Defending apologetics

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Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
Oh, but I HAVE studied the NT and also have studied "apologetics" and I don't find that the Biblical method is necessarily Presup and not evidentialism. I find in most apologetics a needless trifling, one camp pitted against the other, while most souls broguht into the kingdom are not down so through TAG or Van Til's books. Again, all the most effective evangelists and missionaries I know are not in the least bit interested in presup apologetics.
Are you are presuming that the whole duty of the body is just evangelism or that which feeds evangelism? Please carefully read through 1 Cor. 12:14 - 31 examine yourself to see if you have looked at the evangelist as being the only worthwhile part of the body. If you have (and I cannot judge your heart) then read it again. See if you look at "winning souls" as the only worthwhile service in the body. If you have taken up a narrow view of the body of Christ and minimized the gifts of God to the church (Eph 4:11-16) other than evangelist, does that not mean that you have minimized what God has decided?
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Oh, but I HAVE studied the NT and also have studied "apologetics" and I don't find that the Biblical method is necessarily Presup and not evidentialism. I find in most apologetics a needless trifling, one camp pitted against the other, while most souls broguht into the kingdom are not down so through TAG or Van Til's books. Again, all the most effective evangelists and missionaries I know are not in the least bit interested in presup apologetics.

Prove to me that the NT teaches a presup approach. Paul mentions the great number of witnesses that were there to see the risen Lord. Also, what Paul does - if we allow for a distinction between evangelism and apologetics - is evangelism and not apologetics by and large.
I think you are misunderstanding presuppositional apologetics. Van Til was defending the faith to high intellectuals. Of course you would never speak that way to the average Joe. And what is interesting is that presuppositional apologetics is what Christians do instinctively.

We find numerous times in the Scripture is apostles confronting opposing worldviews with the gospel. With the Jews, this was much more simple because the Christians and Jews had a common Bible and common views about God, man, the world, sin, etc. The apologetic objections were handled by expounding the Scriptures regarding Jesus.

But with the pagans, Paul challenged their polytheistic worldview by using the correct elements within it as a door, and confronting the wrong elements with the gospel, but much more basic elements. He had to start with more foundational teachings about God, man, the world, and sin, before he could get to Christ. He had to given them the correct meta-narrative in order to explain who Jesus was and what he did.

This is I think what you are doing with the tribes correct? You are showing them the deficiencies of their sinful worldview, how it fails them, and informing them of the truth regarding God, man, the world, and sin, and how it is the only way to salvation.

That is presuppositional apologetics. :2cents:
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
So apologetics could be considered a sub-set of evangelism and/or missions?
Traditionally apologetics is defending the faith against criticism, while evangelism is proclaiming the faith and calling upon people to believe. But in real life, they always go together. They are two sides of the same coin. When you engage in apologetics you are doing evangelism, because you are explaining some aspect of the gospel, and in doing so you are sharing it. When you do evangelism you will provoke apologetic encounters, because most likely you will have to address objections from the unbeliever's worldview. I'm not sure which is a subset of what.
Thanks all for your interactions. I am trying to form a more solid opinion on apologetics and its place. Your comments are helping me.




Yes, I do not yet know which one is a subset of what or if both fit under a broader category.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
So apologetics could be considered a sub-set of evangelism and/or missions?
Traditionally apologetics is defending the faith against criticism, while evangelism is proclaiming the faith and calling upon people to believe. But in real life, they always go together. They are two sides of the same coin. When you engage in apologetics you are doing evangelism, because you are explaining some aspect of the gospel, and in doing so you are sharing it. When you do evangelism you will provoke apologetic encounters, because most likely you will have to address objections from the unbeliever's worldview. I'm not sure which is a subset of what.
Thanks all for your interactions. I am trying to form a more solid opinion on apologetics and its place. Your comments are helping me.




Yes, I do not yet know which one is a subset of what or if both fit under a broader category.
They both fit under the broader sense of declaring the glory of God.
"Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!" Ps 96:3
:2cents:
 

Michael Butterfield

Puritan Board Freshman
Oh, but I HAVE studied the NT and also have studied "apologetics" and I don't find that the Biblical method is necessarily Presup and not evidentialism. I find in most apologetics a needless trifling, one camp pitted against the other, while most souls broguht into the kingdom are not down so through TAG or Van Til's books. Again, all the most effective evangelists and missionaries I know are not in the least bit interested in presup apologetics.

Prove to me that the NT teaches a presup approach. Paul mentions the great number of witnesses that were there to see the risen Lord. Also, what Paul does - if we allow for a distinction between evangelism and apologetics - is evangelism and not apologetics by and large.
I think you are misunderstanding presuppositional apologetics. Van Til was defending the faith to high intellectuals. Of course you would never speak that way to the average Joe. And what is interesting is that presuppositional apologetics is what Christians do instinctively.

We find numerous times in the Scripture is apostles confronting opposing worldviews with the gospel. With the Jews, this was much more simple because the Christians and Jews had a common Bible and common views about God, man, the world, sin, etc. The apologetic objections were handled by expounding the Scriptures regarding Jesus.

But with the pagans, Paul challenged their polytheistic worldview by using the correct elements within it as a door, and confronting the wrong elements with the gospel, but much more basic elements. He had to start with more foundational teachings about God, man, the world, and sin, before he could get to Christ. He had to given them the correct meta-narrative in order to explain who Jesus was and what he did.

This is I think what you are doing with the tribes correct? You are showing them the deficiencies of their sinful worldview, how it fails them, and informing them of the truth regarding God, man, the world, and sin, and how it is the only way to salvation.

That is presuppositional apologetics. :2cents:
Excellent summary Patrick! I would also make the distinction that the Presuppositional view vs. the Evidentialist is a also a distinction of approach. The Evidentialist approach is considered direct and the Presuppositional approach is an indirect approach. So, those who make apologetics to always appear confrontational and in your face are to some degree misrepresenting the method. We do not always have to announce to the unbeliever what we understand the unbelievers presuppositions to be. They inform our engagement, because we understand two things the unbeliever always knows. He knows there is a judgment and he knows he is a covenant breaker. Van Til is clear about this distinction in Defending the Faith. The Fourth edition with S. Oliphant’s notes is very helpful in understanding Van Til.

An additional :2cents: worth

-----Added 2/18/2009 at 11:54:45 EST-----

Just one more thought about the issue of this apologetic. The reason many of us in the Reformed camp do like it, is because it is theologically consistent. In its most simple from it takes our reformed and Calvinistic theology and applies it to apologetics, which in this simple mind makes it very easy to use and practical to the extreme. My greatest asset in apologetics is my sound biblical systematic theology. For my understanding the phrase that pays when thinking about Van Til apologetics is in this idea: "God is the presupposition of all predication." Or maybe to put it another way, All intelligibility is based on the presupposition that God makes all predication possible." Back to the simplicity it is reformed theology consistently applied.

:think:
 

Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I served as a volunteer truckstop chaplain for about 4 years. I found apologetics very useful when confronting delusional people who thought they were saved by some contrived belief or works system. Most of them boiled down to a Jesus plus _______________ belief which had to be unpacked and exposed for what it was.
 
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