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Archive for September 24th, 2012

Today’s interview with a Calvinistic Dispensational Presuppositionalist is with Dr. Paul Henebury, whom some might know him on the internet as Dr. Reluctant, who blogs here, and runs the Veritas School of Theology (not any way affliated with our blog, in case you are wondering about the name).  He took some time to answer some of our questions, in which we are grateful for!
1.) Describe your current ministry to the Lord.

I run a small online theological school/seminary: Veritas School of Theology
I also preach and give presentations on many theological and apologetic topics.

2.) How did you first became acquainted with Presuppositional apologetics?  Who was your big influence?

Answering the first part of the question first, my biggest influenece was undoubtedly Cornelius Van Til.  I first encountered him back in the mid-90’s when a fellow student at London Theological Seminary asked me what “chokmatic” meant (it is derived from “chokmah”- Hebrew for “wisdom”).  The first book I read by or about Van Til was John Frame’s Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought.

3.) Describe how you introduced Presuppositionalism to others.  Do you think it is difficult to introduce Presuppositionalism to others?I believe the approach is intuitive for Christians in as much as they want to stand on the Word of God, not question it.  However, just as in the hermeneutical realm, so in the apologetic realm, reason can take over and begin dictating what can and cannot be so.  The primary difficulty is getting people to listen to the Bible’s depiction of the world and the servant nature of human reason.  Quite simply, certain forms of reasoning are out of bounds for the Christian.  Which forms?  Any employment of our reason which seeks independence from God: which starts from ourselves and not the Lord.
4.) How did the Seminary you teach at first reacted to the introduction of Presuppositionalism?I actually introduced Van Tilian Presuppositionalism to the Seminary I used to teach at and they were very responsive.  After talking it over with the President of the Seminary, he agreed that I could put on a four-day 30 hour Intensive and see who would sign up for it.  It was the most successful Intensive than any previous one!After I left I listened to a presentation from the chap who took over from me and his material was definitely more Clarkian (working from the Bible as an hypothesis).

5.) Some see Presuppositional apologetics as being the apologetics method of Covenantal theology only, give it’s root.  Do you think Presuppositional apologetics is compatible with Calvinistic Dispensationalism, and if so, explain.Van Til himself, of course, believed his apologetics was “Reformed.”  I agree here with Frame that this isn’t really the case.  E.g., Van Til’s view of Arminianism wasn’t always accurate, so he tended to ascribe properties to the “Arminian God” which Arminius himself would not have recognized.  I see nothing at all in this apologetic that is inimicable with other theological systems with a strong view of God’s Sovereignty and the inspiration of Scripture; Dispensationalism included.  In fact, the exegetical basis for presuppositional apologetics fits hand-in-glove with Dispensationalim.  All Dispensationalists ought to be presuppositional, but (as I have said many times), Dispensationalists tend to be quite myopic when it comes to areas beyond ecclesiology and eschatology.  That is why they have followed in the way of Natural Theology rather than led the way in Revelational Epistemology.Van Til spoke often of unsaved man as a “covenant-breaker,” having in mind the Reformed covenant of works.  But man in revolt (to use Emil Brunner’s term) does the job better I think, as it depicts mankind as independent in his thinking as well as his acting.

6.) What are some links to materials you have written on presuppositionalism?

I have written some articles, book reviews, and done some blog posts.  You can find some grouped together here and here.
Included there is a debate I did with an atheist.  I generally do not debate people unless they seem sincere.  The Bible depicts apologetics more as an answer than an assault on other positions.  I feel we must always have “a reason for our hope” but we should not be set on hunting for opponents.

7.) For those who wish to make a contribution towards advancing Presuppositionalism, what would you like to see a thesis written on?

Well, the hermeneutical basis for presuppositionalism and the biblical worldview for one.  Another would be the relationship between presuppositionalism and corroborative evidence.  Having mentioned Brunner, a  third would be an exploration of his “Erastics” and its use within presuppositionalism.

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