Sye TenBruggencate is the man responsible for restoring my confidence in a presuppositional method of apologetics. He is also responsible for introducing the method to countless other Christians who have heard his debates and seen his website.
The popularity of Sye TenBruggencate seems to have skyrocketed following his appearance on Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable where he debated atheist Paul Baird. But Sye has been around for quite some time. Those in presuppositionalist circles knew him from his unique proofthatgodexists.org website long before it hit the public eye.
I’m 48 years old, single, and live in Ontario, Canada. I was born in Toronto, grew up in a loving Christian home, and am the 5th eldest of 7 children. My parents immigrated from Holland, (My Dad was originally from a Dutch colony in Indonesia) and I can speak Dutch fluently. I am a member of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Canada. I have had no formal training in apologetics (defense of the faith), but have studied presuppositional apologetics from many resources, most notably, lectures by the late Greg Bahnsen.
By God’s grace alone, I am a Christian.
Sye followed his debate with Baird with another on the same show. Several more exchanges followed that, and soon Sye was popping up on atheist podcasts and blogs all over the Internet. He eventually teamed up with Eric Hovind of Creation Today for various media projects and has debated alongside of another well-known blogger and evangelist, Dustin Segers, as well.
Sye’s apologetic presentation has been less than well-received by many Internet atheists, who frequently accuse him of whatever immoral and illegal activities they happen to have on their minds at the time. Much of this hostile response can be explained, no doubt, by Sye’s unwavering commitment to get his message through in his writings, preaching, and debates. Those opposed to the Christian faith are naturally inclined to hate the message they receive from Sye, and it is evident that most of them are much more willing to go well out of their way to criticize the man than they are willing to deal with his evangelistic message and apologetic.
With respect to debate, Sye is a bit of a bulldog. His style of apologetic is reminiscent of the late Greg L. Bahnsen, whose writings and lectures Sye has no doubt spent a fair amount of time studying. Sye has no formal education in apologetics, but this actually gives him a distinct advantage over many other more theologically precise and philosophically astute apologists, for Sye keeps his arguments and questions direct and to the point in such a way that anyone can understand them.
Sye’s most famous question is, “How do you know?” Some have criticized him for repeating this question to the exclusion of any substantive argumentation, though in his defense it might be stated that the subject matter of his exchanges – the existence of God and truth of the Christian worldview – is epistemological in nature. Further, Sye’s covenantal apologetic takes into account that unbelievers are lost in sin, that this sin affects even the intellect, and the only way out of an unabashed affirmation of folly is through repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Asking epistemological questions, even if simplistic, frequent, and pointed, quickly brings the non-Christian to the place where he or she sees the need for the redemptive Word of God.
There is much more that can be said about Sye, his debates, and his skillful, unflinching use of retortion, but sifting through the various points he has scored against baffled atheists is well beyond the purpose of this post. Thankfully, Sye has a multimedia page that you can find here. Make sure to check it out!