Some readers will recall that when I briefly interacted with a post by Brandon Adams I was quick to add that, “One of the reasons I do not tend to engage in arguments against Clarkianism is that I am rather unfamiliar with the position.” Thus far this statement unfortunately remains true as I simply have not had the time to read through Gordon Clark’s work yet. I noted that a problem I saw with the aforementioned post is that, “there is not much by way of interaction with the position Van Til and Bahnsen actually held…In fact there are no quotes from either Van Til or Bahnsen in the entire post.” The lesson here is one we must all pay careful attention to: know and represent your “opponents” fairly. There are any number of good reasons to take the time and effort to do so. One good reason occurred to me again today while reading a Dispensationalist who was (right or wrong) complaining about straw men. Misrepresentation of an opponent (intentional or not) creates a lack of trust in the person offering the refutation of someone else’s alleged position.
This evening I was reading a post by Colin Smith whom I recently recommended in this post. Smith kindly answers a response that PuritanReformed wrote titled, “Van Til and the One person of the Trinity”. My observations here pertain to none of the aforementioned posts involved in this exchange.
Generally when I find a new blog that looks interesting to me I skim over some of the other posts that appear on the site. While looking over some of the older posts at PuritanReformed‘s blog I found one called “Van Till’s misrepresentation of Gordon Clark” which at one point states:
The misrepresentation of Clark and Clarkian thought starts with Van Till. If there is to be any resolution to the Van Till-Clark controversy, both sides have to stop misrepresenting the other side and understand what the other side actually is saying.
Now I do not mean to nitpick, but I could not help but find it somewhat amusing that in a post with an exhortation to “stop misrepresenting the other side and understand what the other side actually is saying” there is a consistent mispelling of the name of the “other side” who is allegedly behind “misrepresentation of Clark and Clarkian thought.” (Note that this problem is corrected in the response to Smith linked to above.) Perhaps it is possible to read Van Til and never pick up the correct spelling of his name. I have my doubts. In any event the mistake is not indicative of a familiarity of Van Til and if anything evidences the opposite. The post itself unfortunately does not cite or quote any primary material from Van Til. PuritanReformed offers excellent advice in the post in question and we should be all the more careful to take it in light of his mistake.
Leave a Reply