He was born in the Netherlands and immigrated to the United States in 1948. He received an B.A. Calvin College (1955), M. Div from Calvin theological Seminary (1958), a LL. B. from University of Michigan Law School (1961), a LL. M. (1964) and a S.J.D. (1968) from the Free University in Amsterdam, where he studied under Herman Dooyeweerd. His dissertation was on the political theory of Harold Laski.
He was an instructor in Greek grammar at Calvin College (1955-1958), from 1966-68 he was Executive Head of the Institute of Philosophy at the Free University. He became professor of political philosophy at the ICS in 1968 and then principal from 1978.
He was the editor of Dooyeweerd's Roots of Western Culture (1979) and co-editor, with his wife Josina Van Nuis Zylstra, of L. Kalsbeek's Contours of Christian Philosophy (1975), he was a member of the editorial board of International Reformed Bulletin and from 1978 a member of the editorial council of Philosophia Reformata. He was also president of the Association for the Advancement of Christian Scholarship from 1983.
Josina Zylstra donated Bernard Zylstra's papers to Redeemer University College library. The catalogue can be accessed here. The main Redeemer University College library website is here.
All articles are (c) Josina Zylstra and used with her permission
1956. Who was Groen Stromata (Nov): 7-8
1969. The faculty is the heart of the trouble. Perspective, Vol. 3(2) April.
1970. The Christian teacher and history: can history be approached
1970. The place of christianity in our times. International Reformed Bulletin 41 (Spring) pp 24-28.
1970. The crisis of our time and the evangelical churches. In Out of Concern for the Church Toronto: Wedge Pub. Foundation. pp 75 ff.
1970. 'Thy word our life: the kingdom of
God as the foundation of the church'. In Will all the King's Men: Out
of Concern for the Church, Phase II. Toronto: Wedge, pp. 153-221. (Also
published in International Reformed Bulletin 1972 49/50 pp
1972. Do Christians have a political future? [Part 1 and Part 2] Vanguard March/ April and August/ September.
(Also published in Where are we Now? ed W A Harper and T R Malloch Washington, DC; UPA)
1972. 'The Individual gospel: sources and shortcomings' The Guide (April/ May)
(Also published in Where are we Now? ed W A Harper and T R Malloch Washington, DC; UPA and in Inside, July 1972).
1972. 'The Bible, justice and the state' International Reformed Bulletin (Also published in Where are we Now? ed W A Harper and T R Malloch Washington, DC; UPA; and in Confessing Christ and Doing Politicsed James W Skillen (Washington, DC: APJ pp 39-53.)
1974. The post-Christian humanism of Karl Marx in Reformasie en Revolusie ed. L. Floor. Potchefstroom, SA: IAC. pp 362-376.
1976. 'Voeglin on Unbelief and revolution.' In Een
Staatsman Ter Navoling ed W F Gaay Fortman et al. The
Hague: ARP. pp 155-165.
1977. Modernity and the American empire. International Reformed Bulletin 20 pp 3-19
1979. The power of nuclear arms. Vanguard March/
April pp. 14-16. 1979.
1981. Three kinds of rights. Vanguard Jan/ Feb
1981. 'The society of the future in political focus'. Presented at the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association. (mimeograph)
1995. 'The kingdom of God: its foundations and implications' in Confessing Christ in Doing Politics (Potchefstroom: IRS)
1956. Who was Groen Stromata (Nov): 7-8.
1957. On method. Stromata (Apr): 9ff.
1958. Barth's dynamic revelation. Stromata (March): 6ff
1958. "Analysis"(Re: Calvinism) - Stromata, April 1958, pp. 6-7.
1960. Challenge and Response. Rexdale, ON: Christian Labour Association of Canada. Summary in The Guide June/ July 1960: 203.
1960. Today and tomorrow (1: First of a series) The Guide (Aug/ Sept).
1960. Today and tomorrow (2: What is the real issue?) The Guide (Oct)
1960. Today and tomorrow (3) The Guide (Nov)
1960. Today and tomorrow (4) The Guide (Dec)
1961. Today and tomorrow (5) The Guide (Feb)
1961. Today and tomorrow (6) The Guide (March)
1961. Principle and practice. Speech to 1961 National Convention of the CLAC. The Guide (May).
1961. The political antithesis. The Guide (Aug/ Sept).
1963. Scriptural religion and political task The Guide (Aug/ Sept).
1964. Reformational challenges in America. Sola Fide (Sept) pp 11ff.
1964. Some suggestions about Christian politics. The Young Calvinist (Oct).
1964. De Christen in Noord Amerika. Nedelense Gedachten October 10.
1964. De Christen in de Amerikaanse samenleviing. Nedelense Gedachten (Nov 28).
1964. The American way of life. Nedelense Gedachten (Dec 4).
1964. Verruimming balk. Medelingen van de Vereninging voor calvinistische Wijsbegeerte (Nov).
1965. Reflections on the Church. The Christian Vanguard, Vol. 5, January
1965. Dr. Henry, Duality and Ethics. The Guide March.
1965. The Free University and the A.R.S.S. Reprint from: Christian Courier 20 August
1965. The Christian and the university. International Reformed Bulletin, October 1965.
1965. Zijn wij klaar voor de universiteit? International Reformed Bulletin (Oct).
1965. Afscheid Professor Dooyeweerd. Ad Valvas (29 Oct).
1965. A Christian's Political Creed. The Young Calvinist (Nov).
1965. Conservative Kudos for King. Christianity Today (19 Nov).
1965.'Pluralisme in de staatsfilosofie en de souvereiniteit in eigen kring' In: Mededelingen van de Vereniging voor Calvinistische Wijsbegeerte (Dec).
1968. From pluralism to collectivism: the development of Harold Laski's political thought. Assen: Van Gorcum. (This is his PhD dissertation)
1968 From Pluralism to Collectivism - Propositions. (6 Sept).
1968. 'Christian Anti-Revolutionary Principles Today' - a review of his last lecture in the Social Action Seminar Series on revolution Trinity Tempo (27 Nov).
1969. CLAC-AACS Consultations. The Guide (Feb) p. 11.
1969. The Faculty is the Heart of the Trouble. Perspective, Vol. 3(2) April.
1969. (with James H. Olthuis) Schools in the Christian community. A provisional statement offered to the Christian Community as an opening orientation for communal reflection and discussion.
1969. Hegel, Marcuse, and the new left . The Gordon Review 11 (5) pp 267-281. Wenham, Mass.: Gordon College and Gordon Divinity School.
1970. The Place of Christianity in our Times. International Reformed Bulletin, Vol. 13, Spring 1970
1970. A Theology of Revolution. Torch and Trumpet, September
(1970. with James H. Olthuis) 'Confessing Christ in Education' International Reformed Bulletin, Vol. 13, #42, Summer 1970
1970. Christian education through social studies: reflections and materials introducing a discussion.
1970. The Christian teacher and history: can history be approached normatively?
1970. 'The place of christianity in our times' International Reformed Bulletin 41 (Spring) pp 24-28.
1970. The crisis of our time and the Christian Reformed Church.
1970. (with James H. Olthuis). 'Confessing Christ in education' International Reformed Bulletin (Summer) pp 36-44.
1970. The crisis of our time and the evangelical churches. In Out of Concern for the Church Toronto: Wedge Pub. Foundation. pp 75 ff.
1970. 'Thy word our life: the kingdom of God as the foundation of the church'. In Will all the King's Men: Out of Concern for the Church, Phase II. Toronto: Wedge, pp. 153-221. (Also published in International Reformed Bulletin 1972 49/50 pp 57-75.)
1971. Towards a new Christian politics: observations for discussion. Pre-synodic conference discussion paper (June)
1971. 'Confessing Christ in Education' - Coauthored (with James H. Olthuis) Christian Educators Journal(April).
1972. The AACS and its Institute for Christian Studie. Christian Educators Journal (March).
1972. (with James H. Olthuis) 'Confessing Christ in education' The Presbyterian Guardian, Vol. 41, No. 7, Aug/Sept
1972. An educational creed. Toronto: Wedge Publishing Foundation.
1972. Thy Word our life Toronto: Wedge Publishing Foundation.
1972. Do Christians have a political future? Vanguard March/ April and August/ September. (Also published in Where are we Now? ed W A Harper and T R Malloch Washington, DC; UPA)
1972. 'The Individual gospel: sources and shortcomings' The Guide , April/ May (Also published in Where are we Now? ed W A Harper and T R Malloch Washington, DC; UPA and in Inside, July 1972).
1972. 'The Bible, justice and the state' International Reformed Bulletin (Also published in Where are we Now? ed W A Harper and T R Malloch Washington, DC; UPA; and in Confessing Christ and doing politics ed James W Skillen, Washington, DC: APJ pp 39-53.)
1973. 'The Word of God, the Bible, and the AACS: In defense of a reformational movement' The Presbyterian Guardian, Vol. 42 (3), March. pp 40-43
1973. The Bible, justice and the state: (and exploration). Potchefstroom: Institute for Reformational Studies.
1973. Karl Marx: a radical humanist Vanguard December.
1974. 'The post-Christian humanism of Karl Marx' in Reformasie en Revolusie ed. L. Floor. Potchefstroom, SA: IAC. pp 362-376.
1974. In defence of the reformational movement: Charting a course in midstream.
1974.The Place of the AACS in Christian Renewal. The Banner (28 June).
1974. Why Christian schools?
1975. Bibliography of the philosophy of the cosmonomic idea and related materials. Toronto: Institute for Christian Studies.
1975. 'Introduction' in L Kalsbeek Contours of Christian Philosophy: An Introduction to Dooyeweerd’s Thought. Wedge, Toronto.
1976. 'Voeglin on Unbelief and revolution. In Een Staatsman Ter Navoling ed W F Gaay Fortman et al. The Hague: ARP. pp 155-165.
1977 . What's in a Name?' (Re: CLAC) The Guide, Vol. 25 (4), April. (Also in Evangelie en maatschappij, Nov./Dec.)
1977. Sabbatical research in political theory, 1976-1977. Perspective, Sept/ Oct.
1977. Modernity and the American empire. International Reformed Bulletin 20 pp 3-19.
1977. Reflections on Herman Dooyeweerd: 1894-1977. International Reformed Bulletin Summer pp 2-4.
1977. The struggle for south Africa: an interview with Steve Biko. The Canadian Forum (Dec-Jan 1977-78) pp. 15-21. Also published in full in Reformed Journal and excerpts in Trouw, Toronto Globe and Mail and Christian Science Monitor.)
1978. 'Philosophy, revelation and modernity: crossroads in the thought of George Grant' in George Grant in Process: Essays and Conversations ed. I. Schmidt, Toronto: Anansi, pp 148-157.
1978. What's in a name? In A Christian Union in Labour's Wasteland ed. Ed Vanderkloet Toronto: Wedge Pub. Foundation.
1978. A neoconservative critique of modernity: Daniel Bell's appraisal. Review Article. Christian Scholar's Review 7 (4).
1979. 'Daniel Bell's neoconservative critique of modernity' in Hearing and Doing: Philosophical Essays Dedicated to H Evan Runner. ed. J Kraay and A Tol. Toronto: Wedge pp 15-38.
1979. 'The power of nuclear arms'. Vanguard March/ April pp. 14-16.
1979. South Africa's first human rights conference. Public Justice Newsletter 2 (7) (April)
1979. Palestinians need their own State. Vanguard (July/ August).
1980. 'Renewed vision as we enter the eighties: a challenge for the AACS/ICS'. Perspective: Newsletter of the AACS 14(20 March/ April) pp 9-12.
1980. Interview of Bernard Zylstra and Th. R. Malloch by A. Kamsteeg during centennial celebration of the Free University focusing on American elections, with particular emphasis on the philosophy behind the presidential candidate Ronald Reagan. Variant (October 25).
1980. 'God's call for justice'. In Justice in the International Economic Order pp 127-132.
1980. Radical Ideals fall short of harsh reality. Toronto Star (December 14).
1981. 'Three kinds of rights' Vanguard Jan/ Feb
1981. 'The mission of the AACS: its spiritual identity and academic future. Perspective: Newsletter of the AACS 15 (5) (Sept-Oct) pp 20-23.
1981. 'Let the church speak as church' Proc. Conf. Christian Reformed Church Nov 1981. Burlingtion, Ont: Council of CRC in Canada.
1981. Religious diversity key to issue (Justice at stake in private schools funding) - In: The Toronto Star(September 8).
1981. The AACS and Classis Toronto. Link (October).
1981.Letter to the Editor. In touch on time (November 8).
1981. 'Marxism and education'. In The Challenge of Marxist and Neo-Marxist Ideologies for Christian Churches of Canada pp 245-250.
1981. Let the Church Speak as Church. - A follow-up to Rev. Peter Jonker's Speech on the Church and Public Issues. Conference of the Christian Reformed Churches in Canada, November 9-10, 1981. (And: "The Task of the Church as Institute in Relation to Current Public Issues" - Response to Rev. Peter Jonker's paper -August 1982, together with letter to Rev. Arie G. Van Eek, Exec. Secretary, CCRCC.)
1981. 'H. Evan Runner: An assessment of his mission'. In Life is religion: Essays in Honor of H. Evan Runner pp 1-14.
1981. 'The Society of the Future'. Presented at the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association. (mimeograph)
1982. 'Using the constitution to defend religious rights' in Freedom and Faith: The Impact of law on Religious Liberty ed L R Buzzard. Westchester, ILL: Crossway Books pp 93-114.
nd.(post 72) 'The presuppositions of the political system'.
1982. 'Preface to Runner' in The Relation of the Bible to Learning by H Evan Runner. St Catherine's: Paidea Press, pp 9-34.
1982-1985. Guest editorials in Calvinist Contact See below.
1982. Liberalism and liberty: an assessment of Canada's new constitution. The Guide.
1982 "Response to Hart" - Re: Hart's questions in response to Zylstra's comments in "Be Strong and Take Courage". The Guide, January/February
1982. Our New Constitution. Link (May 1982).
1982. Tragic War in Springtime. Link.
1982. Bill 137 attacks sound institution. The Toronto Star (August 27).
1982. Using the Constitution to Defend Religious Rights - Reprint from: Freedom and Faith: The Impact of Law on Religious Liberty, 1982.
1983. 'Response to Klaus Bockuehl's 'Marxism and education: A Survey report' Proceedings of the 3rd Int. Conf. of Institutions for Christian Higher Education. Sioux Center: Dordt College.
1984. A call for educational justice! Faith Alive
1991. The United States constitution and the rights of religion'. In Political Order and the Plural Structure of Society ed. J W Skillen and R M McCarthy (Eerdmans)pp. 315-332.
1993. Steve Biko on black consciousness in South Africa. Acta Academica 25 (2 & 3): 27-41 (reprint).
Calvinist Contact Articles and Columns
Write: C.C. Squelches Interest - March 8th
Kennedy or Nixon? - November 4
Een President gekozen - November 18
van lezers op Een President gekozen and Zylstra's response -January 6
Kuyper to King - November 12
Professor Popma's Levensbeschouwing - January 7
Boek Bovenaan? - Dr. K.J. Popma: Van het gebed, Opmerkingen over de
Heidelbergse Cathechismus Vr, en A. 116-127 - January 14
Continuity and Change: Reflections on the Reformed Community at the Crossroads -July 24 and 31
and Change: New Directions in the Christian Social Movement - August 7 and
Report on the inaugural addresses of Drs. J.H. Olthuis and Bernard Zylstra by Rev. J. Kerssies. entitled Towards a Christian Analysis - December 11
in the Christian Community: A provisional statement offered to the Christian
community as an opening orientation for communal reflection and discussion by
James H. Olthuis and Bernard Zylstra - October 22
Schools in the Christian Community: Part II of a positional statement offered to the Christian community by Olthuis and Zylstra - November 5
Professor S. U. Zuidema honored upon his retirement from the Free University -March 13
Christian and the World of Politics - Second part of a sermon address presented
in the Grace United Church of Brampton, Ontario, as part of its 150th
Anniversary series of messages - February 5
De Gereformeerde gezindte in een nieuwe wereld - August 6/13
Dooyeweerd - Christian Philosopher until his death - March 4
second and third world? - February 5
Russia and America - February 12
There is no Third World out there! - February 19, 1982. At the Edge of the West - February 26
World Council in Vancouver - September 2
Keep your eye on medicare - September 16
Why Russia can't say 'We're sorry! - October 7
CRC and the government - A fresh look - October 14, 1983.
ICS Charter, a milestone in christian higher education - November 18
Reagan can break the nuclear deadlock - December 2
Republicans keep the peace; Democrats fight wars - December 16
O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come - January 6
Thank God - George Orwell was wrong! - January 27
Reagan - the greatest President since Roosevelt? - February 10
Marks of a reformed seminary - February 24
Canada is going broke - March 9
Trudeau left us no choice - March 23
Letter from Harold Jantz, Editor, Mennonite Brethren Herald: 'By what standards greatness' in response to BZ's column 'Reaganthe greatest President since Roosevelt' - March 30
Ronald Reagan revisited - Response to Harold Jantz - April 6, 1984. -- Resurrection, America and Russia - April 20
Reagan versus Nicaragua- May 11
Our first neighbour - May 18
Pentecost and the world community - June 1
Francis Schaeffer 1912-1984 - June 15
Response to Bill Zuidhof’s letter re BZ's article Reagan versus Nicaragua - June 19
John Turner--the pragmatic choice - June 29
Let's get it over with! - July 20
Courage--the one thing needful - August 3
Political involvement and spiritual distance - August 24
Apartheid splits international conference - September 7
One chapter completed, the next barely sketched - September 21
Pope John Paul is a revivalist - September 28, 1984. Reply to Jake Kuiken's letter responding to BZ's article 'Courage--the one thing needful' - September 28
Is the spirit of 1834 still alive - October 19
Reaganism is not Calvinism - November 2
Reagan's counter-revolution and Christianity - November 16
Dr. John Bolt's language is faulty - November 30, 1984
Dr. Praamsma, Rev. Van Andel--well miss them - January 4
GenevaA new beginning - January 18
The new challenge for educational justice - February 1
Prayer, the Bible and defence - February 15
A 'Line of Reformation' - March 1
Changes in the Apartheid system - March 15
Gorbachev--Imprisoned by his own system - March 29
May 5, 1945--Our century's most important date - April 26
Looking ahead--the challenge for Calvinism in Canada - September 13