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Archive for the ‘Greg Bahnsen’ Category

GO TO PART 26

dumb robber

Point: It’s not easy conveying the two crucial idea of Presuppositional apologetics that (1) a non-Christian worldview end up being self-refuting and (2) the non-Christian actually presupposes something entirely different than what the nonbelievers professes to be their operating worldview, but in their heart they are suppressing the truth they know of the Christian God and worldview.  Cornelius Van Til and Greg Bahnsen has articulated this kind of argument.  While all analogies break down, I think the following illustration might help the Reformed Apologist illustrate his or her point of what one is trying to do with Presuppositional apologetics.

Picture: I saw this news story over at Japan Times:

A hapless armed robber in his 60s broke his leg while holding up a convenience store in Chiba Prefecture, and then used the shop’s payphone to call an ambulance, according to a report and police.

The inept thief tussled with a 35-year-old store clerk after threatening him with a knife on Sunday.

The crook was disarmed in the struggle, which saw him fall to the ground and break his leg before hobbling out of the shop, the local Chiba Nippo newspaper reported.

In increasing pain and unable to get very far, the unnamed man limped back an hour later and used the payphone at the store to summon an ambulance, the paper said.

Detectives are planning to arrest the suspect when he is released from the hospital, the paper reported.

“A man in his 60s is being treated at the hospital he was taken to,” a Chiba police official said.

“As the victim (of the threat) took the knife away, the suspect could not achieve his purpose,” the official said.

There is the irony that the robber rob a store only to depend on the story’s payphone later on to call the ambulance.  The robber is going against the store but at the same time dependent on the store for getting help.

POSSIBLE SCENARIO FOR EMPLOYING THIS ILLUSTRATION DURING APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM

<After employing Presuppositional apologetics in a conversation >

OPPONENT: I don’t get what you are trying to do.  What’s your point.

CHRISTIAN: I’m trying to show how your worldview is self-refuting and how you actually need God to even justify the tools and argument that you are trying to use against it.  I suppose an illustration would be appropriate.  Did you hear the story of this recent robber in Japan?

OPPONENT: No.

<Give illustration >

CHRISTIAN: Do you think the robber was going against the store?

OPPONENT: Yes.

CHRISTIAN: Do you think he was also relying on the services the store provided, in this case their phone?

OPPONENT: Yes.

CHRISTIAN: In the same way I see you are doing the same thing, but with God.  You are going against Him and yet at the same time relying on Him for help.  That is, you are using things that He alone can provide for your communication, reasoning, etc.

 

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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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