Presuppositional Apologetics

I would suggest that a serious question would have to be faced as to whether the reason why modern men reject the Christian answer, or why they often do not even consider it, is because they have already accepted with an implicit faith the presupposition of the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system.

This does not mean that the Christian answer should be accepted for pragmatic reasons, but it does mean that the solution given in the Bible answers the problem of the universe and man and nothing else does.

– Francis Schaeffer, The God Who is There

Many Christians who use evidential apologetics believe that a person will become Christian if given enough evidence and proof to believe. This is one of the fundamental differences between evidential and presuppositional apologetics. The reason that many presuppositional apologists are Reformed is because of how the central axioms of presuppositional apologetics line up with the Reformed doctrine of total depravity, that man will not choose God regardless of how much “evidence” is presented to him. He will always find explanations around “proofs.” Only the Holy Spirit’s work can truly enable a person to receive the gospel with faith.

Presuppositional apologists do not believe that there is an absolutely airtight case for Christianity. All arguments are rationally avoidable and dismissible. This is just the manifestation of Romans 1: humans in their unrighteousness suppress the truth and do not acknowledge God though His existence can be seen plainly in the world through creation and through the existence of morality. Presuppositional apologetics seeks to show 1) how other worldviews and religious systems require just as much faith as Christianity and 2) how the faith required for Christianity is not a blind leap of faith as modern society would like us to think.

I agree so much with the first paragraph of this Schaeffer quote. Especially in regard to current trends in liberal New Testament studies, I feel like so many of the “discoveries” and “advances” in NT studies are made by scholars who go into the Bible already looking for what they want. Granted, many conservative, fundamentalist theologians also presuppose the unity of the Bible and tailor their “evidence” to favor their views. The second paragraph refers to the presuppositional approach of offering to the skeptic and seeker the claim that Christianity as a worldviews “fits” and “works” better than all other worldviews. If one could “put on” the worldviews as a pair of glasses, which one would make the most sense of life and the human experience? Christianity. Christianity has an answer for the existence of evil and also the inherent sense of morality in every human. Christianity has an answer for each human’s desire for love and acceptance. Christianity has an answer for the despair of death and guilt.

I’ve found this method of evangelizing to people stimulating and challenging for stubborn, hardened hearts. Especially in random evangelism, where I talk for only 15-30 minutes to people I may never see again, I think God can use presuppositional apologetics to tug at their hearts and get them to question their assumptions and biases against Christianity. Many of those who oppose Christianity have been hurt by the church, and no amount of bickering over creationism or the veracity of miracles (the resurrection is one miracle that is worth providing evidence for, though) will unequivocally convince them back.

I want to add that you don’t need to know presuppositional apologetics to practice it. All of my Christian brothers and sisters that witness with me every week at outreach know that we we are powerless to save anyone by our own ability. We are called to share the gospel with anyone and everyone and let God change their hearts. The more we understand how modern secular people think, though, the more effective our witness will be. We’ll be able to ask questions that probe and expose people’s sins. We’ll be able to give them the answer to the problem they’ve never thought about. They’ll finally understand that Christianity is more than doing; it’s about what God has already done. They’ll finally realize that Christianity is not about being saved from unfulfilled, unhappy lives, but being saved from the just wrath of a holy God and His eternal condemnation. They’ll know that we aren’t talking to them because we want to bicker and quarrel but because we deeply care for them and want to see them have the joy of salvation.


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