Van Til and Evidence
Recently, on a blog that I frequent the author made a familiar claim about Cornelius Van Til. Essentially the author’s point was that Van Til rejected the use of evidence for Christianity. in light of the paper i’m working on, I thought I should reply. Here’s what I wrote:
Dr. _________, thanks for the post, but sadly you insist on a misrepresentation on Van Til’s views that goes back nearly 40 years to Clark Pinnock’s entry in the book honoring Van Til, Jerusalem and Athens. You say that offering evidence for Christianity is inconsistant with being a presuppositionalist.
In the words of Van Til himself, “Accordingly I do not reject ‘the theistic proofs’ but merely insist on formulating them in such a way as not to compromise the doctrines of Scripture. That is to say, if the theistic proof is constructed as it ought to be constructed, it is objectively valid, whatever the attitude of those to whom it comes may be.” (Defense of the Faith, 3rd ed. 197)
Here Van Til makes it clear that he does not reject theistic evidences. Thisn is not to deny that he rejects their presentation in a certain manner. That’s the issue of debate. But to insist that he rejects proof or evidence is to mishandle his Van Til’s words, as well as those of his interpreters (cf. Thom Notaro, Van Til and the use of Evidence).
Those who label themselves presuppositionalists and yet reject the use of evidences are doing harm to Van Til’s project and have made something that was a major emphasis into the whole shabang.