Recently, I have unsubscribed from "orthodox" Van Tillian presuppositionalism, and I thought I would offer my view on apologetics, which in my opinion does a decent job at synthesizing the various approaches. I believe there is a fourfold distinction to be made in the different types of apologetics: constructive, destructive, defensive, and fortifying apologetics. (This is alternative to the normal twofold distinction between positive and negative apologetics.) Constructive apologetics attempts to prove Christianity "from the ground up." It is the typical evidentialist mindset. Example: "God exists because the universe had to have a cause; here's some evidence that the Bible is historically reliable; here's some evidence that Jesus was God because He rose from the dead; therefore what Jesus says is true and the Bible is totally the Word of God." Destructive apologetics disproves an unbelieving worldview. Example: "Materialistic evolutionism cannot be true because if it were it would contradict the fact that the human mind is spiritual." Defensive apologetics guards Christianity from objections. Example: "God and evil are not logically inconsistent; here's why..." or "No, the earth is not really that old; you have faulty assumptions, etc." Fortifying apologetics strengthens the faith of those who already believe. Apologetics most often serves this purpose. Example: "Here is evidence for the resurrection of Christ. We have even more evidence that Christianity is true." [This is harder to give an example for because it's less starkly different from the other approaches.] --------- I believe constructive apologetics are not only futile, because the Bible cannot possibly be proven to be intrinsically authoritative, but immoral. Everyone who encounters the Word of God, whether preached or written, is in some way obliged to accept it non-inferentially. Constructive apologetics tries to "prove the Bible," thereby denying that the Bible is already authoritative, which is a sinful thing to do. However, I do believe there is one field which may be included in constructive apologetics, and this is Plantingian Reformed Epistemology. RE basically establishes why people are prima facie justified in believing in God apart from evidence, such that the consideration of evidences is not required prior to believing in God. I believe his work can also be applied to the belief in Scriptural authority, and therefore I believe that RE can be used to demonstrate why Christians are permitted to start with the Bible and do not have to prove it first. (Here is particularly where I believe RE and presup are buddies.) It may be asked that if constructive apologetics (save RE) is sinful, then what of evidences? I reply that evidences and natural theology can be used in the other three ways. If someone is convinced of a solid cosmological argument for the existence of a first cause of the universe and that this first cause is a personal free agent, then he might see that this conclusion is inconsistent with his worldview (if he is an unbeliever) [destructive apol.] or that it strengthens his faith in Christianity (if he is a believer) [fortifying apol.]. If an unbeliever says that "science says" that the world is several billion years old, then the YEC apologist could give evidences that discredit the unbeliever's claims [defensive apol.], or he could go further and give evidence that the earth probably is 6000-10000 years old [destructive apol. again]. As long as evidences are used for the right purposes, and as long as the permissibility of Christians' starting with the Bible can be established, then I see no reason why an apologist cannot use features of classical apologetics, Reformed Epistemology, and presuppositionalism all in one package. ------- As I noted in Steven's "Against Fundamentalist Presuppositionalism" thread, I believe that many arguments used by evidentialists and presuppositionalists are actually identical in structure, to an extent at least. Take the moral argument: -The evidentialist argues that moral laws imply a Lawgiver. -The presuppositionalist argues that moral laws imply a Lawgiver, and that this Lawgiver is consistent with Christianity but not with the unbeliever's specific worldview. Seeing these two cases, we can see that they are basically identical, except that the presupper uses the argument not constructively, but destructively and fortifyingly (yeah, I made that word up). The substance of the argument is the same, but the use of it is different. Notice that the reason that the presupper can use it differently is because he recognizes that Christians can be justified in starting with Biblical authority -- which is ultimately a contribution of Reformed Epistemology. Take another example, the laws of logic. The presupper basically argues that laws of logic imply a universal Mind, and that this fact is consistent with Christianity but inconsistent with the unbeliever's specific worldview. In such a case, the presupper is using an argument the classical apologist would love (that laws of logic imply a universal Mind), but he uses it differently. Aight, I'm done.