Why not both?

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by PuritanCovenanter, Sep 1, 2005.

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  1. Apologist4Him

    Apologist4Him Puritan Board Freshman

    But you were, and people do, whether consciencely or subconsciencly. Supressing the truth, is perhaps the most common sin to all mankind, that is, not acknowledging or giving God the glory He deserves.

    "...the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so." (Romans 8:7)

    The nature of sinful nature is to supress the truth...in unrighteouness.

    "...whatever is not from faith is sin." (Romans 14:23)

    In other words, your primary justification for being a non-believer had more to do with pragmatism than the actual truth of the matter..

    Praise God for giving you the desire to read the Word and opening your eyes to the truth of His Word. :)
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    He is saying, "Assume for the sake of the argument." In other words, I have already shown (hypothetically) that unbeliever x's worldview cannot account for science/logic/morality. I would then ask him, for argument's sake, to assume the premises of my worldview. Then, reality makes sense. But he does this anyway in his life. He sins by not giving God glory in doing so.

    The answer to your other question: Pre-interpreted fact--God omnisciently interprets it? Yes, I meant something like that. But that touches on other aspects.

    What is a brute fact? Have you ever heard the phrase, propounded by cocky apologists and naturalists, "Let the facts speak for themselves?" They are assuming that facts are neutral and are processed the same to both believer and unbeliever. These apologists go down the quickest in debate. Go to infidel.org and see them shred McDowell to pieces.
  3. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    OOPs. I was born a liar. See I proved it again in the above statement.
    Let me clarify. What I was trying to say.
    I was trying to convey the fact that I didn't know anything about Christianity to oppose it. When I was faced with certain facts about God I was subdued. I was to sinful not to acknowledge my sinfulness. I found myself in Christ. If you have ever heard me testify I acknowledge that I didn't choose Christ. He definitely chose me.

    I was trying to imply that not everyone is as hardened against the truth as others are.

    [Edited on 9-1-2005 by puritancovenanter]
  4. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member


    Give me a link to an article at the blasted site? Please.
    Facts can not be neutral. They are positively facts. But I don't believe all facts point directly to the Saviour either. I am having a hard time believing that an evidentialist believes that everyone interprets all facts the same way.

    p.s. I have a football game to go to so I won't be back for a few hours. Thanks for your help guys.

    [Edited on 9-1-2005 by puritancovenanter]
  5. Apologist4Him

    Apologist4Him Puritan Board Freshman

    Because the facts do not interpret theirselves, we should acknowledge two kinds of facts (in the present world), man centered facts, and God centered facts, autonomous "facts", and Theonomous facts.

    But how can anybody prove that a fact is a fact? With a fact? I remember listening to Ronald Nash's free online apologetics course lecture where he refutes evidentialism, and does it unsophisticatedly, with a simple question, along the lines of, where is the evidence which proves evidentialism is the correct method of interpreting the facts? There is no empirical evidence that proves empiricism is the method we should be using to interprete the facts, and so the problem of induction becomes even more unerving for the unbeliever as the unbeliever is forced into the irrationality of subjectivism and skepticism.
  6. Apologist4Him

    Apologist4Him Puritan Board Freshman

    Yesterday, I was listening to Greg Bahnsen's lecture "Impossibility, Immorality, and Robbery of Neutrality" from the "Seminary Apologetics" series. It's kinda funny to be reading the same message today. :lol:
  7. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    In other words are you just asking someone to believe something just because you believe it? Just because it is supposed truth? i.e. Christianity. Or are you asking someone to believe something about Christ and the Scriptures based upon evidence? i.e. blind faith vs. faith based upon evidence.
  8. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I haven't forgotten you. My computer crahsed and I have to leave for themoment. KCEaster asked a similar question in another thread (for presups only), see my respones to hm.
  9. Apologist4Him

    Apologist4Him Puritan Board Freshman

    If I may, I would like to give an example of self-deception. According to the testimony of others, there are cases of preachers, converting to Christianity AFTER they had been preaching from a pulpit. How is it that an unregenerate man, having never experiened the new birth, could stand in front of an audience, including regenerate men, and speak as though he were regenerate? Could you imagine any unregenerate preacher ever making a statement like; "Of course I'm not a Christian, I just like the power and authority of preaching and doing it for a share of their hard earned money"? I couldn't imagine those words coming from the mouth of a preacher. In the same way, many people have deceived theirselves into thinking they are Christians, when they're not. The difficult part of accepting the concept of self-deception, is the fear of being judgemental of people. The last thing I would ever want to be is a judgemental Christian. Nevertheless, the concept of self-deception is crucial to apologetics, and unavoidable really.

    [Edited on 9-1-2005 by Apologist4Him]
  10. Apologist4Him

    Apologist4Him Puritan Board Freshman

    The truth is, I have never converted a single person to Christianity. If I have ever said anything that led to a conversion, it wasn't me who converted them, God the Holy Spirit converted them from self-centered evidence to God centered evidence. To be sure, both Dr. Van Til and Dr. Bahnsen have been accused of being fideists ("faithism") but that couldn't be further from the truth. Fideists hold a non-complimentary view of faith and Science. A Van Tillian presuppositonalist holds a complimentarian view of faith and Science (facts). As revelational epistemologists we hold that "all facts are God's facts". Which is why the facts are not neutral, they belong to God, they are part of God's knowledge, they are common sense to Him.

    To answer your question, I would ask someone to believe Christianity because it can't be any other way, because of the impossibility of the contrary.

    Anywho, thank God there will not be any need for apologetics in Heaven, but until then, we must tarry on..

    [Edited on 9-1-2005 by Apologist4Him]
  11. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Okay, but I don't understand what you are getting at.

    I don't mind being a judgemental person. I judge and discern constantly. Everyone does. I just hope I can do it lovingly. I am not called upon to be condemning though. That is God's job.

    The main problem is not self deception. The main problem is that sin has rendered us dead in sins and trespasses. We are spiritually blind and spiritually deaf. We are spiritually dead and cannot respond or discern spiritual things without corruption in our hearts blinding us from the truth. Self deception is only a symptom of spiritual death.

    Again I have a simple question that I want a simple answer to. Are you just asking someone to believe something just because you believe it? Just because it is supposed truth? i.e. Christianity. Or are you asking someone to believe something about Christ and the Scriptures based upon evidence? i.e. blind faith vs. faith based upon evidence.

    I am hoping Jacob will answer this also.

    [Edited on 9-1-2005 by puritancovenanter]
  12. Apologist4Him

    Apologist4Him Puritan Board Freshman

    I just prefer to make the distinction between being judgemental, and making sound judgements. You're right, everyone does, and it's unavoidable.

    :lol: I think we're agreeing now, just expressing our thoughts differently. The main problem is sin, which led to spiritual death. One of the primary symptoms of sin is self-deception, which should always be acknowledged in doing apologetics, especially with nonbelievers.
  13. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Hmmm...fideism vs. evidentialism. I choose neither horn on that dilemma. I also wouldn't choose between fideism vs. rationalism either.
  14. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Let me ask another question. Does Presumption possess a quality of assuming something?
  15. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Are you working towards saying that presuppositionalism = fideism or am I missing your train of thought?

    Which definition of presumption are we working with?

    1. Behavior or attitude that is boldly arrogant or offensive; effrontery.
    2. The act of presuming or accepting as true.
    3. Acceptance or belief based on reasonable evidence; assumption or supposition.
    4. A condition or basis for accepting or presuming.
    5. A conclusion derived from a particular set of facts based on law, rather than probable reasoning.

    ditto to assuming?

    1. To take upon oneself: assume responsibility; assume another's debts.
    2. To undertake the duties of (an office): assumed the presidency.
    3. To take on; adopt: "œThe god assumes a human form" (John Ruskin).
    4. To put on; don: The queen assumed a velvet robe.
    5. To affect the appearance or possession of; feign.
    6. To take for granted; suppose: assumed that prices would rise. See Synonyms at presume.
    7. To take over without justification; seize: assume control.
    8. To take up or receive into heaven.
  16. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    If Christ is not risen from the dead than I am hopeless. I have been persuaded that this was an historical event. There is historical evidence for this. It isn't just a wives tale or myth, so to speak. If it is a hoax than everything I believe is bunk.
  17. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I meant to say presuppose not presume. And I was referring to assumption as in assume.

    By these definitions Historical relevence matters not. That maybe what is confusing me. I am using the worlds definitions and not yours.
  18. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    (Rom 1:19) For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

    (Rom 1:20) 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.

    According to this passage creation declares the glory of God. We are held accountable because God has shown us His invisible attributes in creation. Not because we just know. Something is declararing it. So that we are without excuse. Something is pointing to and giving evidence of the Creator. I am not assuming or presupposing something here am I?

    [Edited on 9-1-2005 by puritancovenanter]
  19. Apologist4Him

    Apologist4Him Puritan Board Freshman

    *Before saying anything, I should first assert a non-authoritative disclaimer. I am an ignorant man thinking these issues though to the best of my God given ability. It's quite possible I've goofed somewhere in my thinking.*

    At the foundational (not to be confused with "foundationalism") presuppositional level, there is, at best, no avoiding circular reasoning. The rationalist cannot prove rationalism without appealing to reason, but who in their right mind denies the law of contradicion? The presuppositionalist is asking for unity, knowing that nobody denies the law of contradiciton, inquiring how we account for it. I think your question raises an interesting point, does presuppositionalism presuppose presuppositionalism? Yes, it does, it's circular, and valid because a properly basic (eek I'm using Plantinga terminology) presupposition is axiomatic, or stated differently, a properly basic belief, something which must be assumed, in order to make the argument. We postulate that the existence of a particular God must be assumed, in order to know anything, that is, in order for the "facts" to be intelligible.
  20. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    In order to ensure that we are not talking past each other...here is a working definition of presupposition that any presuppositionalist would be comfortable with:

    A "presupposition" is an elementary assumption in one's reasoning or in the process by which opinions are formed. In this book, a "presupposition" is not just any assumption in an argument, but a personal commitment that is held at the most basic level of one's network of beliefs. Presuppositions form a wide-ranging, foundational perspective (or starting point) in terms of which everything else is interpreted and evaluated. As such, presuppositions have the greatest authority in one's thinking, being treated as one's least negotiable beliefs and being granted the highest immunity to revision.

    Greg Bahnsen, Van Til's Apologetic: Readings and Analysis, P&R, pg. 2 ff.4
  21. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    Randy, it seems to me you're doing just fine...and are on the right track. Only one tweak:

    There are 2 categories of God's self-revelation: General revelation: creation/nature, includes awareness of God and His law written on our hearts. We like to hear about the Law because we think we can do it; though it drives us to despair. And Special revelation: the knowledge of Christ/the Gospel which is outside of us and not naturally in our hearts. We all hate this, btw. Even the Christian fights against it.

    The unbeliever knows God exists, is powerful and that he is guilty before Him - hence he suppresses the truth. But pride goads him on to attempt perfection (self-help books sell!) But the unbeliever CAN NEVER learn about God's redemption unless he hears the message of the work of Christ. That message (1 Cor. 15) is toxic to unbelief. Explaining and teaching what the Message is and means is the persuasion against every idea against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10.) A battle for ideas. Here's another couple of categories to help...

    I don't spend too much time with arguing philosophy becuase the heart of unbelief loves to hear about "doing & knowing things." ("Always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth"...) I also don't let folks get away with assertions. I presume they know better, though they deny it. Instead of fussing about worldviews, the Bible gives us better models: Greek and Jew. The "Jew" is self-righteous/religious; the "Greek" thirsts for knowledge yet does not want wisdom. These two categories best explain the human sinful condition. We see this today - it's repackaged as the science-guys (Greek) and the "spiritual-" guys (Jew); Carl Sagan and Depak Chopra.

    The Apostle Paul teaches us how to deal with such (see his speech in Acts 17 as well as his arguments with the Jews.) Jesus teaches us how to deal with the self-righteous religious category, clarifying between Law and Gospel. Those perishing love to hear the law, thinking it a means of self-confidence. They hate to hear the Gospel because it strips them of self-sufficiency.

    Don't worry about apologetics style -- keep studying your Bible and how the NT writers handled unbelief. We are all there. The Apostle's teaching is best. Meanwhile, here's a great article on how the Reformed "do" pre-evangelism, apologetics and evangelism:



  22. rgrove

    rgrove Puritan Board Freshman

    It's not blind faith, this would be "fideism" which Van Til, Bahnsen, etc have argued heavily against. It's proving "the impossibility of the contrary" as I've heard Bahnsen describe it. It's impossible that the Christianity isn't true because no other understanding of the world around us provides "the preconditions of intelligibility". I don't find it helpful to argue these points endlessly, though. In my experience, and this is just my experience, unbelievers start getting really hot when you begin to pin them with presuppositionalist arguments. I generally like to use the presuppositionalist approach to attain a degree of credibility of what I'm saying and get to the gospel. So in my view presuppositionalism is just another method of getting to the gospel and I won't argue endlessly for my position. I figure I'm planting seed and causing them to question whether they're able to account for what they are doing in life. Perhaps someday the Holy Spirity will be pleased to use something I say to convert someone, at least that's my fervent prayer, but I haven't had it happen yet... But I am comforted that no other worldview can make sense of things and won't hesitate to make use of this whenever the opportunity arises.
  23. rgrove

    rgrove Puritan Board Freshman

    We'll have to agree to disagree, Paul. If you're not directly discussing salvation, but discussing 2+2=4, you're not talking about the gospel in my opinion. You're doing something that leads up to the gospel.
  24. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    I gotta agree with Paul on this one...No 2+2=4 is not the gospel but if you are not bringing up the effects of creation/fall/redemption and its affect to metaphysics/epistemology/ethics then it's not exactly the presuppositional method in toto. Van Til always said that you argue system vs. system. so gospel is included in the apologetic.

    I think the disagreement here might be a semantical one...
  25. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Schaeffer viewed apologetics as pre-evangelism - Bahnsen and Van Til both critiqued him on that.
  26. rgrove

    rgrove Puritan Board Freshman

    It may or may not be a semantical one, but presenting the Gospel does not require all of the above. It had absolutely nothing to do with my conversion and I haven't personally met anyone in the two churches I've gone to that were converted that way. Therefore I'm not interested in presenting a system "en toto", but presenting the gospel and bringing down walls that are in the way of accepting that gospel. I feel challenges to the gospel are best met with a presuppositional method, but that's it's proper place. In support of the Gospel where the focus is on using the law to demonstrate sin before a just and holy God, that sin demands satisfaction and that satisfaction was provided in the work of Christ on the cross. I refuse to come to anyone with a philisophical system first and Christ as a result. I start with Christ crucified and defend from then on using the presuppositional method. In this sense I employ it as a "post-evangelism". I've already delivered the gospel, now I'm tearing down barriers.

    I will when I get some time. I'm at work.

    I have many times.

    I've read or own as reference every major work on it. If I don't reach the same conclusions you have it's a little cocky to claim it's because I haven't studied enough. Perhaps your conclusion is wrong.

    They are saved intellectually, but after they are saved by the Gospel.

    Like I said, Christ is not presented crucified in the above presentation. No law, no deomonstration of being in sin before a just and holy God, no discussion of what Christ did on the cross. What you presented is true as far as it goes, but it isn't the Gospel. I remain unconviced by your assertion, which is all I feel it is. A person doesn't need to have any knowledge of this method of apologetics to present the gospel to an unbeliever. The Holy Spirit will use a proper presentation of the Gospel which presents Christ crucified in place of sinners like to save people. The law goes straight to the imago dei in every person and will touch their conscience in some way because they know it to be true. I still contest the presuppositional method is a way of "giving reason for the hope that is within us" and can be very helpful, but it's not required and there's no reason to employ it "en tot" unless the person is continuously argumentative. And if that's the case, then at some point you need to walk away and let the Holy Spirit do His work.
  27. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Let me ask a question? This is one of the problems with language and epistlemology. Why should I accept your definition which has been made to fit a theological idea in my opinion(I may be incorrect) over the definition of common language from which the words were taken?

    Is it permissable for me to redifine words to fit my understanding?

    [Edited on 9-2-2005 by puritancovenanter]
  28. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Let me ask a question? This is one of the problems with language and epistlemology. Why should I accept your definition which has been made to fit a theological idea in my opinion(I may be incorrect) over the definition of common language from which the words were taken?

    Is it permissable for me to redifine words to fit my understanding?

    [Edited on 9-2-2005 by puritancovenanter] [/quote]
    No you can't:p

    Of course you can...For sake of discoursing with most people who would call themselves presuppers who have read Van Til, Bahnsen, Frame, Oliphant, Edgar, etc. - if you are able to define the words the same as their writings it makes it easier. Call it snark - just so we both understand the concepts behind the words. The reason I posted that was that I thought I was seeing that we were using the word 'presupposition' differently. I showed you mine, now you show me yours.;)

    If the word presupposition is a tripping point, we could just as easy use the word transcendental.

    [Edited on 9-2-2005 by crhoades]
  29. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    You are assuming that I am failing to see this. That is not the case. I believe miracles and historical things are meant to define God's working and invisible attributes. You can not have a resuscitated corpse without God. You are twisting my implications.

    As far as not dealing with your refutation. It may have been I didn't understand it and I didn't want to answer it because I was already dealing with another line of thought. I am not a multi-tasked person. I actually started this thread to figure out what was being said on an elementary level. It seems that evidence and pres suppositions need to be dealt with together. All people have presuppositions and some people deal with evidence. I want to understand why you guys think the way you do.
  30. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    BTW the 8th grade won their game 28 to 13 last night and the 7th grade team tied. I love my kids football games. I gotta go racing tonight and hope the thread doesn't take off from here so that I can stay up with it. I need to read through the posts still.
    I really appreciate you guys taking time to discuss this with me. I am not sure how much time will lapse till I get to work through this some more. My Dad and Sister are Drag Racing this Weekend out at Indianapolis Raceway Park for the US National Drags. It is the Biggest Drag race in the world. Plus my extended family...Uncle, Aunt, and cousing are in town for a Reunion. Please be patient with me. Thanks Chris, Jacob, and Paul...

    Very appreciative, Randy
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