It’s been more than 5 years since I’ve taken a seminary class. I never stopped reading theological books, but my reading has been decidedly lighter than what was required of me in those masters-level classes.
Last night, I started reading B. B. Warfield’s monumental volume The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, complete with a 68-page (!!!) introduction by Cornelius Van Til.
I was not ready for this.
I made it about 30 pages into Van Til’s introduction (in just over an hour), and my brain was exhausted, folks. I was encountering sentences like, “Post-Kantian rationality is, broadly speaking, correlative to non-rational factuality.” There were discussions of non-rational appeals to authority and considerations of a “kernel of thingness in every concrete fact that utterly escapes all possibility of expression.”
I essentially walked into the theological philosophy (or philosophical theology) gym and loaded up the bar for a PR on Day 1 with no warm-up. It took me a while just to get through the first few pages. After about an hour, I finally felt like I was able to pick up what Van Til was putting down (either that, or he got past the rhetorical throat-clearing and started saying something easier to grasp).
I’m excited to keep digging in, because it’s time I started challenging myself mentally again. The times we live in demand clear eyes and sharp minds, and it does no good for me, my family, or my church if I’m a mentally-flabby pastor. (Or a physically-flabby one, for that matter, but we’ll talk about that later.) Thus, it behooves me to start doing some heavy lifting in my study.