If you think defending the Christian faith is just a small discipline within theology, you might be surprised that there are several styles. These styles come with their own extensive literature. There are four main types of Christian apologetics: Classical, evidential, presuppositional, and fideism.
In this video I would like to look with you at presuppositional apologetics. I am not going into depth, but I would like to explain a bit more about what it is and how we can use it.
Quite often we, Christians, feel that we need to prove the Bible or the existence of God. We have this feeling that, even though we assume the Bible to be true, the other does not—making us uncomfortably trying to prove that what we hold dear.
However, the presuppositional apologist is using a different approach. Presuppositions are the convictions that every person has. Everybody walks around with a set of ideas he or she believes to be true. Obviously this affect how we think, see the world around us, how we interpret evidence, and even how we read the word of God, the Bible.
Apologetics is the discipline within theology where we learn how to give a logically sound defence of our faith. This means that presuppositional apologetics also gives a logically sound defence of our faith, but without ignoring our presuppositions or that what he or she takes for granted.
So, what do we take for granted or presuppose? Or in other words, what should a Christian take as absolute truth? We absolutely believe that God exists, and we have received His Word which is the absolute truth. A Christian thus looks at the world around him and interprets the things he sees through the Bible. The Bible should be our foundation in the way we think and act. It should also be our cornerstone in the way we explain evidence.
So I use the Bible as the basis for how to think, interpret evidence, explain the world around me, and read the Bible. An atheist’s presupposition will most likely be that there is no God and that truth is relative. An atheist believes that man decides truth, and so he thinks, interprets evidence, and views the world and Bible accordingly.
An axiom is a proposition that is not susceptible of proof or disproof; its truth is assumed to be self-evident. A presuppositionalist starts of by believing that the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is being used here as an axiom because the truth is assumed without doubt. A presuppositionalist might back this up by the following passages:
2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
As for God, his way is perfect: The word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
The Bible itself seems to take this stance. Everywhere we just see that God introduces Himself as an absolute. He is not to question, because He is.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
When adopting this approach, the apologist no longer tries to persuade the other of the evidence for God or His Word. The debate shifts towards the philosophical aspects of life. Because the apologist has taken the Bible as his or her axiom, he or she will never try to argue outside it.
There, where other apologists might debate about archaeology or geology, and how that field proves the Bible, a presuppositionalist is not even going into the argument of prove. He or she is already convinced that the Bible is true and that God exists, and as such he or she believes that the unbelievers also knows this to be true.
because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse
2 Peter 3:5-6
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished
Soldiers and Bakers
Sometimes unbelievers will tell you to argue your case without the use of the Bible. I believe a Christian should never do that. Even if you are not into the presuppositional apologetics, it is dumb to put God’s word aside because an unbeliever gets uncomfortable by hearing it.
A presuppositionalist will never ever put down his or her Bible. They often compare this with a soldier who is going into battle without any armour or weapons. It is like asking a bread baker to bake his bread without an oven. How on earth is he ever going to succeed?
No, the Bible is our shield and sword. If an atheist ever asks of you to put it away, you might counter that question by asking him to prove that there is no God by using only the Bible. That would be impossible for him because that would mean he has to give up his axiom. Yes, atheist also have an axiom since their truth is assumed to be self-evident. Their proposition—there is no God—is not susceptible of proof or disproof, they just assume that they are right.
I believe that there is a time and place for this style of apologetics. On Madagascar it isn’t that hard to right away starting from the point that God exists. Most Malagasy people assume God. In the West this seems to be quite different. Still, in most of my discussions I refer to the Bible. If people don’t like it, then that their problem.
However, sometimes it seems better to help people a little, evidence wise, to understand that the Bible isn’t that weird as they thought.
An interesting fact in the Bible is that the prophets and the apostles never tried to prove God’s existence either. They started by assuming God’s existence, and they always used Scripture to make their point.
and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
When well played, this style of apologetics can help the unbeliever to realise that it is he or she who needs to justify his or her ideas. That way they might understand that they are up against the Almighty Himself and not against our personal ideas.
Anyway, let me know what you think in the comments. Maybe you disagree on certain things? Just leave a comment. Remember! I am mostly active on my Odysee channel. You’ll find a link to that channel in the description of this video or on my website. Don’t forget to subscribe if you want to receive a notification every time I upload a new video!
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