Van Til Tool

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

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A POYTHRESS PROGRESS REPORT: A Review of His Redeeming Philosophy and Redeeming Mathematics

A review of:
Vern Poythress Redeeming Philosophy (Crossway, 2014)
                           $25.00   303 pp   ISBN: 978-1-4335-3946
Vern Poythress Redeeming Mathematics (Crossway, 2015)
                           $21.99   200 pp   ISBN: 978-1-4335-4110-0
Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz
     Many moons ago at Westminster Theological Seminary while Vern Poythress was matriculating there, and knowing that he had recently received a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, I asked him what the Biblical view of math was.  When he said he did not know, I told him that after he studied some Van Til he would figure it out!  Well, he did study Van Til there, and, as a result, he did figure it out, and the result was his paper "A Biblical View of Mathematics" in Foundations of Christian Scholarship:  Essays in the Van Til Perspective [ed. by Gary North and pub. by Ross House Books in 1976] on pp. 158 - 188.  YES!!!
     I believe that Poythress's greatest achievement since that time has been his development of his highly personal writing style which he has been using in his recently published books on many different subjects.  This personal writing style not only makes his books easier to read but is itself a theological accomplishment showing as it does how personal God is!  Since God is a Person, in fact the Supreme Person, He should be treated as such in our theological discourse both in thought content and in writing style.  Poythress therefore has become a good example for us to follow.
     I think that what Poythress needs to do now is to arrange the results of his studies into a system.  This, of course, will not only be a lot of work but will also be a project which his mentor John Frame has shied away from due to his reaction to failures at system building in the past, such as the botched attempt by Herman Dooyeweerd in his cosmonomic idea philosophy.  In addition to overcoming this systemophobia, another prerequisite for Frame and Poythress is to complete their journey to a full acceptance of Biblical Law and Biblical Creation toward which they have been moving.  Then they will be ready and full equipped to develop this systematic theology/philosophy.  Bon Voyage !!


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