Apologetics to the Glory of God

Is Presuppositionalism new?

Earlier today I saw this tweet: “Reformed appologists defend presuppositionalism evn though as a system it’s new but condemn dispensationalism on the same grounds. arbitrary”

I would beg to differ, and strongly. First, this objection is to the *Scriptural* grounds of the system. This is not something I find compelling, or accurate – and I don’t enjoy seeing presup alongside dispensationalism in that regard, honestly.

“All the nations have gathered together so that the peoples may be assembled. Who among them can declare this and proclaim to us the former things? Let them present their witnesses that they may be justified, or let them hear and say, “It is true.” “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me. It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, And there was no strange god among you; So you are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And I am God. Even from eternity I am He, And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?”

– Isa 43:9-13

Notice, God is setting forth his case – and what does He argue? The impossibility of the contrary. He sets forth the antithesis between His express will, and the imaginations of men. The impossibility of their claims, and the inexorable certainty of His own.

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place. Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.’” – Isa 44:7-8

Notice, God presses them to account for history, for the present, and for the future. He contrasts this with His own immutable decree.

“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all alone, causing the omens of boasters to fail, Making fools out of diviners, Causing wise men to draw back And turning their knowledge into foolishness,” – Isa 44:25

God presses His own exclusivity against the so-called wisdom of the wise, the proud, and the false prophets.

“Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed, Whom I have taken by the right hand, To subdue nations before him And to loose the loins of kings; To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars. I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me;That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it. Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker – an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’? Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ Or to a woman, ‘To what are you giving birth?’” Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands. It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands And I ordained all their host. I have aroused him in righteousness And I will make all his ways smooth; He will build My city and will let My exiles go free, Without any payment or reward,” says the LORD of hosts.
Thus says the LORD, “The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush And the Sabeans, men of stature, will come over to you and will be yours; They will walk behind you, they will come over in chains And will bow down to you; They will make supplication to you: ‘Surely, God is with you, and there is none else, No other God.’” Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior! Israel has been saved by the LORD With an everlasting salvation; You will not be put to shame or humiliated To all eternity. For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the LORD, and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place’; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright. Gather yourselves and come; Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; They have no knowledge, Who carry about their wooden idol And pray to a god who cannot save. Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. They will say of Me, ‘Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.’ Men will come to Him, And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. In the LORD all the offspring of Israel Will be justified and will glory. Bel has bowed down, Nebo stoops over; Their images are consigned to the beasts and the cattle. The things that you carry are burdensome, A load for the weary beast. They stooped over, they have bowed down together; They could not rescue the burden, But have themselves gone into captivity. Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, You who have been borne by Me from birth And have been carried from the womb; Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you. To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, that we would be alike? Those who lavish gold from the purse And weigh silver on the scale Hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; They bow down, indeed they worship it. They lift it upon the shoulder and carry it; They set it in its place and it stands there. It does not move from its place. Though one may cry to it, it cannot answer; It cannot deliver him from his distress. Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it. Listen to Me, you stubborn-minded, Who are far from righteousness. I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; And My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, And My glory for Israel.”
– Isa 45-46

Do you see the antithesis? The sheer, inexorable grinding to powder of any attempt to assert autonomy? The continual refrain of God – “I will, I will, I will”, juxtaposed with “let them, let them, let them”? The continual “I am” countering “no other”? God is presenting every paradigm of presuppositionalism.

Not only there, but in Acts 17. I invite you to read this excellent exegesis of that text, by Dr. Bahnsen. Paul, in his address to the Areopagus, instead of presenting proofs for the existence of God, does what? He directly appeals to the point of contact with the believer – the image of God in them. He tells them that they are (at least ambigiously) superstitious, and in fact worshipping in vain – and he will declare this true God to them. He tells them they are ignorant, and proceeds to correct that. Does he argue for the inspiration of Scripture? No, he *presupposes* it. The antithesis to the unbeliever’s ignorance of God, and Himself, is the knowledge of God possessed by the man of God, speaking forth His truth. Paul also appeals to the *suppressed* knowledge of God in every man – and calls them to repentance, warning them of the judgment to come. He inexorably presses their culpability for that which they know, but suppress. Just as God does in the previous passages.

In Colossians 1, when writing to a church beset by heresy, does he argue his case with probability or possibilities? No! He states who God is – firmly, and boldly – co-opting the heretics’ favorite language and using it against them – pressing the Biblical doctrine of God against their false teaching at every point. In Col 2, he even tells them that in Christ are hidden ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! Is this not presuppositional?

In 1 Corinthians, Paul takes the problems facing the Corinthians directly to the Scripture – and to the nature of God. He shows that God is who makes foolish the wisdom of the world, and uses what the world considers foolish to do it! Is that not precisely what God claims to do in Isaiah? What is he presupposing? Scripture. What is he doing? Pressing the antithesis. John uses antithesis in the strongest of terms. Romans presses the absolute sovereignty and purpose of God, comparing it to the futile speculations and foolishness of men. Paul exhaustively destroys all claimants while laying out the Biblical doctrines – the impossibility of the contrary. Hebrews demonstrates the supremacy of Christ while asking us who can compare to Him. Ephesians opens with a doxology to the majesty of God’s sovereign election, and the riches of his grace – and ends with an exhortation concerning how we are to fight the good fight, and with what weapons and defenses – the Word of God, and His good and gracious gifts as our armor, standing firmly on the Gospel. Proverbs is a treasure trove of wisdom – and all from the Lord. Peter tells us, first, to sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts, in the apologists’ marching orders – and says in the next chapter that “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God.” Is this not precisely what we say as presuppositionalists?

The Biblical basis for presuppositionalism is not only broad, but inseparable from the sufficiency of Scripture. In fact, I am wont to say that presup is the apologetic manifestation of Sola Scriptura and is the logical extension of our belief in the sufficiency of Scripture. Why do I say that? What we are saying, when we say that the Triune God of Scripture must be presupposed in order to render anything at all intelligible, is that Scripture Alone is the foundation for rightly understanding anything whatsoever, and is *sufficient* to give us that right knowledge – for in HIM are hidden ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. This is not just our assertion, but that of apologists throughout history, until the period that Rome came into it’s apostate primacy, and returning when the church revolted and returned to it’s Scriptural foundation – on a Biblical basis, and argued presuppositionally. Fundamentally, the Reformation was a battle of ultimate authorities. Sola Ecclesia vs Sola Scriptura. Why is this? When your foundation becomes other than Scripture, your apologetic also becomes other than Scripture. Athanasius argued against the Arians by Scripture Alone. Augustine refuted Pelagius by Scripture Alone. The Reformers argued against Rome by Scripture Alone.

This does not negate the fact, however, that they did, as I just did, use history to *confirm* that testimony, despite it not being the *pivotal* argument itself. They called witnesses, as God did to His statements, to bear testimony to what He had said. These are secondary, and *derivative* arguments. What did I call witness to? other who argued using… the same means – the Scriptures. To say that presup, as a system, is new – or novel – is simply not the case, as I have demonstrated. However, to try to get around the charge that dispensationalism IS novel, presup is called as a witness, by our friend above. Since, as he says, presup (as a system) is novel, reformed apologists cannot argue that dispensationalism (as a system) is false, because it’s novel. First, I think we have a bit of a category error going on. Dispensationalism is an interpretive method – and as such, *there was no one in the history of the church who had ever interpreted the Bible in such a fashion*. Period. As a system, or otherwise. More significantly, Dispensationalism has no Scriptural basis. It claims to be taken from Scripture, but it is not. I would challenge a dispensationalist to go through 1) Scripture and 2) The history of the church and find his interpretive system therein. I’m Covenantal because Scripture is. Scripture speaks of God’s covenant of grace, and we are taught to consider His promises within that covenant. Since Scripture lays it out for us in that fashion, we must believe it. I can also say, with historical conviction, that Covenantal theology was the theology of historical orthodoxy. As I said earlier, we appeal to church history because what the church *teaches*, when it holds to Sola Scriptura, is derived *from* Scripture.

Second, this objection is that we are being *arbitrary.* I’m sorry, but this is a direct challenge to presuppositionalism. When we object to something, we object to it on what grounds? If we say it is “new”, we *should* mean that it is *eisegesis* – a novel, invalid interpretation read *into* Scripture, not merely a temporally recent development of basically sound doctrine. Even if it was merely that – why did it take so long for the gates of hell not to prevail against the church, then? Was no one led into all truth by His Spirit? On the contrary, I believe I’m on firm ground when I say, after having recently taught a church history class focusing on the usage of Sola Scriptura in history, and the elements of presuppositionalism found therein as a result, that I am on a sound historical footing saying that presuppositionalism is not new, nor is it eisegetical.

To reject the witness of history to salvage a point of critique is to give up far too much. You say, in essence, that the gates of hell DID prevail against the church until the advent of Dispensational interpretation. I have no need to defend presup as “novel” – because it isn’t. The language used in the Dutch rediscovery (of what Calvin was trying to tell us, and Scripture has always said, and what the great defenders of the faith through history have used) is new, perhaps; but the principle is the same. Stick to Scripture, as it alone is Theopneustos. Athanasius knew it, Augustine knew it, Hus knew it, and Calvin knew it. There is no need to dismiss history – if what you teach is historical orthodoxy. Rome tries to co-opt history, the Mormons ignore history and rewrite in their image – let us not ignore history altogether to salvage a critique of an interpretive system – and certainly don’t drag presuppositionalism, the covenantal apologetic, with you, please. It’s not “on the same grounds” at all. Since I’m a presupper, though, I have to ask – whose ground were you standing on to say that? 😉



22 responses to “Is Presuppositionalism new?”

  1. Victoria Avatar

    He did not say Presup is new–he said the system is new-Nate understands that presup is as old as scripture itself-where in Genesis 1:1 it is declared “in the beginning God.” To say that the system is new is very different than saying presup is new. It would have been godly of you to interact with him first on this, to see if he actually believes that presup itself is new(which you are accusing him of,even though that IS NOT what he said).
    I am rather disappointed Raz that you would do this–you do not know my Pastor or what he believes on presup. You found this because you follow me on twitter–and you did not even bother to find out if your method here would be offensive–and it is, brother- because you FAILED to accurately represent what was ACTUALLY stated in that tweet.
    Your whole thrust in this article is against an imaginary argument that presuppositionalism is new-and your link is to my Pastor on twitter who NEVER stated that!

    Your last paragraph is hopefully addressed to someone else other than my Pastor-it reeks of arrogance against a man you do not even know and have never corresponded with–you certainty did not have him in mind did you? You have the nerve to tell my Pastor to stick to scripture–a man who spends countless hours a week preparing to feed his sheep expositionally every Sunday. And all this because you have obviously not understood what he really said-very sad for a man who is so particular about words and what they really mean.

  2. The Squirrel Avatar

    Twitter isn’t the best medium for theological discourse. Tweets are only 140 characters or less, and have almost no context. You have made a lot of assumptions about what was meant by what was said. You’ve drawn conclusions about Pastor Grahams intended meaning which are unsupported by the tweet itself. “Insufficient Data” might have been a better response.


  3. RazorsKiss Avatar

    Victoria: I wish you had read the post.

    “First, this objection is to the *Scriptural* grounds of the system.” “To say that presup, as a system, is new – or novel – is simply not the case”

    First, what was the first thing I said? Saying the *system is new is saying that it has no Scriptural grounds*. I understand that you think differently, but I argued otherwise, and you haven’t responded to my argument. Trying to make a dichotomy between presupposositionalism “as a system” and “presuppositionalism, Scripturally” is not valid, because *even our system must be taken from Scripture*. To say the system is new is to say that it is aScriptural – because to do otherwise is to violate Sola Scriptura. As I said, to assert such is to give up FAR too much. It also, incidentally, gives up FAR too much from your *own* position. If the system isn’t in Scripture, you shouldn’t be using it, period. I don’t make the false dichotomy that you seem to be making.

    Second, as presup is covenantal, I don’t see how on earth your pastor could be agreeing with it in the first place. Contrary to your assertion, I did represent it correctly, and first took issue with the false dichotomy he, and then you, presented as to system vs content. Systemization is the collation of what is *in* Scripture – and even that systemization must be Scriptural. There can’t be some, dare I say, *arbitrary* separation between the two.

    The thrust of the post was 1) That the dilemma being made was false 2) The system, or the content, are not new 3) Dispyism undercuts itself 4) Covenantalism does not have that problem.

    I do say that dispensationalism as a system has no Scriptural grounds – which is why I said to “stick to Scripture” in the last paragraph you seem to be offended about. I’m sorry you think it ‘reeks of arrogance’, but I fail to see how it does so, as it is addressed to a theological system which seems to be *proud* of the fact that the gates of hell prevailed against the church until the advent of it’s unique presuppositional impositions upon Scripture. I’m sorry you’ve taken offense, but I’m fully committed to the Scriptural presuppositions *from* Scripture that Covenantal theology provides – as they are fundamental to Scripture’s interpretation of itself, and are the antithesis to the claims of dispensationalism. If you don’t want responses made to your position, don’t assert it in public.

    The system must be as fully drawn from Scripture as the content of the system. That is why I included *two chapters* of Isaiah to demonstrate that is, indeed, in Scripture as a systematic approach. By God Himself, no less.

    Squirrel: As can be seen by vicki’s response, I nailed the meaning, and disagree with it. Feel free to disagree, but I do believe she overlooked a significant portion of argumentation.

  4. Victoria Avatar

    No Raz–to say the system is new is not in any way ascriptural. To say the system is new is to say that only in modern times has it been explained and understood and taught in schools and seminaries, as a presuppositional way of understanding the truth about God and his Word. What did he mean by what he said–that presup has only in modern times been explained and taught as a method. I am not understanding how you are missing that.

    I am a dipensationalist and I have never believed the gates of hell have prevailed against the Church of Jesus Christ.
    And by the way–I have read the post about 5 times at least-trying to understand your meaning.

    I am a presupper because it is biblical–I also believe that as a system being taught in schools and seminaries it is new. No one 200 years ago studied presup as a course in school–the term is thoroughly modern.
    You have assumed a meaning that was never intended.

  5. The Squirrel Avatar

    Wait a minute! “Second, as presup is covenantal, I don’t see how on earth your pastor could be agreeing with it in the first place. ” presuppositionalism is covenantal????!!! ROFL!!!

    Okay, I don’t have time to launch into a defense of Dispensationalism right now, but, I assure you, it’s basis is Scriptural. And I know several Dispensationalists who are presuppositional in their apologetics (myself included). Don’t sail too far in that boat without a life jacket.


  6. RazorsKiss Avatar

    Inconsistency rears it’s ugly head in us all. As to it’s Scriptural basis, I disagree, and strongly. Not the topic of this blog, of course, but theology matters – and matters very much.

  7. BK Avatar

    I’ve got two comments – one is more nitpicking (I will admit), the other is not.

    “Reformed appologists defend presuppositionalism evn though as a system it’s new but condemn dispensationalism on the same grounds. arbitrary”

    First, the charge should be one of *inconsistency*, not arbitrariness. It isn’t a question of whether there are reasons being offered here for or against either presuppositionalism or dispensationalism, and so a charge of *arbitrary* is incorrect.

    Second, not *all* Reformed apologists argue against dispensationalism because it is “new”. In fact, there are very few who do. This is a hasty generalization and misrepresentation of Reformed apologists on the whole, unfortunately.

    Are there Reformed apologists who argue as indicated above? I have no doubt that there are such who exist. In fact, I suspect the author of the Tweet has actually met some, else his Tweet would have had no basis whatsoever.

    However, there is a very *large* contingent of Reformed apologists (I would dare say most) who argue as they do based on their view of scripture – not because something is “new” or not.

    In the end, the bigger issue here is whether or not Presuppositionalism and Dispensationalism are Biblical.


  8. RazorsKiss Avatar

    Victoria: While you can keep making the assertion, you haven’t addressed the argument. A system is not new if it is found in Scripture. A system IS new if it is not. I disagree with you that presup has never been taught until modern times – as a method, or as a theological necessity. I would venture to propose that you do so in order to paint dispensationalism in a better light, or because such a thought does not strike you as abhorrent – as it does me. I believe in Sola Scriptura, and I look to the history, to those giants whose shoulders I stand on, to “check myself” to see if I’m in error. Calvin would disagree with you, Augustine would disagree, and Athanasius would disagree – as presup is the apologetic manifestation of Sola Scriptura – and has been throughout the history of the church.

    “the sacred and inspired Scriptures are sufficient to declare the truth” (Athanasius, Against the Heathen, part 1, 1, 3)

    “But since holy Scripture is of all things most sufficient for us, therefore recommending to those who desire to know more of these matters, to read the Divine word, I now hasten to set before you that which most claims attention, and for the sake of which principally I have written these things.” (Athanasius, To the Bishops of Egypt, Ch 1, 4)

    I assert, and most plainly, that to say that presuppositionalism is “new”, even methodologically, is to say the same about Sola Scriptura – and this is because the two are intertwined inextricably. If you claim to hold to Sola Scriptura, and do not argue presuppositionally, you are inconsistent, at best. Van Til was not someone who pioneered a novel methodology. Neither was Calvin, from whom we have learned. What they did was affirm, from Scripture, what Scripture teaches us as to how to defend and confirm the faith once and for all delivered. The methodology, the system, and the content is all explicitly Biblical. It’s Biblical because it is *Scripture Alone* that is our presupposition. It is Biblical because that is what Scripture *tells us* to use. It is Biblical because that is how Scripture *tells us must be our system*. It would make as much sense to claim that the *Reformation* was teaching something “new”. It’s historically absurd.

    By saying that the gates of hell, to a dispensationalist, HAVE prevailed against the church, I mean that according to history, if your claims are true, no one until Darby knew how to properly interpret the Bible. Do you not see that this is *precisely* the argument we make against Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Islam, and other groups who insert an artificial authority over Scripture, especially one that has no historical precedent? Folks, Jehovah’s Witnesses have more historical precedence in the Arians! Shouldn’t that sound warning bells to you?

    Dispensationalism is a lesser form of this tendency, but it remains a late-coming, and *utterly novel* interpretive schema – which means what, precisely? No one read the Bible aright until Darby. What madness is this?

    I’m not willing to throw the history of the church to the wolves like that. I cannot insist on exegesis from opponents, and resort to eisegesis myself. There was *no one* before Darby who read Scripture as he did – and that is *extremely* problematic. Since this is the case, are dispensationalists really trying to tell us that the Scriptures remained a mystery to the church for 1800+ years?

    The primary reason we argue against dispensationalism is *why* it is new. Because it is *not found in the Scriptures*. That is what *I* mean when I say it is new – in content, methodology, or systemization. I’m not going to say “oh, well, it’s new in this specific sense.” Whatever categories you wish to split hairs about, it’s just flat-out not in Scripture. The dispensational schema is not contained in the Scripture, nor is it derived from the Scripture. It is pure, unadulterated eisegesis, and therefore pure novelty. Since this is the case, it *is* new, in all senses of the word. I’m sorry if this offends you – but understand that dispensationalism, by antithesis, says the same about Covenantal theology. There are not multiple truths, therefore one must be in error. An interpretive framework claiming to cover the entirety of Scripture, never before utilized by mortal man prior to Darby. This is utterly problematic as an apologist, as a theologian, and as one with a decided interest in the history of the church. I’m sorry you take offense, but understand that there can only be one system standing – and only one can be derived from Scripture. Scripture does not give us multiple contradictory truths.

  9. RazorsKiss Avatar

    Squirrel: Chris discusses the necessity here – also note Jeff Downs’ comment, and the link he provides to Oliphint.

  10. Shamgar Avatar


    Well, maybe more accurately, they don’t make that the centerpiece of their arguments against it. However, it is a valid point to make that the concept of dispensationalism doesn’t have any support in the historic Christian church. Nobody in the early church looked at the scriptures the way dispensationalism does.

    Even if we accept Vicki’s categories, that Presuppositionalism is not something that was taught *as such* in the past, the reality is that we can see where that kind of *thinking* existed. The distillation of it into a system is new, but the thinking that undergirds it is not.

    That makes comparing it to Dispensationalism a category error.

  11. Shamgar Avatar


    Your statement isn’t really a refutation. Just because presuppositional (or covenental) apologetics is used by a dispenstionalist doesn’t ipso facto make it compatible with it.

    The unbeliever borrows from the Christian worldview to make his foolish arguments. The Dispenstionalist who uses presuppositional methods borrows from the Covenental framework to do his work. Consider it a stepping stone to greater things to come brother. 😉

  12. Christopher G Weaver Avatar
    Christopher G Weaver

    How does an unbeliever borrow from the Christian worldview to make his/her “foolish” arguments?

    What does it mean to “borrow from the Christian worldview”?


  13. RazorsKiss Avatar

    Christopher: See anything from Greg Bahnsen.

  14. Christopher G Weaver Avatar
    Christopher G Weaver

    RazorKiss, I don’t see how anything in Bahnsen’s provides substantive answers to my questions.

    See anything by Stewart Shapiro, or Timothy Williamson.

  15. RazorsKiss Avatar

    Then there are two options I’m seeing here. 1) You didn’t read it properly. 2) You disregarded it, in which case we really won’t have anything “substantive” for you either.

    In either case, I think it’s apparent why, when asking a question that fundamental to the presuppositional method, I answered as I did. If the former, I encourage you to read more deeply. If the latter, I’m really wondering why you’re bothering to hang around.

  16. Christopher G Weaver Avatar
    Christopher G Weaver

    I’m confused as to why there isn’t an option 3), viz., “Gregory Bahnsen just doesn’t say anything substantive with respect to answers to the two previously stated questions”.

    Perhaps he really is confused, as I’ve maintained in a post somewhere. Perhaps you don’t realize this because you are also confused (as I maintain on a post somewhere).

    Option 3 is rather attractive.

    Seeing how though, my questions were originally aimed at Shamgar, it would be interesting to see how Shamgar responds….but, if you have anything you’d actually like to say in response to my questions please do voice them here, but merely saying “go read Bahnsen” will always be countered by the equally as lazy “go read Williamson.”

  17. RazorsKiss Avatar

    Once again, if you disregard Bahnsen’s detailed explanation of this concept, you’re going to equally reject anyone else’s explanation, which will be along the same lines. I’ve seen how “carefully” you address Bahnsen – which just makes me wonder – why even visit here, or pretend to ask questions when it seems the intent is not to genuinely ask? It’s rather apparent that you aren’t interested in the answers we have to give you, aside from opportunities to rebut – so why keep asking?

    Further, this not the subject of the post. Please keep on topic from now on.

  18. BK Avatar

    Hey Chris –

    I have to say I find RK’s first two options much more attractive than yours, based on my reading of and listening to Bahnsen over the years.

    For instance – Bahnsen makes the following claim in his first rebuttal in his debate with Gordon Stein, in discussing logic:

    “As invariant, they don’t fit into what most materialists would tell us about the constantly changing nature of the world. And so, you see, we have a real problem on our hands. Dr. Stein wants to use the laws of logic tonight. I maintain that by doing so he’s borrowing from my worldview. For you see, in the theistic worldview the laws of logic make sense, because in the theistic world view there can be abstract, invariant, universal entities such as the laws of logic. Within the theistic worldview you cannot contradict yourself, because to do so you’re engaging in the nature of lying, and that’s contrary to the character of God as we perceive it. And so, the laws of logic are something Dr. Stein is going to have to explain as an atheist or else relinquish using them.”

    This seems to be a rather substantive explanation of what is meant by “borrowing from the Christian worldview”, no?


  19. akuyper Avatar

    Maybe this chris guy is just mad because he does not have a phd like bahnsen. Btw isn’t it greg?

  20. Christopher G Weaver Avatar
    Christopher G Weaver

    In Gregory Bahnsen’s “Review of Bernard Lonergan, Method in Theology” New York: Herder and Herder, 1972) published in The Westminster Theological Journal, Vol. XXXVI, No. 1, Fall 1973. His name is listed as “Gregory L. Bahnsen” cf.


    Most of his other work, as well as work about him refers to him as merely Greg Bahnsen. FYI

  21. Christopher G Weaver Avatar
    Christopher G Weaver


    Also refers to him as Gregory Bahnsen in a footnote.

    But I think you are right, he is most often individuated by Greg Bahnsen

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