Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Clark–Van Til Controversy: The Text of a Complaint and The Answer to a Complaint

In order to help our understanding to the historic watershed that split the Reformed faith into two camps, one can read The Complaint (scanned document), The Text of a Complaint Against Actions of the Presbytery of Philadelphia In the Matter of the Licensure and Ordination of Dr. Gordon H. Clark. As a complaint to the Presbytery of Philadelphia of The Orthodox Presbyterian Church against the ordination of Dr. Clark, this was filed by Dr. Van Til and the WTS faculty on October 6, 1944.

As a respond to a complaint filed by Dr. Van Til and the WTS faculty, one can read The Answer (scanned document), The Answer to a Complaint Against Several Actions and Decisions of the Presbytery of Philadelphia Taken in a Special Meeting Held on July 7, 1944. As an answer from the Presbytery of Philadelphia of The Orthodox Presbyterian Church to denies the complaint and to sustain the ordination of Dr. Clark.

In conclusion, the Presbytery denies that the meeting of July 7, 1944, was illegal and that its actions are thus void. The Presbytery judges that the Complaint fails to prove that Dr. Clark's thinking “bears all the earmarks of rationalism, humanistic intellectualism . . . vicious independence from God” (P. 10, 2; O. 40). The Presbytery denies “that various views of Dr. Clark as set forth in that meeting, and with which this Complaint is concerned, are in error and in conflict with the constitutional requirements for licensure and ordination, and that, therefore, the decision to sustain his theological examination, the decision to waive two years of study in a theological seminary, the decision to proceed to license Dr. Clark and the action of licensing him, the decision to deem the examination for licensure sufficient for ordination, and the decision to ordain Dr. Clark, were in error and unconstitutional, and are, therefore, null and void” (P. 15, 3; O. 61). The Presbytery urges the complainants to study this answer to the Complaint; to acknowledge that they have misrepresented Dr. Clark's views, and that they have wronged him in charging that “Dr. Clark studiously avoided answering” (P. 8, 1; O. 30) a question asked him during his examination; and to desist from their Complaint.

The scanned document of original transcripts, The Complaint and The Answer taken with permission from God's Hammer blog by Sean Gerety. The typed text from original transcripts, The Complaint and The Answer taken with permission from Reasonable Christian blog by Charlie J. Ray.

I corrected some typo and compiled it in two texts. I hope these texts can be used for further study on The Clark–Van Til Controversy. Especially to clarify some misunderstanding and caricature from both side for future discussion on this issue.