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Tom
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#54524 - Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:34 PM Classical vs.Presuppositional Apologetics  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Tom Online content
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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 3,316
Kelowna, British Columbia, Can...
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. whatsgoingonhere

#54525 - Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:45 AM Re: Classical vs.Presuppositional Apologetics [Re: Tom]  
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1. Presuppositionalists do NOT deny nor use 'evidences' in defending the faith. Nor do they reject 'mediate knowledge'. Rather the issue is more, IMHO, the order in which 'immediate and mediate' knowledge are used. For myself, immediate knowledge; knowledge which God has revealed in His Word and in some things to all men internally, i.e., as man made in the Imago Deo, e.g., God's existence and power via the things which are made and the moral law of God, must precede mediate knowledge. Why? Because "Thy Word is Truth" and it being the sole and final authority in all matters of faith and practice it serves as the 'glasses' through which one can properly see truth in the things which are made.

2. One cannot be accused of being a Fideist, i.e., one who bifurcates faith and reason by holding to Presuppositional Apologetics. In fact, that would be impossible, for it is by reason/logic that one believes what Scripture teaches concerning itself and all that it teaches. Scripture itself enjoins man to 'reason' (Josh 9:13; 1Sam 12:7; Job 9:14, 13:3; Eccl 7:25; Isa 1:18; Jer 12:1; Dan 4:36, 5:10; Mk 2:8; 8:17; Acts 18:14; Heb 5:14; et al). Immediate knowledge is and must be the beginning of all knowledge for God has endowed all men with it. The problem is that fallen man hates the truth that is within him concerning God as the supreme ruler and creator of all things and that he is subject to Him. And consequently, man exchanges the truth for a lie (Rom 1:18-25). The Word of God is immutable and unchangeable and thus it is the only reliable source of truth to man.


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