Gordon Clark

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Gordon Haddon Clark (August 31, 1902-April 9, 1985) was an American philosopher and Calvinist theologian. He, like Cornelius Van Til (with whom he had many bitter disputes over philosophical matters related to their shared faith), was a primary advocate for the idea of presuppositional apologetics. He was chairman of the Philosophy Department at Butler University for 28 years.


Clark was raised as a Christian, and studied Calvinist thought from a young age. In 1924, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree and earned his doctoral degree from the same institution in 1929. He immediately took a teaching job there, before accepting a professorship in philosophy at Wheaton College in 1936. Clark was an expert in ancient philosophy and was noted for his rigor in defending Platonic realism against all forms of empiricism, in arguing that all truth is propositional, and in applying the laws of logic.

In 1944, Clark left Wheaton and was ordained a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and he shortly thereafter accepted a position as professor at Butler University. In the years that followed, Clark would change denominations twice: first to the United Presbyterian Church of North America in 1948 and then to the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, General Synod in 1957. Clark was there instrumental in arranging a merger with another Presybterian denomination to form the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod in 1965.

In 1974, Clark left Butler and taught at several institutions, including Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, Sangre de Cristo Seminary in Westcliffe, Colorado, and the Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphia. After his death in 1985, his funeral services were held in Westcliffe, Colorado, where his body is interred.


Clark was a prolific author who wrote around forty books ranging from texts on ancient and contemporary philosophy to volumes on individual Christian doctrines to essays on education and politics to commentaries for laymen on the epistles of the New Testament. Some of his books are:


  • An Introduction to Christian Philosophy, in which Clark's thought is well summarized in three lectures given at Wheaton College (ISBN 0940931389)
  • Thales to Dewey, a history of philosophy (ISBN 0940931265)
  • Ancient Philosophy, Dr. Clark's section of a History of Philosophy, which he co-published with three other authors; also includes eleven major essays, including his doctoral dissertation on Aristotle (ISBN 0940931494)
  • William James and John Dewey (ISBN 0940931435)
  • Behaviorism and Christianity (ISBN 9997791185)
  • Philosophy of Science and Belief in God (ISBN 0940931850)
  • Historiography: Secular and Religious (ISBN 0940931397)
  • A Christian View of Men and Things, development of a Christian worldview (ISBN 1891777017)
  • A Christian Philosophy of Education (ISBN 0940931206)
  • Logic, a text book on logic for students (ISBN 0940931974)


  • Religion, Reason, and Revelation, Clark's major work on apologetics (ISBN 0940931869)
  • God's Hammer : The Bible and Its Critics (ISBN 0940931885)
  • What Do Presbyterians Believe?, a commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith (ISBN 0875521681)
  • Biblical Predestination, a study of the idea of election in the Bible (ISBN 0875521371)
  • Karl Barth's Theological Method (ISBN 0940931516)
  • Language and Theology (ISBN 087552141X)
  • The Biblical Doctrine of Man (ISBN 0940931915)
  • The Incarnation (ISBN 0940931230)
  • The Holy Spirit (ISBN 0940931370)
  • Sanctification (ISBN 0940931338)
  • The Atonement (ISBN 0940931176)


  • First Corinthians: A Contemporary Commentary (ISBN 094093129X)
  • Ephesians (ISBN 0940931117)
  • Philippians (ISBN 0940931478)
  • Colossians (ISBN 0940931257)
  • First and Second Thessalonians (ISBN 0940931141)
  • The Pastoral Epistles on the letters to Timothy and Titus (ISBN 189177705X)
  • New Heavens, New Earth on the letters of Peter (ISBN 0940931362)
  • First John (ISBN 094093194X)

External links