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Psychology of Religion

In Defense of the Faith, Volume 4

Direct Price: $24.99 $18.50
Format: Paperback
Pages: 228
ISBN: 9798887790893
Publication Date 02/08/71

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Cornelius Van Til’s Psychology of Religion was first published by Presbyterian and Reformed in 1971 as volume 4 of the In Defense of Biblical Christianity series. In its original 1935 syllabus form, it was used for classes at Westminster Theological Seminary. 

In “Introduction: The ‘Religious Consciousness,’” Van Til states, “We are here to defend the Christian view of God and the world. We believe that the modern school of psychology of religion is a new form of attack upon Christian truth. We would therefore study the nature of this attack and the way in which we should meet it.”

In his lengthy discussion of method, Van Til writes,”The Christian concept of hermeneutics is based first of all upon the creation idea, that is, upon the conviction that there are not merely one but two levels of existence, and that man must be interpreted in terms of God. In the second place, the Christian concept of interpretation is based upon the epistemology involved in the notion of two levels of existence, that is, that man’s interpretation must always be reinterpretation.” That philosophy drives Van Til’s evaluation of the modern school of the psychology of religion.

Although Van Til is critical of secular psychologists, he also appreciates many of their insights: “We are quite ready to sit as learners when we read the pages that our opponents have  written. But . . . we will also have to use what we learn from the enemy for the destruction of the enemy.”


The Author

Cornelius Van Til

Cornelius Van Til

Cornelius Van Til (1895–1987) was born in Grootegast, the Netherlands, and immigrated with his family to America in 1905. He attended Calvin College and Calvin Seminary before completing his studies at Princeton Theological Seminary and Princeton University with the ThM and PhD degrees. 

Drawn to the pastorate, Van Til spent one year in the ministry before taking a leave of absence to teach apologetics at Princeton Seminary. When the seminary reorganized, he was persuaded to join the faculty of the newly founded Westminster Theological Seminary. He remained there as professor of apologetics until his retirement in 1972. 

Van Til wrote more than twenty books, in addition to more than thirty syllabi. Among his best-known titles are The Defense of the Faith, A Christian Theory of Knowledge, and An Introduction to Systematic Theology.