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Van Til's Apologetic Hardcover – July 1, 1998
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"This is the late Dr. Bahnsen's testament to today s defenders of the truth. It is an encyclopedic synthesis of the thought of Cornelius Van Til, who was arguably the most original apologist of the twentieth century. In the grand tradition of the Sentences of the fathers, this study will be a standard for years to come." --William Edgar
"You must have this book, if you are serious about trying to understand Van Til's thought." --John M. Frame
About the Author
Greg L. Bahnsen (MDiv, ThM, Westminster Theological Seminary; PhD, University of Southern California) was Scholar-in-Residence at the Southern California Center for Christian Studies in Irvine. A distinguished scholar, author, and debater, he wrote and lectured extensively in the areas of apologetics and biblical law.
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Several points to consider:
1) Apologetics will necessarily deal with the broader subject of philosophy. Once you get through this book, you will have a much better grasp at handling secular philosophy (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hume etc...) and their non Christian approaches to epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics.
For instance, through a careful application of CVT presuppositionalism, you would be able to answer the question "How do you know that you exist". That seems like a very esoteric question, but it ultimately is not, because the question is intended to focus on the epistemological basis behind your worldview.
2) This books does a great job in connecting epistemology (knowledge), metaphysics (nature of reality) and ethics together. They are all related to each other and can be thought of as being on a continuum. Many times, many people unknowingly (or purposely?) separate the three from each other. However, if you believe that you are an evolved creature (metaphysics), you have no other intellectual authority (epistemology) above you since there is no God in evolution, and therefore, you are not accountable to anyone for your moral conduct and behavior (ethics).
You can never separate one from the other two.
3) CVT presuppositiionalism is not being read or taught in many reformed churches today. You will notice this when you read this book and see what is being preached and practiced at your church. And the reformed church is suffering today because of this.
4) One thing that CVT was weak on was application of his methodology. However, a consistent and honest reading of CVT will help you understand that CVT's presuppositionalism will logically lead to a transformational/theonomic worldivew. When you read statements in the book that say that the Christian worldview is the only intelligible worldview, there is no other logical choice but to apply that to the transformational/theonomic ethic.
When you read in this book where he talks about the only way that science can be done is through the Christian worldview, then there is no other logical conclusion when it comes to application such as political or cultural ethics.
5) Sadly, CVT was not as consistent with his own methodology, and did not fully carry out his ethics as Bahnsen and other theonomists have done.
1. An Introduction to Van Til's Apologetic
2. The Task of Apologetics
3. A Simple Summary and Illustration
4. The Epistemological Side of Apologetics
5. The Apologetical Side of Epistemology
6. The Psychological Complexities of Unbelief
7. The Presuppositional Apologetical Argument
8. Comparisons and Criticisms of Apologetical Methods
9. Concluding Summary: How to Defend the Faith
It is saddening to know that this book has not and probably will not gain much of a hearing outside Presbyterian circles. Van Til really is a brilliant gift to the church and was crucial in the 'Reformation of Christian Apologetics.' One could not ask for a higher view of Scripture. Van Til took the lordship of Christ seriously, especially concerning the realm of knowledge.
--The gospel of the self-authenticating God speaking through Christ in Scripture offers man salvation, not only for his life, but for his science and philosophy and theology as well. (571)
--Christianity alone is reasonable for men to hold. It is wholly irrational to hold any other position than that of Christianity. Christianity alone does not slay reason on the altar of `chance.' (730)
--Every Evangelical, as a sincere Christian is at heart a Calvinist. But witnessing is a matter of the head as well as the heart. If the world is to hear a consistent testimony for the Christian faith, it is the Calvinist who must give it. (582)
--So in presuppositional apologetics we seek to "remove the enemy's foundation" by reducing his worldview to absurdity, thereby rendering the claims that constitute his case against the gospel unintelligible and demonstrating the necessity of the Christian worldview if we are to make sense of argumentation about reasoning about, and interpretation of, any element of human experience. (111)
--It is therefore mandatory that Reformed theologians urge their fellow Protestants everywhere to call upon modern man to interpret his life in terms of the book of God and therefore in terms of the God of the book. (713)