Without Excuse

Scripture, Reason, and Presuppositional Apologetics

Edited By David Haines
About this book

The twentieth century was unkind to classical Reformed theology.

While theological conservatives often blame liberals for undermining traditional Protestant doctrines, the staunchest conservatives and neo-Orthodox also revised several key doctrines. Although Cornelius Van Til developed presuppositional apologetics as an attempt to remain faithful to timeless Christian truth as the Reformed tradition expresses it, he sacrificed the catholic and Reformed understanding of the use of natural revelation in theology and apologetics in the process.

“The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…so that they are without excuse,” writes the Apostle Paul. Without Excuse seeks to grapple with this indictment and show how Van Til’s presuppositionalism fails as an account of natural revelation in light of Scripture, philosophy, and historical theology. It argues that these three sources speak with one voice: creation reveals itself and its God to the believer and unbeliever alike.

Paperback | 341 pages | 6×9 | Published July 28, 2020 | ISBN 978-1949716030

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From the Introduction

This volume is quite critical of the philosophy of Cornelius Van Til (1895–1987) and his followers. But many of this volume’s authors offer such criticism in the spirit of theological sons to a father, recognizing that Van Til’s influence has also been for their good. These essays are, therefore, offered to the church in a spirit of gratitude for our fathers in the faith and for their virtues—even if we seek to make the case that the Van Tillian tradition has committed several errors that have had a significant impact on the life of the church. Balancing on these registers is difficult, and because there is to be no party spirit in the kingdom of God, it is fitting at the outset to name some of the ways in which the Van Tillian movement served the church during the complex twentieth century.

Of first importance, Van Til and his disciples were confident in the authority and inerrancy of Scripture. For all the ways we have perhaps disagreed about the usefulness and necessity of extra-scriptural revelation, in no way should we neglect the example of their unwavering confidence in Scripture (God’s own speech to us). Indeed, for the Christian, the Bible is of the greatest importance, the very word of God. God’s word is a source of truth and life, that which is worthy of our reliance and which both fittingly commands and has rightfully earned our trust. In this, we should not be one iota less confident than the followers of Van Til.

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Joseph Minich


The Bible, Verification, and First Principles of Reason
M. Dan Kemp


Faith and the Natural Light of Reason
Kurt Jaros


The Place of Autonomous Human Reason and Logic in Theology
John DePoe


The Structure of Knowledge in Classical Reformed Theology: Turretin and Hodge
Nathan Greeley


Moderate Realism and the Presuppositionalist Confusion of Metaphysics and Epistemology
J. T. Bridges


Presuppositions in Presuppositionalism and Classical Theism
Winfried Corduan


Presuppositionalism and Philosophy in the Academy
Thomas Schultz


The Use of Aristotle in Early Protestant Theology
Manfred Svensson


The Use of Aquinas in Early Protestant Theology
David Haines


Classical Theism and Natural Theology in Early Reformed Doctrines of God
J. Andrew Payne


Van Til’s Transcendental Argument and Its Antecedents
John R. Gilhooly


A Tale of Two Theories: Natural Law in Classical Theism and Presuppositionalism
Bernard James Mauser

Praise for this work

Without Excuse: Scripture, Reason, and Presuppositional Apologetics is an important contribution to the ongoing presuppositionalism-evidentialism debate.  Particularly impressive is the depth of historical scholarship represented by many of the included essays.  If readers should feel uncomfortable with the heavily Reformed orientation of most of its contributors, a suitable response would be the simple fact that presuppositionalism (with its attendant evils) has generally been promulgated by theologians and philosophers of Reformed persuasion.  This book is a “must” read for serious Christian apologists, whatever their school of thought.”

– John Warwick Montgomery

Professor emeritus of Law and Humanities, University of Bedfordshire; Professor-at-Large, 1517; The Legacy Project Director, International Academy of Apologetics

“Recent work in Protestant theology and apologetics has often assumed that in order to be truly Protestant or Reformed one must be suspicious of older Christian conceptions of the relationship between faith and reason or nature and grace. Under the influence of figures like Cornelius Van Til, this has sometimes led to misguided theological conclusions and misguided views of how Christian theology should be done in the first place. But Reformed Protestants are increasingly pushing back against narrow (and novel) ideas of what it means to be Reformed. This set of essays makes a significant contribution to that effort, covering a wide range of topics in ways that are sure to help us think more carefully about how to expound and defend the catholic faith in the twenty-first century.”

– Steven Duby

Associate Professor of Theology at Grand Canyon University

About the Editor

David Haines (PhD. in philosophy, Université Laval), is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Bethlehem College & Seminary, Associate Professor of philosophy and religion at VIU, lecturer in medieval philosophy at the University of Sherbrooke, and teaching fellow in dogmatics and philosophy with Davenant Hall. David is the founding president of Association Axiome. He has published a number of articles in collaborative books and academic journals, and has published books on Natural Theology and Natural Law. His academic research focuses on Ancient and Medieval philosophy, C. S. Lewis, Thomism, and natural theology. In his spare time, he enjoys juggling and archery.


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