Suggested Reading List on Gordon H. Clark

Probably the most frequent question posed on our “Gordon H. Clark Discussions Forum” on Facebook is “What book(s) of/on Gordon Clark should I read first?” This post provides my entirely subjective non-canonical suggestions.

(By the way, anyone with interest in Gordon H. Clark should request to join our awesome discussion forum. These men (and women) have been instrumental in the development of my thought. It is a great sounding board with many who are truly seeking the truth, not just seeking to win debates.)

This is a suggested reading list for understanding Clark’s work. It is not a list from best to worst.
So, where to start …

1. Religion, Reason, and Revelation (1961) by Gordon H. Clark
Despite having read widely on theology, it was only after reading this book that John Robbins (according to his wife Linda who I interviewed in 2014) became convinced of Reformed Theology. Clark’s treatment in this book of the question “What is Religion?” starts to show the reader the importance of definitions and provides a window into Clark’s way of thinking.

2. Three Types of Religious Philosophy (1973) by Gordon H. Clark
This book gives a good broad overview of the issue of epistemology, the study of knowledge. Showing that the two main secular (and sometimes religious) approaches to knowledge—empiricism and rationalism—are failures, Clark opens the way for the reader to consider Divine revelation.

3. A Christian View of Men and Things (1952) by Gordon H. Clark
This is Clark’s magnum opus. His dedication to the truth of Christianity in all realms comes to show. He shows Christianity to be a system that addresses such areas as epistemology, history, ethics, and politics. Clark’s distinctive philosophy of “presuppositionalism,” though first evident in his A Christian Philosophy of Education (1946), is first fully formed in this book.

4. Thales to Dewey (1957) by Gordon H. Clark
Clark’s second history of philosophy (after his 1941 A History of Philosophy), this was probably his most well-selling book, used as a textbook in various colleges. He overviews the history of philosophy with an eye towards epistemological concerns. This book evidences the fact that Clark was an expert on ancient Greek philosophy, the subject he taught at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1920s and 30s.

5. God’s Hammer (1982) by Gordon H. Clark
This set of essays gives the reader some indication of the “Battle for the Bible” (see Harold Lindsell’s important book) that raged in the mid-20th century. For many years Clark fought for the truth of the Scriptures.

6. The Presbyterian Philosopher (2017) by Douglas J. Douma
After reading the books above, this biography of Gordon H. Clark will give context for the theological battles in which he participated.

7. An Introduction to Christian Philosophy (1993) by Gordon H. Clark 
This book (originally a series of lectures at Wheaton College in 1965) first came out in the now rare The Philosophy of Gordon H. Clark (1968). This is where the serious student of Clark’s epistemology should start. To dig deeper into his epistemology, one should read the rest of The Philosophy of Gordon H. Clark, reprinted in Clark and His Critics (2009) and Lord God of Truth (1994).

8. The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God (1964) by Gordon H. Clark
Getting back to Clark’s critiques of empiricism, this books shows the utter futility of science to produce knowledge.

9. Faith and Saving Faith (1983) by Gordon H. Clark
Clark’s work here is monumental. Answering the questions that others, like J. Gresham Machen (in What is Faith?) seem to skirt around, Clark brings the reader back to the truth of salvation through belief.

10. What Do Presbyterians Believe? (1965) by Gordon H. Clark
As noted in The Presbyterian Philosopher, Clark sought to keep his philosophy in line with the historic teachings of the Presbyterian church. This book, an exposition of The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646), is of great value to the student of Christian theology.

Others… 
Other more topical books are of value to understand Clark’s full system. These include The Johannine Logos, The Biblical Doctrine of Man, Biblical Predestination, Karl Barth’s Theological Method, Historiography Secular and Religious, The Trinity, and The Incarnation.
Clark’s biblical commentaries (Ephesians, First Corinthians, Peter Speaks Today, etc.) have some good insights, but are generally not ground-breaking works.

And if you really want to read more, I can send you a 44-page bibliography of everything Clark wrote (books, articles, lectures, etc.) that will keep you busy for years.
Edit: Here is the bibliography: Bibliography of the Works of Gordon H. Clark

2 thoughts on “Suggested Reading List on Gordon H. Clark”

  1. Doug, thank you for the list. I’m starting with God’s Hammer, can’t wait to dig in! If you get a chance can you forward me a copy of the Bibliography? Also, I recently read Clark’s short essay on the Image of God in Man and found it fascinating and insightful.

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