On October 4, 1938, the Royal Hungarian Stephen Tisza University of Debrecan, Hungary, celebrated its four-hundredth anniversary. On that occasion, it planned to bestow upon the Rev. Dr. Cornelius Van Til of Westminster Seminary the title of professor honoris causa. As the Presbyterian Guardian noted, the honor for the 43-year old professor of apologetics “furnishes additional evidence of the fact that in Dr. Van Til the seminary has a Calvinistic theologian of international prestige.”
However, the celebration never took place. Van Til traveled to France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, England, and Ireland, but the war-clouds building over eastern Europe at that time prevented him from reaching Hungary. When he later reflected on his European experience, Van Til expressed concern about the rising interest in the theology of Karl Barth, but he also found encouragement in the labors of those in the Netherlands and Ireland who were upholding the Reformed faith.