Church History

What Indeed Has Lexington to Do with Philadelphia? (Part 1)

In 1953, Cecil De Boer, the editor of Calvin Seminary’s Calvin Forum published a series of articles criticizing the “new apologetic” of Cornelius Van Til1. Jesse De Boer2, the sharpest of Van Til’s critics in these issues, wrote a three-part series published from August to November criticizing Van Til’s use of categories borrowed from idealist philosophy. De Boer3 felt it was impossible to borrow these categories without compromising Reformed orthodoxy. The collective response in the Calvin Forum, led by Jesse De Boer’s articles, has become infamous in Van Tilian circles. The character and tone, coupled with superficial critiques, have placed the August-September 1953 Calvin Forum as the forefather of a series of mischaracterizations Van Til’s apologetic system.