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The Defense of the Faith Paperback – July 14, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"This new edition provides an enormous service to the reader. The somewhat challenging text is abundantly illuminated by Scott Oliphint, no doubt the leading expert on Van Til in our times." --William Edgar

"Though Van Til often engages ideas, terms, and conversation partners unknown to contemporary readers, this work has a delightful effect in exposing the pretensions of human autonomy and the grandeur of God's sovereign grace. In his careful, thorough, and sympathetic notes, Professor Oliphint has done us all a tremendous service." --Michael S. Horton

"The original is back, with Scott Oliphint's excellent foreword and explanatory footnotes. Now Van Til is much more understandable, and his opponents too. How stimulating it must have been to be part of that dialogue in the early days of Reformed apologetics! We need that stimulus now if we are to deal with unbelief in a God-honoring way." --John M. Frame

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: P & R Publishing; 4 edition (July 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875526446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875526447
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Mcgraw on April 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Reformed systematic theology and a Reformed method of apologetics are intertwined. In a changing world where the Reformed faith is challenged both from within and from without, it is more important than ever to be equipped to return to a defense of the Reformed faith that is rooted in Reformed theology. This makes this annotated reprint of Van Til's Defense of the Faith timely.
I initially passed by this book largely because I had already read the third edition of the same book. This is a reprint of the entire first edition of the text with added explanatory notes by Dr. K. Scott Oliphint. What I had not realized was that the first edition of was substantially longer than subsequent editions because the first edition was written largely in order to defend Van Til's views against a string of critics connected with Calvin Theological Seminary. In many respects, this book is misnamed. Instead of a defense of the Christian faith, it contains primarily Van Til's defense of why he defended the faith in the way that he did.
Rather than presenting a full critical review of the book itself, I will point out some of the strengths and weaknesses of the book for understanding Van Til's method and how this book can help us think about apologetics in relation to the Reformed system of theology.
First, in some respects, this reader is undecided whether he likes better the fourth edition of the Defense of the Faith or one of the older and shorter versions of the same work. Dr. Oliphint's notes are extremely valuable in explaining terms, but Van Til's interaction with his critics reads as though the reader is overhearing parts of a conversation that has occurred behind closed doors.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Adam T. Calvert on January 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the landmark work by Dr. Cornelius Van Til as far as Biblical apologetics. There is much to be said for the work in apologetics in the evidential approach and the men who have labored so fruitfully in that field. But as far as the Biblical 'method' is concerned or the 'theology' of apologetics as a discipline, Van Til's presuppositionalism has no equal in taking every thought captive to Christ, and showing how the Bible must be one's authority at the very outset of defending the faith.

Leading up to apologetics and then discussing it in length, the book is divided into 11 sections as follows:

1. Christian Theology
2. The Christian Philosophy of Reality
3. The Christian Philosophy of Knowledge
4. The Christian Philosophy of Behavior
5. Christian Apologetics (Point of Contact)
6. Christian Apologetics (The Problem of Method)
7. Christian Apologetics (Authority and Reason)
8. Common Grace and Scholasticism
9. Argument by Presupposition
10. The Defense of Christianity
11. Amsterdam and Old Princeton

The beginning (chapters 1-4) is a huge help into understanding the basic Christian worldview as a whole and the foundation from where Van Til develops his approach to apologetics. Then in chapters 5-7 he does a masterful job of contrasting the differing approaches to the discipline.

Chapter 9 is by far the most compelling treatise I have ever read on the subject of a truly Biblical approach to apologetics. It is here where Van Til makes his famous statement:

"Both Thomas Aquinas and Butler contend that men have done justice by the evidence if they conclude that God probably exists....I consider this a compromise of simple and fundamental Biblical truth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mike Robinson on February 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Cornelius Van Til was born in 1895, in the Netherlands and at the age of ten his family moved to Indiana. Later Van Til earned a Th.M. and a Ph.D. "The Defense of the Faith" is part of Van Til's groundbreaking presuppositional apologetic method. This volume is essential for any Christian philosopher and apologist.

In this treatise, the author aims to press the most scripturally faithful and effectual apologetic method to defend the Faith and present the Triune God to the lost. Van Til distinguishes his system from that of RCC, neo-orthodoxy of Barth, and others.

Van Til writes: "The whole problem of knowledge has constantly been that of bringing the one and the many together. When man looks about him and within him, he sees that there is a great variety of facts. The question that comes up at once is whether there is any unity in this variety, whether there is one principle in accordance with which all these many things appear and occur. All non-Christian thought, if it has utilized the idea of a supra-mundane existence at all, has used this supra-mundane existence as furnishing only the unity or the a priori aspect of knowledge, while it has maintained that the a posteriori aspect of knowledge is something that is furnished by the universe."

He adds for one to have any knowledge that "... there must be in God an absolute system of knowledge" (p 61).

Furthermore he presses the necessity of scripture: "But I do, of course, confess that what Scripture teaches may properly be spoken of as a system of truth. God identifies the Scriptures as his Word. And he himself, as he tells us, exists as an internally self-coherent being. His revelation of himself to man cannot be anything but internally coherent" (p. 205).
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