Apologetics and Systematic Theology in the Thought of Van Til

The Christ the Center panelists engage Dr. K. Scott Oliphint, professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, in a wide-ranging discussion about Cornelius Van Til and the recent publication of th fourth edition of his The Defense of the Faith . Dr. Oliphint, who is arguably the most authoritative expert on Van Til, shares about the historical context which gave rise to this book, including disputes with individuals connected with Calvin College, Calvin Theological Seminary, and what is now Kuyper College, in the 1950s concerning common grace and philosophical idealism. Much of the material in the original edition of the book that evinced this debate was removed in subsequent editions and has now been restored and amply expanded with a helpful introduction and explanatory notes. Of special interest is the discussion of Van Til’s connection with Reformed Scholasticism and Herman Bavinck through his doctrine of analogy. When all is said and done, it comes down to this: Van Til was simply applying orthodox Reformed theology to apologetics.


  • K. Scott Oliphint
  • Jeff Waddington
  • Jim Cassidy
  • James Dolezal
  • Camden Bucey


Bahnsen, Greg L. Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings and Analysis . P & R Publishing, 1998.

Bavinck, Herman. Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 1: Prolegomena . Baker Academic, 2003.

—. Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 2: God and Creation . Vol. 2. Reformed Dogmatics. Baker Academic, 2004.

—. Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ . Baker Academic, 2006.

—. Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation . Baker Academic, 2008.

Bristley, Eric D. A Guide to the Writings of Cornelius Van Til, 1895-1987 . Chicago: Olive Tree Communications, 1995.

Johnson, Gary L. W., and Ronald N. Gleason. Reforming or Conforming? : Post-Conservative Evangelicals and the Emerging Church . Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2008.

Kim, Seyoon. Christ and Caesar: The Gospel and the Roman Empire in the Writings of Paul and Luke . Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2008.

Letham, Robert. The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology And Worship . P & R Publishing, 2005.

Muether, John. Cornelius Van Til: Reformed Apologist and Churchman . Phillipsburg N.J.: P&R Pub., 2007.

Muller, Richard A. Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy, ca. 1520 to ca. 1725 . 2nd ed. Baker Academic, 2003.

Rehnman, Sebastian. Divine Discourse: The Theological Methodology of John Owen . Texts and studies in Reformation and post-Reformation thought. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002.

Sproul, R. C., John H. Gerstner, and Arthur. Lindsley. Classical Apologetics: A Rational Defense of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics . Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1984.

Turretin, Francis. Institutes of Elenctic Theology 3 vol. set . P & R Publishing, 1997.

Van Til, Cornelius. A Survey of Christian Epistemology . 2nd ed. Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co, 1980.

—. Christian Apologetics . 2nd ed. P & R Publishing, 2003.

—. Christian-Theistic Evidences . Philadelphia: Westminster Theological Seminary, 1961.

—. Common Grace and the Gospel . Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co, 1973.

—. Defense of the Faith . P & R Publishing, 1967.

—. “God and the Absolute,” 1927.

—. Introduction to Systematic Theology: Prolegomena and the Doctrines of Revelation, Scripture, and God . 2nd ed. P & R Publishing, 2007.

—. The Defense of the Faith . 4th ed. Phillipsburg N.J.: P & R Pub., 2008.

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