Clark-Van Til Controversy
by Herman Hoeksema
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In 1943 Dr.
Gordon H. Clark sought ordination in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, a
small denomination barely seven years old.
Dr Clark was
immediately opposed by the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary,
led by Professor Cornelius Van Til. Despite their zealous opposition, Dr
Clark was ordained by the OPC.
controversy was just beginning in 1944 the Westminster Seminary faculty
tried to remove Dr. Clark from office, not by filing charges against him,
but by arguing that the procedure the OPC used to ordain him was
irregular. They were struggling, not merely to prevent Dr. Clark form
gaining influence in the denomination, but to retain their control of the
Seminary as well.
that ensued raised some of the most important doctrinal issues of the
century, issues that still resonate throughout all American churches: What
does it mean to say that God is 'incomprehensible?' Is God emotional? Is
Scripture propositional revelation? Can men know the same truth that God
knows? Is man's mind or are his emotions more fundamental? If God is
omnipotent and sovereign, how can man be held responsible for his actions?
of the Protestant Reformed Churches understood the significance of the
controversy and wrote a series of incisive editorials in the Standard
Bearer. He argued that the irrationalism of the Westminster faculty
disguised their Arminian doctrines, which they insisted were "truly
Reformed." This book is the collection of those editorials.
"A friend recently loaned me a Trinity Foundation book,
The Clark-VanTil Controversy which first acquainted
me with the writing of both Clark and Herman Hoeksema. Both
authors had a gift for being clear, profound, and simple
(perhaps that’s somehow related to speaking truth?) ..." -
5 chapters in Portuguese - The Text of a Complaint (ch. 1), Rationalism
(ch. 7), Sovereignty and Responsibility (ch. 8), The Sincere Offer of the
Gospel (ch. 9), An Arminian Gospel (ch. 15) can be read here.