the students’ work.

“Our hope is that the Lambertus Verberg Prize serves as a powerful incentive to inspire a younger generation to take hold of and further develop the insights offered by the theological tradition that animates Dordt,” he says.

Schreurs says she is very thankful to be this year’s prize recipient.

“When I heard about this scholarship competition, I was immediately fascinated,” she says. “It’s an incredibly generous amout worth competing for, and I was drawn in by the challenge of the essay prompt.”

The Lambertus Verberg Prize for Excellence in Kuyperian Scholarship is funded by an estate gift from Rimmer and Ruth de Vries, in memory of Rimmer's great-grandfather, who settled in Sioux Center, Iowa, in the 1890s.

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. Dordt, located in Sioux Center, Iowa, is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by U.S. News and World Report, Forbes.com, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review. For more information, visit dordt.edu.