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Gordon Haddon Clark (August 31, 1902April 9, 1985) was an Americanmarker philosopher and Calvinist theologian. He was a primary advocate for the idea of presuppositional apologetics and was chairman of the Philosophy Department at Butler University for 28 years. He was an expert in pre-Socratic and ancient philosophy and was noted for his rigor in defending propositional revelation against all forms of empiricism and rationalism, in arguing that all truth is propositional and in applying the laws of logic. His theory of knowledge is sometimes called scripturalism.


Clark was raised in a Christian home and studied Calvinist thought from a young age. In 1924, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvaniamarker with a bachelor's degree in French and earned his doctorate in Philosophy from the same institution in 1929. The following year, he studied at the Sorbonnemarker.

He began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania after receiving his bachelor's degree and also taught at Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphiamarker. In 1936, he accepted a professorship in Philosophy at Wheaton College, Illinois, where he remained until 1943, when he accepted the Chairmanship of the Philosophy Department at Butler University in Indianapolis. In 1973, he retired from Butler University and taught at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgiamarker, and Sangre de Cristo Seminary in Westcliffe, Coloradomarker.

In 1944, Clark was ordained a Minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. (He had been ordained a Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church in the 1920s.) In the years that followed, Clark would change denominations several times: first to the United Presbyterian Church of North America in 1948 following the Clark-Van Til Controversy, and then to the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod in 1957, where Clark was instrumental in arranging a merger with another Presybterian denomination to form the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod in 1965. When this last denomination merged with the Presbyterian Church in America in 1983, Clark refused to join the PCA and instead entered the Covenant Presbytery in 1984.

He died in 1985 and was buried near Westcliffe, Coloradomarker.


Clark's philosophy and theology has been summarized as:


Clark was a prolific author who wrote more than forty books, including texts on ancient and contemporary philosophy, volumes on Christian doctrines, commentaries on the New Testament and a one-volume history of philosophy:


  • An Introduction to Christian Philosophy (ISBN 0-940931-38-9), in which Clark's thought is well summarized in three lectures given at Wheaton College, reissued in Christian Philosophy (ISBN 1-891777-02-5)
  • Three Types of Religious Philosophy, reissued in Christian Philosophy (ISBN 1-891777-02-5)
  • Thales to Dewey, a history of philosophy (ISBN 1-891777-09-2)
  • 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 0-940931-49-4)
  • William James and John Dewey (ISBN 0-940931-43-5)
  • Behaviorism and Christianity (ISBN 0-940931-04-4)
  • Philosophy of Science and Belief in God (ISBN 0-940931-85-0)
  • Historiography: Secular and Religious (ISBN 0-940931-39-7)
  • A Christian View of Men and Things, which develops Clark's Christian worldview (ISBN 1-891777-00-9)
  • A Christian Philosophy of Education (ISBN 1-891777-06-8)
  • Logic, a text book on logic for students (ISBN 0-940931-71-0)
  • Essays on Ethics and Politics (ISBN 0-940931-32-X)
  • Lord God of Truth printed with Concerning the Teacher by St. Augustine (ISBN 0-940931-40-0)
  • Selections from Hellenistic Philosophy edited by Clark (ISBN 0-89197-396-6)
  • Readings in Ethics edited by Clark and T. V. Smith (ISBN 0-390-19545-6)
  • Clark Speaks from the Grave written just before Clark died and published posthumously, responding to some of his critics (ISBN 0-940931-12-5)


  • In Defense of Theology (ISBN 0-88062-123-0)
  • Religion, Reason, and Revelation, Clark's major work on apologetics (ISBN 0-940931-86-9)
  • God's Hammer : The Bible and Its Critics (ISBN 0-940931-88-5)
  • What Do Presbyterians Believe?, a commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith (ISBN 0-940931-60-5)
  • Predestination, the combined edition of Biblical Predestination and Predestination in the Old Testament; a study of the idea of election in the Bible
  • Karl Barth's Theological Method, a book critical of Barth (ISBN 0-940931-51-6)
  • Language and Theology (ISBN 0-940931-90-7)
  • The Johannine Logos, on John the Evangelist's use of the term Logos (ISBN 0-940931-22-2)
  • Faith and Saving Faith (ISBN 0-940931-95-8); reissued as What is Saving Faith? (ISBN 0-940931-65-6)
  • Today's Evangelism: Counterfeit or Genuine? (ISBN 0-940931-28-1)
  • The Biblical Doctrine of Man (ISBN 0-940931-91-5)
  • The Incarnation (ISBN 0-940931-23-0)
  • The Holy Spirit (ISBN 0-940931-37-0)
  • The Atonement (ISBN 0-940931-87-7)
  • Sanctification (ISBN 0-940931-33-8)
  • The Trinity (ISBN 0-940931-92-3)


  • First Corinthians: A Contemporary Commentary (ISBN 0-940931-29-X)
  • Ephesians (ISBN 0-940931-11-7)
  • Philippians (ISBN 0-940931-47-8)
  • Colossians (ISBN 0-940931-25-7)
  • First and Second Thessalonians (ISBN 0-940931-14-1)
  • The Pastoral Epistles on the first and second letters to Timothy and Titus (ISBN 1-891777-04-1)
  • New Heavens, New Earth on the first and second letters of Peter (ISBN 0-940931-36-2)
  • First John (ISBN 0-940931-94-X)

Additionally, Ronald Nash edited a Festschrift The Philosophy of Gordon H. Clark (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1968), which presented a summary of Clark's thought (viz., the Wheaton lectures mentioned above), critiques by several authors, and rejoinders by Clark.


External links

  • The Trinity Foundation reprints Clark's works and publishes those of his followers. They have books for sale and articles and audio lectures available for free.
  • The Trinity Lectures in MP3 format free for download (but not streaming), including Clark's Lectures in Apologetics, Lectures on Theology, and Lectures on the Holy Spirit.
  • The Gordon Clark Papers, archived by the Presbyterian Church in America.

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