April 1, 2008

Van Til's Presuppositional Apologetic

I ride the train to work every day, so I often read or blog--or both, grabbing the first thing in my library that grabs my attention (whether I've read it or not). So today, Scott Oliphint is on the train with me. In his book/pamphlet "CVT and the Reformation of Christian Apologetics" he writes (quoting CVT), "While traditional Apologetic approaches ask the unbeliever to understand his world in order to understand God, Van Til affirms, (with Reformed theology) that because God controls 'whatsoever comes to pass,' because it is 'in God that we live, move, and exist,' the world can never be understood aright at any point without reference to God." (P. 5) And later Oliphint writes, "It is important to understand that one of the primary reasons Aquinas...could not account for the existence of the God of the Bible is because, in assuming the autonomy of hiuman reason, he refused to start the knowledge transaction with the Triune God of Scripture." (P. 15).

There is so much to unpack here, but understand that beginning with the autonomy of reason logically leads to the worlsdview of humanism that rejects the supernatural and states that the highest value is individualism and autonomy.

We are in need of a radical restoration of CVT's thought in our sermons, books, blogs, and other places where Christians not only influence unbelievers, but each other. The autonomy of reason finds itself elevated in Christian circles as much as anywhere else--it affects how we think and how we live. Talking about submitting to God in all areas of our life is immediately limited by how we think about ourselves. We must start everything--political engagement, apologetics, infertility, and our grocery shopping with the God of the Bible.
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