Puritan Board Post-Graduate
As you can see, I think I've answered at least some of the questions. In addition to these things I would add that it is not evidentialism or classicalism that is divorced from theology, for Christ has chosen to select men for a major assembly of His Church in a time of classical and evidential views of apologetics to respond to the crucial issues of the Church in history; and their work is handed down to us as the rule of faith for the Church to this day as a standard of faith, namely the Westminster and Dordt Church Assemblies. They were not necessarily classicalists or evidentialists to the degree that they were adamant to defend them. They did not make any certainty in doctrine rest on the speculations of man. But they used these liberally to defend the truths of the Bible, to show that these doctrines were evident. Nor do they use the offices or the pulpit to insist upon these methodologies. They are of use, and they used them. But the truths were already true before these methods were used to convince men of the doctrines; they used them in subjection to truth. And so, if they were of use to them, it cannot be that they be folly for us to use.I've been thinking about apologetics as of late, and have typically viewed Classical and Evidential apologetics as unbiblical and erroneous, due to their divorced nature from one's theology, versus presuppositionalism's consistency with the rest of Reformed systematic theology, including man's depravity, the Creator-creature distinction, special knowledge of God and regeneration, universal knowledge of God as set forth in Romans 1, the fear of the Lord as the beginning (not the end result) of wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 1:7), all hidden in Christ (Colossians 2:3), and other issues.
And I am still an ardent presuppositionalist, and believe the Classical and Evidential approaches as a whole as employed by men like Aquinas and Lee Strobel are unbiblical. But what do other presuppositionalists - who are committed to standing against neutrality, and not standing on the foolishness of unbelief on the so-called "neutral" level of the unbeliever - think of the possibility of legitimate use of certain Classical and Evidential arguments as particular parts to Proverbs 26:5, answering a fool according to his folly, by taking his perspective for the sake of argument?
In other words, after making our ultimate commitment to Christ as the beginning and source of all true knowledge, and stating that we will not surrender that in our apologetical discussion with the unbeliever, and presenting the Christian worldview and how it explains life around and within us, once we also begin to answer a fool according to his folly, could we not in that part say something to the effect of, "OK, and for the sake of argument, taking your assumptions that reason and science can be neutral or objective with regard to the question of the Christian worldview, here's how even that perspective of yours (employing "neutral" philosophy in the Classical arguments, and "neutral" science in the Evidential arguments) only points toward the reasonableness of Christianity, rather than the doubtfulness."
Of course we also still have to answer the fool according to his folly by showing him that his view logically leads to utter absurdity and chaos in all spheres of reason, experience and life (e.g. showing the impossibility of laws of logic and uniformity of nature without the Christian worldview), but could not these arguments also serve as additional points in the "reason" and "experience" categories in that regard? Some presuppositionalists may say that doing so would render the most basic demonstrations of Christianity's necessity as "insufficient," but that is hardly the case any more than the fact that we use arguments about logic and science being impossible with autonomy, for as Dr. Bahnsen well noted in his "Challenge to Unbelief" lectures, we are in effect done once we have shown even one of those as being impossible - yet showing several of them as such on many levels is part of answering a fool according to his folly, as he always raises many objections of many types.
In respect to the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity, as well as the LBCF for the Baptists, these are not the rulings of men, but the rulings of duly authorized credentialed men of the Church deciding these matters in holy convocation, from the Scripture by the Spirit, not on their own authority. So they are not the doctrines of men. Neither ought we to add anything to them without the authority of the Church in the same manner and of like authority. These are Church standards, through the Spirit.
Let us not make men like Calvin great because they were such great minds. Let us remember that the great wrongs of the time did as much and more to reveal these truths to us, and that God gifted men like Calvin so He could teach us the lessons of history in the Church. It was not Calvin, but Christ using the agency of a man. In the same way He is leading His church through the agency of ordained men, so that we may be taught truly. It is not ours to add to these rulings according to our whim, or our own authority. This is how the Bible says the Church will be ruled, and so we need to acknowledge that. Not bowing down any longer to men who add their own doctrines by their own understandings, but bowing to those doctrines already established by the Spirit through these men, according to the Word.