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Why Cornelius Van Til is Important for Preaching (ii)

December 28, 2008

In part 1 of this series, we saw that Van Til was helpful in preserving a doctrine of God and man that amplifies the need of the gospel, rather than obscure it.  If we see God as a bigger or simply better version of us, then the offense of sin is null.  But if we see God as wholly other – the Creator, and man as creation, then we can began to see why sin is such an offense and how God is the only one who can save.In this post, we will see how Van Til is important for preaching in the work of changing worldviews.

The work of preaching is heart-work and so is Van Til’s method of appealing to the worldview of his hearers.  For Van Til, apologetics “is pressing the truth against the attention of the natural man.”  If the “natural man” will not be moved to believe other than by the power of the Spirit, then we must plead to the attention (or the heart) of the natural man, being the instrument of the work of the Spirit.  The natural man suppresses the truth in unrighteousness, therefore, suppressing the Christian God from their life and world-view.  Van Til aids in giving the preacher ammunition for challenging the unbeliever’s worldview with a gospel worldview, pleading for the heart to change.  It must be the heart that changes first for the unbeliever to see how his godless worldview is bankrupt in light of a Christian worldview.

The heart, however, must be challenged with an orthodox Christian understanding of God.  The preaching is seeking to reach the heart for the God of Scripture, not a man-made version that is sinfully distorted by the mind of man.  To argue the unbeliever into theism will do no good.  You have simply created a new idol for his heart to worship in the place of the One true God of Scripture that they are suppressing in unrighteousness.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 29, 2008 8:04 am

    I am an apologist from India and this is my first opportunity to visit your website, which I enjoyed very much. Those in the field of apologetics need to do much to bring the doubting Thomases to faith and also to strengthen those who wish to get answers.

    While I love Til, I believe that his apologetic looks only at one side of the picture.

    Dr. Johnson C. Philip
    India

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