Van Til wrote this book as an “expansion and supplement” to his work The Defense of the Faith (1955). Van Til summarizes it as an “attempt to work out in greater detail the nature and implications of our commitment to Scriptural authority in relation to our activity as Christian theologians and philosophers today. In addition several men discussed in Defense of the Faith are given a deeper analysis. Among these are Warfield, Kuyper, Buswell and Hamilton.”
Dr. Cornelius Van Til, served as a professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, for 43 years. He retired in 1972, but remained as an emeritus professor until his death in 1987. Van Til, an immigrant from The Netherlands, was one of the most respected apologetic theologians of his time.
Van Til earned degrees from Calvin College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Princeton University on his way to becoming an Orthodox Presbyterian Minister. He served throughout the ministry and scholarly fields, including teaching as an instructor of apologetics at Princeton Theological Seminary and being heavily involved with the foundation of the Philadelphia-Montgomery Christian Academy.
His most noted writings include The New Modernism, The Defense of the Faith, and Christianity and Barthianism. Much of his work with apologetics focuses on the presuppositions of humans, the difference between believers and non-believers, and the opposition between Christian and non-Christian worldviews.
More information about Van Til as a teacher and Reformed theologian is available in an article Eric Sigward wrote for New Horizons entitled "Van Til Made Me Reformed." Read the article as HTML or PDF (copyright 2004 by New Horizons; used by permission)
“Even so, any measure of autonomy ascribed to man implies a detraction from the self-sufficiency of God. It implies that God can no longer be taken as the final reference point in human predication.” (source)
“Dr. Abraham Kuyper protested in his famous work Principles of Sacred Theology.3 His argument is to the effect that apologetics of this nature gives over one bulwark after another to the enemy. Kuyper’s contention is that the Christian must take his place directly upon the presupposition of the truth of the Christian religion as it is presented in Scripture.” (source)
“By way of complete contrast to this position of Heim we consider that of Calvin. The whole of Calvin’s theology is based on the scriptural teaching to the effect that man can never know himself or his world unless he, from the outset, sees himself and his world created by God and redeemed by Christ.” (source)
“But this view of sin itself comes from Scripture as authoritative. Experience apart from Scripture does not teach such a doctrine. Only he who accepts the Scripture as the authoritative revelation of God and of the self-identifying Son of God, will accept what it says about himself as a sinner. So we are of necessity moving about in circles. Those who accept the fully biblical conception of sin will accept the Bible as authoritative. And those who accept the fully biblical view of sin do so because they accept the Bible as the authoritative Word of God.” (source)
“At one point or another all the Reformed theologians of modern times argue that unless the ‘reason of man’ and the facts of the universe be taken as they are taken in terms of the infallible revelation of God given to man in the Bible, human experience runs into the ground.” (source)