Dave Beldman has a nice post up regarding Al Wolters on the occasion of his retirement party from Redeemer University College. I remember Wolters as a top-notch scholar from my Toronto days. Off-subject, the mention of his name gives me an opportunity to furnish a slice-of-life memory from a dinner-party among the Dutch Reformed in Toronto.
As one ought to expect from followers of the great Abraham Kuyper and Herman Dooyeweerd, the number of cultural institutions the Dutch Reformed in Toronto put in place and cultivate is astounding. Besides the Institute for Christian Studies, they include a labor union and an art gallery, each with non-sectarian but distinctly Christian foundations.
While a starving undergraduate, I was somehow invited to be a waiter at a fundraiser for the art gallery, which was held in a Dutch Reformed church. (I don’t know if Al Wolters was at the fundraiser, but he certainly could have been.)
We were all dressed to beat the band, and we were serving a mouth-watering multi-course meal on very good white china and dark red cloth napkins. Then I noticed that the wine we were serving was from South Africa. Those were the days when the support for apartheid of Reformed churches in South Africa had come to be considered scandalous. For some, it was deemed a matter of status confessionis, that is, a church that supported apartheid was to be anathematized.
I was a rabble-rouser back then, so I conferred with my fellow waiters and waitresses (mostly the latter, as I remember). We decided to make a scene, and clear the tables of all the South African wine.
We waiters congratulated ourselves for having added a touch of gloom to a brilliant evening, and for our act of civil disobedience. It was quite unfair. Some of those in the room were among the bravest in supporting Afrikaaners who dared speak out against apartheid. Steve Biko was a name they knew, and it was uttered with respect.
That reminds me: I need to order some Warwick from the Stellenbosch region.
Here is an Al Wolters bibliography.