"During your life as a Christian, and especially in your years of study and later of teaching, who have had the greatest influence on you? The greatest influence in the life of any Christian is God Who speaks to us through His Word, the Bible. However, I have also been greatly influenced by the writings of John Calvin, Abraham Kuyper, and Jonathan Edwards; while Loraine Boettner, R.J. Rushdoony and especially Cornelius Van Til have had a strong personal influence on me.
"Van Til is a very philosophical theologian. What particularly drew you to him? Van Til has a complete commitment to the sovereignty of God and displays a total dependence on Him and His Word in theology, evangelism and apologetics. What sets the seal on this man’s impressive life and ministry is that, though a busy lecturer, a prolific writer and a profound theologian — he would regularlygo to New York and stand on the streets, pleading with Jews to turn to Christ. He did this until he was 85 years of age.
"Given the example of Van Til, what should be our approach to apologetics? Our approach should be that of the Bible! ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God’ (John 3:3). All men are God’s creatures. They all know this deep in their hearts, because they are God’s creatures in God’s creation….
"However, while the cosmological argument (the attempt to prove the existence of a CreatorGodfrom lookingat the creation)serves to make a believermore convinced–itwillnot make an unbeliever believe. We will never persuade an unbeliever to believe. The unbeliever can be saved only by a sovereign act of God. Therefore we must concentrate on faithful and positive affirmation and proclamation of God’s Word, and prayer [Acts 6:4].
– 64 –
"Withinthestudyof theology,whatare yourparticularinterests? Eschatology;Ethicsand the implications of the Ten Commandments for the whole of life; Islam; the development of a Christian Life and World View from the Bible; and the Doctrines of Grace.
"To takejust thelast of these, oneof thedistinctives of Calvinismis thedoctrineof Limited Atonement. If we accepted an unlimited view of the Atonement, would we have any hope as Christians? None at all! As R.B. Kuiper rightly said: `Christ did not die to make salvation possibleforeverybody, butcertainfornobody. Rather,Christdiedtomakesalvationcertainfor everybody for whom He died.'
"How definite then, was the Atonement of Christ? When Jesus died on the cross, His blood was effective to save His elect by name and number — and effective also to bring varying degrees of non-saving benefits to all people. So that all people without exception have been benefitted in some way by the death of Christ, though only God's elect benefit to the extent of salvation.
"What is the future of Calvinism as a system of theology? Ultimately, Calvinism will conquer. It may be ridiculed. It may be misunderstood. It may be misrepresented. It may be confused with Hyper-Calvinism (a doctrinal system which borders on fatalism and which can show verylittle desire for a holylife). But Ibelieve with Charles Hodge that in the last analysis there will be only two great icebergs — consistent Atheism (alias Humanism), and consistent Christianity (alias Calvinism). All other lesser systems will be crushed between them.
"The great issue is: who rules — man, or Christ? Who saves — man, or Christ? Who is sovereign — man, or Christ? Calvinism asserts the salvation and sovereignty of Christ.
"At the beginning of your term as Professor of Theology, what are your hopes for the future of our denomination? My prayerful hope is that the Holy Spirit will lead our denominationtoanever-increasingcommitment tothefull,infallible authority oftheBible; that He will grant us a re-appreciation of historic Calvinism; and that our worship will be dignified, Scriptural worship — with a greater use of psalms and dignified hymns.