April 1, 2014

The Theology of Crisis by Gordon Clark

By In Blogs, Douglas Douma

Last fall at the Sangre de Cristo Seminary I spent a few long evenings in the “Clark Library” perusing material from the Gordon Clark Collection.  The collection of books towers to the extent of your reach and stretches to just a few inches off the floor on bookshelves forming the entire interior western wall of the library.  The titles are impressive.  All of the notes from the famous heresy trial of Charles Briggs. Theology books. Philosophy books. History books. More philosophy. Nothing “popular.” Books written by French philosopher’s in French, of course, and purchased in Paris in 1929 printed on cheap, now crumbling, paper. And likely one of the world’s better collections of the neo-platonist philosopher Plotinus. And the most impressive fact, besides the existence of detailed notes proving that Gordon Clark read all of these books, is the fact that this is only a fraction of his library, he having given away many books in his later years.

Behind the front covers of many books I found inscription of names of those who once owned or gifted the books. These names included Gordon Clark’s father D.S. Clark, his grandfather James Armstrong Clark, and even one from his great-grandfather William Baldwin Clark. An inscription, probably from James Armstrong Clark, notes the completion of his task “Read this March 18, 1857.”

Additional names well known to the evangelical community are on the inside of other books gifted to Gordon Clark: two from Bishop Robert Livingston Rudolph, one from Robert Knight Rudolph, two from Cornelius Van Til, one from Edward Carnell, and one from J. Gresham Machen dated Feb 1936.

Included in some of these books I found correspondence between Gordon Clark and the author, or sometimes letters with seemingly no connection to the book they were left in. Many books had nestled inside mimeographed copies of book reviews he wrote for The Presbyterian Journal and Christianity Today.

Among other finds in his heavy metal office desk, I found this article. “The Theology of Crisis” which to the best of my knowledge remains unpublished.  It’s about 20 pages if I remember correctly.

Written by Douglas Douma

I am a seminary student at the Sangre de Cristo Seminary - a reformed seminary in Colorado. I previously studied Engineering at the University of Michigan and got an MBA at Wake Forest University. I've learned far more from books than in school. I'm particularly in debt to Martin Luther, Ludwig von Mises, and Gordon H. Clark for any thoughts I have.