Religion and science have been at each other’s throats since the dawn of times, which has given people the opportunity to note the principal difference between the two. While science tended to explain specific phenomena and statements, religion relied on people’s faith.
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However, things changed when presuppositional apologetics came into existence; trying to promote Christian beliefs as the explanation point for all the phenomena and events that occur in the world, presuppositional apologetics opened a door to the whole new world of arguments and misconceptions. Despite the fact that presuppositional apologetics still focuses on the idea of faith as the ultimate manifestation of religiousness, it can be considered that presuppositional apologetics lacks reasonability.
However, the novelty of the approach wears off quickly, since the only original idea of the presuppositional apologetics is that Christian religion is the only rational explanation for everything that happens in the world. As Fernandes explains, “This technique for defending the faith teaches that a believer must assume or presuppose the truth claims of Christianity rather than argue for them”.
As it has been mentioned, though Presuppositional apologetics was offered as a new approach towards exploring the specifics of the Christian belief and offering grounds for its existence, it had many problems. One of these problems was that, though defined as a new method, presuppositional apologetics was actually another interpretation of the absolute faith, i.e., believing without questioning the reasonability of the religion.
While the above-mentioned actually is the basic principle of the Christianity, it seems that there was no obvious need for establishing teeth-grindingly old principles as something entirely new. In addition, presuppositional apologetics also aimed at convincing people despite the existing evidence of the completely opposite.
According to Sproul, Gerstner and Lindsley, the problem of presuppositional apologetics is that, trying to make people reach absolute faith, it neglected even the Biblical evidence: “This school of thought has not suffered from a lack of nerve but has boldly rejected the traditional theistic proofs and Christian evidences”.
Therefore, the key problem of presuppositional apologetics is that it not only tries to explain everything from a theistic point of view, but also does not accept any proofs concerning the Christian religion, even if these proofs come from Bible.
To its credit, presuppositional apologetics could also be considered as a step forward for the Christian religion. For example, it offered a new idea of relationships between a believer ad god. To be more exact, it offered a new portrayal of God. As Hindson said, the principles of presuppositional apologetics “correctly guide man’s cognitive faculties to a genuine knowledge of God and the world”.
Therefore, it can be considered that suppositional apologetics is a huge step backwards for the adepts of the Christian religion and a retreat into giving no reasons for Christianity to exist. As it has been mentioned, its problem is that it conveys the idea that faith does not need any proof and belief is the only fundament for religion to exist; therefore, suppositional apologetics somewhat questions the very idea of religion.
However, suppositional apologetics can also be viewed as an attempt to protect the faith from those who question its sanity. With that in mind, it must be admitted that presuppositional apologetics offers a lot of food for thoughts.
The following people are considered or believed that they followed presuppositional apologetics:
- Van Til
- Gordon Clark
- Greg Bahnsen
- Francis Schaeffer.
Beilby, James K. Thinking about Christian Apologetics: What It Is and Why We Do It. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2011.
Fernandes, Phil. Contend Earnestly for the Faith. Baltimore, MD: Publish America, 2009.
Hindson, Ergum C. The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics: Surveying the Evidence for the Truth of Christianity. Bloomington, MN: Harvest House Publishers, 2008.
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Sproul, Robert C., John H. Gerstner and Arthur W. Lindsley. A Rational Defense of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984.
- Phil Fernandes, Contend Earnestly for the Faith (Baltimore, MD: Publish America, 2009), 21.
- Robert C. Sproul, John H. Gerstner and Arthur W. Lindsley. A Rational Defense of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), 185.
- Ergum C. Hindson, The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics: Surveying the Evidence for the Truth of Christianity (Bloomington, MN: Harvest House Publishers, 2008), 226-227.
- James K. Beilby, Thinking about Christian Apologetics: What It Is and Why We Do It (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2011), 100.