These are the links on Presuppositional apologetics from January 22nd-31st, 2014.
What links did you particularly enjoyed?
1.) What in the World Is a Worldview? by James Anderson
Why is a blog on Christian worldview, theology and apologetics reviewing this book? I believe the Christian worldview is not just an academic exercise–a robust Christian worldview must address the topic of what a biblical marriage and relationship look like since the Christian worldview concerning marriage and relationship is more than just demonstrating why homosexuality is wrong, etc. In this day and age of broken families and sexual immorality among young people that is affecting the very fabric of Western civilization, we need to understand courtship (which for the believer is for the goal of marriage) and marriage God’s Way.
I’m reading this as a Pastor who is thinking about the topic of relationships for those in my congregation that are single and who desire to be married some day. There’s been quite a bit of Christian books published on the topic of courtship and marriage but what I was looking for that I found in this particular book is that it addresses singles and their preparation before being in a relationship. In my church’s teaching series on relationship I am convinced that it’s healthy to begin teaching about singleness first before talking about relationship and I appreciate this book’s approach that keeps its singles readers in mind. The book is a fast read and yet is filled with biblical content. It’s not merely regurgitation of facts but helpful in applying biblical principles. The first chapter in the book begins by surveying the development of what relationships look like over the ages and how we got to our chaotic dating/courtship scene today. The author makes it very clear that he’s not trying to bring back old school conventions on relationship just merely for old times sake. While acknowledging different cultural situations and expectation nevertheless the author’s main focus is on being biblical, and thus pleasing God through our relationship. I was quite spiritually edified reading this book as a Pastor and it will definitely edify readers who desire to be godly in their perspective and practice of courtship. This work has a very simple and easy to understand chapter on what is biblical masculinity and femininity and it’s not just the echoing of unhelpful cultural sterotypes of gender expectation since again the author’s aim is to be biblical. There were things I’ve never thought about before until I read this book: For instance, the book made a point that the older singles get, the standard for a suitable mate actually increases. This seems counter-intuitive but as the author explained, with more relationship in one’s history there is more expectation with thought such as “I wish this person would be more like someone else I know who was strong in a particular trait,” etc. I recommend this book.
Posted in Bible, Biblical archaeology, Christianity, Cornelius Van Til, John Frame, Maximalism, Perspectivalism, Presuppositional Apologetics, presuppositionalism, theological method on January 29, 2014| 5 Comments »
I’ve been noticing the last few months news story related to the Bible and Archaeology, from the sensational to the subtle announcement of academic bulletin. Christianity Today even had a summary of the “Top 10 Discovery in Biblical Archaeology of 2013″ published earlier this month.
As some of the readers might be aware, there are two general camps when it comes to the issue of the reliability of the Bible as it relates to archaeology: the Maximalists and the Minimalists. Since the archaeological data concerning the Ancient Near East (ANE) and the Biblical world are often fragmentary, sometimes archaeological data appear to conflict with what the Bible has to say. What should we make of this, specifically with our conclusion concerning the veracity of the Bible? Maximalism and Minimalism describes the general approach one answer that question.
Note what Jona Lendering of Livius website (on Ancient history) has to say about maximalists and minimalists:
Maximalist scholars assume that the Biblical story is more or less correct, unless archaeologists prove that it is not; minimalists assume that the Biblical story must be read as fiction, unless it can be confirmed archaeologically. “Minimalism” and “maximalism” are, therefore, methods, approaches, or theoretical concepts.” (http://www.livius.org/theory/maximalists-and-minimalists/)
Lendering even provide this additional example:
It is easy to recognize minimalists and maximalists. If the author’s method can not immediately be deduced from the evidence he puts forward, the auxiliary hypotheses usually offer a clue. When the archaeological evidence contradicts the Bible, the maximalist will write something like “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”; the minimalist will stress that the Bible should be read as literature.
Take, for example, the Jericho walls: so far, no remains have been excavated of a wall that has collapsed in the Late Bronze Age, which contradicts the Biblical account of Joshua’s capture of the city. A maximalist will argue that these walls stood on top of the hill and must have eroded; his minimalist colleague might say that the story should be read as a description of a first fruits offering – the first town captured by the Hebrews was for God. There’s something to be said for both approaches, although in this example, the erosion argument is probably incorrect.”
The exchange between Maximalists and Minimalists in the past has been quite heated. Probably adding fuel to the fire is the reality that this is not just another academic turf war between two competing school of thoughts: for some, there’s a deeper underlying current driving one’s methodological decision. While not all minimalists are secularists, no doubt secular humanists and atheists would be incline towards the Minimalists approach. Christians who hold to a high view of the veracity of the Bible of course would be inclined to the Maximalists’ approach (of course with the caveat that not all Maximalists are Evangelicals or identify themselves as Christian).
At this point one might say there’s a stalemate between the debate of Maximalists and Minimalists. The Minimalists might charge Evangelical subsets of Maximalists for being driven by the Christian faith to dogmatically affirm that the Bible has to be true at the get-go. It isn’t rational to do so, they say. The Maximalists might reply with the observation that typically in archaeology one gives an ancient document the benefit of the doubt concerning it’s content being true unless proven otherwise so here we see the Minimalists being inconsistent.
It’s a dead end, some say, with the debate being a draw. No side ultimately wins, nor has any side loses in a clear, knock out fashion.
I submit that Presuppositional apologetics is important here, with it’s attention on the role of worldviews. As noted earlier, often there’s a deeper undercurrent that drives one to adopt a certain methodological approach towards the Bible and Archaeology. The discussion between particular Maximalists and Minimalists doesn’t have to be at an intellectual stalemate if one discusses one’s worldview behind one’s methodology. No doubt the most unpopular aspect of Van Til’s apologetics is the fact that it tells Christians to never compromise with the veracity of the Bible . The content of the Bible is true if it has been attained via proper hermeneutics such as consideration of literary genres, etc. But Presuppositional apologetics isn’t just about Christians being dogmatic, for it makes the observation that everyone including the minimalists are not immune to being dogmatic when it comes to their web of ultimate commitments which we call worldview. But instead of being “stuck” with two dogmatic individuals talking to each other, Van Til’s apologetics goes further by asking whether one’s worldview would undermine or provide the intelligibility and meaningfulness of the archaeological endeavor in the first place. Imagine the surprise if a Minimalist were to discover that the particular worldview which incline him towards Minimalism ends up being an undercutting defeater towards archaeological studies; now the dilemma is posed: does he continue to maintain his Minimalism for the sake of his cherished worldview or does he back away from it seeing the catastrophic consequence of it making archaeology categorically unintelligible and insignificant?
Space does not permit me to flesh out the details since for now I just want to provide a sketch of what does Presuppositional apologetics in relationship to archaeology would look like. Here also we find philosophy to be a helpful tool and valuable in assessing the merit of the internal relationship between one’s view of reality (physical world, and metaphysical, if any) and the epistemological status of archaeology. Interdisciplinary studies and the exploration of perspectival relationship of knowledge is quite fascinating!
Perhaps in the far future I might write a post on how the Christian worldview (Christian theology from the Bible that supplies the meta-narrative of the world) allows Archaeology to be a sensible and rational pursuit. This would touch on theology Proper, doctrine of providence, God’s relationship to history, biblical anthropology, etc. Again, how beautiful is the fact that there can exists an inter-relationship of various disciplines from archaeology, history, philosophy, and now, even theology–I find it so beautiful to see this inter-dependent unity of a well-put together world for knowledge that it makes me want to praise God. Presuppositional apologetics and Perspectivalism (John Frame’s variety) regularly bring me to doxology.
I thought this was a quote from John Frame on the problem of Libertarian Freewill. What makes it interesting is that it was in the footnote of the book rather than the main body. Here John Frame writes:
Many have argued that this kind of freedom is the ground of moral responsibility. But is that at all likely? Imagine that an atom swerved randomly somewhere in your head and made you steal $500. Would you feel guilty? More likely you would feel like the victim of a random event–like being struck by lightning. You didn’t do anything to make the atom swerve. How can a human being be blamed for a mental accident? If libertarian freedom exists, it is not the ground of moral responsibility. Rather, it destroys responsibility.”
(John Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life, 93 footnote 1)
It is a wonderful little illustration to describe the problem of LFW.
Reformed apologist James White of Alpha Omega Ministries has debated apologist Michael Brown yesterday on the topic “Has the gift of healing ceased for today?” The debate took place in Spain on Revelation TV.
Revelation TV has not allowed the option of embedding the videos so here are the links in two parts to this debate:
i. Test of Assurance #1: Do you understand the Gospel?
i. Dilemma: Do you really know the Gospel?
ii. Purpose: Give a brief exposition of the Gospel message.
iii. Outline of this session:
1. Consequences of a wrong gospel is grave
2. Do you understand sin and its consequences?
3. Do you understand what Christ has done it?
iv. Consequences of a wrong gospel is grave
1. “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel [d]contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be [e]accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel [f]contrary to what you received, he is to be [g]accursed!” (Galatians 1:8-9)
a. Note another gospel, no matter who it’s from is dangerous.
b. Note also the seriousness of false gospel preaching is something Paul wishes upon the false preacher “to be [e]accursed! ”
c. It’s so important that Paul repeats it twice again in verse 9.
2. Why this strong condemnation? Paul goes on to say “For as many as are of the works of [a]the Law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.’” (Galatians 3:10)
a. A false gospel that will deny grace through faith in Jesus Christ will instead preaches justification by “the works of [a]the Law.”
b. This brings about a curse both in the New Testament and the Old Testament as the Paul cites Deuteronomy 27:26.
3. 2 Peter 2:1-3
a. The reality of false teachers: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you,” (2 Peter 2:1a)
b. The reality of the dangerous false teaching they produce: “who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” (2 Peter 2:1b)
c. The reality that many will be deceived: 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of themthe way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
v. Do you understand sin and its consequences?
1. Everyone has sins
a. “ as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one;” (Romans 3:10)
b. “ for all [a]have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23)
2. Sins have consequences
a. The LSD verse: “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin [p]is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15)
b. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a)
vi. Do you understand what Christ has done to rid our guilt?
1. “…but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b)
2. Salvation by Grace alone: Ephesians 2:8-9.
3. Substitionary Atonement:
a. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
b. Other passages: Isaiah 53:5-6, 1 Corinthians 15:3
vii. Further doctrines to study to better understand the Gospel
4. Union with Christ
viii. Works to read up on
1. The Epistle to the Romans by Leon Morris
2. Commentary on Galatians by Martin Luther
3. The Future of Justification by John Piper
4. Atonement by Leon Morris
5. The God Who Justifies by James White