The Presbyterian Philosopher
The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark
Imprint: Wipf and Stock
It is with great pleasure that I read and analyzed this biography. Matters mentioned in this biography have cleared up many of the lingering questions about the issues that I have had over the years. I suspect that a number of others will welcome those clarifications. The book is comprehensive, but while giving a clear and complete outline of his ministry in various venues, nevertheless focuses upon Clark's views and the responses of various persons to them over the years. The issues over the knowledge of God are thoroughly and fairly discussed, and the reader is left to decide whether or not Clark's view of human and divine attributes is "cold" as has been charged. The author seems not to think so, yet on this as on other issues, allows you determine your own opinion from the information that he presents rather objectively. For those who want to know more about the history and work of Gordon Clark, I can confidently recommend this book.
--Jay Adams, Founder of The Institute for Nouthetic Studies
Dr. Cornelius Van Til was absolutely correct when he stated that " . . . Clark" was an " . . . outstanding Christian Philosophers of our time." How can anyone disagree with Dr. Van Til's assessment of Dr. Gordon H. Clark? In this book on the life of Gordon H. Clark, you have the factual events that drove a wedge between Clark and Van Til. Even today the heart of the issue is hidden beneath years of misunderstanding. This is the definitive book on Clark's life, researched and documented by Doug Douma. A must read by laymen, students, pastors, and professors who love Reformed Christian Philosophy and Apologetics.
--Kenneth Gary Talbot, President, Whitefield Theological Seminary and College
To understand Gordon H. Clark is to understand the New Evangelicalism. As professor of philosophy at Wheaton College in the 1930s he influenced beyond measure their emerging leaders: Carl Henry, Ed Carnell, Paul Jewett, and Ed Clowney. His bigger-picture understanding of culture and Christianity and trenchant way of critiquing Liberalism went far beyond the good-intentioned but shallow Fundamentalism that had gone before. His evaluation of Barth and Bultmann was searchingly critical while recognizing their rejection of the old Liberalism. Cornelius Van Til had also been critical of previous Christian thinking, but his approach had led to a new Reformed narrowness while Clark's own scholarly way provided a more balanced response for our way ahead. I appreciate Douglas Douma's thorough and sympathetic treatment of GHC's work, and I am confident he will show us from Clark where we may find new hope and vigor to focus the Christian gospel against humanistic culture.
--Dr. D. Clair Davis, Professor of Church History Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary
This fascinating account of the life and work of controversial Presbyterian theologian Gordon H. Clark is not only of interest to every Reformed believer, especially every Reformed minister of the gospel. But it is also of urgent importance. Again at the beginning of the 21st century, the fundamental doctrines for which Clark contended, and suffered, are lively, urgent issues in the Reformed and Presbyterian churches. Indeed, they are at issue also in the more broadly evangelical communities. These doctrines include Scripture as the infallible source and standard of the knowledge of God; the logical and, therefore, comprehensible (understandable, knowable) nature of divine revelation in the Bible; the real and binding authority of the Reformed, in Clark's case Presbyterian, creeds; the particularity and sovereignty of the gracious, saving call of the gospel, in opposition to the popular theory of an inefficacious "well-meant offer" to all alike; and more. Presbyterians neglect or dismiss Clark to their peril.
--David J. Engelsma, Professor of Theology Emeritus, Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary
Gordon H. Clark was one of the most significant Christian thinkers of the 20th century. Through numerous books and effective classroom teaching at more than four institutions of higher education he influenced several generations of scholars, especially in Presbyterian and Evangelical circles. Biographer Douglas Douma has skillfully woven distinctive elements of Clark's philosophical and theological thought through this thoroughly researched account of his life, including his activity as a churchman, revealing much about American Presbyterian history. His narrative also interestingly captures much of the humanness of Gordon Clark the man.
--Dr. William S. Barker, Professor of Church History Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary
Dr. Clark had a significant influence on my desire to study philosophy. I studied with him during the summer of 1969. His emphasis on logic aroused my philosophic mind to think through certain issues from a rational standpoint. He also increased my understanding of Calvinism and solidified many doctrines that I had already come to accept.
--Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor, The Moody Church, Chicago
A biography of Gordon Clark, which he did not think necessary, is long overdue. Douma has admirably corrected this oversight. His work is well researched, accurate, and interesting. Most importantly, it gives the historical context in which Clark's contributions to Christian thought arose.
--Dr. Frank Walker, Professor of Historical Theology, City Seminary Sacramento
Gordon Clark had a small but loyal following of those who learned and gained much from his philosophical approach and thought. One said that Clark was "one of the profoundest evangelical Protestant philosophers of our time." Another celebrated him as "one of the greatest Christian thinkers of our century." Yet, for all of his many books, more than 40 during his academic career, and his scholarly articles, Clark is not well known in the Evangelical church. This biography of Gordon Clark's life and thought was written with the desire to reintroduce us to a man who, though not well known, had an impact in his generation, and through his writings continues this influence. Readers will be reminded and challenged by Clark's indefatigable commitment to and defense of propositional revelation against all other philosophical thoughts. In fact, Clark's commitment to Scripture as the revealed Word of the sovereign God is so foundational to his thought that his view is usually called scripturalism. This biography casts new light on a leading scholar and thinker of the 20th century, who yet dead continues to speak and influence.
--Dr. Dominic A. Aquila, President, New Geneva Theological Seminary, The Aquila Report
Doug Douma is to be commended for this biography; it is fascinating and thoroughly researched. Gordon Clark's passion was Biblical truth and his gift was logical consistency. He also had the fortitude to confront anyone whose views were not Biblical or consistent. This of course frustrated and even angered many. While living in his home during my college years, I particularly observed and learned that he, my grandfather, was more gracious, patient and brilliant than most of his students and opponents would ever understand.
--Andrew S. Zeller, President, Sangre de Cristo Seminary, D.Min.; Th.M.; M.Div.; Chap. COL (Ret.).
I got hooked on reading this book! It was a great experience walking down those trails again. Doug Douma has really done an incredibly good job at documenting everything and putting together an accurate and sober narrative. He has done a wonderful job at putting together the history of Gordon Clark to present him both as a thinker and as a Christian man. I was delighted to learn so many things about the history and views of this truly great Christian philosopher.
--Dr. John Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology & Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary