...about things that interest me and are (hopefully) edifying!

But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases. Psalm 115:3

Soli Deo Gloria!!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Why Presuppositionalism?

"Evangelicals are often prone to generate inductive arguments for the veracity of Christianity based on the historical resurrection of Christ, and such arguments occupy central importance in this apologetic. It is felt that if a man would simply consider the "facts" presented and use his common reasoning sense he would be rationally compelled to believe the truth of scripture. In such a case the evidences for Christ's resurrection are foundational to apologetical witnessing, whereas their only proper place is confirmatory of the believer's presupposed faith. There is a certain impropriety about attempting to move an opponent from his own circle into the circle of Christian belief by appealing to evidence for the resurrection, and there are many reasons why the evidentialist's building a case for Christianity upon neutral ground with the unbeliever ought to be avoided.

The first is the Lordship of Christ over the whole of the Christian's life, even his intellectual endeavors. Our every thought must be obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5), and only when He is set apart as Lord in our thinking will we be able to offer a reason for the hope in us (1 Peter 3:15). The Christian cannot relinquish his submission to God's authority in order to reason upon some alleged neutral ground. God makes a radical demand on the believer's life which involves never demanding proof of God or trying Him. Even the Incarnate Son would not put God to the test, but rather relied upon the inscripturated word (cf. Matt. 4). The Christian does not look at the evidence impartially, standing on neutral ground with the unbeliever, waiting to see if the evidence warrants trust in God's truthfulness or not. Rather, he begins by submitting to the truth of God, preferring to view every man as a liar if he contradicts God's truthfulness or not. Rather, he begins by submitting to the truth of God, preferring to view every man as a liar if he contradicts God's word (cf. Rom. 3:4). No one can demand proof from God, and the servant of the Lord should never give in to any such demand (and obviously, neither should he suggest that such a demand be made by the unbeliever). The apostles were certainly not afraid of evidence; yet we notice that they never argued on the basis of it. They preached the resurrection without feeling any need to prove it to the skeptics; they unashamably appealed to it as fact. They explained the meaning of the resurrection, its significance, its fulfillment of prophecy, its centrality in theology, its redemptive power, its promise and assuring function - but they did not attempt to prove it by appealing to the "facts" which any "rational man" could use as satisfying scholarly requirements of credibility. By trying to build up a proof of the resurrection from unbiased grounds the Christian allows his witness to be absorbed into a pagan framework and reduces the antithesis between himself and the skeptic to a matter of a few particulars. The Christian world-view differs from that of unbelief at every point (when the skeptic is consistent with his avowed principles), and it is the only outlook which can account for factuality at all. The Christian apologete must present the full message of Christ with all of its challenge and not water it down in order to meet the unbeliever on his own faulty grounds. "

The Impropriety of Evidentially Arguing for the Resurrection - Dr. Greg Bahnsen

1 comment:

Troy said...

There is force to what you say; it is possible the resurrection alone can speak to every person. And I know many believers who feel deep awareness of God quite apart from reason.

But surely one thing the early Christians did was use the OT to prove their point, zealously. They needed to prove that Jesus was the messiah, that the events of his life had been predicted, and they did so, sometimes, in my view, stretching the OT texts or using them very selectively. For me, that process involves reason, the use of a community's sacred, authoritative book to prove Jesus was the expected holy one of Israel.

Just a thought. I don't actually know how far reason or evidential apologetics can bring a person towards God, but it helps many on their path there and it seems to keep some there as well.

Best.

...about things that interest me and are (hopefully) edifying!

But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases. Psalm 115:3

Soli Deo Gloria!!


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