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Booth is an apologetics textbook composed of the works of the late Greg Bahnsen — a notable advocate of presuppositional apologetics. The first section, previously published as a syllabus, provides a step-by-step explanation of key issues in Christian apologetics and establishes the biblical support for the presuppositional method.
The second section of this volume offers further practical advice on how to approach an apologetic situation and provides specific answers to particular apologetic questions… x. The Christian should not be ashamed of this fact. Bahnsen continues to lay out the foundations of the presuppositional apologetic, citing Van Til and Calvin not a few times.
He explains:. The foregoing considerations not only establish that there is no neutral ground between the believers and unbelievers, but also that there is ever present common ground between the believer and the unbeliever. All men have in common the world created by God, controlled by God, and constantly revealing God. In this case, any area of life or any fact can be used as a point of contact.
The denial of neutrality secures, rather than destroys, commonality. So Bahnsen seeks to put aside the idea that there is no commonality between believer and unbeliever, and spells out where he sees the differences are.
He discusses the idea of autonomy:. The non-Christian thinks that his thinking process is normal. He thinks that his mind is the final court of appeal in all matters of knowledge. He takes himself to be the reference point for all interpretation of the facts.
That is, he is epistemologically become a law unto himself: autonomous. Such is the Scriptural perspective and method. Apologists are prohibited from using a non-presuppositional method in defending the faith under the excuse that thereby truth might abound.
In various forms, the fundamental argument advanced by the Christian apologist is that the Christian worldview is true because of the impossibility of the contrary. To put it another way: the proof that Christianity is true is that if it were not, we would not be able to prove anything. However, section two provides a rich resource of practical answers to the most common attacks on Christianity.
It is also less controversial. And when all is said and done, it is not the theory of apologetics which defends the faith and stops the mouth of critics. Only the practice of apologetics can do that. This review, however, will not expand any further on the content in the second half. Straight-forward and to the point, Always Ready is an easier introduction to presuppositionalism than Van Til. For a contemporary example, that may be a little more humble in its approach, try The Reason for God by Tim Keller.
Always Ready is absolutely a great start and very informative book. If you wish to more delving into this type of apologetic and want to read Bahnsen's Life magnum opus then read Van Til's Apologetic: Readings and Analysis. Brian, do you think that Bahnsen's approach can be harmonized with an evidentialist approach? I'm of the opinion that both tactics can be utilized, but I have yet to come up with a consistent approach because Bahnsen seems to be so at odds with evidentialist apologetics.
I am not sure how Bahnsen would answer that. But one thing that comes to mind for me is that there is a difference between an evidentialist approach and the use of evidences. I think Bahnsen would welcome the use of evidences.
But it seems to me that he would reject any approach that doesn't presuppose God and instead uses evidences to "get there.
I disagree with Bahnsen where he says that this is the prescribed Biblical approach and the only legitimate approach. Boa and Bowman's Faith Has Its Reasons has an integrative model at the end in which they argue that contributions from the different methodologies can be effectively used together. There are a number of concerns I have with Bahnsen's approach, but I was really trying as a personal goal to remain neutral and try my best to properly portray Bahnsen's perspective in a way that is fair and accurate.
I felt that trying to do that would just add to the noise. My disagreements at this point would not be developed enough to critique it to my satisfaction; that is, this is an ongoing debate and I am not knowledgable enough to feel I fully understand the view first. Not that I am anti-presuppositionalism — I am open to it and willing to be persuaded.
But right now my biggest "blocks" are that I don't think it is prescribed as "the" scriptural approach — and I don't think it is the only God-honoring approach. It depends on the audience really. You could not be effective using Presupps on, let's say, a catholic. Another method would have to be used.
This approach is for the nonbelievers. Sye said "Indeed I do not decry evidence. In fact the presuppositionalist is more of an evidentialist than the evidentialist.
We say that all evidence is evidence of God, even one's very ability to reason about evidence. The problem is giving swine the pearls. Presupps allow people to understand and evaluate their worldview that is hostile to God instead of evaluate evidence for the existence God. Where I see the problem with an evidentialist apologetic style is that you are forcing your audience to place themselves in the judges seat and place God on trial!
That is certainly not a Biblical form of apologetic by any stretch of the imagination. Remember that we are the ones on trial as criminals and presupps keeps God in that Judge's seat. For the modern man the roles are reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock…The trial may even end in God's acquittal. But the important thing is that man is on the bench and God in the Dock.
Bahnsen said "If the apologist treats the starting point of knowledge as something other then reverence for God, then unconditional submission to the unsurpassed greatness of God's wisdom at the end of his argumentation does not really make sense. There would always be something greater then God's wisdom-namely, the supposed wisdom of one's intellectual starting point. The word of God would necessarily logically, if not personally remain subordinate to the autonomous,final standard. The Presuppositional apologetic approach is the only approach that makes sense of Proverbs or Matthew Telling an Atheist to "try Jesus" is not Biblical, asking nonbelievers to evaluate God instead of evaluate self isn't either.
Presuppositional apologetics is extremely Biblical. After writing all of this I just realized who The Apologetic Front is now, he is no stranger to any of this. Love your work TAF. What I said still stands even if it were for an different audience. Hey Brian! Thanks for the review.
I'd only hope that you were slightly more critical. The most desired form of criticism from you came in the comment right before mine:. I wish you would have integrated this line of criticism into your review, and show where you depart and where you agree. Also a Philosophy professor at my university wrote two essays on Presuppositionalism and Bahnsen.
They're academic papers but I think you would enjoy it. Bahnsen did his doctoral dissertation on self-deception. He summarized his view on the subject in the following essay:.
It's fascinating reading. Definitely not a subject that is commonly addressed in philosophy nor in theology. Nor is it something most Christians would think of as relevent to apologetics or evangelism. But it's an important subject. I see that Joel Garver has posted a link to his critique of Bahnsen's position.
I'll have to check it out. What's even more fascinating is how apologist can conceive of a God who is all powerful yet always need human reason for defending.
Please, by all means, ask God for answers. If asked, then I am merely giving an explanation for my faith as instructed. If you can you have faith without a brain then I would agree. All your doing is using your brain to conceive ideas that you call faith to perceive the unknown. What is fascinating is how apologist can't see this. Do you know for certain we use our brains to conceive ideas that we call faith to perceive the unknown?
If so, how are you certain of this? Now, does the laws of logic exist outside of the human mind? If not, how are you certain of that? If so, how do you account for the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic, on what basis do you proceed with the assumption that they will not change, and how is it possible to know anything for certain according to YOUR worldview? I am not the one here trying to prove certainty, you are, and so it is up to you prove it, and so will you never find rest in proving what can not be proven without a mind to testify for it.
But as for me I can rest assured knowing fully that before I was born none of this was of any importance to me, and so I let it be. I will try it again, I wrote a response but might of forgotten to hit post so it didn't go through…grrr. It is impossible to know anything absent certainty. I'll show you what I mean: tell me one thing that you know absent certainty?
Your comment reveals a belief in the existence of knowledge, which is certain by definition. How is this possible in an "atheistic" worldview?
Always Ready: Directions For Defending the Faith
Booth is an apologetics textbook composed of the works of the late Greg Bahnsen — a notable advocate of presuppositional apologetics. The first section, previously published as a syllabus, provides a step-by-step explanation of key issues in Christian apologetics and establishes the biblical support for the presuppositional method. The second section of this volume offers further practical advice on how to approach an apologetic situation and provides specific answers to particular apologetic questions… x. The Christian should not be ashamed of this fact. Bahnsen continues to lay out the foundations of the presuppositional apologetic, citing Van Til and Calvin not a few times. He explains:.
Always Ready: Directions For Defending The Faith
John Calvin Directions for Defending the Faith. Greg L. When one first hears that there are 5 major sections and 34 chapters in this book, it might scare you off from even considering reading it. But let the prospective reader be assured that there is no reason to shy away from buying and reading this book at your earliest convenience. The truth is that most of the chapters are quite brief, so much so that there are times when you will wish that they were not so brief. I became engrossed in the subject of many of these short chapters and wanted more.
Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith (Bahnsen)
This book is a compilation of several of Dr. Bahnsen's published works on Christian apologetics, including his Apologetics syllabus, articles on practical apologetic problems like the problem of evil, the problem of miracles, etc. Table of Contents:. Appendix: Biblical Exposition of Acts Greg L. A distinguished scholar, author, and debater, he wrote and lectured extensively in the areas of apologetics and biblical law. The value of his work was not merely academic though it was that also ; it was intensely practical.