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The Essential Van Til – Connecting the Dots

Part of a good transcendental critique must be drawing the lines between the dots for people to see clearly. If I have any critique of Van Til, it is that he could have done better connecting those dots. He observes…
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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 6)

At long last we have come to the end of the beginning (see parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). We have reviewed Van Til’s opening salvo against Barth’s theology as it appeared in the form of a book review. This last…
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The Essential Van Til – In the Beginning (Part 5)

Van Til now turns to Barth’s doctrine of creation. Barth denies that creation as it came forth from the hand of God was good, and was to have a genuine significance. Instead, Barth’s doctrine resembles that of paganism which held…
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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…
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Am I Free If God Is Sovereign?

God’s sovereignty and man’s freedom are often thought to be in competition with one another in a sort of zero-sum game: either God is sovereign or I am free. This has led to thinking that there are only two basic options…
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 — How Irrationalism is Rationalism

For Van Til no form of unbelief escapes the charge of rationalism. Irrationalism is only a disguised form of rationalism. But before getting to that, it might help to explain what he means by irrationalism. Irrationalism is modern critical thinking…
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