Friday, February 15, 2008

Like Van Til. Only Better.

Like some, I rushed to Borders last night to get the new Tim Keller book, The Reason for God. I was able to get through the first chapter last night before I went to bed. As a Westminster grad, I had to smile in recognition to the apologetic methodology--moving on to the unbeliever's turf in order to show the inconsistencies of their own worldview and then demonstrating that only a Christian worldview can make sense of any thing. It was just like Van Til.

...Only without the confusing terminology. And a whole heap more readable. And winsome. And literate. And interesting. And, well, better. I'm looking forward to finishing the book over the weekend.

One funny fact: last night, I was picking up Rick Lints, professor of systematic theology from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, who is doing our first annual David C. Jones Lecture in Theology and Ethics. As we talked on our cell phones in order to identify the other to each other, I said, "I have a brown jacket and green cords on and I'm holding Tim Keller's new book!"

The Reason for God--the ultimate identity marker.


Carlos said...

Dr. Lucas,
Thanks for the recommendation, I am waiting for my copy which should be here on Monday! I am currently a student of Covenant Access, and was there for the Residency last month and enjoyed your chapel. I wanted to ask you if you think it is important to study Van Til, meaning you need to know the big terms?

Me and my boys have been dealing with this approach to Apologetics and I find myself not super "academic" in that I do not get Van Til, and sometimes think we make our explanation of apologetics more complicated than we need to. It may be that I am not that smart and am just making excuses to justify myself, but I would like to know your opinion of what a Pastor, not just a dude working at Starbucks, but a seminary student should know about Apologetics.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sean--

You are kind. (But you haven't read the whole book yet!) Seriously, I am very much trying to argue in the tradition of Van Til, but I know there are different interpretations of him, and I look forward to hearing from some of his proponents who may feel I deviate from his method at places.

Tim Keller

CFTK said...

Let us all know when you pick your jaw up off of the floor.
The Collective Fans of Tim Keller(CFTK)

Geoff in Bradenton said...

What do you mean, Tim Keller is easier to understand than Van Til? Van Til is very easy to understand.


Herman Ridderbos

Sean Michael Lucas said...

Hi, Carlos:

You are not alone in finding CVT difficult. Funny story: I had to sustain a written and oral comprehensive in apologetics at WTS for my PhD--I sweated that baby out by reading and memorizing Greg Bahnsen's Van Til Reader! It was the only way I could understand what in the world CVT was talking about.

One of the more helpful books (before Tim's) for me was Richard Pratt's Every Thought Captive. Teaching through that book in Sunday school really helped me get CVT's apologetic method without having to "master" Van Til himself. I actually think, though, that Tim's book will make Van Til's methodology much more accesible for Christians who feel cowed by the arguments not just of the "new Atheists" (Hitchens, Dawkins, and the like), but of their friendly but secular neighbors, friends, and family.

Another book that you may want to check out is Jerram Barrs' The Heart of Evangelism. It is one of the books that we require here at Covenant Seminary and it is very important for talking about the relational aspects of evangelism. What I so respect about Jerram (and Tim, for that matter) is that they actually DO evangelism and apologetics with real living people who ask real questions--which is something that is sometimes missing among those who "specialize" in CVT.

Hope that helps, sml