Van Til: Beams Under the Floor

“Our argument as over against this would be that the existence of the God of Christians theism and the conception of his counsel as controlling all things in the universe is the only presupposition which can account for the uniformity of nature the scientist needs. But the best and only possible proof for the existence of such a God is that his existence is required for the uniformity of nature and for the coherence of all things in the world. We cannot prove the existence of beams underneath a floor if by proof we mean that they must be ascertainable in the way that we can see the chairs and tables of the room. But the very idea of a floor as the support of tables and chairs requires the idea of beams that are underneath. But there would be no floor if beams were not underneath. Thus there is absolutely certain proof for the existence of God and the truth of Christian theism. Even non-Christians presuppose its truth while they verbally reject it. They need to presuppose the truth of Christian theism in order to account for their own accomplishments” (Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, 125-126).

The Christian Conception of Being – Cornelius Van Til

“Such then, in broad outline, is the Christian conception of being or the Christian conception of metaphysics. We may speak of it as a two-layer theory of reality. When men ask us, What is, according to your notion, the nature of reality or being?, [sic] we shall have to say that we cannot give an answer unless we are permitted to split the question. For us God’s being is ultimate, while created being is, in the nature of the case, derivative” (Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith [Fourth Edition], 52-53).

Spurgeon on the “Novice” Pastoral Candidate

“For a man to come shuffling into a College, pretending that he holds his mind open to any form of truth, and that he is eminently receptive, but has not settled in his mind such things as whether God has an election of grace, or whether he loves his people to the end, seems to me to be a perfect monstrosity. ‘Not a novice,’ says the apostle; yet a man who has not made up his mind on such points as these, is confessedly and egregiously ‘a novice,’ and ought to be relegated to the catechism-class until he has learned the first truths of the gospel.”

Spurgeon, Charles H. Lectures to My Students, Zondervan, Grand Rapids. 1954, 39.

Known as the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a baptist minister in London, England from the mid to the late 19th Century. He was the pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle (a mega-church, even by today’s standards), the president of The Pastors’ College, a husband and father, and author of more works than any Christian minister before his time or since.

Ambrose to Constantius on Preaching

“Therefore, let your sermons be flowing, let them be clear and lucid so that by suitable disputation you may pour sweetness into the ears of the people, and by the grace of your words may persuade the crowd to follow willingly where you lead. But if in the people, or in some persons, there is any stubbornness or any fault, let your sermons be such as to goad the listener, to sting the person with a guilty conscience. ‘The words of the wise are as goads’ (Ecclesiastes 12:11). Even the Lord Jesus goaded Saul when he was a persecutor. Consider how saltutary was the goad which made of a persecutor an apostle, saying: ‘It is hard for thee to kick against the goad’ (Acts 9:5).”

Ambrose, Saint Ambrose Letters: 1-91; trans. Sister Mary Melchior Beyenka, Fathers of the Church, Inc., New York. 1954, 78.

As his pastor and mentor, God used Ambrose in the life of Augustine plant the seeds that would eventually blossom into the life and work of the man that gave us such works as Confessions, City of God, and his letters to Pelagius. Though it is less recognized and certainly less acclaimed, Ambrose’s surviving body of work is more extensive than even that of his disciple, Augustine.

C.S. Lewis on the Casual Reading of Old Books

“There are, I know, those who prefer not to go beyond the impression, however accidental, which an old work makes on a mind that brings it to a purely modern sensibility and modern conceptions; just as there are travellers who carry their resolute Englishry with them all over the Continent, mix only with other English tourists, enjoy all they see for its ‘quaintness’, and have no wish to realise what those ways of life, those churches, those vineyards, mean to the natives. They have their reward. I have no quarrel with people who approach the past in that spirit. I hope they will pick none with me. But I was writing for the other sort.”

– C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image (Preface), Cambridge University Press, 1964, pp. ix-x