"Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought," by John M. Frame (P&R, 463 pp.; $27.99, hardcover). Reviewed by Mark Horne, a freelance writer based near Saint Louis, Missouri.

Whether one entirely agrees with him or not, no Christian interested in apologetics--the reasoned defense of the faith--can afford to be uninterested in Cornelius Van Til, the late professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. According to John Frame, Van Til "is perhaps the most important thinker since Calvin." Yet Frame demonstrates throughout his book that he is willing to be quite critical of his former professor. His praise is not due to an unquestioning allegiance, but to years of reflection as a theologian, philosopher, and apologist.

Why is Van Til so important? Building on the thought of Reformed theologians in America (Charles Hodge, B. B. Warfield) and Holland (Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck), Van Til developed an approach to apologetics based on two foundational points: that all people are obligated to acknowledge God in all their thinking, and that non-Christians unremittingly resist this obligation. These two points are perhaps most obviously set forth in Romans 1:18-32, where the apostle Paul declares that God is clearly revealed in creation but that people suppress that revelation and worship creatures rather than the Creator.

Correcting the common misconception that Van Til did not believe in "general revelation"--that God is revealed even to non-Christians in nature and history--Frame shows that Van Til strongly affirmed that God is clearly revealed to all people. The problem is that all people practice self-deception.

Van Til's radical critique of non-Christian thought constitutes what he regarded as ...

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