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By Cornelius Van Til / P&R / 1978
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Van Til writes in the front matter, “A true method of Christian Evidences must start with the interpretation of man and his universe as given to him on the absolute authority of Christ speaking in Scripture in order then to show that unless this is done man abides under the wrath of God and his speech is meaningless. . . The studies presented in this series are written with a view to the defense of the doctrine of the free grace of God through Christ as he testifies of himself in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. They are written from the point of view of one who believes the Reformed Faith to be the most truly biblical expression of the Christian Faith. . . These studies are merely student syllabi; they are not to be regarded as published books.”
The present study contains two parts. The first part was used by the author for a number of years as a class syllabus on Christian Evidences. The main contention of this syllabus was to the effect that the traditional Butler-Analogy type of argument for the factual truthfulness of Christianity is basically defective. Its basic defect is to be found in the fact that, with Arminian theology, it begins by assuming that the enemies of the gospel of Christ are right in holding that man is, or may be, self-explanatory, and that the facts of his environment are, or may be, purely chance-produced and directed. A true method of Christian Evidences must start with the interpretation of man and his universe as given to him on the absolute authority of Christ speaking in Scripture in order then to show that unless this is done man abides under the wrath of God and his speech is meaningless.
The appendix contains a portion of a series of three lectures given at Calvin Theological Seminary in October 1968. It deals with essentially the same subject as the first part. Its argument is to the effect that the method of more recent non-Christian scientific methodology is bankrupt because it insists that man can know nothing of God and yet speaks in all its utterance about God. As a consequence recent scientists make an absolute separation between an abstract law of logic which is like a turnpike in the sky, and an infinite number of purely contingent facts, not one of which is distinguishable from another.
The Butler type of argument is again shown to be helpless. It cannot apply the message of Christ as the Way and the Truth to this situation. Only on the presupposition of the truth of the words of the self-attesting Christ as available in the Scriptures can man, with his scientific enterprise, be saved.
Do not miss out on the updated release of The Works of Cornelius Van Til.
Dr. Cornelius Van Til, served as a professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, for 43 years. He retired in 1972, but remained as an emeritus professor until his death in 1987. Van Til, an immigrant from The Netherlands, was one of the most respected apologetic theologians of his time.
Van Til earned degrees from Calvin College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Princeton University on his way to becoming an Orthodox Presbyterian Minister. He served throughout the ministry and scholarly fields, including teaching as an instructor of apologetics at Princeton Theological Seminary and being heavily involved with the foundation of the Philadelphia-Montgomery Christian Academy.
His most noted writings include The New Modernism, The Defense of the Faith, and Christianity and Barthianism. Much of his work with apologetics focuses on the presuppositions of humans, the difference between believers and non-believers, and the opposition between Christian and non-Christian worldviews.
More information about Van Til as a teacher and Reformed theologian is available in an article Eric Sigward wrote for New Horizons entitled "Van Til Made Me Reformed." Read the article as HTML or PDF (copyright 2004 by New Horizons; used by permission)