Archive for January, 2014

Frozen Construction Truck

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

2.) Problems of Philosophy Briefly Stated (1)

3.) The Importance of Worldview-Awareness

4.) Internal Critique of Taoism

5.) Scripturalism, Skepticism and Knowledge of Personal Salvation

6.) Presuppositional Apologetics and Sound Parenting?


8.) Intellect, Worship, and the Irreducible Complexity of the Christian Life

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With One voice alex chediak 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.

Purchase: Amazon

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Palmyra- Cassas Baal Temple

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.

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Biblical Counseling Coalition

The Biblical Counseling Coalition has just completed a four part blog series on God centered approach towards overcoming lusts and pornography.

14 Gospel Promises That Trump the Power of Lust

Pornography, Radical Measures, and the Gospel

Dumb Down Your Smart Phone

Ensnared by Lust

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john frame


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.

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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:

Part 1

Part 2



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Go to Part 5


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! 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: Many will follow their sensuality, and because of themthe way of the truth will be maligned; 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

1. Predestination

2. Justification

3. Adoption

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

Go to Part 7

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The Cost of Discipleship

Glad to have finally gotten through this classic. The opening of the book was very edifying and I enjoyed the way how the author tackled on the problem of cheap grace theology. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is truly a Lutheran and one get that feel in the book. It is a call to believers to be disciples of Jesus Christ and to be one faithfully. An excellent book for a believer to read to count the cost and one in which the readers must keep in mind that for the author who lived in Nazi Germany had to pay the ultimate cost in following Jesus rather than go with the “mainstream” Lutheranism that was supporting if not even being sympathetic to the Nazis. Of the sections in the book, I enjoyed the most the exposition of the Sermon on the Mount as it was challenging as well as sanctifying. He does a good job of showing how the law points us to our utter depravity and ultimately our need for Jesus as Savior. While not taking away from the book’s exposition of the Sermon of the Mount I think his denial of the distinction of turn the other cheek for personal offence versus certain roles and duties (think of police officer, judge, etc) that this doesn’t apply in is problematic. I also have to note that I disagree with the author’s understanding of the role of baptism as well (I don’t find it biblical to baptize infant and his understanding of the relationship between baptism and salvation). I was genuinely surprised that despite the author’s theological educational background, he shows little if any influence of Liberalism in his book. This is a classic that serves as a good devotional.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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A round up of links for those who follow Presuppositional apologetics between January 15th-21st, 2014.

Which ones were you blessed with?

1.) “It’s All Interpretation” Works Both Ways–Ben Holloway makes a good observation of an objection.

2.) Ethical Implications of Darwinism by Gary DeMar

3.) Antitheism Presupposes Theism (6)— Dr. Reluctant finishes this series dealing with a skeptic.

4.) Book Review: “What’s Your Worldview? An Interactive Approach to Life’s Big Questions” by James Anderson


“Why I Am Not (Any Longer) An Open Theist: How Scripture, Suffering, and Kierkegaard Rocked My World”–A continuing series compiled by Brian Rickett

6.)Revelation from a keypad–An illustration for your apologetics from Choosing Hats!

7.)  Review: Living in God’s Two Kingdoms by David VanDrunen–Joe Torres review of a book that I’ve been wondering about for some time now!


8.) Aborting Abortion & Apologetic Ninjutsu Part II – 1/18/2013–An Apologia radio show!

9.) Reformed Forum: J. Oliver Buswell and Cornelius Van Til

10.) Athens and Jerusalem–By Steve Hays.

11.) Covenantal Apologetics (ETS 2013)–Scott Oliphint’s presentation at ETS!

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We interrupt our regular January Thursday posting of apologetics links round-up to have this special post on the tragic anniversary of Roe VS Wade.

Babies Are Murdered Here

The guys at Crown Rights (the guys who put together the documentary “How to Answer the Fool”) has worked on a project called ” Babies Are Murdered Here.”

For today (Jan. 22) the film will be free to be watch online starting at 7 AM if you go visit their website at  Babies Are Murdered Here.Com

Here’s the Trailer:

Here’s an internet show that interviews Marcus Pittman behind the film:

May the Church of God Wake Up and be used by God to stop this abortion holocaust.

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Baby in womb

Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that open the flood gates for abortions in America that has brought about millions of death was passed on January 22nd 1973.

This year it will be the forty first anniversary of this tragedy.

I’m praying that our country would repent and turn to Him before it’s too late in light of God’s impending wrath against sin.

This short video makes me realize that the Good News, that Jesus Christ the Son of God came to save sinners, is not beyond anybody if they repent and trust in Him while they are still breathing.  Even for abortionists and those who committed abortions or supports abortion.

Even for “Roe.”

While this video doesn’t go over much details of how she became a Christian, nevertheless it’s amazing to see God saving sinners.

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The Housing Boom and Bust

 (Available on Amazon)

I learn tremendously every time I read the works of economist Thomas Sowell. This book is no exception. Here Sowell examines the recent housing boom and bust that happened in the late 2000s. Contrary to the opinions of liberal lawmakers and liberal pundits, the burst of the housing bubble is not a case of capitalism left unchecked; the book demonstrate that the boom and bust of the housing market is the result of government regulation and intervention. Sowell begins by documenting how zoning laws, open space laws and other host of regulations has the effect of rising costs of housing; the more ordinances a place has the more the cost goes up while places that has less arbitrary regulations tend to have lower costs of buying a home. The book also examine fiscal policies and government intrusion that forces financial institutions to make risky sub-prime loans; Sowell argues that this does no good to anyone, not to the ones who are borrowing (loses the house, ruining their credit, declaring bankruptcy), the lender (banks are not in the business of maintaining foreclosed homes), the market, other home buyers (the burden of costly risks of sub-prime borrowers end up being distributed to them) and tax payers. The book does a good job explaining the complexity of the market in clear to understand term. This book does a good job documenting how politicians doesn’t help and often the ones who are railing against business and banks for the housing bubble burst are themselves unknowingly the ones who are responsible for policies that led to the fiasco. Highly recommended!

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Trinity Foundation Logo


Know anyone between ages 17-23 that can benefit from entering a Christian worldview essay contest?

The Trinity Foundation, an organization that has preserved much of the Christian philosopher, apologist and theologian Gordon Clark’s writing has their annual Essay contest on the topic of the Christian life based upon a book by Dr. Clark.

While I don’t necessarily agree with everything Gordon Clark believes, I think serious Christian thinkers must read him sometime in their life.

The details of the Essay Contest can be found originally HERE, which we reproduced below:


What is the Christian life Gordon Clark

The Trinity Foundation is pleased to announce the Tenth Annual Christian Worldview Essay Contest

First Prize $3,000

Second Prize $2,000

Third Prize $1,000

The topic of the 2014 Christian Worldview Essay Contest is the book What Is the Christian Life? by Gordon H. Clark. Each person who enters the contest must read the book and write an essay about it. What Is the Christian Life? is available for $10.00 (retail price: $12.95 for trade paperback) per copy, postpaid to U. S. addresses. An eBook version is also available for $5 download from our website.

The Trinity Foundation
Post Office Box 68
Unicoi, Tennessee 37692


Essay Submission Rules

Each person who enters the contest must be no younger than 17 years of age and no older than 23 years of age on January 1, 2014.

Essays entered in the Christian Worldview Essay Contest

  • may be of any length
  • must be written in English
  • must be typewritten or computer printed on one side only, double-spaced, with one inch margins and page numbers
  • must be submitted on white paper, in triplicate, stapled, with pages in order, and an electronic copy must be submitted by email to tjtrinityfound@aol.com
  • must arrive at the offices of The Trinity Foundation (and by email) by September 2, 2014
  • must be accompanied by a completed and signed entry form (see below for link to form)
  • become the property of The Trinity Foundation.


Explanation of Contest Rules:

  1. There is no entry fee or charge for the Christian Worldview Essay Contest.
  2. No purchase is necessary to enter the Christian Worldview Essay Contest. Each year The Trinity Foundation makes the Contest book available at a fraction of its retail value as a convenience to those who would like to purchase a copy, but the book may also be borrowed from family, friends, churches, and libraries.
  3. Each contestant must read the specific book that is the focus of the Christian Worldview Essay Contest and write an essay about that book. Essays not about the Contest book, but about a topic, or a person, or about another book or books, do not qualify for this Contest. Essays originally written for other purposes and not written about the specific book chosen by The Trinity Foundation are not valid entries in this contest.
  4. Each qualifying essay shall be conversant about the Contest book and show familiarity with that book by accurately quoting from it (for discussion or criticism), by discussing its major ideas, and by relating those ideas to the contestant’s general knowledge. Incidental mention of the Contest book in the course of an essay is not sufficient to qualify an essay for prize consideration.
  5. Each qualifying essay shall not be simply a summary of the book, or a book report, but shall attempt to explain and discuss the ideas and arguments expressed in the Contest book in the contestant’s own words.
  6. Each Christian Worldview Essay Contest lasts about ten months, from November to September. This is ample time for Contestants to read, digest, and write an essay about the Contest book. Consequently, the September 1 deadline for entries will be strictly enforced.
  7. Each essay submitted to the Christian Worldview Essay Contest shall become the property of The Trinity Foundation. This means that essays will not be returned to Contestants, and The Foundation shall have the exclusive right to publish and distribute, in whatever form it deems best, the essays entered into the Contest.
  8. The Trinity Foundation shall have the right to announce the Contest winners and publish their essays, in whole and in part, in whatever manner it deems best.
  9. First Prize winners of previous Christian Worldview Essay Contests shall not be eligible for prizes in subsequent Contests.
  10. A panel of Essay Contest judges (a minimum of three) decides which prizes to award. If, in the judgment of the judges an unusual situation arises in which fewer than three essays are worthy of prizes, the judges shall announce the winner(s) of the Contest, and all decisions of the judges shall be final.

Note: if you order via our website, please note that the book is for the Essay Contest in the “Comments” field of the online order form in order to receive the special price. Overseas orders will be charged $10.00 for shipping.

  Download the Essay Contest Rules

  Download the Essay Entry Form

– See more at: http://www.trinityfoundation.org/2014EssayContest.php#sthash.lMYMY1xY.dpuf

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Go to Part 4


h. Christians can know that they are saved

i.      Dilemma: The last few weeks demonstrated that God will see that a believer persevere and have eternal security, so while God can know we are saved can believers know they are saved also?

ii.      Illustration: A man in the train might not be sure whether the train has enough coal to arrive at their location while the Engineer knows this and that was never in doubt.  Is a similar thing the cases with a believer’s salvation or can a believer know he or she is saved?

iii.      Believers can know that they are saved

1. A believer can know whether he or she is saved since scripture states this explicitly: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)

2. A believer can know whether he or she is saved due to the Holy Spirit’s testimony:

a. “For you have not received a spirit of slavery [b]leading to fear again, but you have received [c]a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15)

i.      Earlier in Romans 8:11 Paul makes it clear the Holy Spirit resides in the believer.

ii.      Now in verse 15, Paul indicates negatively what the Spirit does not mean and what the Spirit does mean.

1. What it does not mean: ““For you have not received a spirit of slavery [b]leading to fear again,

2. What it means:but you have received [c]a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!

3. Greek word for “but” is “Alla,” a strong contrast.

iii.      If you are saved, this verse tells us we will know we are adopted as sons of God.

iv.      Also, our spirit will cry out to Him showing we have a relationship with God.

b. “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Romans8:16)

i.      There is an emphasis on “Himself,” since it is the first word in the verse thus indicating that the Spirit is the one who will do this.

ii.      The tense for the Greek verb “testifies” indicates a general constant truth.

iii.      The Spirit testifies “that we are children of God

iv.      This testimony by the Holy Spirit is in conjunction “with our spirit

3. A believer can know whether he or she is saved because of Scripture’s promises to those who believe.

a. The Scripture’s relationship to Salvation

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,  and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14-15)

b. Promises of Salvation in the Scriptures

i.      “but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is [a]the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)

ii.      John 1:12, John 3:16, etc.

Go to Part 6

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Michael Boehm youth apologetics

I first heard of Michael Boehm’s ministry on Sermon Audio.  Through his ministry, Youth Apologetics Group, he makes available for free many of his teachings.  They cover a vast area, ranging from the cults, worldviews and atheism.

I don’t doubt his ministry is used by the Lord to bless others and he certainly seems like a sincere nice guy.  He has recently written and spoken on three types of apologetics that touches on Evidential, Presuppositional and Classical school of apologetics.  While I haven’t listen to the audios yet, I think his written overview on Presuppositional apologetics could have been better and merit a response.  This response in no way take away from what he is trying to do in serving the Lord.  I hope in some way this might encourage him to give Presuppositional apologetics a closer look in the future.

In what follows, I quote Michael Boehm followed by my thoughts.


1.) “The name Presuppositional Apologetics was formally coined by apologist Cornelius Van Til and popularized by Greg Bahnsen.”

Response: Typically it would make sense to assume that the father of a movement or school of thought would have the privilege of naming it what they want it to be named.  However, this isn’t always the case.  To be historically correct, Cornelius Van Til didn’t coin the term “Presuppositional apologetics.”  Presbyterian historian and Van Til biographer John Muether describes the interesting story behind the name “Presuppositionalism”:

The term presuppositionalism was probably coined a decade before the Clark controversy by Allan MacRae, Van Til’s antagonist on the early Westminster faculty, and it was intended as a term of derision.  J. Oliver Buswell later popularlized it in a series of articles in The Bible Today that ran in 1948 and 1949.  The term was not Van Til’s choice, although eh frequently referred to the necessity of reasoning by presupposition

Still, it is striking to discover in Van Til how rarely he labeled his own work as ‘presuppositionalism.’  As MacRae and Buswell trafficked in the term critically and disparagingly, Van Til seemed to respond by acknowledgin that, despite its vagueness and ambiguity, it was of some usefulness.  However, he seldom chose to call his system by that name.  He tended to refer to it simply as ‘Reformed apologetcs,’ thereby stressing its consistency with Reformed theology and epistemology.” (John R. Muether, Cornelius Van Til: Reformed Apologist and Churchman, 113-114)

One of Van Til’s successor, K. Scott Oliphint himself advance the thesis that it’s better to rename Van Til’s apologetic Covenantal apologetics, since he believes that Presuppositional apologetics “is no longer descriptively useful, and it offers now more confusion than clarity when the subject of apologetics arises” (K Scott Oliphint, Covenantal Apologetics: Principles and Practice in Defense of Our Faith, 38).  Many reasons drive Oliphint to say that and no doubt among them is the fact that Van Til himself didn’t invent the term.  I do think the term Covenantal Apologetics is also a loaded term but as they say, that’s another sermon for another time.

2.) “Presuppositionalists understand that everyone has presuppositions or starting points.  The starting point for the believer is that God exists and he has written His law on our hearts.  It is also presupposed that everyone deep down inside understands this.”

Response: I agree.  But I think it’s also important to add that a distinctive of Presuppositional apologetics is how these truths shape the Presuppositionalist’s apologetics: To demonstrate that the unbelievers suppress the truth inside, the apologist must make the unbeliever “epistemologically conscious” and show how the worldview they claim will reduce the intelligibility and meaningfulness of everything, yet they believe there are some things in life that is meaningful and intelligible indicating another worldview is actually presupposed.

3.) “Presuppositional Apologetics allows you to skip past the multitude of intellectual arguments and go straight to the heart of the issue which is their sin and need for a savior.  By skipping over the intellectual and personal objections you can get to the gospel every time.”

Response: I don’t think we can find in the writing of Cornelius Van Til and Greg Bahnsen (the two Presuppositionalists Michael Boehm referenced) saying we must “skip” the unbelievers intellectual objections per se.  While they stress the priorities of presuppostions that shape one’s intellectual objection against the faith that must be first addressed, Presuppositionalism isn’t a strategy of dodge and run.  It doesn’t seem that Boehm is accusing Presuppositionalists of this but I want to clarify so it doesn’t seem to imply to this for those who might read his article and are skeptical of Presuppositionalism.  It is true though that a Presuppositionalist must go to the heart of the matter and to the Gospel when they are dialoguing with an unbeliever, as any apologist must do if they are Christian.  I also believe hitting on the core presuppositions that are dear to the heart allows one to be closer to address the issue of the heart, intellectual idols and ultimate commitment, etc., that makes a great bee line for the Gospel.

4.) “Presuppositional Apologetics often tends towards a hyper-Calvinistic position.  Because hyper-Calvinism puts a heavy emphasis on God being the one that does all the work converting the sinner, the hyper-Calvinist may not put as much passion and effort into witnessing.”

Response: I disagree.  A hyper-Calvinist who erroneously believe that God does all the work and that He has not ordained believers as the means to His purpose will end up not doing anything–not even engaging someone with Presuppostional apologetics.  So I don’t see how Presuppositionalism “tend towards a hyper-Calvinistic position.”   Presuppositionalism does not necessitate hyper-Calvinism nor vice versa.

5.) “Another potential drawback to Presuppositional Apologetics is that the sceptic might accuse you of begging the question.  They may feel that you’re not proving your point and that you’re assuming what you’re trying to prove.”

Response: This is the biggest objection people typically bring against Van Til’s apologetics, the charge of circularity or begging the question.  It is a charge that I’m often surprised at since it has been addressed many times by Presuppositionalists.  For instance, Van Til himself took on the Charge of Circular Reasoning, Chris Bolt of Choosing Hat some years back has written “It’s Circular Because It’s Circular” and many other individuals r.”  One might find what these men written helpful.  My own thoughts on the issue of authority and circularity can be found in outline teaching form at “.”

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