Van Til Tool

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

Sunday, October 26, 2008



By Forrest Wayne Schultz

I am Reformed and VanTillian and Reconstructionist. Actually, I am a bit hesitant to call myself by any of those names because there are misunderstandings about all of them.

For instance, until fairly recently, there were few Reformed who had a concern for the arts. And it is no wonder when you look at the typical traditional Reformed systematic theology books, e.g. Hodge, Shedd, Berkhof. When you look under the doctrine of God there is NO mention, let alone discussion or emphasis, of God being beautiful and caring about beauty, of God having a great imagination, of God being creative, of God having a sense of humor, and of God being interesting. But I do not interpret this lack the way many people do by saying that we need to ADD to the Reformed theology a concern for the arts. NO! We need, rather, to say that traditionally Reformed theology has not been FULLY REFORMED !! To be fully Reformed means giving God credit for what He does and giving God glory for what He is. Traditional Reformed theology was failing to be fully Reformed because it was neglecting to tell us about a very important facet of the being of God. Do you see my point, here?? The need here is not to add to Reformed theology something else. The need is to be consistently Reformed by including this concern for art which should have already been included as part and parcel of being Reformed.

Now, with respect to being Van Tillian, it is very unfortunate that Van Til personally had some ideas which are NOT VanTillian and therefore must be seen as cancers in the body of Van Til's writings, rather than as part of the true healthy body of Vantillianism, just like a cancer is in our body but not part of it. His Biblical antinomies notion is mainly what I am talking about here. I have made this point very emphatic in my Epistemology Position Paper, which I posted here several years ago, which you can consult. There is no need to repeat it here.

With respect to being Reconstructionist, I personally do not like the term and regard it as very misleading, as though the only thing we have to do is to recover truths and practices which once were present but now have been lost. We do have to do that, of course, but there are also things we never had, so that there is also the need for Christian New Construction, not just Christian RE-construction. The second problem I have with CRs is that they only see the first two of the three prerequisites for CR -- 1. Knowing That God Cares About Everything and 2. Knowing the Biblical Laws and Principles for Everything -- but they do NOT see the third prerequisite -- a population composed of righteous people who ardently desire to obey God's laws and principles in all areas of life. CR is NOT going to work if there are people in the population who are unsaved or who are "backslidden" christians, i.e. who don't care. So, in order to have CR actually happen, God will need to set up a period of time in the future during which He will radically upgrade the application of salvation, so that during that time ALL instead of only some are saved, and in which the Christian's depravity is either annihiliated or else totally immobilized so that it cannot do anything, so that the Christians then will spontaneously live thoroughly righteous lives. Now it is possible, though not easy, to get some people to believe that God cares about and has laws/principles about all the spheres of life, but this is not enough for a full CR to happen unless the third criterion is met and this will truly mean a radically different "economy", which will mean an upgrade even more radical than the upgrade that happened when the OT was upgraded to the NT. In fact, I have come to believe that THIS (radical soteric upgrade) is what will set up the Millennium. So both postmills and premills are wrong. Postmills say the Church will set it up; premills say Christ at His Return will set it up. Well, as C. S. Lewis said, you cannot construct a sound building using rotten timbers. NO ONE -- not even Christ Himself can set up a Millennium with people like we have now. Some premills see this and then resort to talking about Christ ruling with a rod of iron ramming the Law down the people's throats. This is not a real Millennium, but a caricature of one. Postmills who are realistic simply water down the standards for the Millennium but continue to call it a Millennium, many of them even saying, like some amills, that we are already in the Millennium -- we just did not know it. That reminds me of what the Barthians used to say about salvation -- everybody is saved, but most people just don't know it! To call what we now have the Millennium is a gross misuse of the term. It reminds me of what Francis Schaeffer used to say about"connotation words". The word Millennium has a good connotation so to make people feel good we tell them they are in the Millennium -- "Oh boy, I am in the Millennium; like, Wow!!!".

Just ask yourself this simple question -- "Why is Christian Reconstruction not happening?". Now, of course, there are those who do not believe God cares about "secular" stuff; clearly you are not going to get such people involved!! CRs have loved to denounce that attitude and show how God cares about everything. People with that kind of attitude are mainly found among the crude theologies of the unreformed. Attacking that is easy. Not quite as easy has been showing that there are laws and principles in the Word that apply to all areas of life today. This has been harder because most of the opponents here are fellow Reformed. But the real stumbling block is the REALITY -- not some false theological belief -- but the REALITY that so far in history only a few get saved and only a few of these are really exemplary christians. Therefore the answer lies totally with God who will have to CHANGE REALITY by upgrading the application of salvation so that all instead of some are saved and so that those who are saved will live thoroughly righteous lives. Unless God does that, you can forget about any signficant amount of Christian Reconstruction occurring. As things stand now, CR is only an IDEAL, whose realization under the current economy is only very very partial at best.


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