Call to Repentance

Cornelius Van Til with Martyn Lloyd-Jones

In conclusion it should be pointed out that the doctrine of Scripture set forth above sets before men the face of God. God requires of men that they love and obey him. He made them perfect in his image. They rebelled against him. Now he is, in grace, calling them to repentance through his Son. He tells them about this call to repentance and love in the Bible. So Christ, the Redeemer, the Son of God, speaks directly to us in the words of Scripture.

It follows that those who take the Bible to be what it says it is, must present this Bible as conveying a challenge of Christ to men. They must use it always as a means with which to send forth a clarion call of surrender to those who are rebels against God. To be sure, it is the grace of God that is offered to men. Just as Jesus wept over Jerusalem and her children, desiring that they might repent, so those who are believers must be filled with deep concern and love for the lost. But in their love for the lost they must, none the less, not lower the claims of God revealed in Christ who calls upon “all men everywhere” to repent (Acts 17:30). This call to repentance has application for the whole of human life and for all the activities of men.

– Cornelius Van Til, A Christian Theory of Knowledge p.39


The recognition of bankruptcy

The truth Paul brings requires response, the response of repentance; and repentance is the work of the whole man. Paul’s truth is ‘existential.’ He who rejects it virtually commits suicide both intellectually and morally.

Yet Paul also knows that sin is of such a nature as to make men prefer intellectual and moral suicide to the truth of God in Christ. Repentance means the recognition of bankruptcy. It involves the suppliant’s attitude begging for mercy, for pardon, for life. It means fleeing from the city of destruction and pressing on to the celestial city even when Mr. Worldly Wise Man and all his friends are going in the other direction. It means bearing the offence of the cross. Will any of the wise of the world accept his gospel and repent?

– Cornelius Van Til, The Intellectual Challenge of the Gospel p.5-6