Saturday, March 16, 2013

How Does the Transcendental Critique Work?

William D. Dennison, who studied at Beaver Falls (where Johannes Vos taught), writes:
'By participating in Christ's words, the apologist is to uncover and expose the heart of humanity. For Van Til, no one is exempt from this critical analysis. The transcendental critique reveals the deep roots of sin in the heart of man, and it demands the purity of biblical truth in the church as well as in the individual Christian.'
'How does the transcendental critique work? Let's say, for example, that I believe that all disputes between nations can be resolved through discussion (negotiation) and experience. The transcendental critique attempts to figure out why I hold that position. As you begin your analysis of my thought, as a Christian apologist, you must have a self-conscious understanding of God's revelation from Genesis to Revelation. Specifically, you must participate self-consciously in Christ's message to the church (the Bible) as you attempt to disclose the foundation (root) of my system. By participating in the biblical text, theory and practice are brought together. With a biblical consciousness of God's revelatory truth in place, you are ready to begin your analysis and critique of my thought.'
Remember this phrase:
'By participating in the biblical text, theory and practice are brought together. '

Tim Black, who studied at covenant college, applies this 'Transcendental Analysis and Critique' on Dooyeweerd’s Distinction between Naïve and Theoretical Thought.

In this interview on his book, 'Paul's Two-Age Construction and Apologetics', William Dennison discusses the link between Geerhardus Vos' thought ( his intersecting-plane hermeneutics ) and Cornelis van Til's apologetics. It contains also a critical chapter 4, discussed briefly in this blogpost.  Also instructive to read William Dennison's comparison of Cornelis van Til's apologetics with Keller's approach.

Through William Dennison's explanation of this apologetical method, Francis Schaeffer suddenly emerges as  van Til's best student. Suddenly we also see clear links between van Til's apologetics and Klaas Schilder's deliberate enforcement of the perspicuitas of Scripture and his understanding of Christian freedom.

So let me remind you as I close of 1 Peter 3:15 as quoted by Helenius de Cock:
 'Always be prepared to give an answer (apologia) to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect'

1 comment:

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