The sixth son of a dairy farmer and his wife, Van Til was born on May 3, 1895, in Grootegast, the Netherlands. At age ten, he moved with his family to Indiana and grew up working on the farm. The only child in the family to advance into higher education, Van Til found it a difficult transition from physical labor to mental labor. He nonetheless graduated from Calvin College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and earned his PhD from Princeton University. Though he started as an instructor at Princeton, he found his inclinations tended toward the views of those who founded Westminster Theological Seminary. Van Til transferred into a role at Westminster and stayed on for 43 years as an Apologetics professor.
Not only a teacher but a minister as well, Van Til served the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He helped found a Christian school in Philadelphia and co-edited the Philosophia Reformata. Well-known for his identification of systematic theology and apologetics and the application of them, Van Til changed how people viewed the roles of God and the Bible. He reformed apologetics over the years and put his thoughts into works such as The New Modernism, Introduction to Systemic Theology, and Common Grace and the Gospel, to name a few. Though not everyone agreed with his principles, Van Til made a name for himself as an apologist, a Reformed theologian, and a Christian philosopher. He died on April 17, 1987, after several months of illness. He was 91 years old.
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