Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Van Til.....(Click his Pic)

It was Dr. Kenneth Talbot who first introduced me to the writings of Gordon Clark.

In seminary I had been taught the Van Tilian system of apologetics, and in comparison with evidentialism, it seemed to be a breath of fresh air. Further, as one Reformed scholar assured me: “To be Reformed is to be Van Tilian, and to be Van Tilian is to be Reformed.”

Yet, as impolitic as it was to challenge the teachings of Dr. Van Til, his system left me without answers to far too many questions; it produced a strange melange of logical antinomies.

How can one be a presuppositionalist and still believe that there are proofs for the existence of God?

How can one be in the orthodox camp of Christianity and maintain that the God of Scripture is both one person and three persons?

How can one read and understand the Scriptures if there are so many humanly irresolvable contradictions in them?

How can one stand for the Christian faith and at the same time endorse a form of irrationalism?

The answer to all of my questions was simple: One can’t. And neither does one have to. It was Gordon Clark, who pointed this out.

But it is not only Clark who has seen the errors in Van Til’s teachings. Drs. Robert Reymond (Preach the Word! (Edinburgh: Rutherford House, 1988), 16-35.) and Ronald Nash have also recognized the irrationalism of Van Til. And it is Clark’s disciple, Dr. John Robbins, who has given us the fullest criticism of Van Tilianism to date.

In the opinion of this writer, an honest reading of Robbins’ book, followed by a serious study of both Van Til’s and Clark’s works, will convince the reader that Van Tilianism is an error. There are few, however, who are willing to study the issue seriously. They have already made up their minds, and their attitude seems to be, “Don’t confuse me with the facts.”

Yes, I have come across this mindset a few times.



JandR said...

Hi Mark,

Glad to see you back and blogging. We are regular "followers" and appreciate you very much.

The days are becoming exceedingly dark and spiritually bleak; with good being attributed to evil and evil being attributed to good. (Isaiah 5:20)

Recently, a (very mistaken) Presbyterian fellow told us that he thought John Robbins was a "vicious man."

Can you imagine such a charge being made against a true son of God?!!

We knew Robbins as a saint who sacrificially loved his brethren; the church of Jesus Christ, with all his being, and as a man who was extraordinarily faithful to provide good scriptural teachings (e.g. Gordon Clark)in the hopes of protecting and giving warnings to his brothers and sisters in the Lord.


(You may edit this out: We have lost private contact with you through the RTI site (due to being banned), but we can be contacted at

Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

Yes, these are dark days indeed.

I have heard others attack Robbins and do so with no shame whatsoever. Even Gene Cook Jnr has spoken ill of the man on a few occasions and yet it is obvious he knows little of Robbins and even less of Clark.

He was hated because he exposes error and spoke boldly the truth.
A recipe for hatred in today's climate, especially when many cling to man rather than Christ and His truth alone.

Robins was bold enough to address even popular men with their errors, and he was hated for doing what Godly men should be doing.

He is now with the Lord and I am envious. He had his faults too, but they seem like minor blemishes to me in the grand scheme of things.

Sorry to hear you are banned there. Let me know by email what happened if you do not mind.


Kirby L. Wallace said...


This guy knows who Gordon Clark is?

Is it possible?


heh heh

JandR said...


Don't know how or where to e-mail you . . .that is why we provided our address, so that you might establish a contact.



Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

Sorry J&R, have contacted you....

Kirby, well yes of course.
The man was a genius!