Since neutrality is unattainable for either the unbeliever or believer, and since they have conflicting ultimate standards for judging claims to knowledge, the task of apologetics will ultimately be carried on at a presuppositional level. Contrasting worldviews are being debated. Each worldview has its presuppositions about reality, knowledge, and ethics; these mutually influence and support each other. There are no facts or uses of reason which are available outside of the interpretive system of basic commitments or assumptions which appeals to them; the presuppositions used by Christian and non-Christian determine what they will accept as factual and reasonable, and their respective presuppositions about fact and logic will determine what they say about reality. Thus there can be no direct proof offered for the truth of either perspective; direct appeals to fact and reason are emptied of argumentative strength by the opponent’s presuppositions (with which he understands and accepts facts and logic in a different light altogether). The argument between believer and unbeliever must then be indirect, admitting the impossibility of a neutral approach to reasoning and facts which allegedly outside of an interpretive system. The argument must pit the unbeliever’s system of thought as a unit over and against the believer’s system of thought as a unit. Their overall perspectives will have to contend with each other, rather than debating isolated points in a piecemeal fashion.
When the Christian sets forth his outlook he will stress the kind of God to whom he is committed, the nature of the world in relation to God, and the nature of man as God’s creature.
~Greg Bahnsen (Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended; ch 1, pgs 15-16)
Note a couple things here.
First, the exhortation to addressing the entirety of the worldview, not simply isolated points. I argue for that here. Second, that we are to set forth the nature of God, the nature of the world in relation to God, and the nature of man as a creature. Those are key elements in this argument, and in my response provided here.
My purchase of the book quoted above has more than paid for itself on first reading. It’s a rather complete description and defense of the presuppositional apologetic en toto. I’ll be posting more examples as I have time, but I’ve been criticized previously for contradicting Bahnsen on several points, (or being all on my own) and these quotations quite clearly demonstrate that this is not the case. This post isn’t necessarily about those particular “controversial” topics, but it parallels the thought process I used to arrive at those same positions. I broached the topic of Divine Simplicity originally because it demanded that I approach Theology Proper as a singular whole – and correspondingly, that an objector must do so, as well. I broached “possibility” for two reasons: One, the exchange Mitch and I had in our debate, and my responses to his questions demanded a closer look at the subject, once it was criticized. My “instinctual” response – quoting Titus 1:2-3 – since it was a Biblical presupposition, was validated upon examination. More resoundingly than I really thought it would be, actually. Two, because simultaneously, I was involved in frequent discussions with adherents of Molinism. Obviously, this discussion is central to their conceptions. I broached “finite logic as a creation” in that same debate primarily due to my previous study on what the implications of Isa 55:8-9 were. As I walk through some selected comments, I hope you will see that I’m neither “out on a limb”, nor outside the bounds Theology necessarily places on a Reformed apologist.