Apologetics: Classical vs. Presuppositional Apologetics’
One of the arguments that those who believe in ‘Classical Apologetics’ sometimes called ‘two step apologetics’ (not to be confused with Evidential Apologetics) against ‘Presuppositional Apologetics’ is that only in Classical Apologetics does it allow for mediate (knowledge we have about God from creation) and immediate (knowledge we have of God, from God Himself). They make the claim that Greg Bahsen himself conceded this point in his debate with RC Sproul.
Although I watched this debate myself and did not hear Bahnsen concede anything. I thought I would give them the benefit of the doubt until I understand that particular point better. The debate between Bahnsen and Sproul made me wonder if Sproul even understood what the Presuppositional argument was. I was actually disappointed, because I am a Sproul fan. Some (even Presup) people did say the nature of the debate probably played into this, seeing Sproul could not adequately defend his position in the time allotted; whereas Bahnsen was more orderly and knew how to use his time effectively.
As I think about this issue; one of the most used passages of Scripture that those who use the Presuppositional method is Romans chapter one; appealing to creation and how it leaves people with no excuse. So how is this not using both the mediate and immediate? Am I missing something?
From what I am gathering from discussion on these apologetic methods is both schools believe the Bible is the ultimate authority. So the debate center around which method best exemplifies the teaching of the Bible.
Yet, it appears (not sure if they actually do) that the classical school uses the mediate to establish its truth before they go onto the immediate. Whereas in the Presuppositional school, realization that the unbeliever starts with their own world view that interprets everything through it. Thus the Presuppositionalist attempts to show the inconsistencies in their world views; thus shutting their mouths. In this way; they show that a world view must start and end with God. Only a world view based around God’s mediate and immediate knowledge can make sense of anything in life.
I have been following a Facebook conversation on these things and so far the answers given left more confusion than anything else. Having said all this; Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones who was a Presuppostionalist, did not believe in entering these kinds of debates. Instead he said he did not engage the non-believer with the futility of debate because they already know there is a God; because in light of Romans 8:7 “Because the carnal mind is at enmity against God for it is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be.” So rather than deal with the non-believer on science, philosophy or logic. He dealt with them on the “foolishness of the Gospel” (1Cor.1:18-21).
If I understand his point; although he was a Presuppositionalist in theory, he did not believe it was effective trying to shut their mouths. So he would jump straight to the foolishness of the Gospel.
If I understand him properly, I wonder if he makes a valid point? Learning apologetics is quite hard; I wonder if it might be better just to stick with the Gospel?
Yet, by doing this would I be submitting to Fideism? Which sometimes is an accusation that is wrongly thrown at Presuppositionalism?
Better stop there, my brain hurts.