Aquinas and Barth

The Essential Van Til – Aquinas and Barth: Their Common Core

“Yet the Aristotelianism of Rome, with its idea of potentiality, offers, we are bound to think, a point of contact with the underlying philosophy of Dialecticism. Rome occupies an intermediary position.”[1] What has Basel to do with Rome? In the…

Karl Barth and the Incarnation

Jim Cassidy discusses Darren O. Sumner’s book, Karl Barth and the Incarnation: Christology and the Humility of God. Dr. Cassidy wrote a review article on the book in the Fall 2017 issue (Vol. 79, No. 2) of the Westminster Theological Journal.…
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The Essential Van Til – What is Dialectical Theology?

In The New Modernism Van Til identifies the Theology of Crisis with “dialectical theology.” But what is dialectical theology? Van Til explains that dialectical theology is “at bottom activistic and positivistic.” But what in the world does that mean? He…
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The Essential Van Til — In the Beginning (Part 4)

As we continue to unpack Van Til’s review of Zerbe’s book we come to the second part of the review, which concerns Barth’s epistemology. Van Til opens with an absurd claim, and then unpacks what he means: [Barth] has no…
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The Essential Van Til – In the Beginning (Part 3)

When I first heard about Barth’s concept of the “wholly other” God, it sounded perfectly orthodox. Barth’s emphasis on the qualitative difference between God and man struck me as nothing but good Reformed theology. In addition, I had heard that…
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The Essential Van Til – In the Beginning (Part 2)

In the last post we began to consider Van Til’s first published criticism of Barth. It was set in the context of a book review.[1] There we underscored Van Til’s criticism that Barth’s “theology is based upon an antitheistic theory…
Cornelius Van Til

The Essential Van Til – In the Beginning (Part 1)

It is often assumed that The New Modernism (1946) is Van Til’s first published writing in which he evaluates Barth’s thought. Actually Van Til first published about Barth in a Christianity Today book review in 1931.[1] That was just two…
Cornelius Van Til

The Essential Van Til – Wholly Revealed

Last week we talked about Barth’s “absolutely other” god. There we noted how Barth begins with an unknown and unknowable god. In other words, he begins with the god of modernism. But, as we also noted, he does not stop…
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The Essential Van Til – The Absolutely Other

It is often said that Barth believed in a god who was “wholly other.” It’s an oft repeated phrase, but rarely understood. Van Til would say “absolutely other.” By that Van Til understood a modern conception of God. It was…
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The Essential Van Til — No God But the Christian God

Both Van Til and Barth rejected all forms of bare theism. That is, they denied a generic view of God. Both believed this “god” was an idol. This is the god of human autonomy and philosophy. It comes from an…
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