The Scripturalism of Gordon H. Clark (by W. Gary Crampton) is a book that summarizes Gordon Clark’s system of apologetics and theology. If anyone wants to learn about Gordon Clark, I recommend reading this book before anything else. The terminology used in the book is simple and easy to follow. Gordon Clark’s works tend to be easier to read, so for those who are not as philosophically savvy, this book will give an easy to follow summary of Clark’s beliefs.
The book starts out by giving very brief (but devastating) critiques to secular epistemology. The author is less concerned with refuting secular epistemology and more concerned with explaining scripturalism to the reader. However, even though the author says little about the flaws in rationalism, empiricism, and irrationalism, what he does say is devastating to secular philosophy. The book is only about 90 pages long so it can be read quickly. I was so pleased with the book that I had trouble putting it down. I finished reading it in a single day.
After critiquing secular epistemology, the book goes on to explain numerous Biblical doctrines such as special and general revelation. It then goes on to make the distinction between opinion and knowledge. The distinction of knowledge and opinion may seem trivial and obvious, but Crampton has a bit more to say than what one would think on this topic. In fact, if you believe that science can lead to knowledge, you may be quite shocked at some of the criticisms that Crampton levies against the idea that science can lead to knowledge.
Some of Clark’s books can be a little difficult to read if you don’t understand his philosophy. This is because in most books by Clark, he spends most of his time responding to others. This leaves you with trying to figure out what his apologetic method and philosophy actually is. For someone who doesn’t have time to meticulously study the text, it can be difficult for some to figure out what Clark’s method is. Also, Clark was born in 1902 so Clark’s culture and they way they spoke is a bit different from our culture and how we speak. As a result, some people may sometimes have trouble understanding what he is saying. Clark is a clear writer for his time, but some may still have trouble with some parts of his books. Luckily, Crampton’s book is easier to read than Clark’s books are. He uses modern language and does a good job of explaining and systematizing Clark’s system.
Although this book is a great summary of Clark’s views, it never mentioned the philosophy of occassionalism that Clark espoused. For the reader’s benefit, I will say something about this topic in hopes of filling in this blank. Some may ask, “How can Clark avoid the fact that Clark has to read The Bible in order to know what it says?” Crampton responds by showing all of the problems with empiricism, but the question poised can also be sincere. Clark held that God ultimately causes all things that come to pass. If on were to trace all of the effects back to the beginning of time, one would find that God is ultimately the cause of all things that come to pass. Because God is the one-true cause, there is no causal relation between reading The Bible with our sight and obtaining enlightenment from the scriptures. If anything be deemed a cause, it must be a sufficient cause that does not require any outside source for the cause to lead to the effect. God is self sufficient, and thus, does not need outside existence to cause an effect. Therefore, God is the one-true cause. God is the sufficient cause of all things that come to pass.
In conclusion, this book is more about explaining Christian epistemology and doctrinal views than it is about refuting other epistemological views. If you are looking for a summary of Clark’s apologetic and epistemology, this book should be the first book you read.