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Cornelius Van Til (1895–1987)

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Cornelius Van Til taught apologetics for more than forty-five years at Westminster Theological Seminary
Foto taget av: Photo of Cornelius Van Til from The Works of Cornelius Van Til, 1895-1987, CD-ROM (New York: Labels Army Co., 1997), ISBN 0875524613


Verk av Cornelius Van Til

Defense of the Faith (1967) 1,136 exemplar
Christian Apologetics (1905) 827 exemplar, 2 recensioner
Common Grace and the Gospel (1972) 237 exemplar, 1 recension
Christian Theory of Knowledge (1969) 232 exemplar
Christian Theistic Evidences (1971) 190 exemplar
Christianity and Barthianism (1962) 146 exemplar
The Case For Calvinism (1963) 133 exemplar
Why I believe in God (1960) 123 exemplar
The Reformed Pastor & Modern Thought (1971) 110 exemplar, 1 recension
Essays On Christian Education (1971) 85 exemplar
The New Hermeneutic (1974) 56 exemplar
Paul at Athens (1959) 50 exemplar
The Sovereignty of Grace (1969) 50 exemplar
Common grace (1947) 46 exemplar
Christianity and idealism (1955) 43 exemplar
The Great Debate Today (1970) 41 exemplar
Christ and the Jews (1968) 35 exemplar
The Theology of James Daane (1959) 31 exemplar
Barth's Christology (1962) 28 exemplar
Who do you say that I am? (1975) 26 exemplar
Toward a Reformed Apologetics (1995) 26 exemplar
Karl Barth and evangelicalism (1964) 19 exemplar
Is God Dead? (1966) 19 exemplar
The Dilemma of Education (1954) 19 exemplar
The Ten Commandments (2012) 13 exemplar
Particularism and common grace (1951) 11 exemplar
Bavinck the theologian (1961) 9 exemplar
Nature and Scripture (2012) 8 exemplar
Reformed Epistemology (2012) 7 exemplar
A letter on common grace (1952) 5 exemplar
Modern ethical theories (1964) 2 exemplar
Evil And Theodicy 2 exemplar
Loving God 2 exemplar
Junior Systematics 1 exemplar
I giorni dell'ira 1 exemplar
Opening Addresses 1 exemplar

Associerade verk

The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible (1948) — Inledning, vissa utgåvor1,377 exemplar, 2 recensioner


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Summary: A collection of essays by presuppositional theologian Van Til with introduction and annotations by K. Scott Oliphint, articulating Van Til's understanding of a Reformed doctrine of common grace, engaging views of others in this tradition that differ from his own.

Cornelius Van Til represents a stream within the Reformed theological tradition known as presuppositionalism. At the risk of oversimplifying, this stream contends that it is impossible to argue from human reason to the existence of the Triune God and the authority of the Bible as God's revelation. Van Til would contend rather that it is by these realities, revealed by the witness of the Spirit alone to the elect, that it is possible to understand everything else about God, about human beings made in God's image, God's work in the world and through Christ, and the destiny of both the saved and the lost.

Common grace is often advanced as a counter to these ideas, that there are things that may be known of God common to the experience of all human beings. In part, the appeal of this is a response to the Reformed idea that God saves some, and not others, simply by his sovereign will, apart from human choice. It allows that humans may contribute something to their salvation, or alternately their damnation on the basis of this knowledge--an idea held in various ways in both Wesleyan and Roman Catholic circles.

In this collection of essays, recently re-issued with a quite helpful introduction to the thought of Van Til by editor K. Scott Oliphint, a student of Van Til, we have a chance to see the arguments against this idea, consistent with Van Til's presuppositionalism. Van Til would argue, as I understand him, that common grace is simply God's love for all human kind made in his image before the fall. After the fall, this "knowledge of God" is something fallen human beings suppress as they assert their own autonomy. The assertion of autonomy fundamentally shapes how we know, or epistemology such that we can know neither God, nor his world or purposes, apart from the sovereign grace extended to the elect in salvation. Van Til would go so far as to say that even in supposedly "neutral" fields of science, for example, the different ways of knowing of autonomous man versus the elect rule out a "common ground" around common grace.

In these essays, it is interesting that while he clearly sees his own position as consistent with the Reformed tradition over and against the Wesleyan (Arminian) or Catholic positions, his criticism is actually most pointed toward others in the Reformed tradition from Kuyper to Barth to Bavinck to Hoeksema. A common criticism is that while they affirm Reformed orthodoxy, they open the door to rationalism in their view of common grace and undermine the sovereign grace of the gospel.

Reading all this has a bit of a feeling of listening to arguments from another time, although I am well aware of those in the Reformed tradition who continue to be vociferous in their advocacy. Yet there are several things I appreciate in Van Til. One is an unwillingness to try to rationalize some of the very concrete language of scripture around these things in ways that minimize logical conflict. Another is a sensitivity to how both Greek and Enlightenment thought often creep into theological formulations. Furthermore, as this bears on the work of the apologist, I, like Van Til, have found that rational proofs for God largely confirmatory for Christians but unhelpful, apart from the witness of the Spirit in engaging those who do not believe. The question of what might be called "incommensurable epistemologies" seems more challenging. In many discussions, it does seem like there is a certain amount of common ground, as well as incommensurable aspects. How, theologically, do we account for both?

This is a collection of essays, which means that there is overlap (probably helpful in understanding Van Til) as well as engagements with particular thinkers, many who may be unfamiliar to the reader, although Oliphint's annotations help. The most engaging for me was Chapter 6, "A Letter on Common Grace" in which Van Til lays out his ideas of common grace while engaging his critics.

For those who are not sympathetic to the Reformed tradition, it is easy to dismiss a thinker like Van Til. But his influence extends to the present through theologians like John Frame, and the late Francis Schaeffer as well as in the work of many in Reformed seminaries across the country. It is a perspective that would inform the thinking of many in The Gospel Coalition. Reading Van Til reminds me of the continuing challenge of thinking clearly and living consistently with "the faith once delivered" and yet living with grace and compassion toward all. I know little of his personal life and ministry but I miss the latter in this example of Van Til's writing. Conviction and compassion are hard to hold together, yet those who follow the Christ who came full of grace and truth (John 1:14) are called to no less.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
… (mer)
BobonBooks | Nov 1, 2016 |
Formative. I am indebted to Dr. Van Til.
chriszodrow | 1 annan recension | Jul 8, 2009 |
I'm only through 60pages or so, but it's been a tough, and lovely 60pages. Some pages I need to read, reread, then read again the are so tough. However, the reader is struck on every page by VanTil's desire to honor and glorify God in all things, even arguments with nonbelievers. It is thoroughly God centered, and that is refreshing and reorienting...
theologicaldan | 1 annan recension | Jan 14, 2007 |
cemontijo | Jan 18, 2016 |

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