Best “How To” for Presuppositional method

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TomVols

Puritan Board Freshman
Some works on Presuppositional apologetics are quite theoretical. Evidentialists and others critique that PA is short on real, practical, how to material.
So what do you recommend as “field guides” on doing Presuppositional apologetics?

Books in mind but anything accepted (podcasts, etc)
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Some purists think guys like Frame sold out the project. The most pure application of presup method is found in Bahnsen's Van Til reader. He has a whole section on it.
 

TomVols

Puritan Board Freshman
I'll look at it again.

Seriously, all presuppositional hands on deck. I do not think it's a baseless claim that we presuppers are long on theory but short on practice.
 
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Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
I actually think this is one of the strengths of presuppositional apologetics, actually. It’s not merely about learning a method—"If they say X, you retort with Y." Rather, presuppositional apologetics, it seems to me, is about becoming so familiar and comfortable with the glory of the Christian worldview that any opposing worldview is easily demolished and exposed for the foolishness it is. I think that is the practical application. It’s not just, "Here’s the cosmological argument as a syllogism. Now go repeat it." It’s, "Here is the Christian worldview. Now go live it, apply it, and proclaim it wherever you see it opposed."

Practically speaking, though (since that is what you’re asking about), the best way to learn to apply it is to go watch it in action. Go watch a Bahnsen debate. Go watch a Bahnsen lecture. Go watch Jeff Durbin do street evangelism, etc., etc.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rather, presuppositional apologetics, it seems to me, is about becoming so familiar and comfortable with the glory of the Christian worldview that any opposing worldview is easily demolished
That works in theory, but if you are to make it work in practice you really need to be at the top of the game. A lot of us coming up simply memorized the Bahnsen/Stein debate (guilty here) and thought every situation would be like that.
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
That works in theory, but if you are to make it work in practice you really need to be at the top of the game. A lot of us coming up simply memorized the Bahnsen/Stein debate (guilty here) and thought every situation would be like that.
That’s a fair point. I am guilty myself. But, that’s why we should always be reading, so that we’re not just parroting what we’ve heard in certain apologetic situations. This is the case no matter the methodology.
 

TomVols

Puritan Board Freshman
I actually think this is one of the strengths of presuppositional apologetics, actually. It’s not merely about learning a method—"If they say X, you retort with Y." Rather, presuppositional apologetics, it seems to me, is about becoming so familiar and comfortable with the glory of the Christian worldview that any opposing worldview is easily demolished and exposed for the foolishness it is. I think that is the practical application. It’s not just, "Here’s the cosmological argument as a syllogism. Now go repeat it." It’s, "Here is the Christian worldview. Now go live it, apply it, and proclaim it wherever you see it opposed."

Practically speaking, though (since that is what you’re asking about), the best way to learn to apply it is to go watch it in action. Go watch a Bahnsen debate. Go watch a Bahnsen lecture. Go watch Jeff Durbin do street evangelism, etc., etc.
I'll agree with you, disagree, then agree again :)

Yes, that is a strength of the apologetic. However, I'm not looking for a script. I'm looking for theorists who display or model practical application. Sye Ten Bruggencate has argued that watching him do PA is not the way to learn how to do it. Assuming he's right, then how?

Formal debates are not necessarily the best ways, though I don't want to discount them. Not to derail the topic but have you seen the new Bahnsen book ?
 

TomVols

Puritan Board Freshman
That’s a fair point. I am guilty myself. But, that’s why we should always be reading, so that we’re not just parroting what we’ve heard in certain apologetic situations. This is the case no matter the methodology.
I agree. That's why I asked the OP.
 

TomVols

Puritan Board Freshman
That works in theory, but if you are to make it work in practice you really need to be at the top of the game. A lot of us coming up simply memorized the Bahnsen/Stein debate (guilty here) and thought every situation would be like that.
Agreed. Which is why I asked the OP. (Seems like I said that before) ;)
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
Sye Ten Bruggencate has argued that watching him do PA is not the way to learn how to do it. Assuming he's right, then how?
I must respectfully disagree with Sye here. I did not understand presuppositional apologetics at all until I saw it in action in the Bahnsen-Stein debate. Of course, I wouldn't recommend exclusively watching debates to learn the method. Maybe that's what he meant. But to say we can't learn anything from watching debates is false.

At the same time, however—with all respect again to Sye—I actually partially agree with him, although not in what he intended. Namely, watching him is not the best way to learn presuppositional apologetics. As a full-fledged, card-carrying presuppositionalist, I cringe almost every time I watch him debate. Even when he is paired with better debaters like Durbin, he ends up ruining the debate because his more experienced and cool-headed partners frequently have to clean up his messes right behind him. Just watch the debate I link there; it happens multiple times.
 

TomVols

Puritan Board Freshman
I must respectfully disagree with Sye here. I did not understand presuppositional apologetics at all until I saw it in action in the Bahnsen-Stein debate. Of course, I wouldn't recommend exclusively watching debates to learn the method. Maybe that's what he meant. But to say we can't learn anything from watching debates is false.

At the same time, however—with all respect again to Sye—I actually partially agree with him, although not in what he intended. Namely, watching him is not the best way to learn presuppositional apologetics. As a full-fledged, card-carrying presuppositionalist, I cringe almost every time I watch him debate. Even when he is paired with better debaters like Durbin, he ends up ruining the debate because his more experienced and cool-headed partners frequently have to clean up his messes right behind him. Just watch the debate I link there; it happens multiple times.
Oh believe me, I know what you mean.
 

TomVols

Puritan Board Freshman
There is no silver bullet method. There is no one-size fits all. That's the answer. Every person is different.
Again, not looking for a silver bullet method. Looking for examples of presuppositional apologetics in action, be it in written form, etc. (take Scott Oliphint, for example, in covenantal Apologetics).
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Frame has a dialogue in Apologetics to the Glory of God. Van Til has some dialogues between Mr Black and Mr White.
 

PaulCLawton

Puritan Board Freshman
Some works on Presuppositional apologetics are quite theoretical. Evidentialists and others critique that PA is short on real, practical, how to material.
So what do you recommend as “field guides” on doing Presuppositional apologetics?

Books in mind but anything accepted (podcasts, etc)
Scott Oliphint has some good sample dialogue in Covenantal Apologetics.
 

TomVols

Puritan Board Freshman
I went back and read "Every Thought Captive" yesterday and forgot there was good illustrative material there. To me, that's a very underrated book even though it was written for high schoolers.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
You have to learn the theory and then go practice it, with a lot of failure. That's what I did. Read Schaeffer, he is not pure but gives good illustrations.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
You have to learn the theory and then go practice it, with a lot of failure. That's what I did. Read Schaeffer, he is not pure but gives good illustrations.
Yes on one sense I would prefer someone more 'pure' than Schaeffer. But I have to say his Trilogy is very helpful. His "lifting the lid off" was very helpful to me when considering, in a practical way, how to gently expose the folly of the non Christian worldview. Schaeffer emphasises we do it with gentleness and gospel hope. We need to remember our opponents have worth because they are made in the image of God.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Also depends on who is your audience. Schaeffer was great in evangelizing stoner hippies. That's why his take on philosophy is better when dealing with the 20th century rather than, say, Aquinas or the Greeks or Hegel, in which he is just plain wrong.
 

RWD

Puritan Board Sophomore
There’s so much misunderstanding surrounding apologetics. Most who offer opinions can’t speak to any view. Partisan.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
This book has some sample dialogues of how each school would approach apologetics. It's a fun book and I read through it many times in college. Disregard the last chapter, though. It bases which apologetic methodology you would use on Myers-Briggs tests. Silliest thing I ever heard of.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
This book has some sample dialogues of how each school would approach apologetics. It's a fun book and I read through it many times in college. Disregard the last chapter, though. It bases which apologetic methodology you would use on Myers-Briggs tests. Silliest thing I ever heard of.
Koukls “Tactics” is worth a mention.
 
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