Am I Misreading/Misunderstanding Sproul and others.

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ccravens

Puritan Board Freshman
Currently reading R.C Sproul's book/sermon series on Romans. Enjoying it greatly. I had always read and heard from R.C. his critique of the pre-suppositional appraoch to apologetics. So I was really suprised when I came to page 40 of the book. R.C. relates an occurrence when he was asked to speak to an athiest club. After giving his lecture on arguments for the existence of God, at the very end, he said:

"I'm giving you arguments for the existence of God, but I feel like I'm carrying coals to Newcastle because I have to tell you that I do not have to prove to you that God exists, because I think you already know it. Your problem is not that you do not know that God exists; your problem is that you despise the God whom you know exists. Your problem is not intellectual; it is moral - you hate God."

Why I agree with his statement, my confusion comes from the fact that this seesm to be a pre-supp argument. Maybe I'm mistaken about that. But if it is, and if he believed his statement is true, why did he give the (I'm assuming) classical apologetics approach in his lengthy presentation? Why not lead with this? It would seem to make his classical apologetic argument moot.

I've heard Frank Turek do the same thing on multiple occasions when answering questions from unbelieving college kids. He uses mostly evidential apologetics, and gives sometimes an hour long presentation, then a Q & A. But when a questioning kid is stubborn and won't bend to the testimony of Frank's evidence, and after the two of them have gone round-and-round for a good amount of time, to end things Frank will use what sounds like a pre-supp argument. Something along the lines of (I'm paraphrasing here):

"If I were able to give you enough evidence to your satisfaction that God does exist, would you become a Christian?" Or sometimes "If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?" When/if the college student hesitates or says no (they usually do), Frank responds something along the lines of: "Your problem is then not intellectual/evidential, your problem is volitional."

If lack of evidence is not the issue, why make an evidential argument? Why not lead with the above, instead of saving it as a last resort?

Am I misreading things here? Or are these two examples of the strength of the pre-supp view? Or are these examples of the ability to use different arguments at different times? The pre-supp position seems to exclude the vaibility of the other apologetic approaches.

Your comments and insights are appreciated.
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm a presuppositionalist and I don't think you'd find any of us who would say the other methods have no merit or use. As for Sproul he's a bit of an enigma. He frequently says things in multiple areas that sound presuppositional but then of course he argued against the method. You don't have to be a presuppositionalist to affirm Romans 1 though, and the fact that there are no atheists, just sinners who suppress the truth in their unrighteousness.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
A classicist can say that an atheist suppresses the existence of God. Rather, his point is that apologetic methods can remove stumbling blocks to belief.

It is the Lockean evidentialist who denies innate knowledge. Sproul isn't that.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Currently reading R.C Sproul's book/sermon series on Romans. Enjoying it greatly. I had always read and heard from R.C. his critique of the pre-suppositional appraoch to apologetics. So I was really suprised when I came to page 40 of the book. R.C. relates an occurrence when he was asked to speak to an athiest club. After giving his lecture on arguments for the existence of God, at the very end, he said:

"I'm giving you arguments for the existence of God, but I feel like I'm carrying coals to Newcastle because I have to tell you that I do not have to prove to you that God exists, because I think you already know it. Your problem is not that you do not know that God exists; your problem is that you despise the God whom you know exists. Your problem is not intellectual; it is moral - you hate God."

Why I agree with his statement, my confusion comes from the fact that this seesm to be a pre-supp argument. Maybe I'm mistaken about that. But if it is, and if he believed his statement is true, why did he give the (I'm assuming) classical apologetics approach in his lengthy presentation? Why not lead with this? It would seem to make his classical apologetic argument moot.

I've heard Frank Turek do the same thing on multiple occasions when answering questions from unbelieving college kids. He uses mostly evidential apologetics, and gives sometimes an hour long presentation, then a Q & A. But when a questioning kid is stubborn and won't bend to the testimony of Frank's evidence, and after the two of them have gone round-and-round for a good amount of time, to end things Frank will use what sounds like a pre-supp argument. Something along the lines of (I'm paraphrasing here):

"If I were able to give you enough evidence to your satisfaction that God does exist, would you become a Christian?" Or sometimes "If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?" When/if the college student hesitates or says no (they usually do), Frank responds something along the lines of: "Your problem is then not intellectual/evidential, your problem is volitional."

If lack of evidence is not the issue, why make an evidential argument? Why not lead with the above, instead of saving it as a last resort?

Am I misreading things here? Or are these two examples of the strength of the pre-supp view? Or are these examples of the ability to use different arguments at different times? The pre-supp position seems to exclude the vaibility of the other apologetic approaches.

Your comments and insights are appreciated.
The difference is methodological, how one argues for the faith. Just because there is overlap in beliefs doesn't make them the same.
 

TomVols

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't lead with it. However, if the person is being illogical and just regurgitating or whatever, I ask them that question. They almost always answer in the negative. "Sure....but you can't" isn't a positive answer. Neither is "I've examined all the evidence."

In the final analysis, if the answer is in fact "No" or implied "no" and we've hit the wall, then I share the gospel, urge them to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, then end the conversation charitably. And I thank them for being honest.
 
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