Presuppositional Apologetics Paper 2412
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Amy Bradley L24550744
Apologetics 500 B-16 Dr. Knox Liberty University, February 4, 2012
INTRODUCTION The Presuppositional approach to apologetics relies on the premise that the Christian faith
is the only basis for rational thought. Presuppositionalists hold to the belief that the Bible is a divine revelation and the only way to expose flaws in other worldviews. It also states relies on the premise that conclusions can only happen if both parties agree to certain truths, such as that God is infinite and all powerful. If one of the conversationalists does not agree that there is a God, then the Presuppositionalist believes that a fruitful argument cannot happen. There are three main views of the Presuppositional movement; revelational, systematic, and rational. While all three have the similar premise of agreeance of certain facts, how they approach conversations are completely based on different concepts. II.
CRITIQUE The Presuppositional Apologetists compare their standards by reason, empirical
experience, and subjective feeling. Critics of Presuppositionalists claim that it is logically invalid because it doesn't address the "truth" of Christianity versus the "non-truth" of other worldviews. Because Presuppositionalists base their ideas on the logical, all other types of Apologetics are seen as illogical or not able to prove enough in their arguments 1. One of the main problems with Presuppositional Apologetics is that it bases everything as being within a Christian worldview; all others are non existent. Anything other than a Christian worldview is seen as illogical and not factual2. This is very limiting for the Presuppositionalist to be able to reach individuals from
Jones, Gwyndaf. "The Christian Mind of Gordon Clark: A Paradigm for Evangelical Reformed Apologetics?" International Congregational Journal, 2001: 55-69. Johnson, John. "Is Cornelius Van Til's Apologetic Christian or Merely Theistic?" The Evangelical Quarterly, 2003: 257-268.
other cultures or that hold to other competing worldviews. This movement does not seem to be concerned with conversions as much as proving a point. III.
VAN TIL AND CLARK AND BEARS…OH MY! Cornelius Van Til was a member of the Orthodox Church and began to emerge as a
prominent Presuppositionalist in the late 1920s3. Van Til was instrumental is founding the premise of revelational apologetics, that if one accepts a non Christian worldview, then that constitutes the denial of the Trinity, which in turn defiles the Bible and all that God stands for. Van Til was very totalitarian with his views that it is the Christian's job to confront the non believer with the fact they are not accepting the truth4. Gordon Clark, also a Presuppositionalist, based his rational apologetics on the proof is in the pudding concept5. Clark used the Bible and the fact that it could be consistently proven over and over through time. This facet of rational apologetics was key in helping non believers see that even though they may be a part of a non Christian worldview, they could come to be Christians because they could not deny the truths and proofs of the Bible. IV.
CONCLUSION Presuppositional Apologetics is based on truth, facts, empirical experiences and the
Bible. Those facets cannot be argued. The problem lies in the all religions, all precepts of worldviews could be explained the exact same way with these same theoretical processes 6. Presuppositional Apologetics relies on using facts and only the Bible and Christian theology as 3
Jones 2001 Johnson 2003 5 Jones 2001 6 Vandoodewaard, William. "The Necessity of theology and practice in Islamic studies." Christian Higher Education, 2005: 211-230. 4
the "right" by which everything else is judged. And while this is a must for a Christian, others that have a non Christian worldview could feel isolated and condemned if approached with this precept.