Vern Sheridan Poythress (born 1946) is an American philosopher, theologian, New Testament scholar and mathematician, who is currently the New Testament chair of the ESV Oversight Committee. He is also the Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary and editor of Westminster Theological Journal.
Vern Sheridan Poythress
|Born||March 29, 1946|
|Tradition or movement||Calvinist, Van Tillian presuppositionalist|
|Main interests||Philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, linguistics, hermeneutics, New Testament|
|Notable ideas||Multiperspectivalism, scientific law as a form of the word of God, foundation for ontology and epistemology in the Trinity|
At the age of 20, Poythress earned a B.S. in mathematics with honor (valedictorian) from California Institute of Technology, in the year 1966. While there, he became a Putnam Fellow in 1964. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University, finishing in 1970. Westminster Theological Seminary awarded him both an M.Div and a Th.M in apologetics for work done in the years 1971-74. He earned an M.Litt from the University of Cambridge in New Testament studies during 1974-76. He received a Th.D. in New Testament from the University of Stellenbosch.
As of 2016, he was teaching New Testament and occasional courses on the philosophies of science and language at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, work he began in 1976. His blog with John M. Frame was listed in early 2018 as one of the top 50 Christian popular culture sites.
Poythress views scientific law as a form of the word of God. In 1976, Poythress wrote a chapter on "A Biblical View of Mathematics," in which he argued (among other things) that number is eternal because the Trinity is eternal. In a 1983 article, he suggested that mathematics is the rhyme of the universe. His philosophy of science draws on the work of Thomas Kuhn.
Poythress has published a number of books in different fields — Christian philosophy of science, linguistics, theological method, dispensationalism, biblical law, copyright law, hermeneutics, Bible translation, and eschatology and the Book of Revelation including:
- Philosophy, Science, and the Sovereignty of God. Presbyterian and Reformed: 1976, reprinted 2004. ISBN 978-1-59638-002-8.
- Symphonic Theology: The Validity of Multiple Perspectives in Theology. Zondervan: 1987. ISBN 978-0-87552-517-4.
- Understanding Dispensationalists. 2d ed. Presbyterian and Reformed: 1993. ISBN 978-0-87552-374-3.
- Science and Hermeneutics: Implications of Scientific Method for Biblical Interpretation (Foundations of Contemporary Interpretation series, volume 6). Zondervan: 1988. ISBN 978-0-310-40971-7.
- The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses, Wolgemuth & Hyatt: 1991, reprinted Presbyterian & Reformed: 1995. ISBN 978-0-87552-375-0.
- God-Centered Biblical Interpretation. Presbyterian and Reformed: 1999. ISBN 978-0-87552-376-7.
- The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation, Presbyterian and Reformed: 2000. ISBN 978-0-87552-462-7.
- The Gender-Neutral Bible Controversy: Muting the Masculinity of Gods Words (with Wayne Grudem). Broadman and Holman: 2000. ISBN 978-0-8054-2441-6.
- The TNIV and The Gender-Neutral Bible Controversy (with Wayne Grudem). Broadman and Holman: 2004. ISBN 978-0-8054-3193-3.
- Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach. Crossway Books: 2006. ISBN 978-1-58134-731-9.
- In The Beginning Was The Word: Language--A God-Centered Approach. Crossway Books: 2009. ISBN 978-1-4335-0179-1.
- What Are Spiritual Gifts? (Basics of the Faith series). Presbyterian and Reformed, 2010. ISBN 978-1-59638-209-1.
- Redeeming Sociology: A God-Centered Approach. Crossway Books: 2011. ISBN 978-1-4335-2129-4.
- Inerrancy and Worldview: Answering Modern Challenges to the Bible. Crossway Books: 2012. ISBN 978-1-4335-2387-8.
- Inerrancy and the Gospels: A God-Centered Approach to the Challenges of Harmonization. Crossway Books: 2012. ISBN 978-1-4335-2860-6.
- Logic: A God-Centered Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought. Crossway Books: 2013. ISBN 978-1-4335-3229-0.
- Redeeming Mathematics: A God-Centered Approach. Crossway Books: 2015. ISBN 978-1433541100.
- North, Gary, ed. (1976). "A Biblical View of Mathematics". Foundations of Christian Scholarship. Vallecito, CA: Ross House. pp. 159–188.
- "Structuralism and Biblical Studies". Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 21. 1978.
- "Science as Allegory". Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation. 35. 1983.
- "Newton's Laws as Allegory". Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation. 35. 1983.
- "Mathematics as Rhyme". Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation. 35. 1983.
- "The Use of the Intersentence Conjunctions De, Oun, Kai, and Asyndeton in the Gospel of John". Novum Testamentum. 26. 1984.
- "Reforming Ontology and Logic in the Light of the Trinity: An Application of Van Til's Idea of Analogy". Westminster Theological Journal. 57. 1995.
- "2 Thessalonians 1 Supports Amillennialism". Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 37. 1995.
- "Counterfeiting in the Book of Revelation as a Perspective on Non-Christian Culture". Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 40. 1997.
- "Keep on Praying!". Decision. 39 (10). 1998.
- "Why Scientists Must Believe in God: Divine Attributes of Scientific Law". Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 46. 2003.
- "Vern Sheridan Poythress". The Works of John Frame & Vern Poythress. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
- Bowyer, Jerry (April 19, 2016). "God In Mathematics". Forbes. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- "Putnam Competition Individual and Team Winners". Mathematical Association of America. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
- "Vern Poythress".
- http://faculty.wts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/VHCV.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- Frame, John M. (2017). "Preface". In John M. Frame; Wayne Grudem; John J. Hughes (eds.). Redeeming the Life of the Mind: Essays in Honor of Vern Poythress. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. pp. ii–vii. ISBN 978-1433553066.
- Per the Bowyer article, op. cit., Poythress has an "M Div, ThM, M Litt, and a ThD in various theological disciplines from Westminster Seminary, Cambridge University and the University of Stellenbosch respectively", but the specific dates and details that appear are as yet unsourced. John Frame's preface to the dedicatory essay volume, op. cit., confirms this degree, but does not have date information.
- Frame, John J.; Grudem, Wayne; Hughes, John J., eds. (2017). Redeeming the Life of the Mind: Essays in Honor of Vern Poythress. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway. ISBN 1433553031.
- Jared Moore (February 27, 2018). "The Top 50 Christian Pop Culture Blogs". Patheos.com. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- Poythress, Redeeming Science, pp. 13–31.
- Poythress, Vern S. (1976). "A Biblical View of Mathematics". In North, Gary (ed.). Foundations of Christian Scholarship. Vallecito, CA: Ross House. pp. 159–188.
- Byl, John (2001). "Theism and Mathematical Realism". Proceedings of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences. Grand Rapids, MI: ACMS: 33–48. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- Poythress, Vern S. (1983). "Mathematics as Rhyme". American Scientific Affiliate. Archived from the original on 2003-09-06.
- Boa, Kenneth D.; Bowman, Robert M., Jr. (2006). Faith Has Its Reasons: Integrative Approaches to Defending The Christian Faith (2nd ed.). Biblica. p. 275. ISBN 1932805346.
- Frame-Poythress.org has a more extensive self-published bibliography.
- Selected publications from Poythress's "Faculty biography at Westminster Theological Seminary" (PDF).
- John M. Frame; Wayne Grudem; John J. Hughes, eds. (2017). Redeeming the Life of the Mind: Essays in Honor of Vern Poythress. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. ISBN 978-1433553066. A Festschrift dedicated to Poythress, with contributions from J. I. Packer, Brandon Crowe, Iain M. Duguid, Richard B. Gaffin Jr., Peter Lillback, Carl R. Trueman, Camden Bucey, Robert Cara, In Whan Kim, Lane Tipton, Pierce Taylor Hibbs, Jeff Waddington, Luke Lu, Brian Wood, and others.
- Faculty page of the title subject, at Westminster Theological Seminary, by the title subject.
- Resume of the article subject, by the article subject.
- Bowyer, Jerry (April 19, 2016). "God In Mathematics". Forbes. Retrieved July 16, 2019. [Interview with title subject, after publication of Chance and the Sovereignty of God.]