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by Cornelius Van Til,John M. Frame

Download Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought ePub
  • ISBN 0875522459
  • ISBN13 978-0875522456
  • Language English
  • Author Cornelius Van Til,John M. Frame
  • Publisher P & R Publishing (November 1, 1995)
  • Pages 480
  • Formats lrf azw doc lrf
  • Category Bibles
  • Subcategory Theology
  • Size ePub 1900 kb
  • Size Fb2 1297 kb
  • Rating: 4.3
  • Votes: 934

The insights of Cornelius Van Til have generated intense discussion among friends and foes alike. Until now nearly everything written about Van Til has come from either uncritical followers or unsympathetic critics. This volume, marking the one hundredth anniversary of Van Til’s birth, combines deep appreciation with incisive critical analysis of the renowned Westminster apologist’s ideas. John M. Frame offers warm personal reflections on Van Til’s life and a close examination of his thought, including his interaction with prominent figures in the Reformed, evangelical, and secular communities. In terms of its spirit, scope, clarity, and profundity, this volume is must reading for serious students of apologetics and theology.

Van Til takes the standard, Dordtian view of election and reprobation. Frame modifies this bold claim by pointing out that what CVT actually gave us in his formulation is a conclusion and a practical strategy.

Van Til takes the standard, Dordtian view of election and reprobation. He defends God against being the author of evil by saying God is the ultimate cause, not the proximate cause. There has been much confusion on Van Til's use of analogy. Frame then analyzes CVT on Scholasticism, Kant, Barth, and Dooyeweerd.

Van Til (born Kornelis van Til in Grootegast, Netherlands) was the sixth son of Ite van Til, a dairy farmer, and his wife Klasina van der Veen. At the age of ten, he moved with his family to Highland, Indiana. He was the first of his family to receive a higher education.

Fresh view of Cornelius Van Til's thoughts! Published by Thriftbooks. com User, 17 years ago. What John Frame does is take parts of Van Til's thoughts and explains them. So, what you're looking at here is a book that builds from the parts to the whole, sort of speak. And it works very effectively. Frame's book will help people look at the transcendental argument for the existence of God from a different point of view. Bear in mind though this is college level reading

Cornelius Van Til book. Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought.

Cornelius Van Til book.

John M. Frame offers warm personal reflections on Van Til's life and a close examination of his thought, including his . This brilliant analysis of the thought of Van Til combines praise, clarification, and constructive criticism

John M. Frame offers warm personal reflections on Van Til's life and a close examination of his thought, including his interaction with prominent figures in the Reformed, evangelical, and secular communities. Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought (9780875522456) by John M. Frame. This brilliant analysis of the thought of Van Til combines praise, clarification, and constructive criticism. Both warm and incisive, it promotes appreciation of Van Til and refinement of his ideas.

More books by John M. More books by Van Til, Cornelius. Your statutory rights are not affected.

Frame, John M. Pricing details.

Both warm and incisive, it promotes appreciation of Van Til and refinement of his ideas. Frame, John M.

by John M. Frame But after his first year of seminary, Van Til transferred to Princeton Theological Seminary.

Cornelius Van Til was born on May 3, 1895, in Grootegast, the Netherlands, the sixth son of Ite Van Til, a dairy farmer, and his wife Klazina. 1 At the age of ten Cornelius moved with his family to Highland, Indiana. He picked up English quickly and spoke thereafter with very little trace of an accent. But after his first year of seminary, Van Til transferred to Princeton Theological Seminary.

Manufacturer: P & R Publishing Release date: 1 September 1995 ISBN-10 : 0875522203 ISBN-13: 9780875522203.

Talk about Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought


Naril
Goal and thesis of the book: To provide a much-needed critical analysis of the legacy of Cornelius Van Til (8).

The Metaphysics of Knowledge: God as Self-Contained Fullness

This is Frame's favorite aspect of Van Til's thought, and probably the best section in the book. This is another way of saying God's aseity. God is sufficient in himself. From God's self-containment, we may say that God's unity implies his simplicity: "If there is only one God, then there is nothing "in" him that is independent of him" (55). How does God's revelation play into this? Due to the richness of God's nature, we could never know him left to ourselves. However, if God, a self-contained God--and a self-contained God who meets the standards of immanency and transcendence, reveals himself, then we have certain, sure knowledge of who this God is (transcendence) and how his revelation applies to concrete situations (immanence).

Absolute Personality

Non-Christian systems die on the altar of personality. Either they posit personal, but finite gods (Greek pantheon) or impersonal, infinite gods (Eastern religions). Only Christian theism posits a personal, absolute God. They do so because of the Trinity. To quote CVT, "the members of the trinity are exhaustively representational of one another" (qtd. Frame, 59). To end this section with a quote and call to action from Frame, "Impersonal facts and laws cannot be ultimate, precisely because they are not personal. They cannot account for rationality, for moral value, for the causal order of the universe, or for the universal applicability of logic" (60).

The Trinity

Ah, this is where the heresy charges come in! And given the renewed interest in Trinitarianism, this section can be very useful. Van Til begins by stating and affirming what the Church has taught on the Trinity. His position can be summarized in the following moves: Trinitarianism denies correlativism, the belief that God and creation are dependent on one another. God is three persons and one Person. Watch closely. He calls the whole Godhead "one person." He is not saying that God is one in essence and three in essence. The main question is "the one being personal or impersonal?" (67). Van Til is calling the whole Godhood one "person" in order to avoid making the essence of God to be merely an abstraction. Frame argues, "If the three persons (individually and collectively) exhaust the divine essence (are "coterminous" with it), then the divine essence itself must be personal" (68). And if God is an absolute person (he is), and he is one (he is), then there must be a sense in which he is a person. Granting the Augustinian circumincessio, every act of God is a personal act involving all three persons acting in unity (68).

The Problem of the One and the Many

I think Rushdoony was more excited about this than Van Til (see Van Til's response to Rush in Jerusalem and Athens). How do we find unity in the midst of plurality? Unbelief cannot answer this question. It always tends toward one or the other extreme. If abstract being is ultimate, then there are no particulars. If abstract particular is ultimate, then there is no truth. The Trinity is both personal one and many.

Soverignty of God and Analogous Reasoning

Van Til takes the standard, Dordtian view of election and reprobation. He twists it into his own language: equal ultimacy. He defends God against being the author of evil by saying God is the ultimate cause, not the proximate cause. Frame suggests that this doesn't get God off the hook and Van Til would have been better to stick with the Jobian theodicy.

There has been much confusion on Van Til's use of analogy. Aquinas used analogy between God and man in Neo-Platonic terms, suggesting a continuum of being between God and man. Van Til does not espouse Neo-Platonism. He should be interpreted that the language between God and man is different, but we should think God's thoughts after him.

The Clark Controversy

I am not going to review this part. Suffice to say he makes Clark look good.

Revelation

Contrary to popular opinion, Van Til does hold to general revelation. Given his view of God's sovereignty, all things reveal God's decree. (Man is receptively reconstructive of God's revelation. It is his job to re-interpret previously God-interpreted facts.) In short, Van Til holds to the typical Kuyperian view of revelation. From this Van Til posits a three-fold division in God's revelation: a revelation from God, from nature, and from self (120). This is perspectival, btw. As to Scripture, it is self-attesting and bears God's full authority. As such, it must be inerrant.

Presuppositions

A presupposition is not a belief that one must have before (temporally speaking) one comes to believe in other things; rather, it is a belief that is independent of some other knowledge and governs that knowledge to some extent.

CVT also distinguishes between proximate and ultimate presuppositions. Frame didn't develop this section as thoroughly as he could have. One of my few faults with the book.

Evidence

CVT does not disparage the use of evidence, many critics to the contrary. Rather, he denies the use of "brute facts." Given the Trinity, all facts and laws are correlative. Brute facts are "uninterpreted facts" and therefore meaningless, the constituents of a universe of pure chance. This means we cannot separate facts from meaning. We cannot challenge the unbeliever on a particular fact if we do not challenge his philosophy of fact. Again, see RJ Rushdoony on facts and evidence (JBA).

Part 3: The Ethics of Knowledge

Antithesis

Frame argues that Van Til was right in stressing the antithesis but his language rendered his own view of it ambiguous. To state it clearly: The natural man in principle is opposed to the truth of God. Psychologically, however, he does not live that way (cf. Greg Bahnsen, Van Til's Apologetic: Readings & Analysis, "The Psychology of Epistemology").

Common Grace

CVT holds to a "well-meant offer of salvation to a generality of men, including elect and non-elect."

I did enjoy Frame's interaction with Gary North's critique of Van Til on this point, mainly for Frame's humor. North's position: God gives ethical rebels enough rope to hang themselves for all eternity. "North accuses CVT of an implicit contradiction: as an amillennialist, he believes that the wicked will be victorious over the course in history, but how can they be victorious if the gifts of common grace are gradually withdrawn" (229). If I {JBA} can restate it another way: when the covenant-breaker becomes epistemologically self-conscious, he will not progress in knowledge and culture.

Frame notes that much of North's analysis is helpful but critiques him on the ambiguities of the word "favors."

Conclusion: overall quite good section of the book. Would have done better to show the tension between adhering to a Van Tillian epistemology but seeking a neutral, natural law ethic.

The Argument for Christianity

Spiral Argument

CVT points out that a true, biblically-faithful argument will be circular in nature. The starting point, the method, and the conclusion are involved in one another. CVT will point out that if the object under discussion were just another fact, then the charge and objection of circularity would have more warrant. But the object under discussion is not merely another fact, but the God of the universe! If I {JBA} may state it another way: when you are seeking to establish your highest authority, you will reason and prove it by your highest authority. If you validate your highest authority (A) by something other than your highest authority (B), then A is no longer your highest authority, but now B is.

Reasoning by Presupposition

Frame now analyzes the Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God (TAG). CVT claimed that unless you presuppose the God of the Bible, you cannot know anything. Frame modifies this bold claim by pointing out that what CVT actually gave us in his formulation is a conclusion and a practical strategy.

Other Thinkers

Frame then analyzes CVT on Scholasticism, Kant, Barth, and Dooyeweerd. He then proceeds to evaluate the current Van Tillian school of thought. The most consistent (and vocal) followers of CVT are the theonomists. If CVT destroyed neutrality (which he did) then the question, now applied to civil law, is if not pluralism, then what law? They answer God's law. There are other Van Tillian thinkers: Edgar, Poythress, Knudsen, and even Schaeffer.

Evaluation*

This book is a joy to read over and over again. It differs with Greg Bahnsen's magnum opus in that it deals with Van Til the theologian whereas Bahnsen dealt with Van Til the apologist. The two books complement one another. Another less known, but equally potent Van Til summar is R.J. Rushdoony's By What Standard: An Analysis of the Philosophy of Cornelius Van Til.
doesnt Do You
I finally got around to reading and finishing John Frame’s interpretation of Christian apologist and theologian Cornelius Van Til. This is probably long overdue given how long my interests is with Presuppositional apologetics and also having read so much of Frame’s works daily in my life for the last couple of years. I must say that I probably appreciated this work in the current place in my life than I would have appreciated it ten years ago. I do not always agree with John Frame being myself more in line with Greg Bahnsen’s approach towards apologetics but I have always found that even when I disagree with Frame he certainly gives much fuel for thought and as a result with interacting with his writings I have become more nuanced and achieved a better synthesis of what to believe.
Frame is a bit more critical of Cornelius Van Til the father of Presuppositional apologetics than most of Van Til’s disciples and readers will see that in the book. While Frame does not always agree with Van Til nevertheless he still sees himself as a Presuppositionalist. That means that at times Frame defends the methodology of Presuppositional apologetics from bad criticisms and attacks and when he does he does it well. A great example of Frame’s critique of critiques against Van Til and Presuppositionalism can be seen in appendix A found in the end of the book titled “Van Til and the Ligonier Apologetic” in which Frame responds to RC Sproul, John Grestner and Arthur Lindsley’s book titled Classical Apologetics. Even those who disagree with Van Til, Presuppositional apologetics and John Frame has a lot to benefit from reading Frame in general and this book in particular.
The book is divided into six parts. Part one is titled “Introductory Considerations” which has a chapter on Frame’s approach to Van Til with two more chapters on Van Til’s life and character and Van Til’s place in history. The last two chapters mentioned really puts Van Til’s contribution and theology in perspective. I think they are helpful for those who do not know Van Til to read chapters two and three in the book. Part two is on the metaphysics of knowledge and is probably the longest section of the book. It covers a lot of significant theological topics and subjects in the teaching of Van Til that he is known for (the role of God in our knowledge, God’s revelation and presuppositions, etc). Part three is on the ethics of knowledge while part four looks at Van Til’s take on the arguments for Christianity given throughout church history. In part five Frame looks at Van Til as a critic while part six is the conclusion that has a chapter on Van Til’s successors and the future of Van Til’s teachings.
For those who are familiar with Greg Bahnsen’s large work on Van Til’s apologetics (which is also an amazing work) one might be tempted to ask why get Frame’s work on Van Til. I think this work by John Frame on Van Til is still worthwhile since it looks at other topics and theological issues that Bahnsen didn’t spend as much time on: Van Til and the Trinity, a whole chapter on common grace, etc. The paragraphs below are on some of those chapters in the book that I found interesting and helpful; of course given the depth and length of the book not everything can be covered.
I thought chapter seven stood out and made a helpful contribution in the discussion about analogical knowledge. This rather has a history of heated discussion between those who taught at Westminster Seminary and Gordon Clark and his followers. Frame did a good job defining what Van Til meant by analogy which remain so elusive for many, both friends and critics of Van Til. Frame gives us a very helpful summary of the ecclesiastical exchange during the Van Til/Gordon Clark controversy; Frame even corrected my assumption that Clark got kicked out of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church with his ordination revoked, although later Gordon Clark did leave the denomination.
I also enjoyed reading Frame’s chapter on common grace. Here he does a good job not only analyzing Van Til’s theology of common grace but also critiquing two books that was critical of Van Til’s view of common grace. Frame’s discussion of Gary North’s rejection of Van Til’s formulation of common grace also made me see how eschatology plays a role in one’s understanding of how common grace works. Clearly North with his postmillennialism saw common grace increasing in the course of history since there is much progress with the Gospel being preached and forming Christian civilizations while Van Til’s amillennialism saw common grace diminishing with the course of history given the fact that people and society.
I thought at times Frame was much more sympathetic towards certain positions of Classical Apologetics more than I would personally like. But one thing I am glad that Frame is wrong on is on page 389 in the book in which Frame said that he sense interests in Van Til has declined since Van Til’s death in 1987; on the contrary, because of God’s providence presuppositional apologetics has grown beyond what Frame and others would have been able to imagine in 1995 when Frame wrote this book; and with the growth of interests with Presuppositional apologetics, interests in Van Til the theologian and the man himself has grown.