Van Til and Natural Theology

A number of years ago I posted on an old Van Til discussion group a number of quotes from Van Til where he denounces Natural Theology (NT) as anti-Christian.  At the time I found it particularly entertaining watching Michael Sudduth (a man who has made a career out of trying to resurrect NT), James Anderson and others on the list dance around the quotes in order to justify their own flirtations with NT.  Of course, Sudduth, Anderson, et al., had some support from some of Van Til other writings, particularly his endorsement of the so-called “classical” proofs for God’s existence.  For example in The Defense of the Faith Van Til asserts:

The argument for the existence of God and for the truth of Christianity is objectively valid. We should not tone down the validity of this argument to the probability level. The argument may be poorly stated, and may never be adequately stated. But in itself the argument is absolutely sound. (197)

Well this past week I downloaded a free little e-book from Van Til now available from Monergism books, Defending the Faith.  Monergism describes the book as: “A six-part series on which appeared in Torch and Trumpet in 1951 and 1952. In this series of articles our concern will be to discover some of the main features of the Reformed approach in Christian Apologetics.”  In these articles Van Til again denounces NT as anti-Christian and being completely at odds with Reformed apologetics.  According to Van Til what men like Michael Sudduth are doing is trying to build Christian theism with the “the clay of paganism.”  I couldn’t agree more (although I’m still waiting for my review copy of Sudduth’s  The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology).   If only Van Til remained consistent and faithful to what he says here:

First, the Reformed apologist cannot cooperate with the Romanist in the establishment of the existence of God. The theism of the Roman Catholic theology is not “theism come to its own”; it is a vague, general sort of theism. It is a theism in which the God of Christianity and the God of Greek philosophy, particularly the Unmoved Mover of Aristotle, are ground together into a common mixture. The theism of Romanist theology is a theism heavily freighted with pagan elements of thought. If such a theism were proved to be true, then the Christian theism of the Reformed Christian would be proved to be untrue. If with the Romanist we “prove” the existence of a god, then we have disproved the existence of the God of Christianity. It is only a perverted type of Christianity, such as constitutes Romanism, that fits onto the perverted type of theism which is “proved” by Romanist theologians.

The second major negative conclusion to be drawn from the remarks of Hepp and Warfield is that the Reformed apologist cannot co-operate with the “evangelical” in providing the truth of evangelicalism. By evangelicalism we mean what Warfield meant when he spoke of it as identical with the general non-Reformed Protestantism.

This second negative conclusion follows directly from the first. The evangelical does want to co-operate with the Romanist in proving the truth of theism. He argues that Protestants have many doctrines in common with Romanists, and that the existence of God is the most basic of them. Why then he asks in amazement, cannot Protestants co-operate with Romanists in proving the truth of theism? Why not have the Romanist help us build the first story of the house of Christian theism? After they have helped us build the first story of our house we can dismiss them with thanks for their services and proceed to build the second story, the story of Protestantism, ourselves.

The answer to this is that if Romanists have helped us in building the first story of our house, then the whole house will tumble into ruins. It has already been noted that when they build the first story of their house the Romanists mix a great deal of the clay of paganism with the iron of Christianity. The concrete blocks may be those of Christianity, but the cement is nothing other than the sand of paganism. Woe to the Protestant who seeks to build his Protestantism as a second story upon a supposedly theistic foundation, and a first story built by Romanism or by Protestants in conjunction with Romanists. Only a defective Protestantism can be built upon the perverted theism of the Romanist type. For, as Warfield puts it, the precise characterization of evangelicalism is that which describes it as a defective Protestantism. Warfield’s point is that evangelicalism is inconsistent Protestantism. It has carried into its system certain foreign elements ultimately derived by way of Romanism from paganism.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Theology

60 Comments on “Van Til and Natural Theology”

  1. hughmc5 Says:

    You say, “Yes.” I say, “No.”
    You say, “Why?” I say, “I don’t know.”
    You say, “Goodbye,” while I say, “Hello.”

    Lennon/ McCartney, “Hello, Goodbye”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/arts/music/paul-mccartney-yankee-stadium-concert-review.html

  2. hughmc5 Says:

    Extended Robbins Quote [1 of 2]:

    Endorsing the Proofs for God’s Existence

    Surprising as it may be to these critics and to some admirers of Van Til, Van Til does not reject the proofs for the existence of God, and he says so repeatedly in his books. This fact removes him from the presuppositionalist camp. Van Til writes: “Men ought to reason analogically from nature to nature’s God. Men ought, therefore, to use the cosmological argument analogically in order thus to conclude that God is the creator of this universe…. Men ought also to use the ontological argument analogically” (An Introduction to Systematic Theology [1971], 102).

    He goes on, quoting himself: “The argument for the existence of God and for the truth of Christianity is objectively valid. We should not tone down the validity of this argument to the probability level. The argument may be poorly stated, and may never be adequately stated. But in itself the argument is absolutely sound” (The Defense of the Faith, [Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1967, third edition], 197).

    On the same page Van Til writes: “Accordingly I do not reject ‘the theistic proofs’ but merely insist on formulating them in such a way as not to compromise the doctrines of Scripture. That is to say, if the theistic proof is constructed as it ought to be constructed, it is objectively valid, whatever the attitude of those to whom it comes may be.” Van Til makes the same point in another of his syllabi, Apologetics [1971], (64): “Thus there is absolutely certain proof for the existence of God and the truth of Christian theism.” And on page 65, “the Reformed apologist maintains that there is an absolutely valid argument for the existence of God and for the truth of Christian theism.”

    One of Van Til’s students and now professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, John Frame, has made the same point: “Van Til is not simply opposed to the theistic proofs as students often imagine. On the contrary, he gives them strong endorsement. But he insists that they be formulated in a distinctively Christian way, rejecting any ‘proof’ based on a non-Christian epistemology” (Foundations of Christian Scholarship, 301n.). Thom Notaro in his book, Van Til and the Use of Evidence, (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1980), makes the same point, even finding that “the frequency with which Van Til defends the notion of proof is alarming…” (65). I have cited perhaps only a third of Van Til’s endorsements of the theistic proofs that have appeared in his published writings.

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=33

  3. hughmc5 Says:

    Extended Robbins quote [2 of 2]:

    Rejecting the Proofs of God’s Existence

    On the other hand, Van Til also makes statements such as this: “Of course Reformed believers do not seek to prove the existence of their God. To seek to prove or to disprove the existence of this God would be to seek to deny him. To seek to prove or disprove this God presupposes that man can identify himself and discover facts in relation to laws in the universe without reference to God. A God whose existence is ‘proved’ is not the God of Scripture.” He simultaneously maintains that “Reformed believers do not seek to prove the existence of their God” and that “the Reformed apologist maintains that there is an absolutely valid argument for the existence of God.”

    There are three things that must be said at this point: First, Van Til never formulated the theistic proofs “in a distinctively Christian way,” despite his “insistence” that this be done and Dr. Gordon Clark’s repeated requests to see Dr. Van Til’s new version of the theistic proofs. Therefore, Professor Van Til believes in the validity of a proof he never wrote out.

    Second, these views remove Van Til from the camp of the presuppositionalists. Professor John Frame, for example, believes that “Cornelius Van Til, in my view, should not be grouped with Gordon Clark as a ‘presuppositionalist’ as is often done. Van Til, rather, presents us with a complete epistemology involving motifs from all three tendencies [rationalism, empiricism, and subjectivism] and more”(“Epistemological Perspectives and Evangelical Apologetics,” in the Bulletin of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, Volume 7, 3-4).

    Third, the dogmatic assertion that the existence of God both can and cannot be proved places Van Til in his own school of apologetics, which might be called the non-composmentist school of apologetics. Van Til the apologete does not live up to Van Til the legendary presuppositionalist either.

    May/June 1986
    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=33

  4. hughmc5 Says:

    Some folks can think there is a god,
    Without readin’ any Bible.
    And all the boys at semin’ry –
    Do it analogic’lly (do it analogic’lly).

    Apologists, they love to fuss
    With schools and books and learning.
    So they’re thinkin’ reasonably,
    Doin’ it analogic’lly (doin’ it analogic’lly).

    Now pastors, too, they don’t like to think
    Just tell ’em where to find it.
    Give ’em a “proof” that’s mere theory:
    Doin’ it analogic’lly (doin’ it analogic’lly).

    You can’t find God in an argument;
    Unless it comes from Scripture,
    You’ll look in vain, or build your own,
    Doin’ it analogic’lly (doin’ it analogic’lly).

    {“Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly” by Irving Berlin from “Annie Get Your Gun,” 1946}

  5. Steve M Says:

    Hugh

    Its got a nice beat and you can dance to it, but it doesn’t rhyme.

  6. Sean Gerety Says:

    Nice selection of quotes from JR Hugh. Van Til was a deeply inconsistent and confused thinker. I have no idea why he is revered by so many Reformed men? I find when I read him there are little nuggets here and there that I can agree with wholeheartedly like the selection I quoted above, but then what food he gives he snatches away often in the next paragraph. Actually, besides outright contradicting himself, many things in Van Til are pure poison. The problem is the vast majority of his followers can’t tell the poison from the real food and end up eating both. Then while they’re dying they think to themselves “What a great meal that was.”

    That’s why when people are looking for a full and satisfying meal I always point them to Clark instead.

  7. hughmc5 Says:

    Sean, Maybe CVT was just ‘biblically balanced,’ and his left hand didn’t know what his right hand was doing.

  8. LJ Says:

    he is revered because men are “idol factories.”

    I’ve been accused of being the same regarding Clark. The difference is, Clark was usually, dare I say almost always, right, and he was also the most consistent thinker I’ve ever read; he strove for consistency and clarity in his writings. Van Til, on the other hand, was the king of obfuscation. I don’t know if it was a language problem or just a confused mind, or both.

    So if I’m possibly guilty of some nascent idolatry I’ll work on it. But in the meantime I’m sticking with Clark over VT anytime.

  9. Steve M Says:

    LJ
    You said, “Van Til, on the other hand, was the king of obfuscation.”

    Quite true!

    This king’s subjects have turned obfuscation in to an art form.

  10. Steve M Says:

    Hugh
    You said, “Sean, Maybe CVT was just ‘biblically balanced,’ and his left hand didn’t know what his right hand was doing.”

    I am currently working on a comparison of two sermons given on the same verses of scripture. One is given by a Van Tilian and the other by a Clarkian. They reach dramatically different conclusions. The Van Tilian apparently believes he arrives at truth by achieving the proper “balance” between two gospels he believes to be false. I am trying to make sense of it, but it is difficult.

    When I was reading Van Til and came across a passage that made it clear he believed logic was created, I decided I didn’t need to read any further. I did read more and have read a great deal of his writings and those written by his admirers. I am sure I’ll eventually find someplace else where he states logic is eternal. That’s his style.

  11. hughmc5 Says:

    Simultaneously sad & funny:

    The Van Tilian apparently believes he arrives at truth by achieving the proper “balance” between two gospels he believes to be false. I am trying to make sense of it, but it is difficult.

  12. Paul M. Says:

    Of course, Sean, a distinction needs to be made between *models* of natural theology and the *project* of natural theology. As Sudduth shows, statements like Van Til’s are *model-specific* objections, not project objections. Sudduth offers models of NT that totally sidestep the objections of Van Til, Clark, and others. Not because they’re bad objections per se, but because they only critique certain models of NT. Sudduth even agrees with some of the model-specific objections of Clark, Van Til, and other newer Reformed (as he ably demonstrates that orthodox and scholastic Reformers viewed NT in favorable light).

  13. Sean Gerety Says:

    Not knowing what the supposed distinction between models of NT and the project of NT are, I guess I’ll have to take your word that Sudduth does all that you say as there is no way I’m shelling out $90 to read a 250 page book by him. I have read enough of his published articles and seen a number of his argument to be positively unimpressed. Maybe his book will change all that, if his publisher stops raping students and puts out an inexpensive paperback.

  14. Paul M. Says:

    Sean, my lengthy review goes into some of this, providing quotes, page numbers, etc. You might want to read it in the meantime. Best thing about it is that it’s free! Sudduth read it and said it accurately captured the arguments of the book.

    As an example, though: starting with philosophy and unconstrained by revelation is an example of a *model* of NT. Another model might be that NT provides epistemic certainty. Another model might be to *prove* that God exists. Sudduth notes various models or approaches to NT, noting that many are flawed and Reformed criticisms have been on target. However, he points out that there is such a thing as the *project* of NT, and you and construe it ways that get around these objections. One example is the intra-faith apologetic role NT could play, another is that NT should or can only be done by regenerate, etc. I know this is brief, but it’ll have to do apart from reading my review or the book itself. Of course, if I could get the book back in the condition it is, I could probably send you my copy for loan while you review it? Anyway, whatevers whatever.

    By the way, I meant to ask, how’s your daughter? I had been praying for her.

  15. hughmc5 Says:

    Amen, Sean! I feared either I wasn’t getting it and that might mean I’m as dumb as my enemies think, or else we had an emperor’s new clothes situation. Seems it’s the latter.

  16. hughmc5 Says:

    Hate to do it, but just gotta:

    LUCKY: Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown but time will tell are plunged in torment plunged in fire whose fire flames if that continues and who can doubt it will fire the firmament that is to say blast hell to heaven so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing but not so fast and considering what is more that as a result of the labours left unfinished crowned by the Acacacacademy of Anthropopopometry of Essy-in-Possy of Testew and Cunard it is established beyond all doubt all other doubt than that which clings to the labours of men that as a result of the labours unfinished of Testew and Cunnard it is established as hereinafter but not so fast for reasons unknown that as a result of the public works of Puncher and Wattmann it is established beyond all doubt that in view of the labours of Fartov and Belcher left unfinished for reasons unknown of Testew and Cunard left unfinished it is established what many deny that man in Possy of Testew and Cunard that man in Essy that man in short that man in brief in spite of the strides of alimentation and defecation wastes and pines wastes and pines and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the strides of physical culture the practice of sports such as tennis football running cycling swimming flying floating riding gliding conating camogie skating tennis of all kinds dying flying sports of all sorts autumn summer winter winter tennis of all kinds hockey of all sorts penicillin and succedanea in a word I resume flying gliding golf over nine and eighteen holes tennis of all sorts in a word for reasons unknown in Feckham Peckham Fulham Clapham namely concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown but time will tell fades away I resume Fulham Clapham in a word the dead loss per head since the death of Bishop Berkeley being to the tune of one inch four ounce per head approximately by and large more or less to the nearest decimal good measure round figures stark naked in the stockinged feet in Connemara in a word for reasons unknown no matter what matter the facts are there and considering what is more much more grave that in the light of the labours lost of Steinweg and Peterman it appears what is more much more grave that in the light the light the light of the labours lost of Steinweg and Peterman that in the plains in the mountains by the seas by the rivers running water running fire the air is the same and then the earth namely the air and then the earth in the great cold the great dark the air and the earth abode of stones in the great cold alas alas in the year of their Lord six hundred and something the air the earth the sea the earth abode of stones in the great deeps the great cold on sea on land and in the air I resume for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis the facts are there but time will tell I resume alas alas on on in short in fine on on abode of stones who can doubt it I resume but not so fast I resume the skull fading fading fading and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis on on the beard the flames the tears the stones so blue so calm alas alas on on the skull the skull the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the labours abandoned left unfinished graver still abode of stones in a word I resume alas alas abandoned unfinished the skull the skull in Connemara in spite of the tennis the skull alas the stones Cunard (mêlée, final vociferations) tennis . . . the stones . . . so calm . . . Cunard . . . unfinished . . .

  17. hughmc5 Says:

    RONNIE WRITETH (6.29.10):

    How does one deny natural theology is useful for *some* knowledge of God and His attributes with Romans 1:21-22 in mind?

    Telling, methinks, that in the lengthy review (w/ comments) referenced above, the cite is never cited: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up….”

  18. hughmc5 Says:

    Robbins wrote*: Paul opens his letter to the Romans by establishing that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The chapters leading up to this conclusion are not an inductive argument in which Paul examines the life of every man who has ever lived. After all, one cannot establish universals by induction; that requires revelation, and revelation is what Paul uses. Verses 10 through 18 of chapter 3 are quotations from the Old Testament proving that “There is none righteous, no not one.” Universal propositions in the Bible are true because they are revealed. Without revelation, there could be no universals, such as, all who are justified are justified by faith alone. Biblical universals are true. Empirical universals are false.

    Paul’s procedure in Romans, later followed by Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologiae, was to raise a series of questions, and then answer them, both incorrectly and correctly. Paul, however, derived all his answers from revelation. His opening chapters have been much misunderstood by Thomas the Aristotelian, and by his many followers, both Romanist and Protestant. But Paul does not add any source of truth to Scripture. A careful reading of Romans 1:18-21 indicates that it has nothing to do with the so-called Thomistic proofs for the existence of God. Let us examine it line by line.

    ”For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven. . . .” Taking off one’s Aristotelian glasses, one might be surprised to note that Paul says the wrath, not the existence, of God is revealed from Heaven. Apparently our evidentialist friends have misread the verse. (Likewise, the Psalmist says the heavens declare the glory, not the existence, of God. Funny how the empiricism of Aristotle can make people hallucinate.) I have yet to come across an evidentialist argument proving the wrath of God on empirical grounds. This is a curious inconsistency. Evidentialists like to argue from experience and observation to the goodness, benevolence, or intelligence of some sort of god, but they are strangely silent about the rest of experience, which seems to imply, on their assumptions, the irrationality or wickedness of a god. If they are going to appeal to experience as proof of God, they must appeal to all experience, including the experience of Nazism, Communism, and Romanism.

    Verse 19 says, “What may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” This, of course, is obviously a denial of empiricism, and an assertion of direct revelation in their minds. It is manifest in them. Calvin said that men are born with a sense of God. They do not learn about God’s existence through observation; when they are conceived they possess knowledge of God and his wrath. It is this immediately revealed knowledge that renders all men inexcusable. If our guilt depended on our knowledge (as it does), and our knowledge in turn depended on our senses, or on our ability to follow an intricate cosmological argument, then virtually all the human race would be innocent. Those whose senses are impaired are obviously excused, and those who cannot follow an argument, especially one that stretches for a thousand steps, are excused as well. Helen Keller and Forrest Gump get free passes to Heaven. Given the assumptions of evidentialist apologetics, their lack of senses or intelligence gives them a Get Out of Hell Free card. Paul, of course, was not endorsing the cosmological or teleological arguments. He taught that the rudimentary knowledge which renders men inexcusable is manifest in them because God has shown it to them; it is not something they gain by observation or discursive reasoning.

    Verse 20 says, “For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes are clearly seen. . . .” Obviously, invisible attributes cannot be seen with the eyes, so Paul was not teaching some form of empiricism.

    Paul continues: “being understood”: “see” it seems, was a metaphor for “understand,” as it usually is in Scripture. “By the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” In this portion of the verse, Paul is simply repeating his statement: The things that are made include men. He is not teaching a novelty-that seeing trees (if one could, in fact, see trees) logically compels one to infer wrath, eternal power, and judgment in the Godhead. Thomas himself denied that creation could be inferred from observation. It was a truth he said, that must be obtained by revelation. Paul is no more an evidentialist than Christ. Instead, he defends revelation, both here and in other letters, such as 1 Corinthians and Colossians, as the only source of knowledge.

    “The Apologetics of Jesus and Paul,” 1996.

  19. Sean Gerety Says:

    @Paul. I’ll check out your review. I saw it on Amazon but haven’t read it yet. I might at some point approach the publisher directly and request a review copy. I made the mistake of asking Sudduth directly for a review copy (I won’t do that again).

    On a different note, Meaghan has been making amazing progress considering just over a month ago we were a hair’s breath from losing her. I think at this point being mostly home bound for a 16 year old is her biggest obstacle. If you’re interested I started a blog to keep family and friends updated on her progress. Thanks for asking about her and for your prayers.

  20. Paul M. Says:

    Sean, FYI, the review on Amazon is an extremely truncated version of the one Hugh linked to.

    Thanks for the link to the blog.

  21. hughmc5 Says:

    Unfavorable appraisals of natural theology have been offered by such Reformed luminaries as Herman Bavinck, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Dooyeweerd, Cornelius Van Til, Gordon Clark, Herman Hoeksema, Greg Bahnsen, and Robert Reymond.

    And Sudduth will try to contradict this diverse and learned Reformed crew?

    Paul sums up nat’l. theo. in Romans 1.

    I’ll again appeal to J.R.:

    ”For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven….” Taking off one’s Aristotelian glasses, one might be surprised to note that Paul says the wrath, not the existence, of God is revealed from Heaven. Apparently our evidentialist friends have misread the verse. (Likewise, the Psalmist says the heavens declare the glory, not the existence, of God. Funny how the empiricism of Aristotle can make people hallucinate.) I have yet to come across an evidentialist argument proving the wrath of God on empirical grounds. This is a curious inconsistency. Evidentialists like to argue from experience and observation to the goodness, benevolence, or intelligence of some sort of god, but they are strangely silent about the rest of experience, which seems to imply, on their assumptions, the irrationality or wickedness of a god. If they are going to appeal to experience as proof of God, they must appeal to all experience, including the experience of Nazism, Communism, and Romanism.

  22. Paul M. Says:

    Hugh, again, Sudduth often *agrees* with those you cite, but points out that they are only criticizing certain *models* of NT. Their criticisms don’t apply “across the board,” as it were, but apply to a subset of natural theologies.

  23. Steve M Says:

    Paul M

    Since there are so many natural theologies, is it reallly possible for anyone to disagree with them all?

  24. Paul M. Says:

    Steve M,

    The point is, it’s being presented here that the objections to NT are *project* objections and not *model* objections. This isn’t hard. There are various models of compatibilism. If someone disagrees with, say, classical compatibilism, has he thereby refuted compatibilism *per se*? Has he shown that there is *no* way in which responsibility can be compatible with determinism? No. So, my objection was not “no one has refuted them all,” it was “don’t confuse a refutation of a model of NT with a refutation of the project of NT.”

  25. Steve M Says:

    Paul M

    Well that certainly cleared everything up.

    You wrote: “Their criticisms don’t apply “across the board,” as it were, but apply to a subset of natural theologies.”

    I understood you to be equating “project objections” with criticisms that applied “across the board” and “model objections” with criticisms that applied only to a “subset of natural theologies” (i.e. some, but not all natural theologies). I was responding to what you wrote. I was not responding to what you were thinking (if you were, in fact, thinking).

    You wrote, “my objection was not no one has refuted them all”. Are you now saying that even if one were to refute all the various models this would not amount to a criticism that applied “across the board”?

    Your objection was, “don’t confuse a refutation of a model of NT with a refutation of the project of NT.” Wouldn’t a refutation of all the models be a refutation of what you vaguely refer to as the “project of natural theology”? If so, your objection is precisely that no one has refuted them all.

    One of us is definitely confused.

  26. Sean Gerety Says:

    I read your review of Sudduth’s book Paul, and perhaps there are things covered in his book not covered in your review that make the case for NT, but overall I am not impressed. At least there was nothing in your review that would justify anyone shelling out $90 to buy the book except for some poor sucker who is taking a class that is using Sudduth’s book (one reason why higher education is overpriced; students are a captive audience who are forced to pay exorbitant prices for mediocre books).

    Frankly, Defending the Faith from beginning to end is completely hostile and aggressively so to every positive argument Sudduth makes. I’m not saying that VT did not elsewhere endorse the so-called “classical proofs” claiming that in some unknown formulation they were sound, or that he was a consistent presuppositionalists (he wasn’t), however I fail to see how VT’s arguments against NT and those used by “Mr. Grey” (who could be Sudduth) couldn’t also be used by unbelievers to similarly defend their own unbelief?

    OTOH, I’m not at all surprised that Sudduth finds a lot of support from the so-called “Reformed epistemologists” like Plantinga. I frankly think virtually any knowledge claim can be justified under his scheme of warrant which is an impressive lowering of the epistemic bar that theologians like Van Til and Clark maintained and worked under (Clark more consistently of course, but then he was the better philosopher).

    On a side note, I think you’re wrong when you write; “Old Testament believers did not have a Trinitarian concept of God” as a way to justified the so-called proofs. Now, the OT believer may not have had as clear a conception of the Persons of the Godhead as NT believers who benefit from having God’s complete and perfect revelation, but that doesn’t mean that they had no conception of the Trinity at all. There are many OT verses were the Trinity is taught. A few that come to mind:

    (Gen 1:26) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    (Isa 48:16) “Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

    (Psa 110:1) A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

    FWIW I thought it was a rather strange assertion that “Trinitarian descriptivism seems to run up against the knowledge of God both naturally revealed and specially revealed (at least in the Old Testament)….” I don’t think that is the case at all.

    I also wonder at the end of your review, seeing that you seem to affirm nearly every argument Sudduth makes, why you persist in calling yourself a presuppositionalist?

  27. Hugh McCann Says:

    Steve M,

    Terse, insightful, logical: Thy writings.

    Thank you; keep it up!

  28. Denson Dube Says:

    “don’t confuse a refutation of a model of NT with a refutation of the project of NT.”

    This is sheer obfuscation and silly too(typical of Sudduth and his ilk). Why does Sudduth not just tell us what THE “model” is that identifies the “Project”. If he cannot, then perhaps Sudduth simply does not know that there is a “Project” as distinct from what he calls “models”. This is like van Til’s assertion that proofs for Christianity are valid, but never showed them to anyone.

    I commend Sean for not wasting money on a book that might be sheer sophistry and devoid of substance.

  29. Hugh McCann Says:

    Friends this was from “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett:

    LUCKY: Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell…I resume the skull fading fading fading and concurrently simultaneously what is more for reasons unknown in spite of the tennis on on the beard the flames the tears the stones so blue so calm alas alas on on the skull the skull the skull the skull in Connemara…

    It sums up my frustration with those who traffic in obfuscation & deception. Hence, too, my love of Clark & Robbins & even(!) Gerety. 🙂 These deal in clarity and logic for all.

  30. Sean Gerety Says:

    Thanks Denson, but maybe you’re commending me for just being cheap. 😉

    One more point. Paul writes: “Another problem would be that accountability would be lost if unregenerate persons had no knowledge of God (assuming a popular understanding of Romans 1).” FWIW I think the popular understanding of Romans 1, the one that has been held by most people since Thomas, is demonstrably false, yet I don’t see how that renders men unaccountable?

  31. Hugh McCann Says:

    See July 23 @ 10:55PM. I quoted JR to show that wrath and glory are manifested to the world, and that’s all Scripture gives us.

    Evidentialism & Romanism, along with Pelagianism & Arminianism all posit some sort of universally benevolent deity that sincerely desires the salvation of all mankind.

    And he’s just dying to reveal himself to all men, if we’ll just get the right system and arguments and proofs and evidence and other stuff they need.

    The Bible says otherwise, of course. God only loves and only reveals himself to his elect and only through his gospel.

    Of the rest, as saith St Paul in Rom. 9:18, “he hardens whomever he wills.”

    This radical disjunction is pointedly revealed in 1 Cor. 2 ~
    7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
    8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
    9 But as it is written, ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’
    10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
    11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
    12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
    13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
    14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
    16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.

    And 2 Cor. 4:3f ~ But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

  32. Hugh McCann Says:

    Oh yeah, & 2 Thes. 2:11f give little hope to the universalist/ evidentialist ~

    And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

  33. Sean Gerety Says:

    Another relevant set of Robbins’ quotes is from the other piece of his you linked re The Hoax of Scientific Creationism, in particular:

    There are two basic forms of Christian apologetics: evidentialism and presuppositionalism. The evidentialist form holds that Christians ought to try to prove the existence of God and the veracity of the Bible on the basis of premises that all men will accept, such as the reliability of sense perception. The presuppositionalist method holds that the existence of God and the inerrancy of Scripture are to be assumed as indemonstrable axioms; they cannot be proved, and it is both impious and stupid to try.

    Thomas held that one could prove the existence of God in five ways, and the first and more manifest way was the way of motion: “It is certain, and evident to our senses,” Thomas wrote, “that in the world some things are in motion.” From this axiom that he considered indubitable, Thomas at tempted to deduce an Unmoved Mover. He concluded his proof by saying, “And this everyone understands to be God.” But Thomas’s unmoved mover is the unmoved mover of the pagan Aristotle. It is no more the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it is no more Jesus Christ, than scientific creationism is the Genesis account of creation. Writing in Latin, Thomas referred to his unmoved mover and his first cause as neuters. They are “It.” God is not neuter. God is not an “It.”

    The reason that both philosophical giants like Thomas Aquinas and lesser men like the scientific creationists must redefine their terms is their common method of apologetics evidentialism. One cannot deduce the God of the Bible from any secular axioms, whether those axioms be common sense, scientific evidence, or simply sense perception. It is logically impossible. One of the first rules of logic is that terms must not appear in the conclusion of an argument that did not first appear in its premises. If the terms are not in the premises, they logically cannot show up in the conclusion.

  34. Hugh McCann Says:

    Amen, Sean (John)!

  35. Hugh McCann Says:

    Every evidentialist is a closet (and perhaps unconscious) universalist.

  36. Paul M. Says:

    Steve M,

    Yes, you are confused. Let me see if I can help. A project of X is not all the members of the set of X. Thus, to refute ever member of the set of X *is not*, therefore, to refute the *project* of X.

    So in the analogy I gave, there is the *project* of showing that moral responsibility is compatible with determinism, and then there are the various *models* of compatibilism (e.g., classical, hierarchical, semi-c, etc). Refuting all of those doesn’t *logically entail* a refutation of *the project* of compatibilism.

    Thus, as I said, don’t confuse a model-specific objection with a project-specific one. And furthermore, don’t confuse (which was your own fault, as I certainly never implied this) the project of X as “the set of all members of X.”

    Hopefully that helps!

    Best,

    Paul M.

    Denson Dube,

    Sudduth’s task isn’t to present “THE” model. Moreover, as shown above, a “model” is never = “the project.” That a project is distinct from a model is therefore a *conceptual truth*.

    Hope that helps!

    Best,

    Paul M.

    Sean,

    I had no illusions that you would like either the review or the book. The point was to draw your attention to the confusion being made here that model objections are project objections.

    I call myself a presuppositionalist because I am one. Now, I may not be a *Clarkian* presuppositionalist, but I rather find that a virtue instead of a vice. 😉

  37. Sean Gerety Says:

    FWIW I think the model/project distinction is a figment of Sudduth’s imagination. It’s a distinction without meaning. If the NT models are all fallacious, and they are, then the NT project is without value. But whoever holds to either is no presuppositionalist.

  38. Sean Gerety Says:

    Paul, I will say that what concerns me is how you seem to be taken by every new wind of doctrine. It seems if some self-styled “analytical” philosopher rolls out some new idea you’re ready to jettison everything and hop on board. Not that many years ago you were Mr. TA. Now you’re Mr. NT with Mr. RE in the middle. Maybe when Sudduth reveals his real agenda, or at least takes his philosophic leanings to their logical conclusions, and joins the ranks of Scott Hahn and Robert Sungenis, will you follow him there too?

  39. Paul M. Says:

    Sean, the problem is showing that all the NT models are fallacious. You need to identify some *essential* element(s) common to them all and then refute that element.

    As far as “new winds of doctrine,” the majority of the Reformed tradition, especially the scholastic tradition, has had a good attitude toward natural law—as demonstrated by those like Helm, Muller, and Sudduth. That’s one topic of the book, the supposed “Reformed” objection to natural law is rather recent, especially picking up steam with Barth.

    As far as it seeming to you that “if some self-styled ‘analytical’ philosopher rolls out some new idea [I’m] ready to jettison everything and hop on board,” I wonder if you have any support for this to be anything other than conjecture.

    I still have a positive view of TA’s, I just thing that the silver bullet conception of TAG has shown itself to be cogent. However, holding to the usefulness of TA’s isn’t inconsistent with seeing a usefulness with NT too, or RT. Frankly, I’m not seeing your *argument* here, Sean. I see you demagoguing and fear mongering.

  40. Steve M Says:

    Paul M

    This is from your review:
    “This in turn brings up the distinction between Reformed objections to natural theology that are objections to a specific model of natural theology (B) (model-specific objections) or objections to all models of natural theology (B). An objection to all models would constitute an objection to the project of natural theology (B).”

    Above you wrote:
    “Thus, to refute ever(y) member of the set of X *is not*, therefore, to refute the *project* of X.”

    As I understand it, both X and not X are true. Is it any wonder I’m confused?

  41. Paul M. Says:

    Steve, logic would help you a bit, I think. “An” objection to “all” models would be to pick out some *essential* feature of NT *as such* and refute *that,* and that would be a project objection. However, to offer *some objection or other* to all models of NT would not be a refutation of the project.

    So, suppose that all ¥’s presuppose or entail ∂. Thus, to show ¬∂ would be to undermine the project, since any instance of the very project of ¥ presupposes or entails ∂, thus the project cannot even get off the ground since an *essential* feature would have been refuted.

    However, suppose that you refute all types of ¥’s by showing this or that problem with each of them individually, say, ¬µ, ¬†, ¬Ω, ¬ß, ¬∆, etc. Clearly, in this case, you have not refuted the project just every instance.

    Therefore, the point here is that the objections given in this post are not objections to *essential* features all NT’s *must* presuppose or entail, and therefore are not project objections. If you think you have some essential element common to any NT—that is, for something to be NT it must contain that element—then offer it. Sudduth shows that the kind of objections offered here, or by Clark, or by the more sophisticated, careful, cautious, erudite critics of NT, are all model-specif objections rather than project objections.

    Hope that helped, Steve!

    best,

    PM

  42. Steve M Says:

    Hugh

    Having read Paul M’s review, I totally understand the relavance of your quote from “Waiting for Godot”.

    It seems that those who traffic in obfuscation and deception feel qualified to offer lessons in logic. Basic and essential to logic is definition of terms. Throwing around vague terms for which no definitions are offered is not the mark of one who honors logic.

  43. Hugh McCann Says:

    What I need is new software with cool symbols:

    instance of the very project of ¥ presupposes or entails ∂, thus the project cannot even get off the ground since an *essential* feature would have been refuted. quaquaquaqua. However, suppose that you refute all types of ¥’s by showing this or that problem with each of them individually, say, ¬µ, ¬†, ¬Ω, ¬ß, ¬∆, quaquaquaqua

    it is established beyond all doubt all other doubt than that which clings to the labours of men that as a result of the labours unfinished of Testew and Cunnard it is established as hereinafter but not so fast for reasons unknown that as a result of the public works of Puncher and Wattmann it is established beyond all doubt that in view of the labours of Fartov and Belcher left unfinished for reasons unknown of Testew and Cunard left unfinished it is established what many deny that man in Possy of Testew and Cunard that man in Essy that man in short that man in brief in spite of the strides of alimentation and defecation wastes and pines wastes and pines and concurrently simultaneously

  44. Paul M. Says:

    Steve M,

    Now you’re resorting to name calling and hand waiving to hide your deficiencies. Clarkians love to praise reason, but they are shockingly bad at reasoning. It’s not been shown that “vague terms” have been “thrown around.” Indeed, it’s been demonstrated the due to the conceptual muddles inside the heads of some here, ideas have been jumbled together which should have been kept separate. Moreover, one wonders what is “vague” about terms like “project” and “model.” After all, vague terms have fuzzy boundaries, e.g., tall, short, heavy, etc. Steve, I can only help those who want to be helped. You don’t. Your mind is made up, you have cast the other side as deceptive sinners who lead people about from the true faith, i.e., Clarkianism®. Of course, this makes things ripe for confirmation bias, circle-the-wagons mentalities, and all other manner of psychological deficiencies that have been shown to hinder reasoning, but it does ensure that “the faithful” remain members of “the group.”

  45. Sean Gerety Says:

    Sean, the problem is showing that all the NT models are fallacious. You need to identify some *essential* element(s) common to them all and then refute that element.

    You’re kidding, right Paul? The essential element common to all NT is the underlying empiricism on which it’s based and includes, if it’s not derived from, the errant popular exegesis of Romans 1 that you refer to in your review. You want a refutation of empiricism, pick up virtually any book by Clark.

    As far as “new winds of doctrine,” the majority of the Reformed tradition, especially the scholastic tradition, has had a good attitude toward natural law—as demonstrated by those like Helm, Muller, and Sudduth. That’s one topic of the book, the supposed “Reformed” objection to natural law is rather recent, especially picking up steam with Barth.

    As far as it seeming to you that “if some self-styled ‘analytical’ philosopher rolls out some new idea [I’m] ready to jettison everything and hop on board,” I wonder if you have any support for this to be anything other than conjecture.

    You misunderstand me Paul. I don’t think anyone would deny that Thomism in one form or another has permeated the Reformed tradition. Sudduth’s point on this score was trivial and the evident effort he took (at least indicated by your review of the first few chapters) to make it was a waste of pages in an overpriced attempt to resurrect the failed philosophy underlying Romanism and Arminianism. The reference to new winds refers to you. It seems to me that wherever men like Sudduth, Anderson, et al., lead you’re quick to follow. It’s almost like you crave their approval. You were once a Van Tilian, yet Van Til stands (at least in the above mentioned series of articles) in direct and total opposition to the entire NT “project” which you now embrace. It just seems to me that your philosophic allegiances are constantly in flux. Consequently, I think Colossians 2:8 has you directly in mind.

    I still have a positive view of TA’s, I just thing that the silver bullet conception of TAG has shown itself to be cogent. However, holding to the usefulness of TA’s isn’t inconsistent with seeing a usefulness with NT too, or RT. Frankly, I’m not seeing your *argument* here, Sean. I see you demagoguing and fear mongering.

    If concern for your soul is “demagoging and fear mongering” I fail to see it? If you want to be a proponent of NT go for it, but don’t also claim to be a presuppositionalists because the two apologetic methods are mutually exclusive. Didn’t you even learn that much from Van Til (at least when he was acting like a presuppositionalist and not endorsing some NT figment of his imagination)?

    One would think that the Scriptures whose meaning is one (at least per the WCF, maybe not per Sudduth, Plantinga, and Anderson) would have only one philosophic position and it does. Obviously I think the philosophy of Scripture is best expressed in the Scripturalism of Gordon Clark. Whereas for you mutually exclusive and conflicting philosophies (with the exception of Clark’s uncompromisingly biblical and consistent presuppositionalism) are all biblical and justified regardless whether they’re cogent or not; which explains why you still have a positive view of the TA.

  46. Hugh McCann Says:

    mutually exclusive and conflicting philosophies? {SG}

    Surprising as it may be to these critics and to some admirers of Van Til, Van Til does not reject the proofs for the existence of God, and he says so repeatedly in his books. This fact removes him from the presuppositionalist camp…

    On the other hand, Van Til …simultaneously maintains that “Reformed believers do not seek to prove the existence of their God” and that “the Reformed apologist maintains that there is an absolutely valid argument for the existence of God.”

    First, Van Til never formulated the theistic proofs “in a distinctively Christian way,” despite his “insistence” that this be done…

    Second, these views remove Van Til from the camp of the presuppositionalists…

    Third, the dogmatic assertion that the existence of God both can and cannot be proved places Van Til in his own school of apologetics, which might be called the non-composmentist school of apologetics. 😉 Van Til the apologete does not live up to Van Til the legendary presuppositionalist either.

    {JR}

    P.S. This is right on, and another reason for better software => “the true faith, i.e., Clarkianism®.”{PM}

  47. Steve M Says:

    Paul
    You wrote:
    “Steve M
    Now you’re resorting to name calling and hand waiving to hide your deficiencies.”

    As I understand it, your objection to my name calling and hand waiving is model-specific and not an objection to the *project* of name calling and hand waving.

    My objection to your categorizing me as one in need of hiding my deficiencies would also be model-specific and therefore not an objection the the *project* of name calling.

  48. Steve M Says:

    Paul M
    You wrote:
    “It’s not been shown that “vague terms” have been “thrown around.””

    What I wrote was:
    “Throwing around vague terms for which no definitions are offered is not the mark of one who honors logic.”

    You wrote:
    “one wonders what is “vague” about terms like “project” and “model.””

    Paul, if you were to grace us with your definition of project, it would no longer be vague. You are not, appartently, inclined to do so even though the reason I gave for referring to the terms you are throwing around as vague is right there in the sentence from which you quote snippets.

    Are you refusing to respond by defining you terms in order to hide your deficiencies?

  49. Hugh McCann Says:

    You say, “Yes.”

    I say, “No.”

    You say, “Why?”

    I say, “I don’t know.”

  50. Steve M Says:

    Paul M

    Since you leave *project* undefined and apparently believe that definitions are not necessary, I will offer a definition:
    pro·ject/ˈpräjˌekt/
    Noun: An individual or collaborative enterprise planned and designed to achieve an aim.

    The project of natural theology:The enterprise of natural theology planned and designed to achieve an aim.

    What aim is natural theology planned and designed to achieve? Might it be the creation of the many natural theology models of which you speak (or double speak)?

    What would be the point of objecting to the project rather than the results of the project? One normally judges the success of a project by the results it achieves. Each of the models produced by the individual projects that have been entered into by natural theologians is the normal place one would start in assessing the success of those theologians.

    To point out that no one has refuted the project of natural theology is meaningless. Double talk is not theology.

  51. Steve M Says:

    Paul M
    I’m not going to hold my breath ’til you answer.
    Good bye!

  52. Denson Dube Says:

    Paul Manata,
    I finally read your review. I did read the first few drafts of Sudduth’s book before it was published. I had attempted to parody his introduction by removing the word “natural theology” from it and replacing it with “ghouls and ghosts”, and earned myself the ire of one, George Coghill.
    My objection to the kind of project Sudduth, yourself and others are engaged in is that, since God has given us special revelation, it may be impious Satanic rebellion, literally a slap in God’s face to look elsewhere for knowledge of God. It is like trying to invent a square wheel, something that just won’t roll or like an ass cart salesman, paddling their wares to Lamborghini owners, which would be just making an ass of themselves.

  53. Sean Gerety Says:

    Perhaps George’s ire was up because that is neither a rebuttal or an argument. Just a thought.

  54. Denson Dube Says:

    Not at all. He was upset because, as he put it, my parody was really poorly written. But I never wrote any parody! It was Sudduth’s intro. in which I mischieviously replaced occurences of “natural theology” with “ghouls and ghosts”.
    I was serious about this. From my pagan background, I am familliar with “Natural Theology” having been brought up to believe in “god, ghouls and ghosts”, and so does Sudduth. His interest in communication with the departed is documented.
    The real reason George was upset seems to me was his mistaken impression that Sudduth had respect for him and so felt he had to come to his friend’s defence. It was only years later when Sudduth refered to “Georgian” or “Coghillian” views(or something to that effect) and “musturbation” thrown in (refering to Clark’s views) , that George mourned, “I thought we had an understanding”. I laughed myself silly at the man’s naivette. George, at his age, is yet to learn that the devil is not a gentleman.

  55. Philip Says:

    I enter this reluctantly, with no expectation that my comments will limit or curtail the continued misrepresentation of Dr. Van Til’s position regarding Theistic proof.

    Parenthetically, I will note that I have read a great deal of Dr. Clark’s work and have benefited there-from. The same has been acknowledged by many of Dr. Van Til’s students, including Bahnsen and Frame. It is troubling to observe, on the other hand, the complete and unremitting abuse of Van Til by Clark’s followers. I have been troubled to note that nearly every issue of the Trinity Review since John Robbins death has included a criticism of Dr. Van Til, as if he were single-handedly responsible for all error from the beginning of time.

    As to the Theistic proof and the claim, originating with Dr. Clark himself, and perpetuated by his followers that Dr. Van Til never presented a “reformulated” version. He did, in fact, present such a reformulation, i.e., the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God – that unless one presupposes the Triune God of Christianity as revealed in scripture, knowledge of anything at all is impossible (although Van Til himself did not use the term “TAG,” that is a fair representation of his argument). This is a VALID proof for the existence of God. This is, as Van Til states, the ONLY argument, though it is not an argument in the sense that the unbeliever demands.

    Perhaps Dr. Clark, et al, did not recognize this as an argument because it did not have the form of the “traditional” theistic proofs, e.g, the Thomistic cosmological argument, which would have, of course, been impossible. Just like the disciples did not recognize the risen Christ on the road to Emaus because they were not looking for him.

    I do not suppose that this clarification will result in the ongoing rabid criticism of Dr. Van Til, but those who continue to cite an objection based on this aspect of his teaching will do so based on other motives that the truth.

  56. Sean Gerety Says:

    First, TAG is a serious example of begging the question. You are evidently behind the ball as most Vantillians have long since rejected it. Second, TAG, even if it were a valid proof is hardly counted among the classical proofs which VT did affirm as valid in some unknown form.

    And, BTW, the vast majority of TR’s since the foundation of the Trinity Foundation have been extremely critical of Van Til. Perhaps you haven’t spent enough time actually reading them?

  57. Philip Says:

    This will be my last and only reply.

    Sad to observe, this reply, especially the concluding sentence, is exactly what I would have expected from a Clarkian.

    Too quick to respond negatively, perhaps you did not read my post carefully. I said nothing about the current position of TAG. I simply pointed out that it did constitute a reformulation of a Theistic proof consistent with Van Til’s statements.

    Van Til’s claim that there was a valid proof was a general statement, he did not assert that each proof could be reformulated, i.e, the cosmological, ontological and teleological. If you understand the TAG correctly, you would see that it touches on all of these. As a “transcendental” argument, it is necessarily circular in that it is not deduced from previous propositions.

    Perhaps the confusion lies in semantics. There is a difference between “restatement” and “reformulation.” You might be looking for the former while Van Til was proposing the later.

    I’m not aware that any “Vantilians” have abandoned the presuppositional position. Certainly Bahnsen and Frame didn’t. I know there are many who do not correctly understand the argument.

    BTW, I have read the TR since the late 1970s. My comment was to the effect that since Robbins, the editors have attempted to lay every theological error at Van Til’s feet.

  58. hughmc5 Says:

    …nearly every issue of the Trinity Review since John Robbins’ death has included a criticism of Dr. Van Til, as if he were single-handedly responsible for all error from the beginning of time.

    You mean, he isn’t?! 😉

    …since Robbins, the [T.R.] editors have attempted to lay every theological error at Van Til’s feet.

    A bit hyperbolic, but CVT was unnecessarily confusing & consistently obtuse at best. Even an admiring former student (now in his 60s) professes how convoluted was CVT’s thinking. Certainly he proved the proverb, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin.” He may have occasionally made solid contact, but even Babe Ruth struck out 1330 times.

  59. truthitself Says:

    Philip: “Sad to observe, this reply, especially the concluding sentence, is exactly what I would have expected from a Clarkian.

    Too quick to respond negatively,”

    Yes, we Clarkians are so negative and Van Tilians are so positive and always upbeat. Just check out the hatchet job over at Reformed Forum on the Clark/Van Til Controversy and you will get a good idea of just how fair Van Tilians are.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: