Van Til’s Apologetic – Highlights and Summary

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In Van Til’s Apologetic, Greg Bahnsen seeks to distill Cornelius Van Til’s lifetime of defending biblical Christianity into a mere 700 pages or so. The apologetic method can be difficult to comprehend on first exposure. However, after wrestling with it a few chapters it becomes clear that the method is not complex but all too simple. So simple that some critics accuse Van Til of not dealing adequately with objections.

I penciled several pages of notes as I read. Here they are in single sentences and phrases. I hope to summarize the method after a few days of recording these nuggets.

Everyone knows/believes some things about God. The apologist’s task is not intellectual convincing but to ‘morally convict’ the non-Christian for not owning up to the truth he can’t escape.

Romans 1 shows there’s no excuse for disbelieving in God. Yet some refuse to reverence and obey God. “In Thy light, we see light”, thus outside of God is only ignorance

When men deny having knowledge of God, their thinking and attempts to gain knowledge can be reduced to absurdity

Romans 1 teaches a ‘direct revelation’ of God, not a ‘reasoned interpretation’ based on facts

The created order is a medium of constant, inescapable, clear, pre-interpreted information about God that all men possess. But fallen man’s interpretation of this revelation is not identical with the revelation itself.

Man recognizes his mind cannot be the ultimate point of reference yet he is able to recognize truth. Frustration reveals doubt, yet ‘truth’ discernment reveals grace.

The essence of created reality is ita revelational character. Nature’s perspicuity reveals God as does biblical revelation.

God is heard everywhere by everyone ‘ The very activity of this consciousness is a daily reminder to him of the will of God’

God’s revelation (nature and scripture) are clear. But man is lost in sin, turns from God, losing his bearings with a ‘vain mind’ and ‘ damaged understanding’

Deism is not enough ‘We need a right view of man’. Noetic salvation is ‘integral to the Christian world view’

‘The psalmist readily speaks of God’s revelation in nature and law (Psalm 19 ‘heavens declare’. Psalm 119 ‘I love Thy Law’)

God does not mumble

Scripture’s divine quality is perceived directly as sweetness is from candy. No argument.

All who believe Christ have God’s self-attesting testimony

God testifies to Himself because there is nothing more epistemologically authoritative

God’s revelation in nature or gospel is so clear and persuasive that those who repudiate it have their professed “wisdom” reduced to sheer folly

We cannot subject authoritative pronouncements of scripture about reality to scrutiny of reason because it is reason itself that learns its proper function from scripture

Evidence in nature and scripture that justifies our beliefs in God is ultimately non-inferential – not derived by drawing inferences from other propositions, but is immediately apprehended

to be continued…