Thursday, February 28, 2013

Van Til the Street Preacher

These images of Cornelius Van Til street preaching may seem uncharacteristic of a Reformed apologist and churchman like himself. The stereotype is that numbers are added to the church through the procreation of covenant children by believing parents. While this is certainly true and not something to be embarrased about, there is also nothing un-Reformed about what Van Til did. He simply made the antithesis hit hard. What does this mean?

It means every human being is guilty and is aware of this guilt to one extent or another by virtue of being made in the image of God. Even Francis Turretin posits that there is actually no such entity as an absolute, theoretical atheist, though practical ones abound. The voice of conscience is strong in every man, condemning imperfect obedience to the Law. While the unbeliever tries incessantly to suppress this voice, the Holy Spirit uses the means of the declaration of the Law and the guilt it brings, followed by the Gospel with its attendant grace, to effect the faith that justifies. When the unbeliever is translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, he passes from one side of the antithesis to another.

So, in fact, Van Til was merely being a good agent of divine concursus!

1 comment:

  1. My memory of Van Til from my days at Westminster was not that of a preacher but of a humble man. We talked a one or two times after chapel. He shared his struggles with his wife dying while I shared about how my family was splitting up. He offered to help but I declined. And though you could say that he did not preach while sharing a personal struggle, you could say that he was giving just one example of how to share the Gospel. The first step is to just be a person.


Related Posts with Thumbnails