Doug Douma on Gordon Clark and a Christian Hiking Hostel
Date: May 20th, 2018

We are back momentarily from our sporadic sabbatical and pleased to be joined by Rev. Douglas “Banzai” Douma, a licensed minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Hanover Presbytery) and author of The Presbyterian Philosopher: The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark.  Our discussion this week focuses both on Doug’s work on Prof. Clark, but also his new endeavor to create a Christian hostel for hikers along the Appalachian Trail, thus we get an insight into both the scholarly and practitioner side of religion.

Our conversation begins with Doug’s background and how he went from being a Lutheran to a Reformed Presbyterian.  His education took him in search of many different Christian philosophers and apologetic writers, which is where he stumbled across Gordon H. Clark, a member the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and a professor at Butler University.  Doug illuminates us as to what made Gordon Clark such a fascinating person in 20th century American Christianity, focusing on his conflict with the Westminster Seminary and debates with Cornelius Van Til.  Some of those controversies surrounded theological issues such as one’s understanding about the incomprehensibility of God, whereas other ones involved institutional concerns regarding whether the denomination should be dry (i.e., no alcohol) or not.  Clark’s opposition to the use of alcohol stemmed from his desire to set high standards for the denomination so as to be leaders within Christianity.  Doug also enlightens us as to why he finds Clark an interesting thinker, particularly with relation to his presuppositional apologetics.

Beyond his work on Gordon Clark, Doug and his wife Priscilla are in the early stages of setting up a ministry for hikers along the Appalachian Trail, a 2,186 mile trek up the mountainous spine of the eastern United States.  Doug gives us some background on his love of the outdoors and how he came to settle in western North Carolina.  We discuss the religious landscape of the region, once heavily settled by Scotts and Irish, but now predominately Baptist in its composition.  Doug reveals what it is like to be preaching in a small, rural town of about 5,000 people and the challenges facing the Appalachian community.  He then takes us through his plan to establish a Christian hiking hostel along the Appalachian Trail.  While still in the early stages of raising money to purchase land and a building, Doug and Priscilla have nonetheless ministered to hikers along the trail.  We discuss what that process is like and how receptive backcountry backpackers are to a Christian message.  We cover the demographics and mindset of folks who can be found on the trail, and where he came up with his own trailname of “Banzai.”  We finish our conversation by asking Doug what he has learned over the years and what messages he would take back to “18 year old Doug” if he could travel back in time.  Recorded: May 18, 2018.



Doug Douma’s bio on SOLA Appalachian Christian Retreat website and Facebook page.

Doug’s personal blog.

The Presbyterian Philosopher: The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark, by Douglas Douma.

The Selected Letters of Gordon H. Clark.

The Appalachian Trail.


Michael Douma on Van Raalte and Dutch Religious History.

Michael Boone’s 40 Day Spiritual Trip.

Bill Clark on an Academic’s Spiritual Journey.

Jeff Rose on Street Preaching.

Oliver Crisp on Calvin and Reformed Theology.

Andrew Hoffecker on Charles Hodge and Princeton Seminary.

3 Responses to “Doug Douma on Gordon Clark and a Christian Hiking Hostel”

  1. Timothy Hopper says:

    Audio isn’t present

    • tonygill says:

      We were experimenting with a new format and some experiments don’t work well. Since fixed as we are back to mp3.

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