31 Days, 31 Books
Henry was “the other Van Til.” Like his kinsman-uncle Cornelius, Henry was a faithful Christian, a thinker, and a teacher. He was, until his death at age 55, a professor of Bible at Calvin College. He attended Westminster Theological Seminary, where he famous uncle taught, and also studied at the Free University of Amsterdam, which was the key place where Reformed people sought higher learning.
He is remembered for one book: The Calvinist Concept of Culture. This is a key book in the area of developing a Christian worldview. But it is not a mere Christian survey of different areas of life with Bible verses attached. This is a heavy-weight foundational study. A large part of the book entails a study of key Christian thinkers whose theological vision and Biblical vision was culture impacting and culture changing. The four Christian thinkers were Augustine, John Calvin, Abraham Kuyper, and Klaus Schilder.
It should be no surprise that the two more recent thinkers were Dutch. Van Til knew that the country of his heritage had changed the world through producing a long line of Christian theologians, philosophers, social critics, political thinkers, and culture changers. From Kuyper and Schilder, one can quickly go to such names as Bavinck, Dooyeweerd, Van Reissen, and Rookmaaker.
There have been great works of theology produced by the Reformers and their heirs. There have been many works directing Christians toward lives of piety and godliness by the same group. But there have been, and continues to be, great Christian works that still press the Lordship of Christ to all areas of life and culture.
Henry Van Til is best remembered for a great phrase: “Culture is religion externalized.” This book is a 245 page exposition of that statement. Van Til’s obituary stated this about his life and beliefs: “Christ crucified and risen, King in every relationship of life, was the burden of his preaching, teaching and writing.”
Great quotes from The Calvinistic Concept of Culture: