Gordon Clark

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For other people named Gordon Clark, see Gordon Clark (disambiguation).
Gordon Haddon Clark
Born August 31, 1902
Died April 9, 1985
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Calvinist
Presuppositionalism
Christian Philosophy
Main interests Epistemology
Philosophy of Religion
Notable ideas Scripturalism
Influences
Influenced

Gordon Haddon Clark (August 31, 1902 – April 9, 1985) was an American philosopher and Calvinist theologian. He was a leading figure associated with presuppositional apologetics and was chairman of the Philosophy Department at Butler University for 28 years. He was an expert in pre-Socratic and ancient philosophy and was noted for his rigor in defending propositional revelation against all forms of empiricism and rationalism, in arguing that all truth is propositional and in applying the laws of logic. His theory of knowledge is sometimes called scripturalism.

Biography[edit]

Clark was raised in a Christian home and studied Calvinist thought from a young age. In 1924, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in French and earned his doctorate in Philosophy from the same institution in 1929. The following year, he studied at the Sorbonne.

He began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania after receiving his bachelor's degree and also taught at Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphia. In 1936, he accepted a professorship in Philosophy at Wheaton College, Illinois, where he remained until 1943, when he accepted the Chairmanship of the Philosophy Department at Butler University in Indianapolis. In 1973, he retired from Butler University and taught at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, and Sangre de Cristo Seminary in Westcliffe, Colorado.

Clark's denominational affiliations would change many times. He was born into and eventually became a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. However, he would eventually leave with a small group of conservatives, led by John Gresham Machen to help form the Presbyterian Church of America (renamed the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1938) and would be ordained in the OPC in 1944. However, in 1948, following the Clark-Van Til Controversy, he joined the United Presbyterian Church of North America. Following the UPCNA's 1956 merger with the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (the same denomination from which the OPC had separated from in 1936) to form the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, Clark joined the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod in 1957. Clark was instrumental in arranging a merger between the RPCGS and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church to form the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod in 1965. When the RPCES became part of the Presbyterian Church in America in 1982, Clark refused to join the PCA and instead entered the unaffiliated Covenant Presbytery in 1984.

Clark was also elected president of the Evangelical Theological Society in 1965.

He died in 1985 and was buried near Westcliffe, Colorado.

Philosophy[edit]

Clark's philosophy and theology has been summarized as:[1]

Publications[edit]

Clark was a prolific author who wrote more than forty books, including texts on ancient and contemporary philosophy, volumes on Christian doctrines, commentaries on the New Testament and a one-volume history of philosophy:

Philosophy[edit]

Theology[edit]

Commentaries[edit]

Additionally, Ronald Nash edited a Festschrift The Philosophy of Gordon H. Clark (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1968), which presented a summary of Clark's thought (viz., the Wheaton lectures mentioned above), critiques by several authors, and rejoinders by Clark.

References[edit]

  1. ^ An Introduction to Gordon H. Clark, by John W. Robbins.
  2. ^ Clark, Gordon Haddon. "A Christian View of Men and Things". The Trinity Foundation. p. 133.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hoeksema, Herman (1995). The Clark-Van Til Controversy. Hobbs, N.M.: Trinity Foundation. ISBN 0-940931-44-3

External links[edit]

  • The Trinity Foundation reprints Clark's works and publishes those of his followers. They have books for sale and articles and audio lectures available for free.
  • The Trinity Lectures in MP3 format free for download (but not streaming), including Clark's Lectures in Apologetics, Lectures on Theology, and Lectures on the Holy Spirit.
  • The Gordon Clark Papers, archived by the Presbyterian Church in America.