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Summary in 400 words or less:
Presuppositional apologetics begins with the fact of God’s existence as its foundation. It is rooted in a biblical approach of understanding and defending Christianity.
A presupposition is a worldview. A person’s presuppositions affect the way they view the world, as well as how they interpret the experiences, happenings, and evidence around them. An individual’s presuppositions about the Bible causes them to either believe or disbelieve in its veracity.
Presuppositional apologetics approaches the defense of Christianity by first recognizing a person’s presuppositions. Understanding presuppositions enables a Christian to reason for the faith from the foundation of biblical reality, and also to understand that a nonbeliever will reason from a completely different presupposition – that of “There is no God,” or “All truth is relative.”
Presuppositional apologetics uses the validity of the Bible as its axiom. In other words, the truth of the Bible is the starting point for any reasoning. This stance is used within the Bible itself, in which God’s existence is never debated by prophets. Rather, the reality of God is used as a basis for writings on faith, morality, creation, and countless other biblical topics.
An individual’s starting point makes a vast difference in the approach they will take in reasoning for the faith. Choosing to use presuppositional apologetics will allow Christians to stand on the axiom of the Bible as the basis for all truth. Reasoning for the faith from the foundation of Scripture gives Christians the ability to stand not on their own fallible wisdom or limited reasoning, but on the infallible foundation of the Word of God.
A variety of concepts presuppose the reality of God’s existence, including many topics that atheists depend on in their arguments against God’s existence. For example, using approaches that depend on logic, reason, and order all presuppose a logical universe, which implies a theistic worldview. Arguments for morality presuppose a moral approach to the universe, which implies indisputable moral laws given by a creator. Arguments for freedom and autonomy presuppose the worth of the individual, which only make sense from a Christian worldview that we are created in the image of God and worth the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus’ death on the cross.
With presuppositional apologetics, a Christian can rely on the authority of Scripture and God’s Word to change lives, with the ultimate hope and intention that more will adapt to the presupposition of biblical reasoning.
Scripture for YouVersion:
Three questions (1 fill-in-the-blank, 1 multiple choice, and one discussion question):
- Choosing to use presuppositional apologetics will allow Christians to stand on the ___________ of the Bible as the basis for all ______________.
- The foundation of presuppositional apologetics is
- Knowing the basis of every philosophical argument.
- The reality of God’s existence.
- A worldview that recognizes the autonomy of mankind.
- When discussing faith with a nonbeliever, how can it help to know what worldview they have, or what presuppositions they hold on life and Christianity?
References for further reading:
Bahnsen, Greg L., and Joel McDurmon. Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended. Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2008.
Leigh, David R. Presupposing: How to Defend the Faith: The Methods of Francis Schaeffer and Cornelius Van Til. Fox River Grove, IL : Leighist & Grateful Pressless Press. 2012.
Oliphint, K. Scott. Covenantal Apologetics: Principles and Practice in Defense of Our Faith. Crossway. 2013.
Robinson, Michael Allen. Does God Exist? Defending the Faith Using Presuppositional Apologetics, Evidence, and the Impossibility of the Contrary. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006.
Collaborators: Bonita Jewell
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