Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Deconstructionist Theology and the Van Til Perspective (A Review of Mark Taylor's Erring)

Deconstructionist Theology And

The Van Til Perspective

By Forrest W. Schultz

Reviewing Mark Taylor’s Erring: A Post Modern A/Theology (U.ofChicago,1984)

Taylor’s book is very interesting because he interprets the philosophical significance of the deconstruction of theology (which the advocates) in virtually the same way as the late Professor Cornelius Van Til.

Like Van Til, Taylor recognizes the important principle that those who reject God are still dependent upon God and therefore operate as parasites, i.e. they cannot say anything without presupposing the framework of meaning which comes from Biblical Theology. Taylor nonetheless advocates this parasitic activity, this destroying from within, this deconstruction. Also, like Van Til, Taylor realizes that this “death of God” activity leads to the “death of man”, i.e. that if God is not presupposed, then there is no real truth, no real meaning, no real right and wrong. And, like Van Til, Taylor is aware of the fact that atheists have ascribed to man the attributes traditionally ascribed to God, e.g. autonomy.

In spite of this attainment of what Van Til calls “epistemological self-consciousness”, Taylor sticks to his anti-theistic position although he clearly recognizes that it will get him nowhere – that all he can do is wander around. The word “erring” in the title of his book means “wandering” and is derived from the Latin verb errare, to wander.

In spite of (or because of ??) all this, Taylor writes in a jocular, witty manner. His mood is always upbeat. You will never find him expressing rage or despair or anxiety or a sense of futility. I am not sure if this should be recognized as “gallows humor”or what. Read it and decide for yourself.

I believe that Mark Taylor is very important because he is one of the few thinkers outside of the Van Tillians who is aware of the philosophical implications of rebelling against God. Therefore his book deserves a far wider readership.


Forrest Wayne Schultz has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering degree from Drexel University and a Th.M. in Systematic Theology degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. He can be reached at 770-583-3258 or schultzf_2002@yahoo.com.

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