October 2008 Ordained Servant

A Journal for Church Officers

E-ISSN 1931-7115

Apologetics: The Value of Van Til

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From the Editor. In the spirit of Reformation month I dedicate this issue to Cornelius Van Til and his presuppositional apologetics. We will also take a look at Van Til's most famous student, Francis Schaeffer. Because I lived at L'Abri in the Schaeffer's chalet during its heyday, I have taken the liberty to review three books about him. Two of these reviews will appear next month, including Frank Schaeffer's controversial Crazy for God. One discusses his apologetics; another is a biography, and the other is a controversial portrait of him by his only son, Frank. Despite the theoretical differences between Van Til and Schaeffer, they were each warriors for the Christ of Scripture, as WTS professor William Edgar has pointed out in his article "Two Christian Warriors: Cornelius Van Til and Francis A. Schaeffer Compared." They each took every opportunity to speak with everyone around them of the wonderful grace of their Savior.

Professor Oliphint takes up a theme that I think is the chief reason that you should be interested, as a church officer, in Van Til's apologetics: it is at its core evangelistic. Although it is more Pauline than is evidentialism, it is not fideism, the idea that intellectual discussion and argument are of no use. The Van Tilian uncovers the covenant-breaking motives of the unbelieving heart in order to declare the grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Also in this issue, Professor Dennison reviews the excellent new biography of Van Til by our own John Muether, and then assesses Keller's best selling The Reason for God from a Van Tilian perspective.

Next month: Theology in Ministry.

Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds

From the Archives ["APOLOGETICS"]


  • "A Letter from Cornelius Van Til to Francis Schaeffer." (Cornelius Van Til) 6:4 (Oct. 1997): 77-80.
  • "The Post-Modern Paradigm Shift and the Biblical, Reformed Presuppositionalism of Van Til." (Larry E. Ball) 5:4 (Oct. 1996): 87-90.

Ordained Servant exists to help encourage, inform, and equip church officers for faithful, effective, and God glorifying ministry in the visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its primary audience is ministers, elders and deacons of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, as well as interested officers from other Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Through high quality editorials, articles, and book reviews we will endeavor to stimulate clear thinking and the consistent practice of historic Presbyterianism.

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Contact the Editor: Gregory Edward Reynolds

Editorial address: Dr. Gregory Edward Reynolds,
827 Chestnut St.
Manchester, NH 03104-2522
Telephone: 603-668-3069

Electronic mail: reynolds.1@opc.org

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