Difference between Van Till and Clark

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by christianyouth, Jul 17, 2008.

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  1. christianyouth

    christianyouth Puritan Board Senior

    Hey all,

    I've heard a lot about 'Van Tillians' and 'Clarkians' and have no idea what this means. Could someone please explain what makes a 'Van Tillian' or a 'Clarkian'?
    (obviously following the teachings of Van Til or Clark, but I don't know what they taught)

    In Christ,
  2. Robbie Schmidtberger

    Robbie Schmidtberger Puritan Board Freshman

    John Frame, in Machen's Warrior Children, says,
    " From around 1944 to 1948, the OPC was troubled by a controversy between followers of Cornelius Van Til, Westminster’s Professor of Apologetics, and those of Gordon H. Clark, Professor of Philosophy at Wheaton College, later at Butler University and Covenant College. The Presbytery of Philadelphia of the OPC ordained Clark to the ministry in 1944, but followers of Van Til complained against his ordination. Several issues entered this controversy, the main one described as the issue of the “incomprehensibility of God.” Both sides agreed, of course, that God was incomprehensible to human beings. But they disagreed on the relation of God’s thoughts to man’s thoughts. [10] To Van Til, when God thinks “this is a rose,” the “contents” of his thought are “qualitatively different” from the contents of any human mind thinking “this is a rose.” To Clark, the contents of God’s thought and a human being’s in this case are identical: both God and man are having the same thought. Van Til was trying to guard the creator-creature distinction by saying that just as God radically differs from man, so the contents of God’s mind radically differ from the contents of man’s mind. Clark was trying to avoid skepticism: for if God’s thought is true, and human thought necessarily differs from it in every respect, then human thought cannot be true."
  3. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Moving to "Apologetical Methods"

    Sorry, but this isn't exactly a "Reformed wading pool" question. Moving to "Apologetical Methods".

    Andrew, you might try looking for some older threads on this topic. And if its a "simple" answer you're looking for, on this topic there isn't any. These were PhD.s, studied in the subject of Philosophy, arguing about epistemology.

    If a Clarkian or a VanTillian tells you the subject really is just black and white simple, he is probably a passionate partisan for one or the other.
  4. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  5. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Just realize that the TrinityFoundation is one of the passionate detractors of CVT. If you're going to read that stuff, at least balance that out.

    Robbins' stuff is some of the most vitriolic rage on the internet, always looking to slay the dragon. He thinks the OPC is neck-deep in apostasy and sinking fast. We've been drowning for 50 years, according to him. "Why won't they DIE!!!!!!"
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