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Archive for the ‘Greg Bahnsen’ Category

Christmas gift on defocused lights background

This is the fifth year on our blog in which we post our recommendations of books as Christmas gifts on the subject of Presuppositional apologetics and the Christian worldview.  When I first began this I didn’t think it would be that popular.

Here are the past years’ recommendation:

This year list’s of recommended books on Presuppositional apologetics is below.  Each category has one book with a brief description, a link to my review and links to purchase the book.

For Nonbelievers

What’s Your Worldview? by James N. Anderson

What's Your Worldview James Anderson

Description: Dr. Anderson has written a book with a “Choose Your Own adventure” format that is great for non-Christians!

My Review can be found by clicking HERE.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

 

For Discipleship

Christian Answers to Hard Questions (9 Booklet Set)

Christian Answers to Hard Questions

Description: Booklet series that is perfect for discipleship discussion!

Video interviews and links to my review of individual books can be found by clicking HERE.

Purchase: Westminster 

 

For Beginners

Always Ready: Directions For Defending The Faith by Greg L. Bahnsen

Bahnsen Always Ready

Description: Many think this is the best introduction to Presuppositional apologetics!

My Review can be found by clicking HERE.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

 

For Intermediate and Advance Students

The Doctrine of the Christian Life (A Theology of Lordship) by John Frame

Doctrine of Christian Life John Frame

Description: I feel many discussion in apologetics’ today touches on the area of ethics.  This book is more than helpful!

My Review can be found by clicking HERE.

 

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

 

For Those Who Probably Have Every Book on Presuppositional Apologetics

The Doctrine of the Christian Life (A Theology of Lordship) by John Frame

John Frame's Selected Shorter Writings Volume 1

Description: A more recent book that is probably not as well known at this time.  Good collection of essays from John Frame!

My Review can be found by clicking HERE.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

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Should You Believe in God

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

This booklet is a part of the “Christian Answers to Hard Questions” series that is put out by P&R Publishing and written by the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary.  In this booklet Westminster Theological Seminary’s professor of apologetics K. Scott Oliphint tackles the question “Should you believe in God?’ and answers with the affirmative.  I was looking forward to the booklet because I wanted to see how would Oliphint summarize his answer to such an important question in a brief and hopefully profound way.  Often when Presuppositionalists talk about God’s existence it is no brief matter!  As I was reading this it reminded me of Cornelius Van Til’s famous booklet, Why I Believe in God, with its conversational tone, anticipating objections and also its content.  Like Van Til, Oliphint addressed the problem of neutrality and “conditioning” of beliefs from one’s upbringing and environment.  Unlike Van Til however, Oliphint’s upbringing was not in an orthodox Christian setting but a religion that teaches works righteousness.  But like Van Til, Oliphint also shows how God is the “All Conditioner” saves us from brute determinism that render everything meaningless and unintelligible.  I appreciated that Oliphint dealt with the question of whether truth is knowable in the beginning of the book and also how he summarizes the Gospel early in the conversation and in the end.  Besides the issue of neutrality Oliphint also tackles the nonbelievers’ assumption of the normalcy of man’s mind and naturalism.  Like Van Til, Oliphint sees that unless one presupposes the God of the Bible, one will eventually find everything meaningless and absurd.  What I like about the book is that it shows in summary what an application of Presuppositional apologetics looks like.  But I would also as a criticism of both Oliphint’s and Van Til’s booklet is that for such a controversial question it is hard to summarize everything in one little booklet.  I remember reading Van Til’s booklet many times and not seeing it—it was only after I read the booklet with Greg Bahnsen’s footnotes and commentaries did I get what Van Til was doing.  Nevertheless, I do recommend the book.

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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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Bojidar Marinov

This is a debate Michael Jaworski and Bojidar Marinov.  Bojidar Marinov is a Presuppositionalist who use to work with American Vision.

He recently participated in a debate on the question: Must Morality Have A Basis In God?

Below is the video of the debate:

 

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article-0-1FFAC81500000578-674_964x870These are links related to Presuppositional apologetics gathered between August 25th-31st, 2014.

1.) Twenty Ways to Answer A Fool [2]

2.) Down babies

3.) Van Tilian Turf Wars (Part 1)

4.) Objective Moral Values Necessitate a Living God

5.) Plantinga on Van Til: Unbelievers can’t know anything?!

6.) To Richard Dawkins…

7.) 

Van Tillian Links for Middle of August 2014

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James White

Found this on Youtube of Dr. James White’s Dividing Line on the topic of apologetics’ methodology.  Specifically Dr. White advances Reformed apologetics, also known as Presuppositional apologetics versus non-Presuppositional apologetics methodology.

It is three hours long:

Dr. White’s presentation is trying to show how theology matters–even in apologetics.  I appreciate his look at one of William Lane Craig’s debate and contrast that of Greg Bahnsen vs. Stein debate.

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John Frame's Selected Shorter Writings Volume 1

For those who want to get this book at a discounted price go over to WTS Bookstore online by clicking HERE.

This is a collection of various essays and articles written by John Frame over the years that hasn’t been published, with some being articles on his website and others being shared for the first time.  For anyone who is a fan of Frame this is a great supplement to the many works that Frame has written over the years.  Ideally those who have a little exposure to John Frame’s writings (say a book or two or some journal articles by him) will benefit the most from this book.  John Frame can write very lengthy books so I appreciate the format of shorter essays in this book.  In particular I found the first chapter that serves as a great introduction and summary of his perspectivalism.  This essay is very important in light of how some within the Reformed camp have misunderstood his position as relativism.  If some of his opponents have known about this essay it might have deterred some of the unhelpful criticisms of John Frame out there (or then again it might not).

I also found the various articles in part one of the book that focus on theological method to be a wonderful feast for the mind—in fact it’s probably the best part of the book.  Specifically I enjoyed his discussion about contrast and exegesis, with his call for preachers and theologians to properly extract what exactly the Scripture is saying and then correctly noting what the contrast of the idea is; this is important when we say that the Bible prohibit or refute something and people often err in saying what the Bible is against when in actuality the Scripture didn’t prohibit or contradict it.

In part two of the book on theological meditation I appreciated his review of N.T Wright’s bibliology in which Frame showed how Wright overstretched his rhetoric when he claimed in the subtitle of a recent book that he has gone beyond the “Bible Wars” by offering another alternative.  In reality Wright didn’t really offer anything new and it turns out instead that at times he is unhelpful because he isn’t clear or too ready with the cliché.  At times Wright turns out to be still quite conservative in his view of the Bible despite how he rags on conservatives.  Frame also did a good job of showing Wright’s complaint to move beyond the concept of infallibility is inconsistent with his job of being a Bible historian is still dedicated to defending the historicity of the Bible.

Surprisingly the shortest part of the book was the section on apologetics.  Here I have to level a criticism of Frame’s review of Greg Bahnsen’s Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended.  After going through carefully what Frame has to say, I thought the essay really was not a review of the book but more of a celebration and recollection of Greg Bahnsen the apologist.  Frame criticized Bahnsen for being unfair to Gordon Clark, Carnell and Schaeffer but Frame doesn’t really demonstrate that Bahnsen really was unfair in his critique of these men.  It was more of a comment made in passing rather than actual documentation it was so.

The last section was more personal and had several assorted pieces that reveal more of John Frame the man.  If you are a big fan of Frame you would love this section and Frame is pretty funny.  I recommend this work to those who want to understand more of Frame’s contribution to theology and apologetics and those who want to get every work by Frame.  These two types of readers will benefit most from this book.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by P&R Publishing and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

 

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