Letters to the Editor

John W. Robbins

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Editor’s note: We receive a great deal of mail and try to answer it all personally. From time to time we publish letters that may be of interest to our readers generally. Earlier issues, numbers 31 and 48, were devoted to letters; as our mail increases, so will the number of letters we publish, God willing.


Taking the Gospel to Grand Rapids

Dear Trinity Review:

I am a student at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids. I would like to thank you for the excellent article in the last issue of the Review (Jan/Feb, No. 53) about the doctrine of justification. It is indeed a crucial doctrine. We had a doctrine of Salvation class last quarter and were led to believe that the difference between the Roman Catholic view of justification and the Reformed was not much. I did some reading on my own and was quite sure that this was not true, but I hadn’t run across such a clear and succinct statement till I read your article. Thank you.

I am wondering if you could send me 100 complimentary copies so that I could distribute about 50 of them to others who were in the class and make the others available on the information table.


R. K.

Grand Rapids, MI


Editor’s note: It is outrageous that an institution bearing the name Calvin should be teaching that there is an insignificant difference between the Roman Catholic and the Biblical doctrines of justification. Justification on the basis of the imputed righteousness of Christ alone was one of the major issues of the Reformation. Many of those who profess to be “Christian” and “Reformed” are neither. But God, in his grace, is using students and shoestring operations like the Trinity Foundation to keep the Gospel alive in this apostate age. God has chosen the weak things and the despised things of the world to put to shame the things that are mighty.


The Man and the Myth

Mr. Robbins,

Please send me 15 copies of Cornelius Van Til: The Man and the Myth. Enclosed is a check for $25.88 to cover books plus postage.

Thanks for this much needed critique. I am curious to hear a serious attempt to reply. So far, all I hear is name- calling.

C. B.

Akron, OH


Editor’s note: A semi-serious attempt to reply to Cornelius Van Til: The Man and the Myth appeared in Journey magazine, published in Lynchburg, Virginia. Its editor tells me that my reply will appear in the September-October issue. For those who would like copies of both essays, please write to Richard Knodel, 1021 Federal Street, Lynchburg, Virginia 24504. Ask for the May-June and September-October issues of Journey, and enclose $2 for the magazines.


Dear Dr. Robbins,

I just came back from vacation and read your most recent essay on Van Til. (I had heard about it from my friend Dennis Tuuri in Beaverton, Ore.) I’m sure this will turn out to be a major salvo in the war of apologetics. You are going to be tarred and feathered by many Van Til disciples! However, I hasten to add that you have presented a tight case concerning the matters you deal with. Van Til is guilty of verbal contradiction to say the least.

I “studied” under Van Til at Westminster Theological Seminary, but must confess that I always had trouble following his logic. Most of the time he was dealing with “heavy” philosophical concepts to which I was not particularly adept. Van Til never tried to exegete Scripture, which always bothered me. I did, and still do, appreciate his emphasis on creation, fall, redemption, and judgment as starting points, presuppositions, for valid human knowledge. To me this is basic Calvinism. But all the talk about “paradoxes,” “analogical thinking,” etc. left me quite bewildered.

I once met Dr. Clark at a certain church where he spoke, and when I told him that I was a student at Westminster Theological Seminary, he looked at me and said very seriously, “You are a confused fellow, aren’t you?” I never forgot that one-liner! His writings have done much to help me take Van Til more objectively, as you have done so pointedly.

Please send me a copy of your new booklet on CVT: The Man and the Myth ($3.00 enclosed). Thank you for your courage to dare to write about this issue to fellow Calvinists!

N. J. Pierre,



Dear John,

I just finished reading Garrett P. Johnson’s “The Myth of Common Grace.” It’s great!

I have asked many people about the Clark-Van Til issue, but no one ever gave me an explanation that made sense. Finally, I understand, and am in complete harmony, of course, with Clark’s position.

With best wishes and prayer that the Lord will continue to bless your work.

In His Name,

T. R.

Grove City, PA


Editor’s note: In Gordon H. Clark: Personal Recollections, I hope to include an essay by a gentleman who was a student at Westminster Seminary at the time Van Til and his colleagues began their extensive campaign to discredit Clark. For years the Van Tilians have been providing us with their version of the events; I think a different perspective might shed further light on what was involved in this dispute.


Dear John Robbins,

Please accept my apology for this long overdue word of thanks for your kind generosity. I greatly appreciate the complimentary copies of the books that you have sent me. What makes matters ironically worse, perhaps, is the fact that I have read the books, been fed and ministered to by them, used portions of “intellectual ammunition” in sermons and Sunday school lessons, and profited in my daily conversation with fellow believers and unbelievers alike, but I have been culpably remiss in even acknowledging to you my having received them. For this, I beg your forgiveness.

I would, moreover, like to take this moment to express my wholehearted thankfulness to our sovereign Lord for your faithful ministry. A work such as the Trinity Foundation is rare in an age of “mindless Christianity”; and so it is comforting, edifying, and encouraging to be challenged with real food for thought. It goes without saying, of course, that the emphasis on Scriptural exegesis, logical analysis, and philosophical precision, which is so evident in the writings of Gordon Clark and the Trinity Foundation publications, is therapeutic as well as instructive. Your literature is, above all, a fruit of God’s grace and a blessing to the body of Christ.

Permit me a few words of special thanks for your bold ness in printing Van Til: The Man and the Myth. Your analysis of his teachings and influence is both candid and correct. The sad fact is that I myself went through the motions of esteeming highly the unintelligible contradictory bandwagon of “Van Tilianism.” The great discovery is, of course, that once a person has mastered “VanTilian philosophy,” he must finally be content with having no sure epistemological foundation to stand on. Worse still, it commits one to living with many annoying contradictions that leave no peace of conscience, to say the least. The Lord graciously gave me light on the bankruptcy of the grand Van Tilian myth in a philosophy class at Hood College. His teachings leave one vulnerable to other secular philosophical systems, as well as powerless to defend, in any manner worth discussing, one’s own Christian position. It was at that time that Clark’s logical clarity became quite precious to me. Beside my secular textbook, I kept A Christian View of Men and Things and Thales to Dewey. They were and are INVALUABLE. It was, furthermore, at that time that I realized, as never before, that logic and Christianity are not only not mutually exclusive, but also complementary and inseparable. In any event, all of this is to say that I am thankful to see your pamphlet on Van Til in print. I am sure other believers who are seriously endeavoring to unravel his teachings, or follow his faithful clones, will be enlightened and consoled.

Again, thanks for the books and The Trinity Foundation publications. Our prayers are daily with you and the minis try the Lord has committed to your charge. It is our constant hope that the Lord will use your ministry to make a real impact and change in the current mentality of many wavering “evangelicals,” as well as those who love and seek truth.


R. R.

Frederick, MD


P.S. Your latest release of Gordon Clark’s The Atonement has been a surprise blessing. The book is truly superb. It is a thrill to read a contemporary work that interacts with major Reformed writers on the subject of the atonement. In my opinion, this is one of Clark’s most significant Biblical works, which ought to be in the hands of every Christian who seeks a deeper understanding of the Gospel. Thanks again.


Editor’s note: Although A Christian View of Men and Things is out of print (it did not make enough money for its publisher, so he has decided to publish more rewarding books), The Trinity Foundation has some copies available. We hope to reprint this book and Clark’s history of philosophy, Thales to Dewey, as soon as we can raise the money. It will take between $10,000 and $15,000 for each book.


Christian Schools


I have been receiving your excellent essays for several months. Please accept this letter of encouragement. The work you are doing is wonderful. The essays are rich, full of depth-a blessing to my spiritual walk.

Finances have prevented me from ordering any of your books and from contributing to your ministry. God willing that will change with the new year.

Also, I work at a Christian school, K-12 grade, and would very much like to share some of your essays with faculty and staff. May I have permission to photocopy your essays in general and specifically “Molding Men,” “The Relationship of Public Education to Christianity,” “Math and the Bible”; and “The Coming Caesars.” Since I have permission to use the school’s copier for such purposes, it would be a financial savings for me.

Thank you for considering my request. May God richly reward you with continued depth of teaching and abundant finances to carry on the Lord’s work.

In His Service

S. M.

Greeley, CO


Editor’s note: Permission is granted to all our readers to reprint our essays as they see fit. We ask only that all reprints include our name, current address, and copyright notice.


Dear John,

Thanks for the excellent article “The Hoax of Scientific Creationism.” I agree.

I also don’t see any point to trying to improve government schools. The Bible does not give civil government authority to operate schools.

In Christ,

B. T.

Vienna, VA


Editor’s note: The gentleman is correct, and he has put his actions where his mouth is: Education is not a proper function of government. If all the money, time, and effort that have been poured into anti-busing, anti-sex education, anti- values clarification, pro-prayer, Bible reading and moment of silence campaigns in the government schools had instead been invested in establishing Christian schools and in eliminating government support for any school, church, or scientific institution, our Christian young people would be much better off than they are. Later this year we hope to be releasing two books on education, one by Clark and one by Machen. We believe they will cause a rapid growth in the number and quality of Christian schools, if we can get them into widespread circulation. Let us know what you can do to help.


The State of the Clergy


Please, do not wait until June to remove my name from your mailing list!

I purchased a number of your “books” last year and found them exceedingly poor. You have “all the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” and will not listen to Christ’s own words. I’d appreciate your peddling your false gospel wares somewhere else.


Rev. Douglas K. Foncree

Valdosta, Georgia


P.S. I found Mr. Robbins’ book on “feminism” especially offensive.


Most honorable Sir,

Once again I must praise you for your work. Thank you for responding so quickly to my letter. Your monograph on Van Til was very informative. I also appreciated your note in the front of the book.

I find myself in a peculiar situation. As a Calvinist, who assents to the same propositions as the late Dr. Clark, I find that I am dissatisfied with the Presbyterian Churches (P. C. A. & O. P. C.) in this area. The preaching tends to be shallow, unchallenging, and unbiblical (a minister of a local O.P.C. church preached on predestination, stating that God elects and man, having free will, still chooses his destiny. He then “resolved” the difficulty by accepting paradox. The minister was taught at Westminster!) Thus, living in a theological desert, I always look forward to your newsletters, books, and tapes!

Enclosed is a check for the support of your work. I also enclosed a check for one (1) copy of The Text of a Com plaint ...., and one (1) copy of Religion, Reason & Revelation....

Post Tenebras Lux,

M. S.

Boca Raton, FL


Dear Sirs:

I have received your publications for years. I corresponded only once with Dr. Gordon Clark. It was one letter interchange over an article on prisons. I have had some appreciation of his attempts to systematize philosophically the truths set forth simply in Holy Scripture. In the fulfillment of the mission of the church to preach the Gospel to every creature, we need those who can communicate with the elitests [sic] though they are very few in number. I have thought that Dr. Clark sought to do this. I particularly appreciated his witness within the secular philosophical community instead of seeking the isolation of the Christian ghetto.

However, since his death, a new tone has been introduced. The vitriolic attack on Van Til, the recent attack on Scientific Creationism, and the “Right Wing Radical Chic” is strong language, attitude, and purpose. Maybe I am asking what is your goal and strategy? Has Trinity Foundation changed its purpose? Certainly the original approach is changing and it appears the purpose is changing also. I do not want a Philosophical Carl McIntyre to come on the scene. If you keep at it, you are only going to be heard by those supported by The Trinity Foundation.

May I plead for an intelligent commitment to promoting the position of Evangelist to the Elitest? That is needed.

Together in Him,

Ben Wilkinson

Executive Director

Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship

Decatur, GA


Editor’s note: I was not aware that Gordon Clark held the position of “Evangelist to the Elitest (sic).” He preached in skid row missions; he wrote for serious Christian laymen; and he was ignored by the ecclesiastical bureaucrats as much as possible, for they were uncomfortable with his uncompromising Christianity.

Mr. Wilkinson, in good bureaucratic fashion, objects to “strong language, attitude, and purpose.” He has no Biblical basis for such an objection, for Christ, the apostles, the prophets, and ordinary Christians also used strong language and were resolute in their purposes. There are many specific commands to teach, instruct, rebuke, and reprove. So when theologians teach that God is one person; or when lawyers deny that creation involves a Creator; or when colonels and rightwing liberation theologians defend lying, misappropriation of funds, sedition, and murder as service to God, it is high time for some strong language. Some religious leaders like Mr. Wilkinson may find it uncomfortable; so did some religious leaders of Christ’s day. Both feel more at home with zealots than with Christians.


News from Westminster Seminary

Dear Sirs:

In this world of ours, everyone seems bent on selling you something, especially in California! Most of our mail seems to consist of brochures advertising that my carpets can be cleaned for $29.95 or some other such drivel. Your publications have just joined those ranks. Please take my name off your mailing list. I never wish to hear from you again.

I don’t have much time to waste on your type, but some of the reasons are as follows: First, I AM NOT A VAN TILLIAN, but I am amazed at the things you print concerning the man. Frankly, they border on libel. On the one hand you criticize (correctly I might add) Westminster’s attitude toward Van Til as some sort of hero worship; but then you turn right around and kiss the ground (I could say more) where Gordon Clark has walked! I’ve read Clark’s (and Van Til’s) stuff. Neither one of them has any worry of being named theologian of the century (despite each man’s adoring throng!).

Next, I am amazed (easily amazed aren’t I) at the NAR ROWNESS you take. You should be called the Narrowmen. The Reformed Faith seems to pride itself on how many times it can split off of a church or denomination, but you really take the cake. Gee Wally, do ya suppose only the four of you will be in heaven, or is your heaven just better than other folks’? You seem to make a profession out of both dissension and argument. Now before you go burning out a cylinder or somethin’, let’s set the record straight. No, I’m not a universalist; No, I’m not a liberal; Yes, I’m a conservative, etc., etc., Yes, I’m quite aware of John 14:6 and other passages so don’t bore me by sending some sort of reply attempting to defend your view. I’m just sorry that there is so little love for the brethren in your publications-I can see how you might be able to strain a gnat, but isn’t it hard to swallow a camel?


Mike McKenzie

Escondido, CA


Editor’s note: Mr. McKenzie deplores the lack of love for the brethren in our publications. He fails to understand that it is precisely love for the brethren that causes us to write as we do. The brethren are being cheated, defrauded, by teachers who make a career out of being either un-Biblical or unintelligible or both, and then dare to intimidate ordinary Christians by saying that if they fail to agree with the teachers’ un-Biblical foolishness, they are unspiritual. We do not consider it love for the brethren to remain silent in the face of such false teaching. Mr. McKenzie apparently does. No doubt warning Christians about false teaching is unpopular with those teaching the falsehoods, and also with those who prefer unity on some basis other than the truth. People like Mr. McKenzie are willing to tolerate almost everyone except the man who insists on calling a spade a spade.


Dear Sirs:

Thank you very much for Dr. Clark’s Religion, Reason and Revelation, which was required reading for Professor John Frame’s course, Introduction to Theology and Apologetics (ST111) here at Westminster Seminary in California. Professor Frame has spoken highly of Dr. Clark’s abilities and his writings.

I have been especially impressed with Dr. Clark’s clear, forthright style as well as his firm adherence to Reformed theology. May God richly bless your work to widely disseminate the works of this great thinker.

Please find enclosed an order for some books. The work on textual criticism will dovetail with my upcoming New Testament course (and I am one of only a few that adhere to the Majority Text). The work on the Trinity will go along with the course on the doctrine of God. The commentary is for a friend. I look forward to some pleasurable reading.

Truly yours,

D. A.

Escondido, CA


Force or the Gospel?

Dear Mr. Robbins:

A copy of your article, “Rightwing Radical Chic,” recently came across my desk. I rather think you have your head screwed on backward concerning this issue. History speaks frankly of civilized action (i.e. persuasion) taken to control the spread of communism-and it is a dismal record. Civilized action saw the USSR gobble up Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and a third of Germany. Had the Western Allies listened to further civilized discourse-instead of putting a firm foot down in Berlin-the whole continent would now be gloriously “liberated.”

Communist agression [sic] since that time lurks in every corner of the globe, even in our own backyard. Name one instance when civilized discourse stayed their hand. Communists use civilized talk and persuasion to consolidate gains and plan new ventures. Only force freezes their advance.

”Free market terrorism,” hardly. Halting or reversing communist agression [sic], yes. Good men speak, better men take the appropriate action.


Michael L. Saunier

Dir. of Editorial Services

Christian Publications

Camp Hill, PA


Editor’s note: It is typical of our times that the editor of an allegedly Christian publishing house should make the statement, “Only force freezes their [the Communists’] advance.” The statement betrays an enormous ignorance of Christian theology, a complete abandonment of the Gospel, and an inexcusable misunderstanding of the history of the twentieth century. The one thing that will not stop Communism is force. The Russian civil war, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Chinese civil war, innumerable CIA covert actions, and so on, make that point with unmistakable clarity. One cannot fight ideas with guns, missiles, or hydrogen bombs.

The only thing that will stop the advance of Communism is the preaching of the Gospel. But most churches today do not know or teach the Gospel, most missionaries preach only the opinions of men, and most Christian editors prefer to use force. One wonders why this particular editor does not quit his job and join the Marines. After all, “good men speak, better men take the appropriate action.” The appropriate action in this case is resignation.

Nearly seventy-five years ago J. Gresham Machen, arguing that the defense of the faith had to be carried to all fronts, but particularly the academic, wrote: “What is today a matter of academic speculation begins tomorrow to move armies and pull down empires.” The academic speculations of the nineteenth century are moving the armies and pulling down the empires of the twentieth. American Christians, beguiled by political conservatives, have yet to understand the nature of their enemies. They are not flesh and blood, but principalities, powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places. American Christians, misled by conservative humanists, have yet to understand that the Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword. In modern parlance, the Word of God is the intellectual equivalent of a thermonuclear bomb. But American Christians have placed their faith in bombs and bullets, not the Gospel.

It is absolutely insane to oppose leftwing liberation theology with rightwing liberation theology. Our weapon is the Gospel, the whole counsel of God, not force. Communism is advancing because those who profess to be Christians are not preaching the Gospel. Communism will continue to advance until those who profess to be Christians either die in their ignorance or rediscover the Gospel. Communism, like AIDS, is one of God’s judgments on an idolatrous world.

Political conservatism, and many American Christians are knee-jerk conservatives, is a form of humanism. I made the point 11 years ago in The Journal of Christian Reconstruction in my article, “The Trouble with Conservatives.” Yet today we have professed Christians who think they are rendering God service by advocating and supporting murder, mayhem, sedition, lying, and assorted other violations of the Ten Commandments. Ironically some of these Christians claim to be Theonomists, that is, they claim to apply all of God’s law to all of life. Apparently they are reading a different Bible. My Bible says that it is wrong to do evil that good may come.


The Grace of God

Editor’s note: The next two letters were received from the same person in December 1986.


Dear Dr. Robbins:

I would appreciate receiving more information about the Trinity Foundation, including its Review.

Your review (alongside of George Smith’s) of Gordon Clark’s Philosophy of Science and Belief in God in The Libertarian Review kindled my initial interest in Clark’s thought, and your critique of Ayn Rand still commands my respect. Murray Rothbard told me you had once worked for Ron Paul, but no one I know in the movement seems to know what you are doing these days. Please give me an idea of your theological perspective on libertarianism.

Clark’s (and your?) thought depends on the cogency of the “axiom” of Biblical revelation and the self-contradictory character of all non-Biblical philosophies. Yet the “axiom” that the Bible is the Word of God seems to me to be some what less worthy (axios) of unquestioned belief than those simple propositions I was taught in high school math class. (No doubt those who accept the Bible can account for those who do not in terms of God’s election.) I will, however, take at face value your commitment to rationality in theology that appears in “The Crisis of Our Time” and am open to any rational considerations that will make your “axiom” more palatable to my mind.

Clark’s attempt to convict all “secular” philosophies of inconsistency seems most vulnerable when he comes to the realist theory of perception. One must presuppose the veridicality of perceptual awareness in order to express arguments that aim at undermining it as the basis of knowledge. That was the gist of Smith’s criticism of Clark, and I believe this insight would survive a thorough study of Clark’s theory of knowledge.

I know what you think of Ayn Rand’s epistemology as she formulated it, but have you had a chance to peruse The Evidence of the Senses (Louisiana State University Press, 1986) by her better-read disciple, David Kelly? It does not appear to be open to the same attack.

Hoping to hear from you soon, I am,

T. F.



Editor’s note: I do not want to leave one of Mr. Flood’s assertions uncorrected. He writes: “One must presuppose the veridicality of perceptual awareness in order to express arguments which aim at undermining it as the basis of knowledge.” That is not true. In order to undermine the claim that our senses furnish us with knowledge, one need only show that they furnish us with conflicting data. We need not know which data, if any, are true. So long as there is a conflict, some data must be false, and perhaps all are. If it is impossible to tell which data are true, the veridicality of sense perception is thoroughly undermined.


Dear Dr. Robbins:

Thank you for your prompt response of December 8th and the helpful literature that accompanied it. I have some good news I would like to share with you.

About two days after I mailed my letter to you, Gordon Clark’s arguments, which I had hopelessly consulted on and off since about 1979, began to penetrate my rebelliously thick skull. My belief in the Bible as the Word of God, which I had suppressed in unrighteousness since about 1983, has been “resurrected.” My return to Bible study, from which I had allowed myself to be seduced away, is a mystery of grace which I pray I will one day more fully understand.

In November of 1979, when I heard an ultradispensationalist “Christian Individualist” preach the Gospel on Wall Street and accepted Christ as my Savior, I discovered Evangelical philosopher Norman Geisler and Jesuit Bernard Lonergan. As I was then studying for my (never to be gotten) doctorate in philosophy, I wanted philosophical in sight into the object of my new faith. Geisler’s Christian Apologetics satisfied me when I first read it, as had Lonergan’s Insight, in which a most rigorous (but I now think flawed) cosmological argument is set forth. I did not think much of what material by Reformed philosophers I could find. How could one settle for Clark’s “axiom of revelation” when Lonergan’s magisterial proof of God’s existence was available?

The sola Scriptura theology I took from that preacher clashed with the Romanist natural theology I became addicted to. Human reasoning was my real starting point, not the Bible. All my pre-salvation education had done every thing to encourage and nothing to criticize this assumption. My belief in the propositions of the scriptures was conditioned by my understanding of an argument for the authority of Christ, which presupposed the validity of argument for His deity, which depend on arguments for the reliability of the Gospels, which required an argument for the possibility of miracles, which relied on arguments for the existence of God. Every one of those arguments had been challenged by eminent thinkers, and the more time I spent embroiled in philosophical theology, the less time I had for Biblical theology, which I thought depended on the former.

My confidence in the Scriptures eroded steadily. Soon I concluded that George Smith was right. Because I had not accepted the Bible as the fountain of all knowledge, I could not see it as knowledge at all. But Clark has shown how simple, and rational, it is to accept the Bible as such a foundation. I never had as much peace of mind as when I was studying the Bible diligently with a small company of believers who have remained my friends. But I could not coherently renounce my anti-theology until a Reformed intellectual at my place of work began to debate me daily about the status of universals and the impossibility of empiricism. His persistence was the occasion of my digging out my volumes of Clark and buying those I did not have. Please note that this brother, an architect by profession, had nothing more in his philosophical arsenal than Francis Schaeffer: I introduced him to Gordon Clark!

Theologically, I am picking up pretty much where I left off, but I will soon be studying Clark’s exposition of the Westminster Confession. Clark may have shown me the way to intellectual and rational integrity in theology, but whether all the propositions of Calvinist orthodoxy do in deed follow by “good and necessary” deduction from the axiom of revelation, I will have to discover for myself. I remain as suspicious of ecclesiastical as I do of political “orthodoxy,” but will be happy to bring my suspicions “captive to Christ” if they are not vindicated by Scripture.

I have been occupied with libertarian theory since about 1983, and I look forward to seeing if my “natural rights” speculations are compatible with a Scriptural view of men and things. Only thinkers like yourself can provide a theory for the movement for liberty, for all the dominant libertarian schools of thought are empiricistic.

Enclosed is an order for literature. Thanks for all you have done to give Clark’s writings a wider audience. Any response by you to the above, however brief, will be received gratefully.

Yours in the Lord,

T. F.



The Philosophy of Science

Dear John,

Many thanks for the copies of Gordon Clark’s science books. You did it again! The updated version is excellent. It’s especially helpful to have the index added, and the cover is superb in setting the tone. Your introductory re marks nicely capsulize the message. The Lord continue to guide you in this important work.

Very best to you,

H. D.

Crystal Lake, IL



News from Dallas Seminary

Dear Sirs:

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your quick response to my request for materials. I have leafed through them and find myself quite enthused about the concept and goals of Trinity.

I am a Dallas grad who, by the grace of God, has wrestled all the way through that school only to find that I must reject Dispensationalism completely. When I first started at Dallas, I was enchanted by the sugary and “dynamic” ministries of several of the professors and sought earnestly to conform to the Dallas image of squeaky-clean, always perky and upbeat and the ability to speak only in superlatives (“SU-U- UPER!!”, “Hey, FANTASTIC!!”, etc.). I soon began to feel uneasy in my soul and, to make a long story short, dropped out for three and one-half years. During this time God opened my eyes (after much struggle) to the doctrines of Sovereign grace and put me on my face before Him for the first time. I knew that I had at least a little bit of solid truth and that I must return to seminary and my ministerial ambitions in order to share this wonder-full truth. Needless to say my remaining years at that school were hell at times. But God was so faithful. I was taught many things by the Spirit and through the Word as I wrestled with the trite answers and superficial fluff they were attempting to teach me. That school is overwhelmed by what I call the “Christian Ed types” who want to denigrate theology (or least relegate it to the backseat) in order to exalt the so-called “practical” issues which are “what people are really interested in.” To stand upon and insist upon the steel of true doctrine, out of which flows true practical theology, is to align oneself with a minority that is constantly attacked and harassed I have found out ... even within the bounds of conservative, orthodox Presbyterianism! BUT HOW CAN WE DO ANYTHING ELSE!!??? “A lion has roared! Who will not fear? YHWH God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” At times I feel very much like Elijah in the cave, hunted, persecuted, and feeling alone, but everywhere we have gone we have always found just a blessed handful who are hungry for the truth (it makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it?).

I am truly thankful for men down through the history of the church, such as Trinity, who are willing to stand without apology for the propagation of truth. Please accept my small donation of support and sign me up for one year of the Trinity Papers.

In His Service,

For His glory,

J. S.

Yakima, WA


P. S. Am sending a copy of your “Manifesto” to a good friend in Dallas who is also very concerned about these issues.


A New Magazine

Dear Mr. Robbins:

Please find the enclosed check for $20. I wanted to give earlier but did not do so because I was unemployed for the last three months. I hope I can still get The Trinity Review. The last issue I have is the May/June 1987 issue. So maybe I haven’t missed anything.

”The Myth of Common Grace” was outstanding. I am not sure where I come out on this question but Johnson’s piece is a model of dispassion and lucidity. As a student and graduate of Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, I had often wondered exactly what the controversy was about. This essay is a wonderful teaching tool. And I appreciate the light it sheds on the Dutch angle.

A question: Have you ever considered a news section in The Trinity Review? Now that the Presbyterian Journal isn’t publishing there isn’t a dependable way that I’m aware of learning what is going on. What, for example, has General Assembly been up to this year? What is O. Palmer Robertson up to? How is Morton Smith’s effort to get that new seminary off the ground (the one named after Thornwell) going? Maybe I should subscribe to New Horizons? or the PCA Messenger. Anyway, it’s just a thought.

Best regards,

M. O.

Tulsa, OK

September/October 1987