I am guessing that the problem with a clever title is that the content will never quite match. And then there’s the problem of making the assumption that my title is clever, and thus opening the door for people to mock me. Nevertheless, I press forward.
As the title depicts, I do not intend to tell you I’m sorry for practicing what is commonly called presuppositional apologetics. I am going to instead try to provide a working definition of this term, an explanation of its use and prove as well that all men actually employ a form of it. This has been done by several others better than I, but in my effort to write prolifically, I’ve found that most topics have already been written about! Thus, I’m destined to repeat subject matter.
First, I’ll narrowly define presuppositional apologetics as “using the Bible to defend the Bible.” In other words, a presuppositional apologist “presupposes” the veracity of the Bible, the truthfulness of the Bible, the inerrancy of the Bible when giving a defense of the doctrines contained therein. The contrary is people who attempt to do what they would describe as “argue from reason” or “special pleading.” From a biblical apologetics standpoint, this could be seen as the contrast between the following two scenarios.
Some Christian apologists will attempt to persuade you to believe there is a God by pointing to His creation, pointing to evidence that He exists like irreducible complexity in cells, etc. The idea being that if they can show you that God can be inferred, that God is also, in fact, implied, and you will believe. They may make statements like, “I can prove creation is true without using the Bible.” Or, “Look at the evidence for Jesus’s death and resurrection.” Often items like testimonies will be used as “proofs” of God, independent of scripture. This paragraph is a gross generalization, and should be treated as such.
A presuppositional Christian apologist will argue from scripture that God created everything. Everything that they attempt to assert, or prove, will be based on the fact that it is declared or implied by the Bible. Even the fact that the Bible is true, is only argued to be true from the fact that the Bible declares itself to be true. It is the Word of God because God says its His Word. This is clearly a circular argument…but an OK one, since the Bible is the ULTIMATE AUTHORITY in the Christian presuppositional worldview, there can be nothing outside the Bible (and thus, less ultimate) which could “vouch” for it. Imagine the president walking into your mayor’s office and asking the secretary to “vouch” for him. Of course not! He is the president, he speaks for himself, and no lower authority will say otherwise.
We need to digress momentarily to higher and ultimate authorities. We all appeal to external authorities. How do we know our name? Our parents, or our birth certificate. This is a common practice. Unfortunately, when arguing for the Bible, people will often rely on false authorities. People will appeal to something they call “reason”, or “intuition”, not realizing that they have appealed to a standard that is not consistent! How can my reasoning be different from yours if it is a standard? It cannot. That’s why two people can have logical arguments which are sound and valid, but what we notice is that their assumptions are different. Our appeal to the Bible as the ultimate authority is a starting assumption, or presupposition. YOUR LACK OF APPEAL to the Bible as the ultimate authority is a starting assumption as well. That’s why I confidently wrote earlier in the article that EVERY MAN actually, in practice, is “presuppositional.” It is irrational to say you assume nothing, because in so saying you are assuming things are not absolute which in fact are. If there is such a things as absolute truth, then to start any argument to determine if absolute truth exists by not assuming such a thing as absolute truth is inane. If you found absolute truth, you’d contradict your assumption which would be absurd, making it impossible for absolute truth to be real. If you didn’t find absolute truth, you’d simply have validated what you assumed to be the case from the start…and it doesn’t take a genius to affirm what he already believes, anyone can do that.
So the fact of the matter is this, when you are sharing your faith with someone, you can either choose to stand on God’s Word as Truth, and unleash it so it can speak for itself, or you can attempt to persuade someone on your own cleverness. Interesting enough, to use logic at all, you must steal biblical principles. What you need to understand is that to be consistent with what you say you believe, you cannot attempt to prove the Bible from outside the Bible. If the Bible is true, then IT MUST BE THE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY. If there was an authority above the Bible then why doesn’t the Bible appeal to it? The Bible appeals only to itself as its authority, and rightfully so. So it is either a book of fables or the Word of God. As a nonbeliever, I can understand your hesitation to ascribing “God breathed” to the Bible, but as a believer? You MUST treat the Bible as God breathed…for you to attempt anything else is idolatry. You are putting yourself and your cleverness or whatever technique you think you’ve learned or perfected above the Word of God. That’s one reason (of many) I like the Way of the Master and Answers in Genesis. They rely on the Bible and are not ashamed.
Even the death, burial, resurrection and substitutionary atonement of Christ for the sake of sinful men like me is only understood in light of its depiction in scripture. No external argument will persuade men of their sin. For without the law of God, who knows what sin is? Romans 7:7
In conclusion, I’ll take a page from AIG here and tell you that we are all viewing the world through some “glasses.” We all bring assumptions, the question is whether or not be simply reaffirm our assumptions, or even know what they are, or do we see the contradiction in statements like “There is no absolute truth”, “It’s wrong to judge”, and “You cannot push your beliefs on other people.” Rational thinking exposes the fallacy in the preceding statements. A biblical worldview is the ONLY WORLDVIEW that makes sense of the world, and that makes sense, because if the Bible is true, it must be required to understand the world. Christians should unapologetically and unabashedly proclaim the truth of scripture with as little interpretation of their own added, in fact! When arguing evolution and creation, we ought not argue about evidence…but rather how we view the evidence.
One final note to a nonbeliever. Axiomatically, if you are truly investigating Christianity with honesty and integrity, please do what I did. Read the gospels in the New Testament with “what if these are really true” glasses on. Let yourself imagine that the Bible really is the Word of God, and then decide what it must mean to you. If you assume it is not true, then there is nothing in it that can compel you otherwise. May God bless you!
I really liked the wording on Wikipedia for this entry, I share it below for your reference:
a presupposition is a belief that takes precedence over another and therefore serves as a criterion for another. An ultimate presupposition is a belief over which no other takes precedence. For a Christian, the content of Scripture must serve as his ultimate presupposition…. This doctrine is merely the outworking of the lordship of God in the area of human thought. It merely applies the doctrine of scriptural infallibility to the realm of knowing.
[…] do is share their beliefs, and share them with reason and logic. Hate my assumptions all you want, I already wrote a blog post about presuppositions! Deny my thesis, but don’t try to argue with the logic; that’s a fool’s graveyard, […]