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Presuppositional Apologetics

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Presuppositionalism defends the Christian faith by appealing to what the unbeliever already knows concerning the Christian faith using Scripture (God) as the final authority.

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Apologetics

Apologetics

Apologetics is the branch of Christianity that deals with the defense and establishment of the Christian faith.
Apologetics is the branch of Christianity that deals with the defense and establishment of the Christian faith.
Dictionary Definition: “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.”
The classical Greek word apologia referred to a formal speech or an explanation delivered in response to a charge.
Acts 26:2 ESV
2 “I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews,
Philippians 1:7 ESV
7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
Philippians 1:16 ESV
16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
1 Peter 3:15 ESV
15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
Romans 1:20 ESV
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Unbelievers don’t have a properly reasoned argument.
We don’t stand on neutral ground.

Why Study Apologetics?

The Lord commands us to be “ready to make a defense.”
We want to please Him.
We want to be used by God to reach others with His truth.
We want to have confidence in evangelism and under persecution.
We want to think about the world around us through the lens of Scripture.
Romans 1:18–23 ESV
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Different Approaches to Christian Apologetics

Classicalism

Reason undergirds faith.
Defend the Christian faith by appealing to the unbeliever’s capacity to reason using logical argument (man) as the final authority.
Teleological, Cosmological, Ontological arguments, etc.
Teleological, Cosmological, Ontological arguments, etc.
Progressively build a case for the Bible starting with blank theism and adding components.
Plato, Thomas Aquinas, R.C. Sproul, William Lane Craig

Evidentialism

Evidence undergirds faith.
Defend the Christian faith by appealing to the unbeliever’s capacity to reason using historical and scientific evidence (man) as the final authority.
Resurrection argument, creation arguments, fulfilled prophecy, etc.
Prove a bare-bones or “mere” Christianity by proving that certain truths in the Bible are accurate based on modern historical methods.
B.B. Warfield, John Warwick Montgomery, Gary Habern, Frank Turek

Presuppositionalism

Faith undergirds reason.
Defend the Christian faith by appealing to what the unbeliever already knows concerning the Christian faith using Scripture (God) as the final authority.
tells us that the unbeliever already knows there is a God.
Transcendental Argument: The proof for God’s existence is that you can’t prove anything without God.
The atheist has to assume the Christian worldview in order to attack it.
Prove the Biblical Christian worldview as a “package deal” that cannot be rejected without appealing to logical absurdity.
The Apostle Paul, Augustine, Calvin, Cornelius Van Til, Greg Bahnsen, Jason Lisle, Ken Ham
Acts 17:22–31 ESV
22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “ ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “ ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ 29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
Acts 17:22–34 ESV
22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “ ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “ ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ 29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” 32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
Acts 17:

Advantage of Presuppositional Formation

Classical “Argument From Design”
Senses/minds are reliable
We see Design in the Universe
Design requires a Designer
God is the Designer

Presuppositional Argument

Triune God of Scripture is Designer (the Bible says so)
Therefore, Senses are Reliable
We see Design in the Universe
Design Requires a Designer
Triune God of Scripture is Designer
In the case of transcendentals or final authorities we can’t get away from “circular arguments” — every worldview ultimately breaks down into a circular argument.
Worldview is made from foundational presuppositions:
Epistemology: How do we know?
Metaphysics: What can be known?
Ethics: What types of things are good or bad?
Humanism
Epistemology: Sense Perception/Human Reason
Metaphysics: Material World
Ethics: Humans are the ultimate standard
Christianity
Epistemology: Revelation from God
Metaphysics: Natural and Supernatural
Ethics: Revelation From God

Ultimate Authority

An individual’s ultimate or “final” authority can be defined as his ultimate standard by which all is measured. It is an independent standard that relies on no other source for authentication. All worldviews, and thus all people, have a final authority, though most or not conscious of this fact. Our duty as evangelists and apologists is to make people epistemologically self-aware. In other words, we attempt to shed light on their ultimate faith commitment, which, if humans are to be rational, must be the Word of God.

Unbeliever’s Ultimate Authority

Is not God’s Word (, )
Is in opposition to what he knows is the ultimate authority (, )
Resides in creation itself (, Rom. 1:25)
Results in foolishness (, , , , )

Believer’s Ultimate Authority

Is God Himself (, , , , )
Is understood through God’s Word (), , , , )
Is self authenticating (, , ; El Shaddai lit. means “all-sufficient”)

Conclusion

When engaging with someone from an anti-Christian viewpoint we must put on their glasses by entering their worldview (an internal critique). When we enter their worldview we will find it to be a world of inconsistencies, contradictions, arbitrariness, and the inability to provide the preconditions for intelligibility. There is only one final authority that gives meaning to life—the invariable, absolute, and unchanging triune God of Scripture.

Which is a true court of justice?

Contradictory laws
Changing laws
Variable laws
Unappointed judges
Absolute laws
Unchanging laws
Invariable laws
Rightful judge
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