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Archive for December 30th, 2009

CLICK HERE FOR PART IV

When it comes to apologetics, there are areas of disagreements among Christians as to the best method in defending the faith.  Taking advantage of these disagreements between Presuppositionalists and non-Presuppositionalists, an atheist lodges an objection towards Presuppositional Apologetics by challenging whether or not Presuppositionalism can account for Christian disagreement:

“Presups claim knowledge from God by revelation, but have not accounted for disagreements among Christians. Presups claim that the presup position itself is a revelation from God, but it seems God has not given this revelation to Christians like X and Y (Editorial note: Actual names removed). A presup might claim that God gives different revelations to different Christians, but this seems to further undermine their position.”

Can Presuppositionalists account for Christian disagreements and surmount the objections raised?  Let’s look more closely at what has been presented:

1.) First off, it’s probably best to tackle this particular atheist’s last sentence first.  He stated that, “A presup might claim that God gives different revelations to different Christians, but this seems to further undermine their position.”  For context, the atheist has stated earlier in the second sentence that “Presups claim that the presup position itself is a revelation from God“, so when he mentioned that a Presuppositionalist might claim that “God gives different revelations to different Christians“, he’s talking about God revealing Presuppositionalism as proper apologetics while to another Christian God has revealed otherwise (that is, “Presuppositionalism is not a proper God-glorifying apologetics”).  To clear up the matter, Presuppositionalist’s do not hold to a position that God might reveal contradictory revelations concerning proper apologetics methodology to two different Christians.  In light of the fact that a necessary presupposition of this objection has wrongly presupposes that Presuppositionalism believes God has presented contradictory revelations to different Christians, this objection does not stand.

2.) A closer look at the second sentence demonstrates that this atheist does not know the nature of how “Presups claim knowledge from God by revelation” (from the first sentence).  In his second sentence, he stated the following: “Presups claim that the presup position itself is a revelation from God, but it seems God has not given this revelation to Christians like X and Y (Editorial note: Actual names removed)“.  In what ways is “the presup position itself is a revelation from God“?  Presuppositionalists believes that Presuppositionalism is a system of apologetic derived from God’s special revelation, namely the Bible.  It seems that the objector does not understand that Presuppositionalism is arrived at on the basis of God’s revelation from Scripture rather than revelation by the means of some kind of individualized personal esoteric experience allegedly from God.  Somehow the atheist mistakenly thought that Presuppositionalism is revealed to Christians through some kind of miraculous encounter in a vision, etc (which would explain why he gave the objection that he did gave in sentence three).   Due to the atheist’s misunderstanding of the nature of the revelation which Presuppositionalism is based upon, he states that “it seems God has not given this revelation to Christians like X and Y.”  However, since the basis for Presuppositionalism is from God’s revelation found in the Scriptures, the atheist cannot say that “God has not given this revelation to Christians like X and Y.”  God has given His Word, the Bible, to Christians.  The Bible does have something to say about the task, the parameters and method of apologetics.

3.) Having dealt with the difficulties raised by this atheist in his second and third sentences, the main force of his objection is found in the first sentence: “Presups claim knowledge from God by revelation, but have not accounted for disagreements among Christians.”  Obviously, the objector does not think that Presuppositionalism can not account for disagreements among Christians concerning apologetics methodology (Presuppositionalism or non-Presuppositionalism).  However, Presuppositionalism can account for why Christian disagreement exists (including in the spheres of Christian apologetics).  Asking whether or not one can “account” for something (in this case, the phenomenon of Christian disagreements) is in its very nature an internal critique.  That is, seeing if one’s worldview can “account” for something is really asking if that person can rationally explain the existence of the thing or event in question within the person’s own worldview.   In light of Presuppositionalism’s understanding of man’s sin, the effect of man’s sin and man’s finiteness, the existence of Christian disagreement does make sense in the Presuppositionalist’s perspective.  It not only make sense, it is expected to happen if Presuppositionalism’s understanding of those three areas are true.  Presuppositionalism believes the Bible when it says that everyone is sinful (Romans 3:23), which means also that everyone in his sinful nature rebel against God and what God’s Word says (cf. Genesis 3).  The consequence of man’s sin has affected every aspect of man, including his will, emotions, will and mind.  The noetic effect of sin include man suppressing the truth of God in his mind and will (Romans 1:18ff.).  While a Christian no longer sins the same way as a non-Christian (reigning sin), a Christian does have remaining sin where he can violate what God says.  Thus, because a Christian is not perfect and ranges in various degrees of thinking Biblically, it should not be a surprise to find that some Christians could even sin by not obeying fully the Biblical parameter of apologetics.  Depending on where the Christian is in the process of sanctification, the less he is sanctified in thinking Biblically, the more likely the possibility he disagrees with what the Word says, and the more likely that one would find him disagreeing with Christians who are more consistent with Scripture’s principle for apologetics.  The effect of sin has also impacted man’s noetic abilities, where one can also think irrationality, be mistaken in his reasoning, and assume bad presuppositions that are not biblical.  Hence, the effect of sin also lead one to expect Christians to make mistakes on their reasoning of apologetics methodology.  Afterall, man is not God, for man’s knowledge is finite and limited.  He might not capture all the truth fully.  These three aspects (man’s sin, effect of sin, and finiteness) are Christian truths that even non-presuppositionalists would hold to, but for some reason non-presuppositionalists would not accept the logical conclusion of these truths when it comes to the application of apologetics.  Presuppositionalism can account for Christian disagreements, including disagreements on apologetics.

CONCLUSION

This essay has shown that Presuppositionalism can account for Christian disagreement, and that the reality of Christian disagreement is not an objection to Presuppositionalism.  Along the way, two other objections depending on the first were looked at also.  Of course, it is one thing to be able to account for Christian disagreement with Presuppositionalism, it’s another thing to see if their objections stands.  This series have already looked at some of the Christians objections offered, and another Christian objection to Presuppositional apologetics will the subject of the next installment in this series.

CLICK HERE FOR PART VI

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