Van Til Tool

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

Saturday, June 07, 2008



From time to time I have been noting significant changes in the outlook of dispes today. Now let me tell you of one of the most interesting of these because it is occurring at a dispe Bible College with impeccable dispe credentials -- this is Philadelphia College of Bible (PCB), which was formed by the union of two dispe schools, one of which had as one of its founders none other than C. I Scofield !! When I was living in Philly, during the 60s and early 70s and was in very close touch with PCB, they used the Scofield Reference Bible for all classes, they had a very close relationship with Dallas Seminary (the premier dispe seminary), PCB was regarded as either the top or one of the top dispe Bible Colleges in the USA, there was no concern for a Biblical world-view and their “secular” courses were taught no differently than at Humanist colleges, and their Academic Dean (Clarence E, Mason, Jr.) made it crystal clear in his Syllabus that “The only mission of the church to the world is evangelism”. That was THEN (1960s and early 1970s)

NOW look at this diametrically opposed statement in the Commencement Address at this college delivered on May 5, 2007 by Nancy Pearcy (a protogee’ of Francis Schaeffer): “For example, we’re called to bring the gospel to people who work in politics. But we’re also called to transform political structures political structures, to bring biblical principles to the transformation of civil society. We should reach out to teachers as individuals. But we are also called to bring a biblical view of education into our schools. We want to save artists and musicians, but we also want to save the art world.” The basis for Pearcey’s assertion is the principle she sets forth in the very opening of her Address: “We typically hear Christians say that the Bible is the authoritative source of truth for faith and morals. But we don’t always hear Christians say that the Bible gives a framework for the rest of knowledge as well -- for law and politics, for business and economics, for the arts and humanities. ... In the New Testament we’re commanded to take every thought captive to Christ -- not just moral or theological thoughts, but every thought. In other words we’re called to craft a Christian worldview, which simply means a biblically informed view of t he entire world and everything in it.”

PCB is now called PBU, Philadelphia Biblical University, although in fact it is still a Bible College , not a real university. Anyway, as an alumna of PCB, now called PBU, my wife receives all the materials sent out to the alumni, including their quarterly magazine PBU Today. The quotes above are taken from the Summer 2007 issue of this magazine. I have been looking at this magazine carefully over the past several years during which I have been noting more and more articles on Christian Worldview”, some of them quite good. Therefore this address by Nancy Pearcey should be seen as a culmination of a trend that has been in place for a number of years.

OK, guys those are the facts!! Whether or not the principles set forth by Pearcey are in conflict with dispe or not, there they are - being proclaimed at a dispe bible college. I am not going to tell you how to deal with this -- that is NOT my point. My point is that from now on when you critique dispe you do so based on what dispes are saying and doing TODAY, not on what they said or did 50 or 100 years ago.


  • At Monday, June 09, 2008, Anonymous Aaron Blumer said…

    I'm a dispensationalist and grew up in dispensationalist institiutions, including high school, college (to a lesser degree) and seminary. Nancy's comments are (a) not all that unusual among dispensationalists and (b) not "Christian reconstruction." My dispensationalist high school Bible teacher introduced me to Francis Schaeffer.
    It's one thing to say "let's use the Mosaic code to build a theocracy" and another entirely to say "let's take Christian principles to our political institutions and to the process of governing." The latter is not reconstructionism.

  • At Thursday, June 12, 2008, Blogger Forrest Schultz said…

    (1).I do not think her comments are that unusual today. But I know what PCB was like back in the sixties when my wife was a student there. At that time there was no effort in the classroom to teach the Biblical world view for each subject. Subjects like history were taught there no differently than they were at a humanist college. And Dean Mason's syllabus emphatically stated that the only mission of the church to the world is evangelism.

    (2). Contrary to what a lot of people think, Christian Reconstruction, according to its Founder R, J. Rushdoony, does NOT mean forcing Biblical Law down the throats of a recalcitrant populace. There are a few Christian Reconstructionists who believe in that but Rushdoony makes it clear repeatedly in his writings that Biblical Law can NOT be IMPOSED. It can only be EMBRACED willingly.



  • At Tuesday, July 08, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Forrest,
    Don't know you - but I do know PBU (I'm a prof there). I'm concerned that you don't think we're a "real" university. What does it take to be "real"? We're pretty excited about Nancy joining our faculty. Unlike what you perceive from the past (perhaps not "fact" as stated), we do put concerted effort into teaching a Biblical Worldview for all subjects. I teach mathematics and it is not a class like you would find in a "humanist" college. The students are learning the same math, but they are learning to examine it from a different perspective. Thanks for blogging about this!

  • At Monday, July 21, 2008, Anonymous Forrest Schultz said…

    I made it very clear that PCB HAS changed. NOW there is concern for world-view. But, back in the sixties there was no such concern. My wife was a student there -- this is what she told me. When she went to hear Bill Gothard in 1967 she told me that she was very excited because there she heard what she did NOT get at PCB. Believe me, it has changed!! And I am very happy about it.

    In re the "real" university thing, that is another matter entirely. A real university teaches all subjects and offers degrees -- bachelor's, master's, and doctor's in all (or almost all) subjects. PBU does teach a few more subjects and has a few more degrees than before but not that many more. it is highly misleading to call it a university. Look at all the degrees offered by Penn and Drexel and Temple -- they are real universities -- and compare that to PBU.

    In re math, have you read Vern Poythress's writings? They really show that there are different philosophies of math!!



  • At Wednesday, August 06, 2008, Blogger drdlm said…

    I attended Penn State - a "real" university. I would say that PBU, like many smaller universities, is limited in what it offers. However, we teach a lot we didn't in the past. I'm fine with you not feeling it meets the standards of Penn, Drexel and Temple - we certainly don't have their budget! Thanks for pointing me to Poythress's writing, I'll check them out (I've bookmarked a website with his writings).

  • At Monday, May 21, 2012, Anonymous Sara said…

    As an alum of PBU, I take some offense at you saying that PBU is not a "real university." Who are you to be the authority on which university are "real" or not? Not only does PBU have an excellent Bible program, it also offers degrees in business, music (and their music program is fabulous by the way), counseling, social work, and arts & sciences (including concentrations in pre-law, fine arts, etc). Sure, they have a limited number of master-level degrees and no doctoral degrees, but a university has to begin somewhere doesn't it? I really wish you would change what you wrote. Thank you.

  • At Tuesday, May 22, 2012, Blogger Forrest Schultz said…

    Dear Sara,

    I already answered your objection in my reply of July 21, 2008) to the same objection made on July. Usually the term university means that there are courses in most subjects and that there are Ph.D. degree programs. PBU does have an expanded curriculum, but not enough to be considered a university, as the term isnormally used.




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