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Archive for November 18th, 2014

Note: I realized that over the years I’ve blogged a lot on Presuppositional apologetics but I have just discovered that somehow I have never posted my review of Greg Bahnsen’s Classic book titled Always Ready!  Here’s my review, written several years ago.

Bahnsen Always Ready

 

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

It seems as if most of Bahnsen’s books were published after his death than during his own lifetime. Bahnsen’s Always Ready is one of those works, published after his death that was based largely on various essays which he wrote concerning Presuppositional apologetics. Some have commented that this work is rather disorganized or repetitive. If this is so, the fault of the book being disorganized can be attributed to the fact mentioned earlier that the materials originally were not meant as a book. However, in my estimation, the editor Randy Booth did a good job organizing the various chapters in the book in a clear, logical order. It also does not strike me as unnecessarily repetitive either. Rather, Always Ready is a work that is still on top of my list of recommended resources to those who want a good introduction to Van Tillian’s apologetics.

In much of Bahnsen’s other works and lectures, he always begin any discussion about apologetics by refuting religious neutrality. This motif portray the heavy influence Christian apologist Cornelius Van Til has on Bahnsen’s apologetics, and this theme of religious neutrality is valuable in apologetics, which Bahnsen explained in the first section of the book: Neutrality robs the believer and it is a philosophical impossibility (not to mention it’s unethical character!). This point might seem repetitive, but it is a fundamental point in understanding and appreciating the coherence of Presuppositional Apologetics.

Many have observed Bahnsen’s ability to debate, and have seen or heard how he has tackled head-on unbelievers in various venues. This work gives us some of the content of what was going on in the mind of this notable apologist, whom John Frame even believed was the best debater for Presuppositionalism. For the astute and willing student, Bahnsen provides the tools in this book to be equipped in their own apologetics to interact meaningfully and biblically with nonbelievers. As someone who’s life goal was to “take it to the streets” in applying apologetics rather than just discussing theory, Bahnsen’s insight has also been tested in real debate situation. For instance, his chapter on the problem of evil will illuminate readers as to why he took the approach he did concerning the problem of evil in his famous debate with atheist Gordon Stein. His discussion of the problem of miracle and religious language towards the end of the work are also valuable in the apologist’s arsenal, especially for those who take it seriously to be “always ready,” even with the more philosophically sophisticated unbeliever. The book also gives the reader a summary of various logical fallacies to look out for which unbeliever typically make, regardless of their range of intellectual ability.  Bahnsen’s strength in many of his debates have been his quickness to identify fallacious reasoning, here in this book one can see what these fallacies are for the readers to be conscious of. In my personal life, working hard in applying the lessons found in this book has resulted in some level of fruitfulness in exposing the folly of unbelief.

The longest chapter happens to be the last chapter, where Bahnsen discusses Acts 17 as it relates to apologetics. His work on Acts 17 was better in clarity and exegesis than his mentor Van Til did in his pamphlet “Paul at Athens.”  From my survey of apologetics literature, every school of apologetics has their take on Acts 17, but Bahnsen has given us by far the best apologist’s exegetical treatment of the passage.

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