Update on the Biography of Gordon H. Clark

I’ve now received all of Gordon Clark’s correspondence kept at the PCA Archives in St. Louis and have read through the majority of it. Combined with material from other archives I now have 314 letters, 102 sermons, and countless articles written by Gordon Clark.

Here are some items of interest:
1. There are extant a number of transcripts from Radio programs in the 1930’s which Gordon Clark was on with Erling C. Olsen.

2. A letter which shows that Clark tried to have published his father’s sermons upon the latter’s death in 1939.

3. A series of letters with G. Aiken Taylor which Clark ultimately breaks off due to Taylor’s continual misrepresentation of Clark’s views.

4. Clark took a sabbatical in 1960 to write on the theology of Karl Barth and got a substantial Volker Fund grant to do so.

5. A major reason Clark decided against continuing to teach at UPenn in the 30’s is that they, for 12 years, called him an “instructor,” never promoting him to Professor.

Yet, I have a number of unanswered questions. If you happen to know the answers, please send me a note!

1. There is a “missing year” where I have no correspondence. For some reason their is no extant correspondence from 1944. This is odd, because this is a critical year for Gordon Clark. (I have dozens of letters from 1943, only one from 1945, and none from 1946.) I haven’t been able to figure out if Clark was employed at all at the beginning of the ordination controversy. He had left Wheaton college, but yet was not ordained. So I don’t believe he could have preached. I’ve found a note that he was teaching at the Reformed Episcopal Seminary in 1944, but I have been unable to verify this.

2. I haven’t been able to figure out the publisher of Clark’s father’s book. (D.S. Clark wrote 3 books)

3. I haven’t been able to find the date Clark was ordained as a ruling elder in the 20’s. (Not a teaching elder is in the 40’s)

4. Although I have a few letters between Clark and Van Til, I’ve found evidence of only some philosophical differences between the two prior to the controversy. It seems as if the complaint took Clark by surprise. He was more sure that his trouble would lie in not having a seminary degree. Do you have any thoughts on the origins of the controversy?

That’s enough questions for now.

The biography is coming along well. I still need to address 2 of the 4 issues of the Ordination Controversy as well as the charges of “nestorianism” in his later life.

About douglasdouma

I am a husband to beautiful wife, an ordained minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church - Hanover Presbytery, and founder of Sola - Appalachian Christian Retreat (www.discoversola.com). In addition to blogging at this site I am the author of The Presbyterian Philosopher - The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark (Wipf&Stock, 2017) and compiling editor of Clark and His Correspondents: Selected Letters of Gordon H. Clark (Trinity Foundation, 2017). I have a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering (University of Michigan), a master's in business administration (Wake Forest University) and a master of divinity (Sangre de Cristo Seminary). I'm an avid hiker, having completed a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian trail in 2013 and the first 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016.
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5 Responses to Update on the Biography of Gordon H. Clark

  1. Sean Gerety says:

    As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, the best explanation for VT and the WTS faculty’s unprovoked and sinful attack against Clark is found in John Robbins’ booklet, “Can the OPC be Saved.”

  2. In re The Volker Fund, did you know that R. J. Rushdoony also got a Volker Fund grant?

    Forrest Schultz

    • douglasdouma says:

      Yes, I did see that Rushdoony also got a grant. The Fund’s leader started moving towards more political causes at some point. They got involved with F.A. Hayek, a guy I really like, at one point.

  3. Forrest Schultz says:

    Did Rushdoony get his grant before or after Clark got his??

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