Critics of Cornelius Van Til often complained that in Van Tils presuppositionalist apologetics there was no room for the use of evidences to verify the Christian faith. But Van Til often said that evidences were an important part of apologetics. In fact, he taught a required course on Christian Evidences at Westminster Theological Seminary. Now the textbook for that course is available again, Christian Theistic Evidences, in a new edition with introduction and new footnotes by Scott Oliphint of Westminster, who has produced recent editions of other Van Til works. Christian Theistic Evidences is Van Tils philosophy of fact, his philosophy of science, and as such it should interest everyone who seeks to understand Van Tils work.
Christian-Theistic Evidences may not be the catchiest title for an apologetics text, but readers who have digested Van Tils revolutionary insights will understand that it carries a profound double-meaning. Not only are there abundant evidences for the truth of Christian theism, the very idea of evidences presupposes the truth of Christian theism. Evidences are, by nature, Christian theistic. If the sovereign God of the Bible exists, they can be nothing less. No one has pressed this point with more conviction than Van Til. Im immensely grateful to P&R for issuing these new editions of Van Tils major works with insightful editorial annotations by Scott Oliphint and William Edgar.
There is no greater misconception about the presuppositional epistemology of Van Til than that it has no place for offering evidences for the truth of Christianity. There is no more important recognition about this epistemology, rooted in Scripture as the self-attesting revelation of the Triune God essential for interpreting the whole of reality, than that it provides the only sound basis for a truly compelling presentation of the manifold evidence there is. The value of this seminally important work is greatly enhanced by Oliphints Forward and his editorial comments throughout.
Does the defense of the faith require evidences? Absolutely, as long as they are accounted for within the biblical worldview. Christian Theistic Evidences deserves to be better-known than it is. Historically, it represents Cornelius Van Tils first, revolutionary statement of presuppositional (or covenantal) apologetics. It contains all of his major statements against the pretended neutrality of fact, of reason, and of foundations. Dr. Oliphints masterful annotations clarify and enhance the beauty of the text. His Introduction is pure gold. This is must reading for anyone who wishes apologetic method to be consistent with sound theology.