Westminster’s Confession: The Abandonment of Van Til’s Legacy by Gary North

Author Name: North, Gary
Keywords: theology
Book Title: Westminster’s Confession
Subtitle: The Abandonment of Van Til’s Legacy
Pages: 385
Subject: Theonomy
Year of Publication: 1991

Description: “In the final days of October, 1990, the long-predicted book by the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary finally appeared: Theonomy: A Reformed Critique. In response come Westminster’s Confession. It is both a negative and a positive statement. Theonomists believe that “you can’t beat something with nothing.” It is not enough to demonstrate that someone is wrong; you must also show what is correct. Cornelius Van Til made this principle the bedrock application of his apologetic method. It was not enough to demonstrate that his opponents’ systems of thought were internally inconsistent; he also showed why Christianity is the only logical alternative. But he left an incomplete legacy. He refused to offer an explicitly biblical alternative to the natural law theory that he had refuted. His system created a judicial vacuum. Into that vacuum have come two rival factions: the political pluralists and the theonomists. The battle is now engaged. Westminster Seminary’s problem for a generation – indeed, Calvinistic American Presbyterianism’s problem for two centuries – has been to justify a commitment to modern religious and political pluralism in terms of the Westminster Confession’s judicial standards. The faculty has been double-minded on this point: Proclaiming their commitment to Van Til’s apologetic method, they have simultaneously denied the idea that the Bible is the bearer of biblical blueprints or judicial frameworks for society. In short, they have abandoned any ideal of a Christian society, i.e., Christendom itself. This is Westminster’s social and cultural confession – a Theologically negative confession, proclaiming in the name of the original Westminster Assembly what society ought not to be, but never daring to suggest what it should be. In contrast,Westminster’s Confession offers a positive confession. It offers a biblical alternative. It restores the vision of Christendom.”

Amazon Reviewer Steven H. Propp:

Gary Kilgore North (born 1942) is head of the Institute for Christian Economics, and a prominent Christian Reconstructionist, who has written widely on many topics (including postmillennial eschatology).

He wrote in the Foreword to this often sharply-worded 1991 book, “This book is a refutation of Theonomy: A Reformed Critique… My book is what some people will call a ‘quickie.’ The Westminster book is, too, but it took about five years to get it into print… In short, I did not devote my full attention to writing this book… So it is hardly a great book. It does not have to be a great book. It just has to be better than ‘Theonomy: A Reformed Critique.’ … What I neglect will be covered by Greg Bahnsen in the book I commissioned him to write, No Other Standard: Theonomy and Its Critics…”

He asserts, “(Westminster is) no longer willing to defend without qualification Cornelius Van Til’s absolute rejection of natural law theory, both ancient and modern. Here is Westminster’s dilemma: it had to break publicly with Van Til’s philosophy in order to justify its rejection of theonomy. It had to reject his monumental legacy to the Church. Yet even now, the faculty has refused to admit openly that most of them have made this break. This is the thesis of my book.” (Pg. xxii)

He points out, “Rousas Rushdoony does not belong to a local church, nor has he taken communion in two decades, except when he is on the road, speaking in a church that has a policy of open communion or is unaware of his non-member status. He has not spoken with (North or Bahnsen) for many years. But this is Rushdoony’s problem, not ours… Several Christian leaders have attempted to get me and Rushdoony to sit down and discuss our problems. I have in every case agreed, even flying to Washington, D.C., in 1981 to meet with him. He backed out of his agreement when I walked in the room, and he has refused all mediation ever since.” (Pg. 80-81)

He further reveals about his famous disagreement with his father-in-law, “The time has come to stop covering up what really is going on… I submitted to (Rousas J. Rushdoony’s) Chalcedon Report my monthly essay… Rushdoony sent it back and insisted that I rewrite it, saying that it was heretical, and even worse. I refused to rewrite it. I did not insist that he publish it; I just refused to rewrite it… he submitted a protest to our church elders informing them of our heresy, and asking them to discipline us (North and James Jordan) both… they replied that (the article) was somewhat peculiar but certainly not heretical… (Rushdoony) then publicly fired me and Jordan from the Chalcedon Report… What is this disagreement all about? It is (local church) Tyler’s disagreement with Mr. Rushdoony about the requirement of local church attendance and taking the Lord’s Supper…” (Pg. 334-336)

This book will be “must reading” for people wanting “in-depth” information about the Christian Reconstruction/Theonomy debate.”

DOWNLOAD FOR FREE: http://www.garynorth.com/freebooks/docs/pdf/westministers_confession.pdf



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